Tag Archives: desteni

Day 441: Dealing with Pressure

This week I had a big and important meeting scheduled. It was supposed to last for several days and I had prepared myself for many days and hours. However, in a way I did not expect, the meeting was cancelled, and suddenly, all the plans I had created were changed. I noticed within me that I had built up a lot of pressure and energy in relation to the meeting – and when it was called off – I felt this burden lift from my shoulders. My body reacted with tiredness – and the following days I slept several hours more than what I am used to.

Hence – what did I learn from this event? That pressure is something that builds up incrementally and that it has a deep effect on the physical body – and that stress is also built up over time in such a way that I cannot see the heightened level of stress I am in because I have become accustomed to it – the stress have become normalized. It is thus really important to allow time, every day, for self-introspection, writing, self-forgiveness, and other activities that assist and support in letting go of built up energy. One of the best methods is focusing on breath and stopping the thoughts from wandering into the future – instead – one breath at a time – one step at a time.

I have also realized that stress comes up within me when I feel that much is at stake – and that is usually the case when I have a vested interest of some sort; primarily that tends to be money or career related – thus connected to survival. What helps me is to state that whatever the outcome – I will direct the point. Whether I lose my stakes or win the prize – I will find a way forward. I do not need to rely on a positive outcome to move forward – I will move forward regardless of the outcome. I disconnect myself from the stakes and make myself independent of the situation and able to deal with whatever might come. And probably – my fears all arise because I have placed my trust in money instead of in myself.

Thus I have to catch the moments of building stress to stop it from reaching a crescendo where I lose my ability to think clearly, sleep and function effectively. And in order for me to keep me in that stability – I have to check in with myself daily and be on the lookout for the type of thoughts that initiate this build-up. Usually for me these thoughts are about some form of failure or mistake – I will do something that is going to cause everything to fall together – or they are thoughts concerning the ‘What if?’ – what if everything goes badly? What if I do not know what I am going to do? What if? What if?

When it comes to failure – I have came to understand that I must allow myself to fail. It is a natural part of learning and expanding. The worst thing that I can do with failure is to not learn from it. And it is stupid to fear failure – because that is going to make me fearful and careful about venturing out into new opportunities and possibilities. I must embrace failure as a part of my life – because then I will not be afraid of trying new things and doing what I want to do.

And when it come to ‘What if’s?’ I understand that I can explore those endlessly. What does help is to establish the worst case scenario, mentally place myself in that situation and explore who I would be and how I would deal with it. Where would I go? What actions would I take? What kind of emotions and feelings would the situation initiate within me? And then clear all reactions utilizing self-forgiveness – so that if the situation does occur – I am stable within it and I can direct myself.

Pressure build-ups are not necessary if I effectively deal with and release the pressure by consistent and steadfast application. Then I can remain stable and the same regardless of the challenges that comes into my reality.


Day 440: The Dark Side of Success

I recently watched a Netflix documentary called Cheer. I can recommend it. It follows the best junior college cheer leading team in USA – the Navarro College Cheer. The team members range in age from 16 to 18 and are doing their first or second year at the college – and what takes up most of their time is their training. They put in many, many hours of practice to be able to complete their gymnastic and acrobatic routines. It is athletics on a high level and several times it is explained that the career of a cheerleader is over at the age of 19, because by that time the body is worn out.

The one thing that struck me was how everyone seemed to be possessed with the want to win – to such an extent that they would go to any lengths to secure their medal. And it is interesting to see how the sport has evolved and gotten more and more extreme, where teams have constantly pushed the boundaries forward. Throughout the documentary several cheerleaders complains about aches and exhaustion. And many mentally break down because of the pressure that is induced. Still, everyone accepts this as normal, and continues – because somehow they are convinced that winning will make up for it all.

It is fascinating to see how much mental and physical pain the team and their coaches go through. Anxiety, fear, stress, conflicts, anger, irritation, blame, jealousy, day out and day in, for a year – all because of the hope to win one competition at the end of the semester. And – SPOILERS – the team does win their title in the end. But was it worth it? Everyone seems to think so, when they run out of the stadium to celebrate, drunk on feelings, feeling like they are floating – because they can call themselves CHAMPIONS.

This behavior is normal – in adults. Kids, they do not do this and neither does animals. And I think it is because they are much more present in this moment that any pain and discomfort that they experience HERE will be prioritized and solved immediately. They will not remain in the pain and the struggle for several months only to fulfill a vision in their mind – that kind of mind functionality does not exist within them. However, in us adults, it does. And because of that we are able to plague and harm ourselves in our drive for success and victory – completely oblivious to the damage we are causing.

Competition, winning, success – conditions we have come to value so highly, but why really? These things are so cold, singular, and needs separation to work. There must be a loser, there most be a failure, for someone to be the star. Is it possibly the drama and energy within it that we have come to desire, or have we never asked ourselves whether this is what we want to pursue in life? What about equality, family, support and togetherness? Working together instead of working against one another. Perhaps we are not ready to see yet the damage that our constant drive for more is creating. We are still zoned out. Though, we have a world around is that is trying to show us something is wrong. Mentally damaged children and a nature that is collapsing. Why is it that we value our capitalistic lifestyle more than giving EVERYONE what they need to live a good life. It is beyond my understanding and frustrating – because I see that we could create it.

When I was younger I played many sports and I really, really enjoyed them. Unfortunately, the coaches were possessed with the desire to win – and eventually – all joy was sucked out from the game and all that became relevant was the price. This is something we as adults have to change – we cannot allow ourselves to suck the life out of everything just because we desire success. Children should be shown an example of what it means to truly express and enjoy life unconditionally – to enjoy sports unconditionally – to enjoy what is here without dreaming about the future and something more. That is our real challenge. Winning is easy – but living – that is something we have yet to accomplish.


Day 439: Resisting Change

There is a quote from Lao Tzu that I have found very supportive and insightful when things in my reality seems to become shaky:

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

What this quote shows to me is the benefits of letting go of control and expectations. Why struggle to create something that simply does not want to come through effectively? And how many of us do this. We are stuck in life situations that we desperately try to keep moving – and all the while – there is this struggle that underlines every push. What would happen if we let go of our visions and start working with what is real? What would happen if we dare to kill our darlings and look at things with fresh eyes. Sentimentality is a completely unnecessary luggage.

I have seen this clearly when it came to the career I decided upon. The interesting thing was that I initially tried to become a musician. And even though I loved it – there was a struggle, a fight, and conflict existent. It was seldom smooth and effortless and I never got the results I wanted. It was as if there was something off – I could not get through the way I wanted. And then I decided to change direction – and I pursued a profession that I did not particularly enjoy – however – I was really good at it. And when I aligned my vision/future according to my real self and my actual strengths – and even though it was not easy – it was not the same struggle anymore. There was a light in the tunnel. And the results I achieved were very cool and convinced me that I was on the right track. I stopped resisting what was naturally here with me and instead went with it/nurtured and strengthened it.

Animals do this as well. They are most of the times extremely specifically designed to fulfill a particular role in their environment. And no animal tries to actively alter their physical design to fulfill a different purpose in their environment – because for example – they have a dream or vision about it. Animals embrace their physical strengths completely and use them – they do not resist their nature. And that is something many of us humans miss. We think we have to become something different – we compare ourselves – and we use ideas of what is good and what is bad to make decisions. None of that is based on REALITY – on WHO we really are.

Change is part of reality – resisting change is the same as resisting reality. And what happens when we do resist reality is that we create conflict – both within and without. However – this does not mean that we should become followers. Rather – we should become practical and learn to work with what is here to achieve our goals – and to align our goals to reality – and be open to change our direction when something does not work. This is something that I am practicing. And it is balancing act – because being too practical, and too accepting of what is my reality at moment, can also lead to complacency and the creation of comfort-zones. Going with the flow can easily become detrimental if there is no direction – no vision of what we want to create/manifest – and in such a state we can accept less than what we are capable of becoming/doing.

Hence – while I do not want to resist reality – I also do not want to accept reality when it is less than what it can become. And struggles do not necessarily need to indicate that our approach is misaligned – it can be a point we are trying to create that is a big challenge – yet still possible to be created. What it comes down to is self-honesty. We need to listen to ourselves, our hearts, and our self-honesty and also let some doubt in now and again, so that we can question where we are at and what we are doing and if that is what is best.


Day 438: Blaming Politicians

The politicians are to blame! We need new ones! – that is the theme of so many chronicles. It is always someone else’s job to fix the shit we are in. We are so good at spotting, describing and voicing problems, yet when it comes to fixing them – we have a long way to go. What if all those journalists and critics instead would join a party, or create a new one, and sign themselves up to be elected. However very, very few do that. And those that do, well, it is their fault that we are in this mess.

For some reason politics have become separate aspect of society and life, something that we just expect others to handle while we go to work, enjoy our hobbies and live the good life. And when it does not work, we became mad as hell. In my country of origin, Sweden, this anger and frustration has taken form in the way of people voting for a party with a slightly racist party-line with many politicians that have questionable backgrounds. It is our way of saying – fuck this shit – it does not work – then I will vote for this fucking party instead. I am not saying it is wrong to get angry – but why do we not do the math – that in order to change political outcomes – we have to engage in politics practically. We cannot just sit on the sidelines and scream and expect things to become better.

And that reminds of a quote I read today. A women that were complaining on the decline of social services that noted in a passage that it cannot be up to normal people going to work to support the less fortunate – that must be a job for the government. And my question is, why should it not be up to us? Why must we at all times have some intermediary that steps in and does things for us, in any case we will get frustrated with the end-result – because it is not as good as we  wanted it. We have placed our power to affect social and political change outside of ourselves and instead of doing something – we complain. And we are really good at complaining. If we would be able to change things by complaining, many things would be different. In-fact I suspect we would be living in heaven-on-earth. It is unfortunate that complaining never leads to anything worthwhile. Complaining is the opium of the dissatisfied. It gives the sense of something being done while all that happens is that meaningless words are uttered and then lost forever because no one acted on them.

I wonder what would happen if all of us engaged with problems and tried to establish and suggest solutions. How about, instead of writing a angry chronicle, you write a article outlining a way to solve an issue that you have noticed. And then you could send a copy of the article to the politicians you now are involved in that particular issue. That would be supportive and constructive, while complaining and ranting is the opposite. Nobody is encouraged by someone calling out all the errors and faults that they see. Though somehow, we think that politicians are different, and that they should take our concerns seriously and act upon them.

I work with law and it has happened to me many times at work that people are flabbergasted by the content and consequence of certain legal acts. And when they are at the receiving end of the law they are quick to share their discontent. What I sometimes tell them is that they do have an ability to change that particular law by engaging in politics and by democracy change the law. And that is also why we cannot blame anyone else for how our society looks. We built it. We created the laws, whether by direct action or by allowance, it does not matter, we did it. I am all for finding problems – WHEN – we take responsibility for the point by also offering or suggesting a solution. And it does not matter if others like the solution or not. What matters is that we did that little extra to show that there is a way forward and that we do not have to remain in status quo complaining forever more.

I do not say that we all have to engage in politics, though what we must all understand is that we have a responsibility as to what goes on in politics. And whether we decide to act through representatives or by creating lobbying groups or by writing articles to create a debate, it does not matter, what is important is that we take co-responsibility and stop the blame game. We need people that are willing to work out the kinks of the problems to get forward – not only those that point them out.


Day 437: Redefining Christmas

It is Christmas again. And unfortunately, this has become the holiday of consumption. I talked with an old man and he shared his memories of Christmas. He shared that when he was a child Christmas was a holiday filled with reverence and depth. It was a time where the family came together to celebrate an important part of their religion. And even though I do understand that what he described was not ideal, considering the many problems connected to religion, I could sense that Christmas had a positive impact on him. And now, compare that with the Christmas of today, where all the focus is on buying things, and where Christian traditions have become but empty shell – a tradition with no content but rather loosely connected parts that appear without reason. A Santa Claus that comes from the Germanic folklore and whose appearance have been partly created by the Coca Cola company to market their beverages – situated in a holiday supposed to be about commemorating the birth of Jesus. It is a big jumble of stories – and now – they are all in the claws of corporate greed – that tries to milk every bit of penny out of the festival.

Is it strange that children become confused or that we feel that life in this world is meaningless? Look at Christmas, it is has become a bunch of traditions that make no sense what-so-ever – and where the overarching principle have become to buy things – whether that is food, products or services. We have come to a point where our traditions have become so watered and nonsensical out that we have to step in and make our own – and that is GREAT. We have to individually remake and recreate the meaning and purpose of our holidays if we want them to matter and have a positive impact. I have done that with Christmas. To me this holiday is about relaxation, calm, contemplation, introspection and bonding with family. I did go out and cut down a spruce, and then I helped my daughter and sister to decorate it. And I did that because it was a supportive moment of bonding and creativity. My daughter enjoyed to hang all the various decorations in the tree – and even though it does not make any sense why we should decorate a spruce in such a way – it is a fun thing to do and it brought us closer together.

I have realized that I cannot turn to society to create value to my holidays. There is no supportive template out there – however – that is what makes it fun. And in this time and age, where secularization have literally washed away any and all forms of forceful piety, we can now do what we want to do. And because we are all individuals, with different needs, we are all going to want to have a different form of Christmas. There is not one way to celebrate a holiday – there are as many as there are humans. For example, some people might want to celebrate adventure and movement during their holiday – someone else might want to celebrate musical expression. What matters is that we do something for ourselves that has meaning, that is supportive, that is strengthening, that matters. And hell – we might even buy something for ourselves or another – a treat – that is going to have a positive impact in our or their life. Consumption in itself is not bad – it is how we do it. We have become mindless consumer zombies, buying stuff without consideration or depth, allowing ourselves to be manipulated by the cunning marketing strategies of corporations that only care about profits.

The interesting thing is that we all seem to crave depth and meaning. The problem is that we look for it outside of ourselves. We try to find ‘our purpose’ or ‘meaning’ – try to find ‘our position in the world’ – which is also in a way consumerism – we believe that we will some day find our ready made direction/position – that we will step into and then everything from that point will be just fine. The thing is that we have to create purpose and meaning. And it does not have to be anything grand. What is important is WHO WE ARE within what we do – how do we approach it? Do we proceed with our life as just something to get through – or do we put our presence and attention HERE and really take part in it? This is the future as I see it: Self-directed and self-willed participation in reality that is meaningful – that creates ripples of support for ourselves and others.


 

Day 436: Learning From Death

This week one of my close relatives died. It was expected since long so there was no immediate shock involved. However the event still brought up emotions within me, however more importantly, it instigated realizations. What became obvious to me is how much value and importance we give to moments/experiences in life that are of no consequence in the long term and how many of us live our life only partially – myself included. When we are able to survive and find basic pleasure in life – we tend to become complacent and give up on fulfilling our dreams. And here we are not even getting started on creating something of importance/value on a ‘best-for-all’-level – that is something very few people manage to do – because oftentimes there are no energies/experiences connected to such decisions. It is all about physical movement.

When I saw my relative I thought about how many people that die that have only lived their life partially. And how many that are pushed into situations of survival and that lose their spark of life. It is tough to be in this world and remain connected to yourself and your source. Everything is set up to take you on mental journeys away from your source – the earth – the physical and your physical body. And thus – instead of our life being an opportunity for us to express our own unique beingness and to explore the physical – we become subdued into comfort or fear of survival – and then all of our time and energy goes into aspects of our life that are of no importance or consequence.

Thus – for myself – I saw that I wanted to make a couple of changes. One of my current issues that I have a lot to do – all the time – which makes it difficult for me to invest time in some of my favorite activities that also strengthen me the most – which is writing, opening new relationships with people, and spending time with my hobbies. However – I do see this lack of time has a lot to do with how I approach my life and how I expect things to be. For example – to take part in one of my hobbies, carpentry, I imagine that I must have about an hour of uninterrupted time. That is seldom possible. And thus I do not use the small moments to do open up to invest myself in this hobby – because I think that it is not enough time. However – I can see that this is in-fact an excuse. And that it is possible to participate for small amounts of time – and still be able to get something out of the activity. It is not about for how long I do something – it is about WHO I am within what I do. And if I am focused, present and here in my participation – I can get as much out of fifteen minutes, as I would get out of several hours of inattentive participation. My insight is thus that if I have some time available, even though it is not much, it is definitely worth it, to start up and activate myself – and do those things that I really enjoy and that help me grow. Tomorrow never comes – and that is why it is better to do a little today – than doing everything tomorrow.

Waiting always sucks and that gets very clear when death approaches – suddenly there are no more excuses. Death is the final – if you have not done what you wanted at that point – you will never do it. Possibly that is why we fear death so much – we know that it is a point of no return – and that we have limited time to express – and silently we carry the knowing that we are not living our full potential. Because death shows us that we cannot wait for ever – if we want the prize – we have to go for it – and that means stepping out of our comfort zone. Hence – death is also supportive – it stops us from keeping on living a life in auto-mode going nowhere. What is the point with living like that? Where is it going to get us? Nowhere but back to the same place where we started.

If we had a different money system in place that removed fear of survival I foresee that many more would die in peace – knowing that they had really lived. Fear of survival, fear of not having money, holds so many of us back. There are a myriad of dreams/visions/potentials/talents that are never realized because of fear of survival. Parents tell their children to take the safe route. If your child happens to enjoy arts – then you are in bad luck – because that will not bring them any money at all – better break their hopes down as soon as possible! And that is what parents do – they teach children to be afraid, to follow their fear, and to follow their survival instincts – and after a while children forget what it means to follow their life instincts.

I want a world where children are supported to follow their desire to live and express – in that world I do not think anyone would be afraid of death. Because why fear leaving earth if you have lived fully? You are done – and ready to go. I wish everyone had that opportunity. Part of the solution is an equal money system – or a basic income guarantee – something that removes the pressures of survival so we can instead invest our time and energy into living.


Day 435: What is Real Value?

What is of real value in this life?

That is an important question to answer. And I find that most people tend to look at their own pleasure centers when they consider it. They look at what makes them feel good and answer according to that. And I would have done the same a couple of years ago. It is so easy to fall into the cult of consumerism, happiness, and chasing all of the eternal desires that are never fulfilled. However, all of that will subside, and all of that will end when you die. And the question, what is really of value in this life, will remain unanswered.

What I have found to be of real value is the actions of support that I give to myself to grow and expand as a person and to others – it is the moments of living/expression shared with the life around me – where I take part and express myself in a context with other people/nature/animals. It is communicating and sharing myself deeply with another and learning things about myself that is going to have a positive impact, not only in my life, but in the life of many others. Such actions/moments/expressions, that is of real value. And that cannot be bought or replaced with consumerism. It has to be lived for real – and that usually takes courage/patience/hard work.

Real value implies a meaning that goes beyond this one moment – it implies something more – an action/way of living that creates benefit that stretches out into time and affects reality in a substantial way. For example, taking care of an animal, that is a moment of value. It creates a bond/relationship that goes beyond this moment and it fosters responsibility and care. There are many ways to contribute value in our lives and the opportunities will be there when we open our eyes. It is about looking beyond our own lives and out into the world to see where and how we can contribute with our particular set of skills to make a difference. I read about one person in India that planted a tree every day – and after a while – he had planted an entire forest. That was what he could do to create value. Though it is important to remember that it does not have to be a lot and it does not have to be noticed. What is important is our doing – our expression – and our starting point – our understanding as to why we are doing something – and then if its recognized or not – that is not the point.

I learnt a lot about practical value creation from a man called Bernard (you can read his blog here http://creationsjourneytolife.blogspot.com/). He was very good at seeing and creating value in every day activities. Small things were important – like – what kind of food the dogs got or how you cook food or clean the house. Are you present and actively engaging in what you do or are you only moving as a robot to get through the day? Are you actively caring about and creating value in your reality or are you only riding along? For Bernard, everything mattered, and everything had an impact, a consequence. It was a refreshing perspective. Because until that point society had taught me that it is okay to just ride along, as long as you survive, you do not have worry. And society also taught me that no matter what I do, it does not matter, I am replaceable and someone else can do it just fine. However that is not the truth – we are all unique individuals that put our own special fragrance unto everything we touch and participate in – and that is why it is important to be fully here – our expression is needed and gives/creates value.

Instead of using our creative powers to manifest value, we have become subdued into a system of consumerism – and through buying things – we are for a short time able to emulate a feeling of being fulfilled, content and happy. Though what are trying to replace with our consumerism? It is that sense of value that we have lost. We understand that we have become but a part of the machinery with no unique creative drive – and we see that we have suppressed and hidden our expression – and the only way to fill that hole is by buying things. And it is simply not a supportive way to go about life. Children and animals are great examples of what is possible when we access our creative juices. They express themselves with such intensity, passion and depth – and every moment is real to them. It is not merely another moment to get through – it is it. And that is the mental approach we need to have to start taking hold of the opportunities that present themselves to us every day to bring through value into our life and the life’s of others.