Tag Archives: journey to life

Day 384: Expansion and Opportunity

Expansion and opportunity – for me these are words connected with movement, the future, dreaming, challenges, distant countries and places and discovering things. I tend to look at expansion and opportunity as a point that is not yet here – however it could be here if I just participate in that thought, vision, imagination and idea of the future – then my life could be filled with expansion and opportunity.

The consequence of this kind of thinking is that everyday life lacks expansion and opportunity – because these experiences/words are projected into the future/mind. Instead of having my focus HERE and spotting where there is room for expansion and where there are opportunities opening up – I am wandering in my mind looking at the illusions of opportunities presented.

However – the thing with the mind is that it never gets real. And when we are able to realize our dreams and imaginations it is never the way we imagined it – and that is because the mind is not designed to be a guide to reality – it is designed to be a trap – a place where we forget ourselves and our lives to be entertained by pictures, feelings and emotions.

I used to go online and search for and read about online courses. Sometimes I would apply and get admitted – though usually I would remain at the level of only reading. I realized that this behavior was an addiction. I was addicted to the energy of imagining myself learning and expanding in a new education. It was not about actual expansion, it was about the idea of expansion. Real expansion happens in a real time moment. It happens here. Thus what I have started to do is to move this energy of expansion into my physical life here. When this desire to imagine comes up within me, I move myself back here, and look at how I am able to expand what I am doing right here, and right now. And regardless of where I am, or what I am doing, there is always something to expand upon.

For example, cooking, it is something that I do many times a day. Usually I have not given it much thought or energy – I just go through the motions and try to achieve a meal that is good enough to be eaten. Though I realized that the time I spend cooking is a moment that I can use to expand. I am able to improve on my cooking skills. I can learn to chop vegetables better, I can learn more about the nutritional value of the ingredients and how they effect my body. There is a ton of dimensions to cooking that I have not yet developed a relationship with. Hence – I started to expand this relationship. I started living expansion for real in my relationship with cooking – and that was a big difference.

Thus, it is easy to through the mind create an experience of expansion, or dream about expansion. That feeling will never get real. To have expansion in your life as a reality – you have to push yourself to make something more out of the daily and recurring events in your life.


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Day 383: Structure – A Key to Freedom

Structure – the word I have been practicing in my life now for a while. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my findings and insights when it comes to living structure.

Initially I related the word structure to schedules, almanacs etc., and did not view the word as particularly useful in any other context. I also felt that structure was something that limited my creative expression – and that it took away freedom. Thus I have had a bit of a conflictual relationship with the word. Similarly I have had to walk a process to be able to walk in this current money system without reacting towards it – and feeling like the stiff structure and routine of the system pulls me down into a state of too much structure.

At this stage however I feel comfortable with the word – and as I walked the process of understanding it and integrating it into my life – I have realized that structure is everywhere and that is supportive. I have seen that having a structure allows for self-directed creative freedom, while having complete creative freedom without a structure invites lack of direction, loss of overview/focus/movement; it becomes expression without a foundation – and in most cases the results are not good.

Let us take the example of cooking. If I start to cook without a structure – for example – I just haphazardly mix the ingredients and I decide to roast them all in the oven for the same duration of time – I will not be able to create an effective meal. Cooking is a perfect example of a physical expression that rests heavily on a structured foundation – the physics of taste/texture/nutrition – and yet – it is an expression that allows for a wide array of experimentation and creative freedom.

It is the same with music. If I am unfamiliar with the instrument or musical theory it is going to be very difficult for me to improvise or compose my own songs. And sure, I will have complete freedom to play the instrument in any way I desire, but what is the use of that if I am not able to create pieces of music that I enjoy? With a basic structure, knowledge of the instrument and the notes it can produce, it is going to be different. I can now create melodic music yet still be creative, explore and investigate what new sounds and expressions I am able to produce.

Thus, used rightly structure does not quell creativity – it instead supports and enhances it. However there has to be a balance. Too much structure will lead to rigidity. Structure is in its nature predefined, constant, and impermeable to whims of the moment. Though oftentimes it is those spontaneous outbursts that bring through the flavor, the individuality, the joy and pleasure. Thus structure in itself is not the aim – it is the means. It is a stable support from which I am able to move into new expressions and experiences – the ground that I am able to get back to when I have lost myself in the boundlessness of creative freedom.


Day 382: How To Be Creative In The Mundane

I have always enjoyed expanding myself. If I take on a new hobby, I want to bring it to the next level. Usually I am not satisfied with keeping my skills basic – I want to find ways to improve and move beyond what I initially foresaw.

I experience this drive to move and expand as an excitement and exhilaration. What I have found is that I oftentimes channel this expression into the mind. I will then create various plans, visions and dreams as to how I want to expand in the future. It can for example be that I want to read a book, or I want to take part of a course. Before I had children, I could sometimes realize these plans, because I had the time to do so. At the moment however, I have little time on my hands, and when these expressions come through, I seldom have the opportunity to act on them through one of my hobbies or interests. Sometimes I do not even have the time to channel the energy into my mind and make up plans about what I am going to do.

Because of this I have found and experimented with a solution for a week now. When the expression of wanting to expand comes up within me I now channel it into my daily living, into what I am doing HERE in my life currently. I have realized that there are several aspects and parts of my life where I am not as developed as I could be. For example, doing the dishes. How many of us put extra effort into learning how to wash dishes? I know that I have not. Washing dishes is something that I want be over and done with so that I can proceed to do something that interests me. I have started to question this mentality as well – why should my interest in things determine the amount of effort I put into an activity?

Back to the point. When I feel the desire to expand, I channel the desire into developing/creating an aspect of myself that I am busy living here. I have thus channeled this desire into cleaning up after I have cooked or doing the dishes, or simply walking. There are many ways that I can walk. If I walk without presence and effort I tend to slouch. If I put effort into walking, pushing myself to walk the best way I am able to, I walk with presence and direction. There is a completely different feel to myself and my human physical body. The same happens when I put effort into doing the dishes or cleaning up after myself. When I do it with attention, direction and presence, I experience myself differently, and the results are much better.

Thus, what I have realized is that the desire to expand is best put into practice into daily living. When the energy is used to build visions and dreams of the future it can easily become castles of sand – and no solid and physical expansion is ever manifested.

Hence – for all parents out there that feel they have too much creative juices and no time to channel it into their passions – this method can be useful.


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.


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.