Friday, April 15, 2011

Out Through The In Door: 2010/ 2011

Ah yes.

This post is loooooooooong overdue. We're already part way through the second quarter of 2010! Anyways another year has passed into the ether and I might as well compete my musing and reflecting.

This is becoming a running theme. I think it's part of of the reflective process; taking stock and thinking allows for greater accomplishment in the future. Just looking back at my old posts reminds me how far I've come: 2008 - Sign "☮" the Times, 2009 - Flash-Back, Flash-Forward, 2010 - From the Shinings of my Reflections.

In fact, the 2009 Flash-Back, Flash-Forward post was written almost two years ago to the day. It took me that long to pin down exactly what I felt 2009 was going to be about...

So - 2010. To say it was an interesting year was kind of an understatement. From the Shinings of my Reflections picks three areas.

1) Creating a house, a home and everything in it...
Well in 2010 we started it...the process stalled...and then it took off again. We put our first place on the market in about April 2010. And then did very little. It was a learning process: Estate agents, valuations, pictures...the whole deal. And it works very much like selling anything. I certainly felt as if I was taking my first steps into a larger world with all the talk of mortgages, house prices, interest rates etc. It moved from being something purely theoretical I would talk and teach about, to something of very real significance.

But life has a way of throwing a spanner in the works. It was really tempting to take it all personally but changing job circumstances highlight the inherent uncertainty of life. At some point action is required right now - regardless of what's happened or what I think might happen in the future.

So yeah - the place went on the market in April 2010 and we accepted an offer in November 2010.

The foundations for creating a house, a home and everything in it started in 2010.

2) Completion
Well this was an interesting one. Firstly, my Unpredictable post hinted at stuff I've had to deal with that I won't go into. Suffice to say it affected me. And I am a little stronger as a result. It is true what I've heard - there's nothing that can't be resolved in communication.

Secondly, speaking with a few people I hadn't spoken to in a while and being honest with them - as well as being truthful with some people close to me laid to rest some demons. The result is that the future can go any which way. The past has happened - I can't change that - but in 2010 I realised that I'm not obliged to behave in a particular way. Yes I can be more considerate of the stuff I'm saying and the effect it has (2010 saw me explore this and realise a lot about how I come across) but also if no-one tells me what I'm doing or saying is mightily out of order - I'm not going to have the opportunity alter it.

Finally, 2010 also saw me continue to develop my relationship with my body. The beginning of the year saw me voluntarily re-do something called the 'bleep-test'. It's basically a physical fitness test. This was part of the ritual institutionalised humiliation inflicted on my 15-year old self at school that scarred me deeply and gave rise to the inadequacy I felt for a long time about my physical ability at *anything*.

And I went there. Yes I did. And I succeeded in bettering my original rating.

As I ran there by myself in the school sports hall I re-lived my nightmare. I wasn't in my thirties. I was a painfully awkward teenager with no sporting ability.

And something got laid to rest and complete for me.

It might sound like an exaggeration but I think incidents like that in my school days contributed to my perception of my sporting ability and coordination being very low. I think this also spilled over to my opinion of myself as a male. As if I was a less adequate man because I wasn't particularly sporty or physically imposing.

So as that got laid to rest it opened up exploring other things in relation to my physicality.

Like starting proper martial-arts/ self-defence classes. Yep - in September 2010 I started doing Urban Krav Maga. Which I've been doing pretty regularly since then. I've noticed that my relationship to my masculinity has altered. I still play down my ability and willingness to take part in competitive team sports without a healthy dose of piss-taking. But I have noticed that I feel a greater awareness of my body, of myself and the environment around me.

And according to The Fella I "punch less like a cunt."*

3) Power
So here, I was exploring power as the difference in the amount of time between saying something and it actually happening.

I suppose the most obvious thing has been with the whole creating a home part of my life. That's been the area that's taken the most energy and I've been the most conscious of.

But it has showed up at work too. I have created my own role at school: agreed the job description with senior management and got the appropriate salary increase.

Inevitably the question is:

Now what?
2010 was a year of unexpected twists and turns. Of getting things resolved and clearing a space for things to happen. Of re-engaging with the things I love the most.

2011 has already seen things take a step up. I've already initiated another community-type project to do with my cultural background. It's called 'Filling In the Cracks' - it will for the basis of another blog post quite easily.

And of course moving into a house.

Onwards into 2011 then: my themes for this year are going to be:

1) Creativity
Now this is going to show up in a two areas namely: money and writing. I'll be exploring interesting ways of making money with a view to becoming financially free in the future (uh-oh). I'll also be getting the structure of my book done because I've also *finally* picked the format for it - which again will be the basis of another blog post.

2) Contribution
This is something that will show up everywhere by virtue of my job but also within my family, friends and community.

Contributing to others can be a really good way of creating and re-creating relationships. Effective contribution can't happen without it as I found out when putting together 'Filling in the Cracks'.

3) Mastery
This isn't just about picking one thing and doing it lots. That's what mastery is usually defined as. Apparently 10,000 hours of doing something will give you the foundations of mastery. I'm not talking about one particular thing: guitar, writing, DIY or martial arts.

I'm talking about life. Mastering the aspects of living a complete, full and engaged life.

I've got over 10,000 hours of living right?

That's why I've re-named the subtitle of this blog. I'm re-positioning and focusing on something that interests me. I've always been interested in people, spirituality, making a difference and exploring the human condition.

But I've never been one to limit my thinking. I think part of what makes us human is how we engage with our lives. How the different intricate parts fit together to make us what we are. I'm interested in the whole thing: family, friends, health, studying, money, sex, home, leisure, music, guitar, shopping, style, blogging, community, culture, writing... the list goes on.

This is what my blog will be exploring from now on: (mis)adventures in practical spirituality whilst living a life I love. In the process I hope to enrich your existence through reading it.

So enjoy the insights, enjoy the posts, comment and criticise.

We are all one.

*You should follow TheFella on twitter. Just for his Binary Reviews. And to keep him on side - you don't want to be fighting him.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

JDS Insights: March 2011

OK we are in to the second quarter of 2011 and I *still* haven't let go of 2010 yet...the post is still being planned.

Pretty much events of March have been momentous. I mean it's not every day one moves house. I think that's the big thing about March. A whole new space, a whole new set of problems and whole new side to my learning.

This month was also a reflection of the stress that changing one's living arrangements puts on a person. I found myself thinking, acting and reacting in ways that I don't normally.

That and a reminder from someone close to me - 'you can't control everything'.

Shame about that.

March also saw a contribution to my community in an interesting way. Speaking about things that *never* normally get spoken about. 'Filling In the Cracks' was by all accounts a success.

No pressure then.

That was March.

01 Mar: Discover, develop and embrace what you're great at.

02 Mar: Sometimes life happens all at once. That's when you know you're growing.

03 Mar: Eloquence is saying what there is to say with as few words as is necessary.

04 Mar: It's not all black and white, just shades of grey.

05 Mar: Stuff is easy to accumulate but harder to offload.

06 Mar: It had to start somewhere. Someone started the ball rolling. Who was it?

07 Mar: Is it cause then effect? Or just effect then effect?

08 Mar: We are all human regardless of what's on the outside.

09 Mar: We are more like our parents than we realise. But we still have the capacity to change what happens next.

10 Mar: You can only change the rules of the game if you play by them first.

11 Mar: Breaking the rules means you have to acknowledge you're playing a game. (If you're playing a game that means it has rules.)

12 Mar: Some say it's all a game anyway. Others say it's more important than that. Which means they don't play very much.

13 Mar: Your life doesn't depend on anything. It just is.

14 Mar: It always works out just the way *someone* intended.

15 Mar: Knowing when to walk away can make *all* the difference.

16 Mar: Our deeper intentions give rise to more of our lives than we know. Question is - what are our deeper intentions?

17 Mar: Why is it easier to follow than lead? Oh yeah no thinking, commitment, creativity or risk required!

18 Mar: Nothing new ever got created without someone taking a risk.

19 Mar: Impatience is not a virtue.

20 Mar: When you absolutely need to you can punch harder and run faster than you think.

21 Mar: Sometimes I behave *just* like my dad. Sometimes I *really* don't. The point is I do have a choice.

22 Mar: Forgive your mistakes and clean up your mess. That's competence.

23 Mar: Forgive others' mistakes and clean up others' mess. That's mastery.

24 Mar: Have patience with yourself. Everyone else does.

25 Mar: Somehow something being inevitable sounds different to something being certain.

26 Mar: Nothing has to be inevitable. Try saying it with the emphasis on the word 'nothing'; then on 'has'; then on 'inevitable'. Now choose.

27 Mar: I waste time.

28 Mar: Learning doesn't have to be difficult but the best learning is challenging.

29 Mar: There is no *particular* way that teaching in class should look. But people expect it to be *their* way.

30 Mar: Unless you measure it, you have no idea if you're making progress.

31 Mar: I *know* I can choose how I react to something but I don't always *act* like it.
I am the source.