Today, as I was scratching my cat behind his ears, I realised that the expression of love is simply care — offering care in a way that helps, nurtures or pleasures someone. Which means that if I do things that don't help, nurture or pleasure my own self, then I am not acting out of love for myself.
We are stuck in a vicious cycle in society.
We don’t let ourselves be vulnerable to each other because we don’t trust each other to not hurt us. And we don’t trust each other because we don’t trust ourselves to take care of ourselves.
The first time I gave myself the gift of 10 days silent meditation, I came undone. I went in to simply test my own self discipline — but while there, I experienced the dissolution of everything that I believed to be real. The very physical reality of my own body, but also my sense of my own identity, all revealed itself to be a very convincing illusion.
Ultimately, when you’re depressed, you are mourning your past. You are reliving some part of your life, and all of the emotions that came with it. You are mourning what has already happened, and your inability to change it.
It has been a year of community and consideration. A year of contemplation and connection.
My commitment has been to myself, yet along the way I have collected infinitely valuable wisdom from the beautiful wise souls I met along the way. With humble gratitude, I dedicate this year in review to each one of you, you know who you are.
Something’s been on my mind this year. Something dark and heavy. It’s been crushing my skull down into the ground with its painful, menacing force, threatening to flood my sight with darkness, my mind with hopelessness, and wrap its cold slithering fingers around my throat tight until it squeezes the life out of me.
I believe we have the potential to evolve to our higher consciousness as beings — if we just find the courage to go through our emotions, fears, ecstasies and desires, instead of around them.
What does it really mean to be human?
What makes a coach really good, or even great? Maybe it’s experience as a designer. Especially in branding and identity. A good coach knows how to listen for what matters to you, and reflect it back to you in a way that makes your heart feel a deep-seated recognition of yourself, jumping out of your seat to say, “Yes, exactly! That’s me! You got me. That’s what I want."
I strove for perfection all my life. I was still just half my (tiny) mom’s height when she was already telling me it didn’t have to be perfect, and it was okay the way it was, and I argued and insisted that it absolutely had to be perfect and she just didn’t understand. Why are moms always annoyingly right?
But if I didn’t learn the lesson from her, recently, an unlikely teacher appeared to drive the point home after all: the technology in my life.
Imagine businesses and organisations became places for such conscious development of humanity. Places of play. Of true, open-ended creativity. Of real fulfilment, meaning and purpose. This world is already on its way, and it's time we prepare ourselves for it.
They create and define the culture we live in, what we choose to value and how we measure ourselves up in society: art, design and branding. What if we are overlooking their potential to influence social behaviour enough to not just make business richer, but to solve some of the world’s most critical problems too?
This isn’t the world we were promised when we were growing up.Because really, we weren’t unhappy back then, when we had a lot less.
I’ve always been a goal oriented person. I learnt how to decide what to focus on, and then focus on it so pointedly, blocking out all distractions until the goal had been achieved. Only to move onto the next goal.You can read a ton of articles about how positive thinking helps you become more productive, and it’s true — focusing on what you can change and ignoring what you can’t is a great way to make progress without distraction.
Last week I wanted to die.
It's not an easy thing to admit to people who care about you, even though you realise at some point that you had better tell them before it's too late and they find themselves wishing they had done something.
It's not the first time I've felt this way. And somehow I don't think it will be the last.
The feeling of failure is so deeply wired in us as being “wrong” or “bad” that it keeps us from playing, experimenting, trying new things. We are wired to think in black and white, in safety in numbers, in not sticking out of the crowd by being the anomaly.
There once was a little girl who hid herself away from the world in the safest place she knew: in her own heart.
She then put it inside a big gold chest and buried that heart deep inside her and didn't tell anyone it was there. Some people dared to peek inside and wanted to know what was in there but she quickly chased them away to keep her treasure safe.
Meanwhile, that heart kept growing, as she did. The chest couldn't hold it safe anymore, it wanted to break open. But she had gotten so used to it being safely hidden away, she didn't even notice. She practically forgot it was there in the first place.
One day, the chest just broke open. It was a mess. She panicked. She couldn't keep the mess in. She was flooded. She didn't know what to do. Everyone would see all that she had worked so hard to keep hidden away. What would they say?
She was scared they would look at her in quiet disgust and walk away. She wasn't scared, she was terrified. She considered escaping life by taking the door marked "Exit".
But then she heard someone say, “Wow!”
It wasn't a disappointed "Wow!" It was an enchanted "Wow!" People started gathering around her, hugging her, saying, "I never knew you had this treasure inside of you! What a beautiful mess you are. I'm so glad to see it!"
She was so confused. She had worked so hard to keep a neat, clean perfect exterior ... and these people actually liked — loved — her messy insides?! She couldn't believe it. She had spent her whole life hiding herself away from the world.
She had kept her mess to herself. She was so afraid of what would happen if she let anyone see it.
It would take her a long while to get used to not hiding her mess. To let herself be seen, raw and naked. She wasn't sure she could do it. She thought of the cool kids in high school who didn't care what anyone thought. She remembered wishing she could be like them.
She wondered if it was finally her chance to be the cool kid. To just hang out and let it all hang out, and not give a damn what anyone thought of her. To not try and fix herself so she could be more lovable. To just be herself. To be out in the open. To bear the cold against her exposed skin. To find out that the warmth of the sun was stronger than the chill of the air.
Some things can just never be known until you experience them for yourself.
Have an experience that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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Fear is a funny thing. As much as you want it to go away, it actually reveals your underlying beliefs. When you fear something, you deeply (probably unconsciously) believe that something has the power to hurt you. Whether it’s a spider, falling from a height, or being left by a man that you have opened yourself up to, or even being left alone in the world while everyone else is busy with their families.
One might think that a lack of something means there's less to think about, less to worry about, but in fact negative space leaves a tremendous space for anxiety. Worry about what's missing... like an unfulfilled hunger or an indefinite wait for something essential.
It’s hard enough to navigate through life and all its emotions, challenges, losses and frustrations without having to also be the best version of you in your work, family, friendships and still manage to come out feeling accomplished, creative and free.
We have this fabricated notion etched into our brains that work and real life are all about discomfort, and holiday and breaks are all about comfort. We have this notion implanted into us that real work entails production and generating financial capital, and deep inner work is a luxury afforded to those who have earned the freedom to play after putting in their time, across a lifetime or even generations.