Lately I, I’ve been rolling with the tide
It swept me away, to another place
Lord knows, you ain’t seen enough of me
Why did I fall asleep, on a love so deep?
Our love is like a fading melody
A song I should’ve sung, a note I should’ve reached
A loneliness, that I find hard to describe
Stayed up so many nights, I could’ve been by your side
I fell apart when I couldn’t see
I was cheating on me
Broke my own heart, when I couldn’t see
I was cheating on me
Why don’t you cry?
You live this life
You live this life
I am at the point where I am discovering how to heal all wounds. I am becoming more accountable and am changing my perspective. After a lifetime of never understanding why I was never meeting the mark. Not understanding why I tried so hard, gave it my all and I still kept being reminded of what I was lacking.
There is one key formula to getting what you want, irrespective of where you start and what you are dealing with. And until you apply this single formula to every area of your life, you will be cheating yourself on relationships, self-love and empowerment, life changing experiences, etc, you could have had. Do not wait for regret.
The formula is simple: forget the outcome. People are hurt, doubtful, cynical because reality crashes into their hopes and begs them to ask “why bother?!”. This, I know keeps your deepest feelings and thoughts— who you truly are— hidden, in secret. And most of the time, we think boundaries or being reserved, even adapting, is the answer. I dont think we can consider boundaries if we are submissive to the circumstances.
In the newly acclaimed film The Shape of Water, Eliza says to Giles “If we do nothing, we are nothing”. We are human and the worst thing we can put on ourselves are expectations and certainty. Searching for those kind of answers will always lead to unfulfiment. We need to replace our focus on the attempt, whether it leads to what we want or not.
Because in the end, us trying is making a stand for what we feel, think and want. There is no wrong or right— it is true to you and that is what really matters. Usually we never get what we want from trying, but put yourself out there and you will experience something new and fulfiling, I assure you. The experience of trying is what gives us our power. So my advice is, live by trying; and keep trying until you die. And you will have no regrets.
Start listening to yourself more, opening up those wounds, grieve, and then choose to heal by taking accountability and doing what it takes. When you push aside fear and hurt, the only thing between you and success is not knowing what to do or where to start. You just need to start. Only you can help yourself.
Constantly lead by example by doing what you need to do in order to accept yourself and never judge based on the outcome. You won’t ever cheat yourself of your own worth and ability again. And when others judge you instead, protect yourself by knowing you did right by you: there is your victory! And that’s all you need to think about. Just make sure you keep riding the bull.
If anyone wants to have a conversation about this topic, I will be doing a live video on it within the next two days (consider London time). Follow my Facebook Page and PM me.
Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong, it is knowing the difference between right and almost right.
– Charles Spurgeon
I was never really taught to be discerning. And yet I am beginning to feel like it is the greatest ability anyone could instil. The first thing I did, I admit, when hearing the word ‘discernment’ was google the definition. Then I googled it, and all this religious content appeared. I found out no one really knows all too much about it. And I definitely know that very few apply it.
When I ask others, what are my greatest qualities, they usually say the words ‘warmth’ and ‘compassion’. But are these qualities really me? I mean, I think people love that I am accommodating rather than discerning. My Mum taught me when I was very young to stop what I was doing and spend my time with the family friends that randomly show up at your door. I would say I was definitely too trusting and utterly naive, which funnily I have been criticised for by my parents. Facepalm *insert.
Friends usually label me as “non-judgemental” for which I am a great candidate for the “free therapist” slot. And also until March last year, I was famous for “the crazy and single friend/ attractive girl that could always make me feel better/ use as validation that I am still wanted by the opposite sex”. Over years of these shallow exchanges and relationships, you do kind of get sick of even bothering.
But is the reason why people adore what they choose to see in me really helpful to me or to them? I know that I have fit, in large, alongside everyone’s agendas and perceptions. I have been easy to tear a part because I have been an easy target with my openness and accommodations, having said very little that will make them question their behaviour.
As I have experienced more life and more of myself over the years, I have become less tolerant of certain things, to which I usually make a stand against. And now people have to earn my trust and win my favour. The people closest to me have become irritated by this change, and associated it with me being “colder, insensitive and disrespectful” in disapproval. I no longer validate their approaches, no matter how valid my points are, and it really bothers them. And, until discovering the power of discernment through a chat between my newfound mentor Jordan Peterson and Russell Brand, I was both upset and conflicted by how I was and still am perceived.
But then I am faced with the consequences of the lack of discernment so continuously, it is almost insufferable. Aren’t we all? Think about it. Judgement, hyper-sensitivity, accommodation and agreeableness with the intentional avoidance of truth.
When you have someone complain about false democracy while they fill their free time playing video games; when there is a woman who can’t control her life and just wants to be validated and not told how to reclaim any power for herself; when you get people expressing their opinions or challenges a great deal, with no pro-action or internal reflection. Our current environment seems to be making matters worse.
You get some people who act like they have seen the light no one else has seen and have pearls of wisdom dangling from their body parts. Others are just super angry, like it is an injustice to not see life the way they do, to not check your grammar, to not assume anything not even biological gender, to not justify their actions based on the treatment of their ancestors or discuss anything they can’t digest properly or presume you are not worthy of discussing it.
Like when a number of Muslim men tell me I have no right to discuss the literal interpretation of their scripture and that my views are biased because of my past relationship with a Muslim man that ended badly. Massive assumptions of your character are made, and these people see themselves as enlightened and highly intelligent, offering you to either retreat or submit.
I believe that to be intelligent is to be emotionally insightful. Compassion and warmth and empathy, yes definitely! But as Mr Peterson has said, these qualities are not sustainable solutions for us humans. Showing only endless compassion and mercy does not prepare us for the real world. This place is dangerous and no one can live a life without challenges. We need to acquire the skills to overcome.
Understanding why people do what they do, and not challenging it impersonally, because of whatever reason (even if it simply out of love) is not helpful to you or that person! How can you be open and sincere in your communications ever, if you cover up the truth with either agreeableness, accommodation or judgement?
Here is my most recent example. I went on one of my rants on my personal Facebook page, because I had been through something and was looking at it from the other side. I usually do this- using Facebook how I please— so this is not news to anyone in my friends list. A woman I have known since high school, but impersonally thereafter, responded with her interpretation, imparting her gracious wisdom and assumptions. She ended her post with “take care of yourself”.
I do not know which planet she lives on (obviously one other than mine) or what has made her so sure she is the next Oprah, but I never asked for her feedback. Resonance was a prerequisite of response, and she did not comply. For me to make any sense of her narrow agenda-driven monologue was to believe it was more about her feeling superior. I really dont get that. This, for me, is a lack of discernment, killing all potential for a valuable exchange, for an open conversation, and for a meaningful relationship between her and myself (and pathalogically, everyone in her life).
This happens a lot, especially when people try to differentiate themselves and their learnings with age and experience. Like, you are a closed book but can share your pages with those around you, because you have been to a country they havent or are retired and have bred well. This is not contributing. This is some warped bullshit associated with very closed mindsets.
You get some people you know, like many close to my heart, that agree and accommodate when it suits their own agenda, and/or to avoid confrontation. There is very little that you stand for, and it is more difficult to come to terms with your own identity. But they insist on handing over their purpose and power to anyone who confronts them, because them are the “rules”. Psychologically trapped. Limited growth. And limited contributions to society and the people in your life. So wrapped up in other’s judgement, you forego self-expression. Individualism is such an imposing threat. Why?
So, let us remember how constructive discernment can be, especially if you are already empathetic and compassionate. You can teach others how to apply themselves to the real world while gaining intimate insight into many things, without it seeming to be overly personal, malicious and judgemental. You can learn more about yourself, really hone in on your ability to use your identity to both understand, engage and make an impact. You can enjoy really enriching, honest relationships. You get to empower yourself while empowering others! Really think about it; about how fundamental it is to our general success. I really like this new word.
Our true path should be something like: Imagine the noblest aim that you can conceptualise and then sacrifice your life to attempting to attain it.
– Jordan Peterson
Now that the issue of my health has cleared, I am reinvigorated and reaching out for tools that will help me become more efficient and break bad habits.
It has taken leaving my home to face many truths, just to be who I genuinely am.
Finding Alex— my now husband- right at the time I really faced who I was, was just… urgh… harmonious. And because of him, I have never regressed back to self-doubt.
Now that I am here, seeing the world with different eyes, and pushing forward, I see everyone else enduring the same struggle— whether or not they acknowledge it.
I was going to develop my public speaking skills after I get my business up, but I am thinking the journey is epic enough to help people now, showing them success is not the reason why I tell these stories.
I want more. I want to not feel like I have to survive and adapt. I have made so many strong choices, and I want to stick by them.
Jordan Peterson said about depression, if you have no job, no friends and poor health, taking anti-depressants will not help fix your life, and that it is a very dangerous environment to be in. I ticked all three boxes, and still have two of those situations (which I am working on to change) going. The absolute strength I have needed to be here and the support Alex has given, blows me away. I could write a book about what I went through, and my Dad has had very good reason to be concerned about my chances of surviving it.
I am thankful also my parents, who consoled me during my many lows. I have had to endure what many people cannot, for nine months. I am not exaggerating. I have not been able to talk to many of my friends and family, because all of my energy was put into waking up during daylight and not wasting each day. Many days have been wasted. Many times, I have just been… paralysed.
The whole time I have been with my Baby, since we really got together (a month later, I became sick) we have only known to survive and persevere, and overcome temporary but regular bouts of insanity. And now, we are seeing issues here in the way we do things, because survival mode is no longer applicable. And gosh, it is so wonderful to see that in each other. Life is so wonderful. We hold each other every day so tremendously thankful.
Thank you for listening. I hope to use what I have learnt… I don’t know where to start but fuck it, I am sick of planning. Let’s just do! I am going to make mistakes but feel alive, make changes.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.
– Walt Whitman
“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.”
– Alan Watts
I left my home to deal with myself. I was hurting, in pain, because I was fighting internally. I was heart broken, but I could not let go of the aching. I was suffering. I thought the hardship was mutual. I believed he was going through the same torment; wishing for the same solution. I accepted what I had to endure.
Once he told me that his choice to commit was careless and I was not considered, I let go. I understood his agenda, acknowledged the negativity it was causing (Eckhart Tolle’s trusting of pain is noteworthy) and I carefully considered the power of my potential decisions. Love left me, then and there. I said goodbye. I was rid of this inner conflict and subsequently, light poured in. I could now grant myself the love I deserve, within me. I wanted to take care of myself and recover my authenticity. I rid myself of the pain by making a simple choice of losing the battle. I no longer felt like broken glass. The relief, the lifting of so much heaviness, was huge.
I reclaimed my soul from the lost and found within a day. It was unbelievable. I was struggling for so long to take care of myself and not feel so unhappy. I tried so hard to break free. But my subconscious was trapped. And then… all of a sudden I am… free?!
Not only did I walk with more confidence; I strutted with a strength I have never known. Daily life was not so difficult. I had been to that deep bottomless pit, laid there trapped for about a year, and survived. I was myself again. I levitated. I felt like I had come out of Hans Solo’s carbonite cast. I am so grateful to my facilitator, because he gave me the closure I needed to move on. I have never felt so whole. I reached a moment of higher consciousness.
As I was starting to unravel inner peace, the world decided to join me. I did not ask for it to. It just happened. This is why I have a deep faith. A few weeks ago, I was rewarded for my years of diligence and courage. I was acknowledged by a powerful, impartial entity named Parsons School of Design. Once again, I was back in the game of being an entrepreneur and driving self-belief. All of a sudden, doubt was no longer an option: I was being rewarded, not rejected, for being myself. At a time when I needed to feel that.
I was no longer detached and dying of alienation. I did not know I was inflicting this harm unto myself. As Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova says, “it’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator”. From now on, I chose to liberate myself by making simple choices and giving myself to others genuinely, without ego. I only acted with integrity. And once again, within a matter of days from my last moment of recognition, the world responded.
He appeared. An instant connection. He came into my life with his soft blue eyes and his sincerity. It hit me the moment we exchanged words. Unexpectedly. This feeling… this individual blew my mind. He is everything I have wanted. He is everything I have never had. He is divinity defined. I knew this from one tiny, unexpected moment that would usually pass me by. It stung. An exchange of words… was all that was needed.
Within weeks, my destiny has been reformed. Naturally, rapidly, without force. I tried for so long to force it. But because I chose to no longer fight, and surrender instead, the purest emancipation has taken place. Acceptance is one thing; surrender is another, as author Mark Nepo states. I finally saw the situation for what it was, not how I wished it could be. Words of bitterness were no longer expressed. I was so bitter, so hurt, but I could not understand why. I did not see the elephant in the room; I was blinded. I was hurt by people not being what I wanted them to be as much as he wasn’t. I knew it was not personal… but I was so hurt.
Surrendering is the secret. It is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of knowing yourself, and differentiating between what you can control and what you can not. It is spiritual empowerment. Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements acted as my inner voice: act with purpose; make the right choices.
It has taken me this journey to get here. I never thought I would say these words: I am in love with myself, with my life, with the world, with a soul mate; I am light; I attract light; I am defined only by my soul. I cannot thank myself enough for getting here. It is due to my actions, after all.
Only we can make these choices. I wish for nothing more, other than to share my experience, in the hope I may challenge someone’s train of thought and break self-doubt. Be honest with yourself. Confront your demons. Go through the pain, the solitude. It will only bring you joy, eventually. Trust me. It has taken me this long, this much, to get here. And the world responds: a new dream will form.
Whenever a bemused Russian has asked me “why Russia?”, my eyes light up and I respond eagerly: “I have dreamed of visiting Russia in the Winter since I was a little girl because of the art, the history, the literature and the movements which intertwine them: Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Catherine the Great, the Trans-Siberian, Repin, Fabergé, Blok, the Winter Palace… you name it”. If I was to ever be exact with my response and narrow it down to one thing, it would be due to my great love for realism and the philosophies of my most beloved teacher, Leo Tolstoy. He, himself, beautifully encapsulates the intricacies of this nation’s identity.
Because of the actual beauty Tolstoy infused in his writing and teachings, I knew there was a deep beauty within Russia I was very curious about. A beauty hardly any Westerner bothers to explore. While living in Moscow the first time, I befriended a quiet, inquisitive man named Dmitriy. We shared similar values and a common intellect, so a bond easily formed. Dmitry’s family lives in Tula, the province where Tolstoy’s Yasnaya Polyana estate is situated. Tolstoy called this place his “inaccessible literary stronghold” where he produced his most notable works from and his family lived there for generations. I was invited to stay at Dmitry’s family home and thus, this allowed me to visit Yasnaya Polyana. I, of course, happily accepted. For Dmitry’s generosity and the opportunity he provided me with, I am deeply humbled. This is something I will never forget.
Retreating to the grand estate of where Tolstoy was raised, I greatly respected and appreciated the magic and intimacy it possessed. With the snow laden ponds, the expanse of symbolic white-trunk birch trees, the authentic wooden huts, little children giggling as they pass you on horse and sleigh, the naked apple orchards and the serenity of nature. Being there felt sacred as well as completely and utterly surreal. Yasnaya Polyana has a soul and an energy you feel with every fibre of your being. To have immersed myself in the energy and awe of this place, of Tolstoy and the atmosphere, takes my breath away and fills me with adulation.
In the last few years of his life, Tolstoy dictated to his secretary, N.N. Gusev, he wanted to be buried at Yasnaya Polyana: “there should be no ceremonies while burying my body; a wooden coffin, and let anybody who will be willing to take it to the Old Zakaz forest, to the place of the little green stick, by the ravine. At least, there’s a reason for selecting that and no other place”. As Tolstoy said this, Gusev observed there were tears in his eyes. The mythology of the little green stick seems very fitting for a place like this. Deep in a soft, snow-filled forest at the end of winter, the enchanted tomb lies silently before a cascading, snow-capped ravine enclosed by an interstitial network of trees. Both romantically idyllic and elegiac, it resonates with the mesmeric poignancy of a nostalgic reminiscence or a lucid dream.
It was Tolstoy’s most beloved eldest brother, Nikolai, who narrated the story of the little green stick to him and his siblings as a child. When Nikolai was 12 years old, he once told his family he held a great secret that could make all men everlastingly happy. If it could be revealed, nobody would die any more, there would be no wars or illnesses and nothing untoward in the world. Everyone would love one another and become “Ant Brothers”. The catch was one needed to find a little green stick, buried on the edge of the ravine in Old Zakaz, as the secret to cure ills of man was inscribed.
Playing the game of the “Ant Brotherhood”, the five Tolstoy children settled under armchairs covered with shawls, sitting there and snuggling up together, tenderly discussing the necessities for happiness and how they would love others if they were to find the magic stick. When he was over seventy years of age, Tolstoy reminisced about the world which they created: “it was so very good, and I am grateful to God that I could play like that. We called it a game, though anything in the world is a game except that”. “The ideal of Ant Brothers clinging lovingly to one another, only not under two armchairs curtained by shawls, but of all the people of the world under the wide dome of heaven, has remained unaltered for me. As I then believed that there was a little green stick whereon was written something which would destroy all evil in men and give them great blessings, so I now believe that such truth exists among people and will be revealed to them and will give them what it promises.”
Leo Tolstoy’s grave seems simple: a mound on the edge of the ravine, neither tombstone nor cross. But this grave, as well as the peace and quiet of the old forest and the tranquility of the entire estate, can tell us a lot about Tolstoy and his understanding of life and death. His undying loyalty to the little green stick is a tribute to his entire character.
Freeing yourself of personal imprisonment through loving, trusting and relying on oneself.
Oscar Wilde proclaimed “it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person”.
It seems to be the standard to believe we require companionship to complete who we are, emphasising on the security it provides. It is also less unpleasant than the constant inner conflict we endure when alone. I have drawn the conclusion, you can never be truly fulfilled by companionship or yourself, until you embrace discovering oneself alone. As Alain de Botton once said, “the best guarantor of ending up in a good relationship is the capacity to be alone”.
Loneliness is not easy to endure and it never fully leaves you, making you restlessly long for connection, communal intimacy or escape. It is burdensome and suffering, where “one’s inner scream becomes deafening, deadening, severing any thread of connection to lives”, as Maria Popova puts it.
After a failed relationship, British Author Olivia Laing relocated to the USA and found herself at the mercy of daily, bone-deep loneliness that was all-consuming:
“Loneliness is difficult to confess; difficult too to categorise. Like depression, a state with which it often intersects, it can run deep in the fabric of a person, as much a part of one’s being as laughing easily of having red hair. Then again, it can be transient, lapping in and out in reaction to external circumstance, like the loneliness that follows on the heels of a bereavement, break-up or change in social circles.”
“Mortality is lonely. Physical existence is lonely by its nature,stuck in a body that’s moving inexorably towards decay, shrinking, wastage and fracture.Then there’s the loneliness of bereavement, the loneliness of lost or damaged love, of missing one or many specific people, the loneliness of mourning.”
“Like depression, like melancholy or restlessness, it (loneliness) is subject too to pathologisation, to being considered a disease. It has been said emphatically that loneliness serves no purpose… Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think any experience so much a part of our common shared lives can be entirely devoid of meaning, without a richness and a value of some kind.”
Experiencing such turmoil attached to loneliness is unproductive, which society has linked to failing at a fulfilling life. Yet the restlessness and anguish associated with being alone can trigger great creativity and presence, discovering what it is to be alive.
Daniel Ramos Obregón
To break free of that personal imprisonment (thus bringing about societal change) through loving, trusting and relying on oneself, we are then able to achieve solitude instead which liberates the spirit: “loneliness might be taking you towards an otherwise unreachable experience of reality”. Simply put, solitude is reached when you accept “the fact that loneliness, longing, does not mean one has failed, but simply that one is alive”. Laing adds:
“I don’t believe the cure for loneliness is meeting someone, not necessarily. I think it is about two things: learning how to befriend yourself and understanding that many of the things that seem to afflict us as individuals are in fact a result of larger forces of stigma and exclusion, which can and should be resisted”.
“Loneliness is personal, and it is also political. Loneliness is collective; it is a city. As to how to inhabit it, there are no rules and nor is there any need to feel shame, only to remember that the pursuit of individual happiness does not trump or excuse our obligations to each other. We are in this together, this accumulation of scars, this world of objects, this physical and temporary heaven that so often takes on the countenance of hell. What matters is kindness; what matters is solidarity. What matters is staying alert, staying open, because if we know anything from what has gone before us, it is that the time for feeling will not last.”
It was Hemingway who introduced me to an honest life. And it is art which offers me depth and beauty simultaneously. My dreams fill me with hope. But you are the only one who harmonises my spirit, my heart, my conscience, with the softest poetry and deepest sincerity.
Even in suppression you selflessly hand me acceptance, empowerment and profound love. You are here.
Yet my mind and soul are elsewhere, chasing dreams; dreams which you light up for me. And maybe your mind and soul are elsewhere too. We are not to blame. There is nothing wrong with the intimate world between you and I. That world which encapsulates Van Gogh’s Starry Night, the philosophies of Alain Badiou, the smell of roses, the sound of waves arriving on the shore. Everything that is beautiful on this Earth. You are here.
I think of you. I think of my love for you even now and a torrent of awe overflows. I cannot escape the overwhelming rawness of emotion that exudes. I cannot escape. My heart still thanks me for having touched your hand, for having kissed your lips, for having looked into your eyes, for having adored your smile. Push aside the temporary pain and feel my hand in yours. You are with me, locked away, on my journey. You are here.
All around me I will find you: in the brushstrokes of a painting, during quiet reflection, in the dreams and writing which bring me solace. You smile at me and reach for my hand. I close my eyes and feel your touch. You are here.