16 November 2014

Chapter 47: Perfection

Dear reader

You are the definition of perfect, you sly devil you. Welcome back! :D

A wise man once told me that there are no writers, there are only re-writers. It's the editor and not the writer who makes those best-sellers. I have to agree with him a little. Who buys the first draft? Everyone always wants the final product.

Many of us have this fear when putting pen to paper. It is the anxiety of writing something that will be easily criticized or torn down. Afraid of not reaching perfection. The mindset is this: 'I don't write a blog because I'm not good enough,' or 'I have nothing good to say, so why would anyone be interested to read it?' Dear reader, I encourage you to do something challenging, something that makes you afraid, every single day. For comfort and predictability are the greatest barriers to self improvement.

A great message that stayed with me was 'perfection begins where perfection ends'. This is to say that the moment we stop striving for perfection, the closer we are to achieving it. We all strive to be better and yet if we are afraid of starting, how will we ever reach the end? Remember the eastern philosophy: the journey of a thousand miles started with a single step. The struggle is not in the journey but the initiation. 

22 June 2014

Chapter 46: The Parrot

Dear reader,

If I was a parrot, you'd be my favourite cracker. Oh, snap. :) Come here, you.

I once knew a man who could speak for days. He was the sort of person who loved my company as I listen quite well. There is an old saying which is that the best friends are the best listeners. For me the best speakers make the best friends. I love a deep conversation and most of all I love listening to people who speak with passion. If their eyes light up, I am all ears.

It is not what you say, but how you say it. Those who speak well, speak with conviction. They genuinely believe what they say, they mean it, and their heart is in it. They have an emotional connection with what they recall. People follow emotions faster than they follow words. Comedians are great examples of this. It is not so much the punch line itself, but the way it is delivered. Politicians avoid complex language when they want to win over an audience. Keep it simple, but most of all, keep it emotional. I can write you an essay on how I can improve the United States, but if Obama speaks a single word three times "Change", "Change" and "Change" again, my essay is redundant. Our attention spans have decreased rapidly since the rise of television. We no longer have the patience to read long drawls of text. Our ego's want the information now: they want the emotional thrill as soon as possible. So let us feel more and think less.

31 May 2014

Chapter 45: The Gardener

Dear reader

Wow. You look ravishing today; I want to plant you in a field :)

Recently I have been working on the garden at the back of my house. I usually start by mowing the lawn, raking the grass, trimming the beds and then pulling out the weeds. When we first arrived to the house the previous tenants had let it go wild. The grass was knee high, the weeds were a semi-jungle, the trees overgrown. Bit by bit we restored it to its former glory, and call this strange, but seeing the results made me satisfied This as usual, had me thinking.

I believe that the outer world represents the inner world. If you visited a house and its garden was blooming, its lawns mowed, and its grass green and lively, you would assume that the house owners were living well; that their life was together. Just as when you are stressed out, or you have exams, or a busy schedule, your house will get messy very quickly. The magic happens when you can maintain clean and ordered surroundings while living in a situation of chaos. If you can be the rock in the stream, you can manage difficulties a lot easier and prevent them from becoming worse.

Being a virgo apparently helps with being tidy. I have always operated better when my surroundings are clean: it gives me clarity of thought and peace of mind. Instead of avoiding the tasks that needed to be done, I embrace them. Work, as I have previously blogged, is a teacher. A teacher whose best interests is you. The sweat that you pour in the garden is the water that brings forth fruit and flowers. The gardener is a great analogy not just for our working lives, but for the journey of life itself.

28 May 2014

Chapter 44: The Hermit

Dear reader

Do you believe in mermaids? :) Not to worry. I'll put a fish tail on both of us ;)

Who knows if mermaids exist? I would love to believe it. It is important to remember that just as the world above the water is infinitely expansive with its skyscrapers, boulevards, aeroplanes and space stations, so too is the world beneath the water. The inner world is just as infinite as the outer one.

You might know someone in your life who you call "deeeeeep". Quite often, but not always, they are walking alone. You see them in the parks sitting under a tree reading a book. You see them at school with their heads elsewhere. These are the people who yawn when you talk gossip, and want to kiss you when you talk about philosophy, spirituality and personal development.

I guess I would call myself a hermit. A hippy, an introvert, a donkey. Whatever you want to call me :). The point is not in the label but in the feeling. Being alone helps us to escape reality. The question is why would we want to escape?

The world is dragging us around,  shouting down our ears, and posting advertisements through our door. Generally it is a very noisy place that demands all of our energy and senses for us to survive it. Culture demands that we change ourselves and act in a certain way to fit in. Hermits just want to breath. "Relaaaaax maaaaaan". Sometimes we need a break, and the hermit adores silence.