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Me, Myself & I

Good evening ladies and gentleman.

The ignorance of your art and the negative affects it has on your soul can be powerful, painful and put such limitations on your ability to be you. The demons inside you need to be fed, to be combat against and the only way to do that is connecting with it on a level you didn’t know you had. Fall further than you ever dared to before and find that part of you, forged in the depths of your own personal hell and gain the tools to power through, to reclaim your throne and in your own way, overcome anything.

This is all very well and done, on paper. I’m aware of this and have been for some time (honestly because i keep typing it.) Thing is, there’s a lot statements written on paper, words blurted out without context don’t consider- the noise.

The noise, the endless noise. It’s as if the world has got louder recently, as if someone turned the volume up. About everything. Its as if quiet is nothing but a beautiful memory. Everyone is shouting, be it about their opinions, or the TV show you “absolutely” should be watching, the “friends” that talk about you when you aren’t around, the social media filters that make you question the very nature of your own face and the trends shoved in your direction at every screen based moment.

The world runs on knowledge, but we live in a world saturated in information. In this age of instant and excessive information, who is ignored most of all-you.

Its almost as if we don’t notice that person in the mirror. You wake up, drenched in sweat, exhausted, having slept but far from rested. Drag yourself to the kitchen after an increasingly hotter shower just to get your body into what feels like a vaguely passable mode as you make a coffee and mentally prepare for the day thats coming. Flick through your phone and offer support and condolence to the friends who are struggling, being there for your friends through the good and bad because its just who you are. Everyone thinks your OK, because in the end so do you. This is life and you just have to “suck it up.”

What i wander is about the relationships we have, with family, with friends, with partners past and present.¬†How we focus on them, how the vast majority if not all of your efforts will go into having a positive influence on their life, in the hope that in some small way you were able to make them feel good. In many ways it’s one of the reasons i keep writing. There are millions of people in the world, billions even. Even i can make one person smile, for just a moment or maybe cause a tear to fall down your cheek- then it’s worth doing.

We all focus on everyone else, yet will meet the idea of focusing on yourself almost with a confusion. Like its selfish, as if you aren’t the priority at that particular moment- at any moment actually.

Try it this way…

If you were your friend, would you be ok with how you treat yourself?

How you talk to yourself, the things you say, the things you believe?

Bruce Lee famously said:

“Don’t speak negatively about yourself, even as a joke. Your body doesn’t know the difference. Words are energy and cast spells- that’s why its called spelling. Change the way you speak about yourself and you can change your life. What you’re not changing, you’re also choosing.”

Everything we do, everything we are and everything we think we are is born from a choice. A choice i think we sometimes cannot see, for the power of influence is stronger than ever. Influence over your personal perspective of who you, what you should look like and who you should want to be. You have a choice in your belief- even if you don’t see it.

You hold yourself to impossibly high standards and beat yourself up when you don’t reach them. You see a world covered in beautiful people but let alone believing yourself to be beautiful you believe any beauty people see in you as delusional. We are these days so incapable of self love thousands of people find themselves in situations and sometimes relationships with people they don’t like and don’t know how to love, because the alternative is to stare down the barrel of loneliness once again.

What if, in an attempt to combat this endless cycle of misery inducing sensations, we attacked it from a different angle, looked at it from a different perspective- if you will.

Imagine you were living your life in the third person. You are your best friend, you go to dinner with them, have a drink, sleep next to them and hit the alarm in the same spot every morning. Treat yourself as if you lived with that person, loved that person, hated them, envied them and cried next to them. Your best friend needs you.

Be there for them.

Your best friend wants someone to laugh with.

Laugh with them.

Be the only person you could ever need and you won’t need anyone else.

You need three people to have your back to survive what the world is becoming.

Me, Myself and I.

It puts you in a different level of thinking , because it puts you above the clouds, leaves the rose tinted spectacles of relationships long behind. You don’t need anyone, but you have the choice to want. Wanting someone in your life, in whatever capacity is beautiful beyond words because without asking, or even without trying i think, you make each others life just a little bit better. Maybe its for the hour a week you spend on the phone talking, or the quiet drink at the end of a long day at work. That moment is yours to share, to grow and evolve, to develop your life to build something outstanding.

It comes down to a phrase we were all taught as kids.

“Treat people as you wish to be treated”

Same applies to yourself. Treat yourself right, control the energy you allow into your life that comes from your mind and from your mouth.

Thats your best friend there. Thats Me, Myself and I.

Yours, with love as always.
D.R x

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The Balance Beam

Good evening ladies and gentleman

What is life? What is death? Death is simply the end of life. Nothing more, nothing less. We all hear them say you only have one go around so don’t waste it. Over and over this same tired old rhetoric is passed from generation to generation, facilitating this debilitating fear that we aren’t doing enough. Life is the only path to death, but the balance beam you walk down on your way there, the steps you take are undecided and perhaps more scary- unknown. Everyday can be different, a breeze – or you could find yourself running down that train of thought through the caves, to where the lovely dark awaits, along with the voices, endlessly whispering in your ear.

If life were to be a balance beam we are all working so hard to not fall off of- what gives you the power to stay upright? Nobody is ever going to help you if you fall, they have their own issues staying balanced upon their own beam. Maybe your lines intertwine with another but each day is a separate life even when you are together. In the end you are still the architect of your own thoughts, be them to build you up or tear you down.

How do you balance your way through life? Step by step, day by day, how do we stop life from falling into the grips of a mere existence? The monotony of daily routine, actions for the same time of day, everyday, daring, hoping, yearning for something unexpected, something new, anything to just happen.

Anything.

This need is so powerful and i think reminds you of who you are. It reminds you of your intelligence, your mental strength and powerful perspective, for there is always more that can be done. What is to be done? What can feed that demon in your mind, the one that tells you that you’re not good enough or that your wasting your time…the one that often shouts so loud its near impossible to ignore.

What if, in a weird sort of way that voice was helping somehow, motivating you somehow? Motivating the creative soul within you to spring into life, to pour the life giving elixir as you drink deeply from the goblet handed to you as you bite into the apple from the forbidden tree.

Creativity can give your art, your pain, your joy, your love and passion a higher meaning, a power to you like nothing else . These things need to be expressed and your life should be an expression of you, so much more so than the soul crushing monotony a mere existence can bring.

The creativity thing is probably something you’ve heard before though. I know i have, hundreds of times over, that life imitates art. So if you can offer some sort of art to the world, then maybe you contributed to the world somehow, even if only to you. Maybe everybody sees it, maybe nobody does. But its there, however painful it was to get out.

That’s the point with being creative, that it burns. It burns your heart and your soul and your gut were you to leave it inside you, building, bubbling, brewing, raring to explode. This emotion- this pain, joy, happiness and misery all rolling around as your brain cells concocts a witches potion inside your mind and you, convinced you don’t need them, can’t help to watch as they continue to stir.

How do you break the cycle you find yourself in? How does one create the balance- to stay standing?

Drink the potion. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…right up to the point you dip your glass in and take a good slug of the stew. As it touches your lips, you feel the oily texture start to trickle down your throat, green and foul smelling but you continue on, the witches left in a state of shock.

We have been taught as a society to avoid shock, like we need to live a predictable life in order for it to be good. In order to bring order to the chaos, to step every now and again but not far enough away to gain that sense of unfamiliarity its so easy to fear. Surprise has become nothing but a mere coincidence these days, because you missed something rather than being present in the moment before.

Drinking the fluid can create more pain than any of us can possibly imagine, so much so you imagine falling off the beam and never ever being able to regain your balance. The hurt can be unimaginable, but so can the outstanding beauty.

As you accept what you feel as something you are conscious and understanding of, even as you start to respect it, you truly become your higher self. You listen to yourself and the creativity flows with it. The release of mental ailments you didn’t know you had fall onto the page, or across the canvas with a flick of a paintbrush. Everything we have ever done, every error you have made, any victory ever achieved is a part of who looked at you in the mirror this morning. Like what you see, or hate it more than anyone else- its still you.

I’ve always wandered about the rhetoric that is often thrown about creativity, pure and undiluted in its form. That sort of higher level thinking that when you’re in that headspace- there is nothing else. There is you and the keyboard, you and the brushes, the bruises, the failures, the victories and all the pain. It’s all there, like a story of you. There’s an argument in society that this need to create in whatever capacity is almost an illness, something that breaks you away from what the world makes you. We as humans are not a result of the world around us but instead the world is a result of us as humans.

Creativity makes you different. These days, different is clearly unwell because as time goes on people all look the same and are acting the same. All influenced by someone somewhere living in a world that doesn’t exist- filtered through the starry gaze of social media. Then you have the influencers being influenced by another influencer and the cycle continues. Trends come and go and change faster than the day of the week. We are not ill because of this urge to create art, to illustrate and express pain, pleasure, beauty and sorrow. The need to express in a society telling you to keep it to yourself is the issue in hand, for without that outlet, without that gas valve to express everything building inside a clouded mind, there’d be nothing but pieces left of you.

Creativity doesn’t help you stay on the beam, creativity wont necessarily even promote joy and healthy happiness in your life. In some cases it goes much deeper, in that your art isn’t making you ill, but to lose that connection you crave and to liven without your art would be a mental death sentence. The fear of losing yourself because you don’t give yourself the chance to figure out who you are is fear beyond words.

Standing still on the balance beam is going to reduce your chances of falling, but every time you stand still you lose more ground on where you want to be. Creativity makes the walk down the beam risky, but without it- its not you. What is life without risking the fall every once in a while?

Falls give you the strength to get back up after them. To brush yourself down, wash your face and fix your hair- still work to be done. The balance beam life has you walking down, understanding and respecting that connection you have, even if to just an idea. Good, bad or indifferent in the eyes of everyone else, the act of using that energy, that power, the profound connection you have is what gets you up again and again.

Because it’s basically who you are, working towards where you want to be. There is nothing more personal than that.

Onto the feet and keep going. You’ve fallen and will fall again, but the real you can be found in the strokes of that paintbrush and on the words of the page. They live within you, if you’re willing to listen.

The Beam carries on, whether you choose to forge a path down it, peril either side. It was never about it making it to the other end, it’s about how you respond when you fall. You have to get up, because you can.

Creativity and art isn’t the key to happiness. Creativity is the key to unlocking who you want to be.

And about as brave as you could ever be.

Yours, with love.

D.R x

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Luxury of Outrage

Good evening ladies and gentleman.

We all wish we had more time- and society has responded to this time paranoia we all suffer with. I watched an advert the other day that exclaimed so whole heartedly, as if they had just cured cancer, that you could now sell them your car in 30 seconds. Whereas previously it would take out so much of your day- when it took 60 seconds. Now in the grand scheme of it, 30 seconds is nothing. In reality you probably spent at least 30 seconds daydreaming today, staring into space, thinking of nothing.

Previously, i’ve considered this compulsive need for instant progress, instant “satisfaction,” instant feelings and instant dismissal as a negative attribute to the human condition. The human condition- made less human, if you will.

I have been going on for years now about our need for life and society to get faster and faster, how we live in a world of instants, a need to get everything and anything faster and faster, be able to achieve so much while losing as little time as you can.

Time is a luxury, a commodity that we all trade away when we go to work, when you’re asleep and even when you’re in the shower. A constant companion, something we often waste, instead opting for the luxury of outrage.

Making a choice to be outraged by something, however large or minimal takes you away from who you are.. With power it’s given by you it preys on your individuality, like a virus looking for a new host. It’s like wrestling a gun of an armed robber and handing it back to them. I find such pointless mental adventures a waste of time and mental capacity, something we have all invested time and effort into when looking back we wish we hadn’t. Annoyed, outraged at the actions of someone else, upset about something you had no control over.

Your outrage adds nothing to make the situation better, the result is the result an no amount of regret is ever going to change it. You have to work with the hand you’ve been dealt, even if for the time being you’re acting like you’ve got a royal flush while working with a lot of nothing. It’s never been about what hand you get, you have no control over that. The element of control we all crave is in how we react. Outrage seems to come from this need for control, but in reality comes from a refusal to deal with a feeling or situation, through the fear of not being able to handle it, to be seen as weak or just not seen as strong.

Take a job. We all have either currently got a job or had one at some point. There have been days where you’ve woken up, maybe not slept too well. Let’s be honest, the last thing you want is to go to the office and have them same conversations and be told “you look tired” all day. It feels you with anger for a while that you’re going there again, disappointed in the hope you once had. You go into work angry and have a bad day, wandering where it all went wrong. You are outraged you’re being made to go here and do this job, for the money you have been getting. Everyone has had these days.

My point is the choice from here. You either accept life for the misery you have been pouring into it all day, or you can get to work on making your life better, improving things for the sake of your sanity. But so many people don’t. It’s as if people need to be outraged at their own situation, not seeing they’re the only ones who can change it. People can spend years miserable at their own existence, but only they can change it. Even if you don’t turn your world upside down, a small change can yield more than we can possibly imagine.

Sean Connery once said:-

“the simple action of typing can get us from page one to page two…”

True for writing and for life. The best way to make a change in your life isn’t to stew in outrage, to hope that improving your social standing will mean the voice in your head goes away. The only way is to make a change, to break the pattern you’ve been living again and again, for as long as you can remember. Doesn’t even have to be a big change, just a change. Often something as simple as going to bed 15 minutes earlier than normal and waking up that bit earlier too. Minimal in the grand scheme of things but has the potential to be so powerful.

In the end what is outrage for? We as a species are outraged a lot of the time to hide our true nature, hide something from ourselves that we don’t really understand. We mask this lack of knowledge under a cloak of outrage, hopeful to slip under the radar without detection. I said that time is a luxury so why waste it on outrage? Be offended, be upset, cry powerfully but use it, this energy is more powerful than the strongest coffee. We choose not to act on what upsets us, what causes us to feel angry or scared because we think we have no way to overcome this part of our life.

When you think your only option is to accept life as what you see in front of you, that can be a bitter pill to swallow. Everything happens for a reason and there is always another way, its simply a question of perspective and if you are brave enough to look within yourself to find it. Most people are so scared of who they truly are and what they’re capable of so will hide under outrage, even from themselves. No wander you’re so tired. This is the story you’ve told yourself, about yourself.

I may not be old to most, but i am too old for the luxury of outrage. You let it into your mind and it latches on and burrows down. Outrage is corrosive, you can see it just behind someone’s eyes. I’ve seen it in my own.

Outrage will destroy everything you worked for and tell you it was the right thing to do. Change is the only way. Overcome a problem before being upset that there is no other way, because the truth is that could last an eternity. An eternity lost to the Luxury of Outrage.

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x

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The Shackled King

Good evening ladies and gentlemen

I’ve often wandered where my thoughts come from. I’ve had a lot of thoughts about my thoughts you could say, confused by them, endlessly seeking clarity, endlessly seeking peace from all the noise. What does it mean to be free from it all? Is it possible to be free of it all- to be the king of the world? Or are we just animals, sat in cages, waiting for the allotted slot we’ve been given to go out and get some exercise, maybe go for a run, to get put back inside once again, sweating with temporary relief, almost feeling like a king once again.

These thoughts about being a king, about taking “extreme ownership” as Jocko WIllnik puts it got me thinking about zoos and safari parks and more specifically about the lion and his pride.

The lion, out on the African Savannah is a king. Stand up for those behind him and against anyone who dares disrespect him. He lies in the shade, surveying his kingdom, the territory he controls and anyone who dares cross his path without his permission. He is a patient leader, willing and ready to pick the opportune moment to hunt, to strike, to overcome. He will look to extend his territory even, as he works to continue the royal blood line.

This is what we believe and perceive a lion to be. A king, rivalled but defeated by nobody and nothing. Always ready to put it all on the line for his cause. Then, to see that same king in an enclosure, or worse in a cage. I don’t write this for an environmental purpose but what does that do to a mind- even of an animal? Fed on a schedule, given a territory vastly smaller to the one his kind usually rule. In a box, regular food, no need to hunt. No need to dominate, nothing to protect, nobody coming for your kingdom.

I’m not sure that’s even a lion anymore. Just a cat. A Shackled King, once on top of the world, now wandering why it’s so cold.

Maybe they don’t know any different, maybe they don’t know that generations ago they were top of the food chain, kings of the savannah.

On top of the world, locked in a cage.

A lion is an animal, and animals require 2 basic things. To eat and to reproduce, passing genes onto the next generation. This, in essence-is their purpose. This is where the lion develops its uniqueness and garners potential for how we could see ourselves as humans, albeit in a world far removed from the territories of the African Savannah.

The mentality is key here, for everything you are and everything you want to be starts in your mind. The mind is the general and the body are the troops and the troops aren’t going to do a dam thing without the general’s instruction. The general is a lion, he has to be. Continue with the army idea, the lion general is going to be respected, mentally sharp, mentally sound in his decision making, so the troops will respect him and the troops will act. Similar to a pride of lions, there’s always a leader.

So why do we struggle so much to break free from it all- why is it sometimes so difficult to see outside the walls of the enclosure?

I think its all about scale- and its where most of us fall down.

Look at the lion, constantly ready to take over. Use UFC fighter Connor McGregor as the perfect example of the lion mentality- “we aren’t here to take part- we are here to take over!” Dr. Jordan Peterson refers to the strong mentality as the idea that you need to be a “monster” even. We are all exposed to so much about how to change your life, how to pull yourself out of a rut and start living your “best life.”

Point is, when you feel trapped, stuck in the same routine, food coming at a certain time, four walls seeming like they’re closing in just like at the zoo, getting out feels a near impossibility.

Exposed to so much content, so many debates and beliefs presented in whatever media streaming format you happen to be looking at telling you what you need to do to turn your life around, the proverbial mountain to get to the apparent levels of people like McGregor make the mountain seem so much bigger, the incline getting steeper and stepper as you go.

The best example of this i’ve been able to find is from the first part of the 20th century and involves Harry Houdini. At the height of his fame he boastfully claimed he could break out of any jail, anywhere in America, with nothing other than his street clothes and an hour. An old jail in the south took him up on the offer and confidently, Houdini swaggered into the cell. Door closed behind him. Houdini, at that point, was the King, confident the enclosure he had been placed in was no match for his kingdom, to be nothing more than another notch on his belt, an extension of his already vast territory.

After 30 minutes and with a steel wire he had hidden in his belt, Houdini had no luck picking the lock. His once confident demeanour, gone. What remained was a sweat bathed nervous man, worried at what his Kingdom had fallen to, these four walls, bested by a simple lock. An hour came and went and after two Houdini collapsed against the door, exhausted and defeated.

As he fell against the door, it swung open. The door had never been locked. The King had not been defeated by a locked door, or by an old prison. He had been defeated by himself, for the need to conquer and frivolously display his skills and intellectual capability had vastly outweighed the simplest method.

You.

Yes you.

I’m talking directly to you now.

That enclosure you find yourself in, the walls you feel are hemming you in, preventing you for being the lion you were always supposed to be, the King of your own life that you are destined to be. Like a lake in a desert, the walls are a mirage, placed there by you. That door was the most complex lock ever designed to Houdini- he could have been there hours and would have never been able to unlock it.

You are the author of your own story, so why not make it a good one? Be patient and understanding with yourself, listen to your mind and to your body. Take breaks where you need to but never give up. Be ready to learn and prepare for stuff to go wrong. It will go wrong along the way, its how you deal with it that’s important. Houdini gained a mark against his name that day, but the humbling he received, the challenge he faced took him somewhere new, somewhere bigger, somewhere better.

A lion doesn’t materialise out of thin air, trust the process, trust in your own growth. Learn from your mistakes and how to do better next time, not problems to linger on but obstacles to overcome. A lion doesn’t lament on losses but works on how to use them, make them part of the overall victory.

You placed the shackles on your wrist because of the quality of your thoughts about yourself. About your mind, your body, your ability to be happy, to be capable, loving and powerful in equal measure.

Control your thoughts, or they will control you.

This is how the shackles are broken.

And the King gets that taste of freedom so badly desired.

Thats how lions are created.

The Shackled King no more.

Yours, with love as always.
D. R x

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Time’s Trick

Good evening ladies and gentleman.

The passage of time is an illusion and life is the magician. Wearing a black hat and waving a wand with a fancy gold watch in its pocket, the constant passing of time is a cruel trick to convince us that we have more time.

Time. The gold piece on your wrist, the numbers on your car dashboard. Seemably endless, so sure there is always going to be time, that “I’ll get round to it” lifestyle is becoming more prominent these days. It comes down to a point I’ve made before that modern life is faster than ever now, as if “instant” gratification is the only way to do it . All in the pursuit of spending less of your life on minutes- because why stand in the queue to get a coffee when there’s a machine round the corner.

There is a rather simple way of showing the passage of time to be an illusion, a figment of your imagination created by the earth revolving round the sun and the moon revolving around the earth.

When was the last time you had a good day? Maybe you went on an adventure with a friend or maybe you stayed in bed with your partner and did nothing at all. How much something there was to be found in the hopelessly imperfect act of doing nothing. Did you notice how fast the day passed? How you blinked and the sun was setting again, moon rising to prominence as king of the night. Furthermore, do you remember the last time you had what felt like a bad day?

Those days when it feels like the whole world is against you…maybe you car didn’t start and you missed the train to work. Sat through meetings and work calls, made appointments you didn’t even remember agreeing to. Your computer crashed and lost all your work and you broke your shoe on the run for the train home. All normal things to happen, but all in one day- your set to explode. All you want is the day to be over and take another run at it tomorrow. Even so, every minute seems to drag, hours barely pass as you struggle to maintain composure, your eyes getting heavy as you yearn for the comfort of that warm, soft pillow.

Time passes based on how you feel in any certain moment. When tired, why does it feel like the dark never wants to close in. When you see that person’s face and watch the wry smile crawl from side to side, what makes that moment etch itself into your mind, what makes you feel like that moment could last forever?

This is Time’s Trick- the illusion that time is constant.

Time. Minutes, hours, days, months…years even. I would argue they don’t actually exist- nothing more than a measurable construct created by society. Yesterday is gone, not something that has passed, that was existence and now you find yourself in the field of today. While in today, there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow. Only now.

Think of this- how many times do you look at the clock in a day? Maybe the clock on the wall of your office, the watch on your wrist or the screen on your phone. Do you notice, when you wish the day would end, when the bad day just seems to be getting worse- you find yourself looking at the time more than usual- as if there’s an allotted time for the bad day to end. Whereas if you’re having a “good” day, living out a dream, doing everything or even doing nothing at all, the time is the last thing your mind. Only being present in that moment- nothing else.

In reality the clock is nothing more than a measuring stick- a construct to tell you where you should be and what you should be doing at that particular part of the day. I’m not ridiculing this idea as time along with money are the foundations that society as we know it, but i really don’t think it’s that simple. I think we are barely scratching the surface of the time, there is so much we think we know about life and so much we couldn’t even begin to imagine.

Time doesn’t pass, life does.

How do you tell the difference?

Easy.

Time is always trying to convince you there’s more time.

Life is yours, and it is blissfully short. Gone in a flash- never to return. Blink and you miss it. Open your eyes and let it in- where you go from there could be anywhere you want.

Life is memories, is love adored and love lost, pain felt, tears fallen in sadness and laughter, hugs squeezed, moments shared. The thrill, the awe, the beauty to be found in the world even with all its pain, misery and powerlessness. Fall into it all, for without it, life is not life. Its just watching the clock, watching the minutes go by- wandering why you’re so tired.

Life imitates art. Without art, life is dictated by time

Time waits for nobody. This is Time’s Trick.

Regards, with love as always.

D.R x

Natural Progression

Good evening ladies and gentleman.

Across lockdowns and through the previous winter, i think we all found ourselves watching a lot more television. Binge watching these shows for hours on end, something to do on a day when there really wasn’t a lot to do. One episode became two, two rapidly became 5 and you ended up sat there wandering what happened to the day.

Episodes. Generally around 60 minutes, not long enough to lose your attention but long enough to keep you invested in this character, giving a mere snapshot into what is illustrated as nothing more than a few hours or days of their lives. As one episode becomes the next, the situation has changed, where they are, what they are doing, what they are wearing, even the time of day. The same, but different.

This is the natural progression of the show. The episodes could become seasons if well received and progression can become infinitely more vast than a few hours, movies, theatre productions- the sky is the limit when a show gains popularity. What if there was a reason they were like that- why does it feel so familiar?

Because i think we as humans need this structure. Not routine and not defined by any specific length, the need for natural progression is forever rooted deep into your psyche, this need to evolve- to grow.

It may not be quick, the movement could be impossibly minute, but consistent progression, forwards or backwards is more important than many of us understand. We need to evolve. But how? When you have that daily sensation of being stuck, not seeing a way through the darkness, the walls closing in, not knowing if you’ll ever stand straight again. Dreams in a cage, a play thing for the voices in your head, fed morsels with the intention of keeping them alive, but never letting them fly.

It can feel like some people are holding your leash, stopping you become that person you imagine yourself being. There are people that want you to feel like you should toe the line, do as your told, their experience of life trumps yours, so its important to follow in their footsteps.

So maybe that’s what you did. You followed in behind them, stuck at something, maybe a relationship you weren’t sure you should be in, maybe its a job that you feel nothing for. The hobby you wish you’d got round to gathering dust in the corner, as you sit in the comfy chair in front of your TV with your favourite show on barely able to keep your eyes open.

Alarm next day… same thing, different day.

Then the next day….and the next day.

You catch yourself half asleep in a planning meeting staring out into the dappled sunlight bouncing off the car you own a third of as you earn the money for the privilege of driving to work and sitting in these interesting meetings, tie a little too tight drinking your 7th coffee of the day in an attempt just to keep your systems from crashing.

Out of nowhere you hear the squeak of the handle and in bowls the manager, prepared and ready for the presentation. Your back, and realise that a year, 2 years, or even 5 years has passed. These thoughts are powerful, because we all think we are going to have time. There’s always time to get there- “it will be fine.”

Hard thing to accept that- when the very belief that drove you sort of disappears into the depths below, unimaginable that it will ever return. You feel it deep in your very soul, as if you’ve squandered these years, thought of the teen with all those dreams and almost left embarrassed at what had resulted. Not necessarily that you hadn’t reached the heights that you imagined you would when you were 15- but surely there was more to it than this…

Where does this come from? Because the way we’ve been living, not progressing, not finding opportunities to grow and evolve, not making a mess of things, fall backwards, cry spectacularly and laugh beautifully is going against your natural needs as a human being. I’ve said this before but life is made up of events- of episodes. You go through one episode, the screen goes to black and the credits roll just in time for the next one to start. Life could be described this way, from the opening scene of the pilot to the last fade of the last show in the last season. Its very easy and often difficult to notice when you are stuck in the same episode. You’re not watching anymore, not really. The familiar pictures and sounds a comfort but not offering that part of you any sustenance, not offering one of those moments where you’re truly in that moment because it’s the only place in the world you want to be.

Why? Because you know it all and have seen it all before. It’s going through the motions and the end of it is a near impossible idea, confusing to even consider for you’re doing what “needs to be done.” You need so much more than you think, this thing we have all developed where we can hang on by a thread and “boss it out” like it’s nothing, when it clearly is continues to confuse. “Hanging on” in all its powerful hypocrisy, isn’t taking anyone, anywhere.

Life is a road, those roads are made of episodes, those moments flashbulbs of wander, of pain, of beauty, of lust, love and everything in between. They make you see the world slightly differently, learn of your mistakes and how to be better. They illustrate who you were and who you’ve become, and tell you never to lie down and take what feels like punishment because its the “right thing to do.”

The world will tell you knowledge is king, that experience is the only way to succeed at being a human being in 2022. I say that what works for them may not work for you, I say nobody has the right to tell you anything in life is the “wrong way” because it didn’t work for them.

You are unique and with that the path you find yourself on and your natural progression is ultimately down to you. Your choices, your actions, how you react to the world ultimately helps you construct your world. People can be experts in whatever they want but it comes down to you. Do the job that helps you not be broke, but know where you’re going with it. Talk to your partner and find that spark again, if something is missing- go looking for it together. Climb to the top of the mountain and survey your world and then go find a new mountain and do it all again. Each episode is different, with characters and context- but the main character is pulling the strings.

You are the conductor of your own life, the main character in your show. Don’t let the world or anybody in it, define how you feel about anything, or anyone. They don’t deserve that privilege, especially when it could be used against you, bent to their warped ideal. Don’t skip the steps you think you can’t handle, for here is where you will learn the most.

And progress constantly, hoping, working continuously to make yesterday proud. In whatever small way you can.

To Natural Progression and a Thinking Evolution.

Regards, with love as always.

D.R x

Blessing in Disguise

Good evening ladies and gentleman

When things start, you believe they will last forever. When you make a decision, you think it’s the right one. When you cry, you think you will never feel good again and when happy, any whim of sadness you felt is a distant memory. To fail, or to succeed, the simple act of doing is incredibly powerful and the thought of such an act is incredibly compelling and equally terrifying.

It comes down to things changing and how we handle not knowing, instead left with what you believe, be it in a person or in yourself. When you hang it out there, when you throw that dice down the craps table, when you take that leap of faith, it has a degree of just that- faith. You have to have faith in yourself in order to achieve anything. It’s that same faith in yourself that brings people into your life, those you choose to trust, to care about, to love. They are only there- because you allow them to be there. The energy they bring into your life, their hopes and dreams, their desires- it becomes a part of you. Then together you strive for each other to grow to heights previously seen as impossible.

I say this is the case, but I know only in a hopeful world, in the Palace of Darkness i have crafted within my mind is this idea absolute. I am a big campaigner for living hopefully, but the world being the world, it’s a lot easier said than done. Life has gotten so noisy now, its hard to know where it ends and you begin.

The thing is, I think people are scared. Scared of what? Scared of everything, often even of their own reflection. What they don’t understand, what they do understand, what they feel, what they daren’t risk to lose. So what does one do- when one doesn’t know what to do?

Wrestle with it, with yourself, with the person, with the thoughts inside their head, in your head. Our mental health as a nation, as a species is so powerfully complex no single model or theory can logically explain it, not Freud, Wundt or Skinner- not completely. In this desperate wrestle for control, we can lose so much, not just the delicate balance we have been trying to maintain for so long, to keep face with how strong we are.

A last ditch attempt to desperately wrestle back control. Control is king, we have all heard and its the only way to win. Because in the end, its all about winning right?

Look at the belief, the power of the positivity coursing through your veins when you first decided to believe, to have faith. Day by day, week by week and month by month, it all starts to wear you down, make you question yourself. Doing something against your status quo does that, makes you think you’re crazy. You fight it, convinced your OK, that it’s all in hand. How, when wrestling for control- does everything feel so out of control?

Why? Because the last leap made you land on your face and the dice came up snake eyes. The cheers died down, the men in tuxedos, the women in beautiful long dresses moved away, the chips down the hole, never to be seen again. There you are, left, alone, stood at a table with some numbers on, feeling champion of the world to just another nobody with the roll of a dice.

As you lie there, puffy cheeked and tear stained, faith gone, exhausted at the sheer bloody struggle it has become to just carry on, you wander why you ever started, wander why you didn’t just sit in the cave, for the faith that lifted you up has dragged you so far down its impossible to know whether you will ever be up again. Face against the floor, not wanting to get up.

Thing is right. It may not seem like it now, not tomorrow, next week or even next month. This darkness you find enveloping you, filling your lungs, the pain making it difficult to breathe, killing the belief in you and in the people around you. You wish you’d never met anyone, just stayed home in bed, pretending the world doesn’t exist. Do that for a while, absolutely, Be down for a while, be impossibly sad.

Be so sad you don’t know what to do with yourself. Be with it and feel every second of it. Let the pain of it course through you as that positivity once did. But remember, as your faith did:-

Everything Ends.

That way your feeling, that nobody understands, that feeling that has you so far out to sea that the land is nothing more than a speck on the horizon, will end. You will find your way back, the sea will be there for you and will blow you back to shore. Ride the waves, there are people who will always love you and always support you. Your friends are the most powerfully brilliant people in your life, those there for you in hard times are the ones you should hold on to- they are wonderful.

Let yourself process this pain, never ignore it. Be patient, your friends aren’t going anywhere. Your faith is lost but it’s not gone forever. Then one day, without realising it, you will remember who you are.

The same- but different.

And although impossible to imagine right now- all that pain, that misery, the losing of yourself, blaming yourself for all this pain, the feeling of not being good enough, of being told you are wrong, you feel the wrong things, you are never going to find anyone else like me, you will be alone forever.

This person, once brilliant person you gave so much of yourself to. You will see what they took from you, and realise how much you went through to get it back.

Then you will finally realise, when all is said and done-

It was a Blessing in Disguise- it gave you your power back.

Yours, with love as always.
D.R x

Toa Heftiba

Badge of Honour

Good evening ladies and gentleman

What is shame? What is that thought in the back of your head…the feeling that has you running your hand through you hair, wandering what the hell you did that for. What is it to hate what you feel, to hate as if you lost a grip on yourself, brokedown and cried yourself to sleep? What is to feel guilty simply about feeling?

Conversation with a friend, something she said in passing about how when she tries to explain how she feels she cries. Purely in passing, not meaning anything more or less than that. The way she spoke was as if crying was almost a sign you are losing control, that you can’t get your words out so will express yourself this way instead. The emphasis on the “emotional control” we are trying so hard to maintain as you firefight the shadows of your insecurities in secret, away from prying eyes.

Why has crying developed this stigma? Social situations and a basic understanding of social behaviours tells us crying is strictly related to the extremities of emotion, usually in a powerfully negative sense. You must be crying about something bad that happened, something has made you feel sad, bad, lonely or lost and crying is nothing more than an unfortunate result of feeling this pang of negativity lodged just behind your heart.

Crying is seen as a problem, or perhaps more the result of a problem. The natural reaction to seeing a person crying is one of two avenues- to avoid them, or console them.

This is the issue i have and where in my opinion this “shame” issue comes in. More on a individual level and to my understanding, we as a nation hate to cry, for it shows we are “weak” and incapable of dealing with the problems, however big or small life is throwing at us. It makes you feel like a problem, or feel like you can’t handle your problems.

This attitude to emotional overload makes for the belief you need help and someone who takes that problem away, even temporarily.

Crying isn’t shameful, I don’t think many people understand the true nature of crying, for that person is not looking for help to solve their problem, not even temporarily. In that moment, that person isn’t doing anything, they are lost at sea, doing all they can to keep their head above water and to avoid the salty depths of whatever emotion is trying to drag them under.

People don’t cry because of anybody, as much as it’s a difficult idea to imagine. We cry as humans to help handle our problems. That gas tap in the top of your head, all that pressure, pain, confusion, sadness and frustration is making it impossible to think clearly, this pent up feeling, that sensation that has you running your hands through your hair. It’s you, working to power through whatever is trying to beat you, to defeat you, leave you down for the count.

Crying is a valve, to release the pressure. When you find that strength to bring yourself back, to wipe your eyes and keep it moving, think of how clear headed you feel, how a wave of clarity has passed through your once clustered mind- leaving you so much more ready to take it down and level up.

Moreover than that, if someone trusts and believes in your friendship to the point where they’re OK crying around you, understand you are in a particularly privileged position. The reason they’re crying isn’t relevant at this second, you’ll get there. As of now, as their friend, your job is simple- to be there for them in that moment. Life is made up of moments and right now there is a chance you can do something powerfully wonderful for someone you care about. But what to do?

Simple.

Go up to them, look them in the eyes and embrace them. Hug them- hold them tight. Squeeze that person and feel them squeeze you back. Numerous studies have suggested a massive dose of the pleasure hormone oxytocin is produced when hugged m=by someone you care about. Think of the emotional pressure cooker that person feels like and how that moment of safety, moment of comfort could help stem the flames, force back the shadows trying to swallow them whole.

We have fallen into this trap today that problem solving is the key to development. “if i do this- this will happen…” and so on. The world and the relationships we build are not based on a logic equation, they cannot be explained. It requires us to be present in the moment, ready to be there for someone and for as long as it takes, until the tears stop rolling down their cheeks and they emerge through the other side.

You! With the puffy cheeks and bleary eyes. You with the mark on your shoulder from where their tears dried on your shirt. It is not and will never be a display of weakness, never weakness. The weakness comes from not crying at all, for the only emotion you should never show is no emotion at all.

Wear it as a badge of honour. And be so dam proud.

Own it, and rise above.

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x

R & R

Good evening ladies and gentleman

Have you ever had that feeling, that confusing knot in your stomach, an itch you cant seem to quite reach- almost like you feel something so powerful but have no idea what it is. You feel it coursing through your veins every minute of every day, it keeps you feeling something, but to understand it feels a near impossible task. You’re not good, you’re not bad, you don’t feel right, but you’re not sure what’s wrong. Lost in emotional limbo, in a cycle of daydreaming, confusion and anger at the answer to a problem you didn’t even know you had.

More times than i care to count I have found myself in this very position. Sure there’s more to life than what I’m doing- pushing through pain and through barriers in some belief happiness and peace will rear its head as a result, but it sometimes is a struggle to know what. I see people online, these famous millionaires and billionaires giving speeches, talking about working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week and not taking a holiday because it’s time you “should be working.”

Through such influences, its easy to feel like you aren’t doing enough and as you push yourself to do more and more, burnout becomes inevitable and the quality of your work lessens as a result. When you see all the hours you put in, the hard work (considering how you felt hard work could be something as simple as trying to keep your eyes open) and it doesn’t look right, or you feel it sub-par to your usual high standards- you start to wander what the point of carrying on is.

With those influencers there is something we’ve missed. We, as a species, as the world nation across the pages of the media and social networking platforms -see the final results. We see 10% percent of what is happening in their world. We see the the positivity that comes from the other 90%. So in truth, we are being influenced by the shiny object at the end of all the work, but the truth is we miss a few things along the way. Say for example- Elon Musk and Tesla.

Love him or hate him, love Tesla or hate it the basic idea started from wanting to eliminate the petrol powered car and as a result of his work, numerous manufacturers have had to follow suit. The work he has put in is tremendous but thats not what we see, we see the 10% percent in the end. We see nothing of the pain, the struggle and most importantly here, the rest and recuperation- the “R & R.”

This, i believe, is the most massively misunderstood and undervalued aspect of life. Hard work is unquestionably very important when it comes to achieving goals and being successful, but the rest is just as important. Taking that time away from the screen, the power of standing up, going to the kitchen and making yourself a cup of tea is unparalleled in this uber connected world we live in. The action of going for dinner with family, with a loved on and not having the phones out, the power of the connection you have by being disconnected will drive your mind better than any level of caffeine ever could.

R & R these days seem to have taken on this ugly sort of ideal, that is something that should be done minimally before returning to the grind that is life. “Life is hard, life is difficult and if you ever want to get anywhere, you better be ready to give it all up for it!”

This is work. Nobody wants to work, i don’t think. We need financial stability to survive in modern society, so accept this employment hierarchy is something we have to be a part of in order to carry on the way we are. From the outside in, people like Elon Musk spend and have spent most of their adult lives working . This is the other aspect of life we often misunderstand- enjoyment.

It’s hard to enjoy anything anymore, for fear of ridicule, for not fitting in, for being called out, cancelled or just hated. But to use Elon Musk again as an example, the man loves what he spends his time doing. The impact of his work is having a positive impact on his life. This is him trying to leave a legacy, a mark on this ever changing world, something i have no doubt he will achieve ten times over. Why? He works hard, takes R & R and loves so much all of what he does.

It’s so important to rest, to press pause on the world for a while. To sleep in, to go for brunch and spend all day watching movies, when the only thing on the agenda for the day is nothing at all. I believe this with all my heart. The brain is a muscle and if you overwork it- it gets tired, just like any other muscle in your body. You have to get through these periods and they have to happen, but you have to rest to find your strength, to find your balance once again. It will reignite your love for what you’re doing and wanting to do, remind of you what you want and who you want to be.

Nobody is saying stop working. All i’m saying is to take a day and remember why you started.

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x

The Smell of You

Good afternoon ladies and gentleman

What is it that triggers memories? What thing causes you to disappear into the depths of your unconsciousness, to a memory you may not have replayed for years. Yet- there you are. Front and centre in the most unique, wonderfully awful, gut wrenchingly embarrassing moment from your past. Tears form in the corner of your eyes as you grimace or pull a curt half smile as you remember the laugh that person you were with let go. Then you remember, no matter how embarrassed or cringeworthy that memory is, you wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

That smorgasbord of powerful feelings and emotions are all born from something, from the battle for control of your emotions. No matter the level of control you’re trying to wrangle- like a bull and its rider, the only inevitability is hitting the hard cold sand of the ring floor.

The majority of us possess 5 basic senses. Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste and Smell. These senses are the key for us finding our way in the world and understanding what we are doing as we go. Its this understanding, beyond basic unconscious reflexes that have allowed us to evolve into the semi-conscious beings that walk the earth today. All of them have their qualities, but all in their own way illicit memories.

Memories of a great meal can be bought back with the taste of a similar food, the touch of silk remind you of a beautiful dress you once wore to the ball, a song remind you of a great gig that etched itself onto a corner of your mind, the sight of a long brunette mane shocking your system into thinking your past had finally caught up with you and then there is smell.

Smell, I believe is the same- but different. The other senses will undeniably powerful, but very instantaneous in the reactions they cause. See something, remember it. Taste, Touch, whatever. Smell is as powerful, but more. You could catch the smallest smell of perfume on someone as you wander through a crowd, the lightbulb flickers as if the dragon of familiarity had stirred, but is yet to be woken.

It can get at you, the smallest smell. Minutes, hours, days can pass with this problem wittering at your brain, trying to remember why you know that smell and without knowing why it seems to affect you so much. Then, in the most random of moments, when you least expect it- you are overcome by a confused sadness and realise where that smell had come from. The aroma of a past happiness, a past love.

The Smell of You.

In my experience, smell brings about the most powerful memories. Flashbulbs of powerful familiarity, fleeting moments of happiness combined with sadness of where it all went wrong. You know, I know, we all know that bad things need to happen for us to appreciate how good the good things are. This applies with happy and sad moments just as much for without sadness, happiness would be a dream, nothing more than an idea of a feeling, much like the idea of love being much more appealing than love itself.

I think we are very easy to dismiss these feelings that are created by our senses, in particular by smell. Its as if we have developed this need in society to constantly be re-inventing oneself, convinced this “next” version will be the one that gets to be happy. Its these memories of pain, of love loved and love lost we work so hard to forget, to move on from and pretend it never happened. We can’t bare to look back at that day, that moment, that memory. A smell, an odour, an aroma has the power to sit on the very surface of your mind and make you feel so much of what you’ve lost because when you first experienced that moment you hoped it would last forever.

They don’t though. They never do- maybe that’s why we avoid creating those memories. If you don’t ever have those moments you wish to last forever then you never have to deal with it all flooding back. What if that wasn’t the idea of that smell though, the idea of the taste of that food or the touch of that silk. What if that smell, that positively confusing, terrifying moment when that powerful odour wafts up your nostrils and them memories come back to you in a tsunami of painful inevitability. “It’s going to hurt and the idea of smiling is not going to be possible for a while. “

Yet, without realising, they do make you smile. Those memories of lying across from someone as they stir to a smile, laughing so hard tears are streaming down your face, that meal that blew you away, the sunset you watched as you walked down the pier. We focus so badly on avoiding pain and all the memories that come with it- but no memory really causes you pain. You cause you pain.

Be proud of how far you’ve come and never wish to go back to the past. Nothing lasts forever, so be so in the moment at times of outstanding happiness that feel like they will never end. Perfection is a dream chased by people who don’t understand how beautiful it is to be flawed and forget that imperfection should be revelled in and never feared. Your senses remind you of a time long gone and be happy they are gone but be happy that you were there too. Memories give you the means to create the person you want to be, so don’t hide from them. Let them hurt and let yourself enjoy that moment.

That small fleeting moment, in a cold winter, trudging to the train station, leaves underfoot and the smell of autumn in the air.

The smell, that unmistakable smell, and remember a time

A time that was truly outstanding.

And smile. Maybe only for a second, but for that second you were so very proud of you.

Yours, with love as always.

D.R x