A Very Personal Day

abigail-keenan-61946

As I’m getting ready to welcome a new day, I have a vision of an untouched stretch of immaculate snowy terrain. All I have to do is gear up, start walking and enjoy whatever lies ahead.

But as I start moving, one of my feet sinks too deep and I lose balance. I fall, face flat, unable to breathe for a while. I compose myself and continue, but it’s not long before the snow starts melting before me and a totally different landscape appears. The ground is filled with large, chunky, rusty scraps of everything. Before long, what I thought would be a perfect day, becomes an obstacle race and I can barely catch my breath to get to the end.

For a moment, I stop and consider whether I should just turn back. After all, it’s all but fair that I should be misled to think it would be easy, that my day would just be a walk in a snowy fairyland. And who left all that crap there anyway? People should just clean up after themselves.

It doesn’t take me long to realise there’s no one else around. That junk that’s getting in my way all the time hasn’t been placed there by someone else. It’s a form of long-forgotten residue that has a particular signature – my own.

Very few things we encounter throughout a day that affect us deeply have to do with those around us. We walk our hero’s journey throughout an ordinary day in a uniquely envisioned space that we create and recreate within the boundaries of our own perception. When we encounter daily obstacles, instead of dreading the mishap, we can ask ourselves what have we to learn from the diversion.

We naturally tend to blame anyone but ourselves for everything that displeases or impacts us in an undesired way. With a small tweak in our perception, we can turn our point of awareness within ourselves, into the incredible inner landscape from which all outside reality is reflected. If we are able to learn how to navigate that personal maze and learn to understand ourselves deeply, our extrinsic environment will have no real power over us and will be much easier to cruise through.

Photo by Abigail Keenan

Small Dreams

david-marcu-45275

We dream big and we dream small. Big dreams push us forward, alluring, tempting, always out of reach, but surely there – winking, waving, smiling at us.

Small dreams make up our day to day lives. Enjoying that long-awaited conversation with your best friend, your cuddly bed on a dire morning, an unexpected raise, a good book, a breather…

I was a big dream addict and, in all honesty, all my big dreams came true. But there was a cost to pay. The cost was time. Every single big dream of mine took literally years to become a part of my reality. Many times, I talk about “cooking”. It’s still cooking, give it a while.

Looking back, that longing for the big dream was painful. You want it, you can’t have it now and all the wisdom in the world doesn’t lessen the itching wait. This crude longing for what we don’t have yet is a constant that not even age can tame. Yet, time did teach me something about the amount of focus I entertain my big and small dreams with.

Nowadays, with less energy to spread in all directions, I’m being calculative with how much time I spend dreaming big. What takes priority is what I am experiencing right now. The minor things I love come first. Once I’m in the middle of doing something seemingly insignificant, I’m happy. All the rest can wait. Gratitude? Necessity? It’s somewhere along those lines.

If you’re feeling like you’re racing with yourself and with life most of the time, I hope to inspire you to take a breather and observe what small joys you’re experiencing on a day to day basis. Stick with them and see what gifts they bring. Big dreams are always there, but it’s the small ones that can add value and meaning to being alive, awake, joyful.

Photo by David Marcu

Raw Conversations

matthew-henry-86779

Authenticity is a word that is easily thrown around these days. When I first discovered this concept quite a while back, I got very excited and started a quest of finding what it meant to me. Although there’s always more to discover, I’m pretty content with the results of my searches and feel like being myself whenever, wherever is not an issue anymore.

Together with a desire to save appearances, I lost interest in having dry conversations just to fill the quiet space. I gained more room for listening and, even when I wasn’t, I could still hear more than I expected. Beyond every conversation lies a deeper one that talks about existential life issues. Often, there is a big question lurking in the background. It surfaces in different ways in the things we say and how we say them.

It’s sometimes a challenge to attend the spectacle of appearances where we say things without really saying them, draw a lipstick smile to cover up a grimace or speak incessantly and loudly weaving our hands as if to chase away anything too raw. There is a right time for all of us to go deeper and get real with our fears and desires, it’s not about how long it takes. However, being authentic can begin with small steps and what better place to start than casual social contexts.

It’s okay not to smile, it’s okay not to talk all the time, it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. As long as you are real to your moment, to your journey, to your deep fears and secret joys, that will transpire and a whole new type of conversation may arise.

Authenticity is an overused word nowadays. But the strong urge behind it is more necessary than ever. What’s the use of pleasantries when we’re bleeding inside? A happier, truer life awaits not in fixing everything that seems broken, but in accepting and being open about who we are, what hurts us and what we secretly long for.

Photo by Matthew Henry.