Realisations pt 1

So here I start my three part rant about what life has taught me during my brief absence from blogging. The things I have learned about life; big and small.

Correlation does not mean Causation
Let me ask a question: If something looks like sweater, feels like a sweater, is it a sweater? ( I know this is probably a really bad analogy, but stick with me I have a point... somewhere). Just because a situation brings back haunting images of deja vu, does that mean the outcome will be the same. In the last couple weeks I have been guilty of judging a situation mainly by how it looked and felt so similar to something in my past. I was so myself up for the same response only to find that the outcome was totally different.

I felt so bad about judging prior to the outcome of the situation that I bemoaned myself for comparing. After some thought however ( and a talk to a close friend) I realized that I was falling to common human nature. In fact, without this ability we would not be able to avoid harmful situations. We as a species figured out what we could eat simply by eating everything. If the outcome was less than favourable ( pain, discomfort or death) we would know that that particular food was not really food. Everything about it was studied: shape, size, colour; even the attributes of the tree it grows on ( if it was a fruit). This information was then passed on through the generations to avoid eating anything that looked like it.

Similarly, when we are hurt, by someone's actions or words they are forever burnt in our minds so that if the situation which fits the past one comes up, we are ready and able to protect ourselves. This is not always a good thing. In my case, it meant that the person felt judged according not to their own merit but according to the past. This causes great instability, mistrust and most of all resentment. So how do we get out of this ingrained human habit? Time and patience. That is the only thing that can help. You need time to adjust to the new situation and for your body and mind to realize that even though some of the situations that may come along will look the same and feel the same, they may not end the same. So, until further notice you must give the person the benefit of the doubt. In a later case, another situation popped up which felt and looked like one from my past. However, as it happened, it occurred exactly how it did in the past. So the question begs to be asked: Should we really fight human nature? I'll leave that one for you to debate.


Benin and sellin'

In the last few months I was unable to write here, a lot has happened. This first post will focus solely on what has happened in the world of work ( names and places changed to protect myself and only myself).

During the last few months I've really had my nose tot he grindstone so to speak. There are a lot of issues that have been popping up at work that have caused me to put more of my effort in to those eight hours than anything else. But it has slowly been appearing to me that maybe this was not the best idea at all. For the rewards, I've hoped to reap have eluded me. Instead of seeing my glowing work ethic, I have been pushed around and bemoaned for minor things, have been asked to do things that have put my health at risk and been seen as a potential "trouble maker" when at one point I opened my mouth to say what I felt.

Lesson #1: Sometimes you don't always get what you want. However you do get what you need.

This culminated this week, when I realized that through no fault of my own, the powers at be saw it fit to inform me that they themselves had not realized that I was ready for a new phase. This caused me to inquire about why they believed I was not ready. The response was... It was a simple oversight. Of course this answer did not appease me but I let it go. Simply because i knew at that point that there was nothing I could do at that time.

Lesson # 2: Pick your battles wisely. Some of them you cannot afford to lose.

Now I sit, simply ruminating on the events of the last two months, trying not to let apathy take a foothold. I cannot allow these events to change the person I am , or to get me down any longer. Because if I did... I would not have anyone to blame for it but myself. If I allow it to take hold, pretty soon, I'd be looking for work.

Lesson # 3: Apathy is the not only the destroyer of hope, it is the destroyer of morality and common sense.

I have also realized that you do not and cannot derive your happiness from work. Even if you do enjoy what you do for a living at some point something will annoy you ( workmates, higher ups, the work environment). Yes it will make up at the very least 1/3 of your adult life. So it means that you must make that 1/3 of your life ( because we all waste 1/3 on sleep) that you are not at work the best time you can have. Spend it with your family and friends, those whom you love and love you.

Lesson # 4: Live your life, but make the time outside work really work for you. Quality beats quantity every time.

And don't let work get you down, at the end of it all, if you cannot do the job, they will have no problem finding someone who will.


Self- acceptance.... or something like it

As stated in earlier posts, last year I embarked on the life long journey of self-improvement. The first step (as it should always be) was to take a long look in the mirror and ask " Where am I and where do I want to be? What do I want?" During this time, other questions come up. " How did i get this way? When did this happen?" These questions are usually very hard to answer (usually having no clear answer) and get in the way of the actual goal; creating a foundation, a start point to begin your journey. The worst thing that you can do to yourself at this point is try to justify why you are where you are. Justification does nothing to help your goal. In fact, it holds you back because in the back of your mind you will always think: " Is that the real reason why?". Another question that will be difficult to answer.

The first thing that needs to happen... is for you to stand in front of a mirror and take a good look at yourself. Do not lie or justify any flaw be it physical or otherwise that you might have. Take good stock of the good and the bad within you, for we all have good and bad. Understand that the process you are about to start will be life long and full of ups and downs. Be determined that no matter what, you will not deviate from the path, become complacent in your laurels or worst of all give up. While looking in the mirror, smile. You've just accepted yourself.


Unequal Exchange ( Karma part two)

I remember what an old friend of mine said to me: " Cat luck ain't dog luck!" . It's an old Barbadian saying meaning: what works for one person, may not work for you. This was in response to a conversation we were having where we were equating the situations between myself and another person. She was warning me that at the end of the day what worked for them might not work as well for me so it may be best to remove myself from the situation. While I do agree with her, it brings me back to my definition of karma. Given my definition it should be possible to achieve the same success as given the same situation using the same technique. This however is not as straightforward as situations solely involving oneself. From the time other people are involved. Things get messy. The words of other people become the biggest obstacle you have to face.

It is said that the power of life and death are held within the tongue. And its true ( even to that extreme). If you accept the negative rantings of other people, slowly they will take seed in your mind and bear fruit. "You'll never get that job." , "You're not good enough for him/her." ; These common place phrases that even some of our "friends" use do detriment to our hopes and dreams, shortchanging us for something unequal in value: Failure for success.

To defeat this negative attitude, there are two methods that I have found to be successful. Both are based on my view of

1) Simply refuse to accept that person's words. Say it out loud if you have to. As much as possible do not let your mind rest on the negativity that has just entered your life. Reaffirm your belief that you will attain your goal.

2) On the other hand you can try to attain your goal by reinforcing it through a new definition. "I will prove them wrong. My ability and potential are greater than even I can imagine." It might seem childish to base the success on trying to prove someone wrong. But sometimes, our most childish emotions and reasonings are the most powerful. Why not use it for something good?

Growing Pains

Have you every looked back and realised how far you are from the person you were, then only to realise that some parts of you are still the same? There are somethings that we all should keep; those altruistic properties that we all have within us. The traits I speak of are not of those ilk. There are the niggling bad habits and attitudes that seem to stick to us so well, we even forget that they are there, waiting for their chance to pull you down. Today, I talked to an old friend of mine. She was always a so called "sage" to me. She's not much older than me in terms of age, but much older than me in terms of life. She reminded me of an old habit I have that in the long run could cause me major problems in my life. This time she used a perfect example of how this trait could not only damage me in the future, but how it could be damaging me right now.

As soon as she spoke of it, my heart sunk. It was something i had forgotten to pick up and throw away on my quest to live up to my potential; A link from my past that had yet to be broken. Then I realised that I should not beat myself up for the mistake I made. I reminded myself of something I had read a while back: " The road to self-improvement never ends." I had become so happy with the place that I was currently at, that I had forgotten that I was no where near finished with my task. In fact, it is a task that will never be finished. The flame of inspiration lit within me again. So as i sit writing this post a new quote comes to mind. " Growing pains are the signs of unfinished business. " Thank you "sage."


Lost opportunites

Saturday was a day of great frustration; at least in terms of my musical career. For the last three months I have been spending large amounts of my time, energy and money into trying to improve my craft as a musician, by expanding on my knowledge of performance through several exercises. The culmination of this "workshop" was a showcase, where the members who have participated would display the numerous talents that they would have learned. However, for the last two weeks, various members of the workshop group have been 'benin' ( For the definition of this word see this blog post by a friend/mentor of mine )and as such have not been attending practice as other 'dedicated' members have been. I in particular find it a very strange occurrence given a conversation members of this workshop had a couple weeks ago ( outlined in the linked post above). After talking about those people who spurned the opportunity to take part in this workshop, only to ruminate on the missed opportunity later, these members now not only destroy the opportunity for themselves, but eliminate the opportunity of the others in the workshop to showcase their talent. For me especially it is a difficult blow to take because this workshop for me was an opportunity to expound and realise my potential. Somehow some people didn't think their participation in the final stages of the program were needed. That they could show up on the last day and because we need the numbers they would be included. However, it will be my sorrowful duty to inform them that the dedicated members of this workshop will not reduce themselves to such mediocre standards.
P.S I spoke one of the the people who were benin at a show we were both attending. She seemed ever so sad and disappointed about not being able to sing, although she has not been present for two straight weeks. It took all of my neighbourly good will nature not to reduce myself to behaviour not befitting someone of my potential. " A chain is only as strong as its weakest link." Too bad we were unable to chop the bad ones before the chain broke.


My view on Karma

Karma according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the force generated by a person's actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person's next existence. In lay men's terms: What you do ... will come back to you. Throughout my life I have heard this phrase and thought; Is it really true? Having asked many people, the usual answer would be: "You cannot expect the person's fall to happen in your time. God [ or another being such as fate] will work in its own time. Every time I heard that answer I cringed. By nature I'm not a vengeful person, but, by the same token I am not a saint. Some part of me thought that something was flawed with the way most of the world thought about karma. In the last couple of months I have been doing some serious self development which caused me to take a serious look at my philosophies on life. While doing some research, I came across and interesting passage. In essence, the passage said that we control our karma not with our actions, but with our thoughts. That's right, think bad thoughts about yourself and your life and it will come to pass ... through you. As I read I realized that for so very long, I've been my worst enemy. I've been feeding myself bad thoughts about my life for ages and wondering why although I do good things , bad things keep happening. While I don't discount the old way, I do believe that our minds have the greatest impact on our karma. If you doubt me try this:

  • Sit down and relax yourself.
  • Think about all the situations you have control over in your life that you would like to change. Positively affirm ( out loud if you wish) that these situations will change for the better.
  • BELIEVE that things will change( This is important. Negative thoughts will only hamper the process).

My Karma has never been better.