Someone once said to me, I had a path…

I must’ve been fifteen or sixteen, my brothers girlfriend came around with him bringing a friend. This woman unknown to all the family, came in the house, stood in the hallway for two minutes, promptly started hyperventilating and walked out the front door.

I looked at my brother, my mother at me, to my father, back to me and then we all stared at my brother with a look of wonderment and shock. Who on earth was this and what was she doing in our house. Finally he proceeded to tell the tale of how once he had said, his partners friend, a psychic, yes you heard me right, wanted  to come round, read us all and remove the evil she believed lived in our house.

I could hardly contain my laughter at the ridiculousness of the situation. How could anyone perceive that our house was evil, or we were, because after all, we live in it and I wax pretty sure no one was hiding in the garage, attic or back of the loft space. We asked him what had been said and it would appear nothing, she knew not our names, our jobs, what we did, our ages, education or any minor detail of our life.

It sounded a bit far fetched, otherwise why would she want to come around if she knew nothing but yet, felt an evil then from my brother? He’d always been a  bit of a one but not evil, he hid my teddy as a child, he would tease and torment with friends, but evil, that was a stretch…

So she returned, taking a seat in our small study at the front of the house and demanded my father go first. she asked us not to ask questions or discuss so in and out we all went, silently, giving each other odd looks on passing and not really wanting to say or do anything to upset whatever it was we would be upsetting by conversing, her, probably. I sat and watched my friend have a reading, she talked of the usual, her life was good, what she was to e, what she had been, how her life was panning out, her good soul, good heart, all the stuff you’d expect. When she finished, she ushered the girl out of the room and turned to me.

My turn. I moved over and took her seat, she eyed me for what seems like an eternity before asking me, ‘why?’ I stare quite blankly, not knowing if I have missed something, zoned out or what not, had a I telepathically relayed to her how ridiculous this all seemed? Not a believer but not not believing the situation seemed bizarre to me.

‘Why’, she repeated again. I asked, ‘why, did I want a reading? Why, why what?’ Before she smiled, ‘why destroy yourself so?’ It struck me as an odd thing to say, and before I had time to comment she held my hands and said ‘shh’ before continuing. ‘You are torturing yourself, tormenting yourself for a life you cannot understand for ills that have been done to you and yet you blame yourself, you are choosing this path, this destruction, soon it will destroy you, you’ll stay on it as long as you feel until, well, until you fall off it or you never recover.’

I stared at her blankly, what an earth was she getting at… she changed tact. ‘You’re an old soul although you knew that, because you knew things beyond your years, things you couldn’t understand, you have a knowledge of life, a perception unknown to people of your age and yet you are so young, you know what I’m saying to you, hear me, hear me in your soul, let yourself forgive yourself, forgive your tormentors and move on, don’t destroy yourself. You have much good, much intelligence but your are mad, mad with grief, with anger, with something you cannot understand. let it go.’

With that she proceeded to fall into silence, holding my hands and humming. I have never in my life felt so ill at ease in my own home and confused. Yes so I was a little mature for my age, did that mean I was reborn into this body… yes I was a little crazed and somewhat depressed but, mad, clinically and incurably mad? And as for this path, well I had no idea I was on a path, yet now even if I am and it will destroy me, how on earth will I get off?

With that she let go of my hands, shook her head, said be careful child and ushered me out of the room. This experience has perplexed me for many years and somewhat confused me as a person who prides themselves on deep thinking and understanding, and if I don’t making sure I research it till I do.

The idea that our life is somehow preplanned by a past we can not remember nor recollect, nor understand or be influenced by in anything but a subliminal level, not only scares me but upsets me greatly. surely we are in control of our own lives, how can we be the same person as was someone else, a maid in a rich house in Victorian England, a washer woman in Georgian London, a teacher in the stuarts… How was that possible. I had a Buddhist understanding of reincarnation but in the western world, it seemed unknown, unheard of and completely unrelated to me.

I have as I said been confused by this ever since, yet it has not changed my life nor my opinions, or I think altered the route I have taken. I wish I could now, some seven years on, see if I was off my path of destruction, if I’d managed to jump onto my ‘path of enlightenment  and fulfil my role in this life’. My reason for relating all of this is simply, it interests me and perplexes me. I do not believe it, and yet I know nothing of the world that she supposedly inhibits so therefore, how can I really comment.

The idea of life being predictable, predestined and pre-written in my opinion, takes away all that life is, a journey of possibilities, of endless choices and routes that we can take. We write our own future as we do our past, we choose what profession, what educational route, who we love, who we meet, make friends with, keep, how we interact with people, whether we have a change of heart, career, whether we have a mid-life crisis. Its all up to us to some degree, its our life, its our choice. That for me is what makes life so much fun, so interesting, the endlessness of possibilities and promises, of experience and understanding.

As for my path of destruction, well yes I’ve had a rough few years for a youngster, but I’m also infinitely proud of them, for I came through the other end, with I hope the same grace I entered in with, with a bit more experience and a fuller open heart for the real things in life. So, if that was my path, to be tested and pass, well in my opinion I have.

I cant understand palmists, tarot readers, psychics, all of the other world, the supernatural, as for me, its beyond my world of comprehension. Whatever life is, however it plays out, whatever lies beneath this surface of reality and life as we understand it, if anything beyond darkness and rotting and rest, well, I hope I maintain the feeling of freedom, the same mind set, the impression of having a choice, for if not, what is the point but to trudge along mindlessly, and what a dismal world that would be.

So I say as I always do, lets find our own paths, lets carve our own route through the world, and our lives, lets choose to be the best people we can be, to have the most impact on the world and others for the positive, lets be all that we can be and lets leave the unknown to rest.

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It’s all possible until proven otherwise…

Now, I’m not the religious type at all. I’m not a woman of faith at all. I don’t believe in ghosts or ghouls or things that go boo in the night, I don’t believe in a higher power, or a man in the clouds, in anything but emptiness and darkness after death. I don’t believe in our paths being ready laid, or in an underlying guiding force… Or do I.

See, I’m an Agnostic and a realist. I don’t believe in anything, and I don’t not believe it either, simply because, we cannot ever know. I believe in that for sure. It cannot be proven, there is a large gap between faith, belief and knowledge that cannot and will not be proven. Unless a Deity came down from the heavens and showed us all the truth in some fashion, how can we know? We don’t/can’t come back from the, and tell everyone the truth, we can’t disbelieve anything is accurate until its proven wrong.

I think its my background of questioning. I was a child full of questions, of whys, and if’s, and buts… I was never satisfied with an answer if I could ask another question, The sentence, “because it is” never really worked with me either. Some people like to tell me it’s a get out clause for having no opinion, and it may seem that way but really, no its more complicated than that.

I am interested in everything, religion, theology, philosophy, psychology, sociology… A lot of the “ology’s” but its my English background. I like getting under the skin of things ad looking at things from different perspectives.

  • We can’t understand why people act as they do or how things come about such as large sociological movements because some things happen almost without provocation or reason, seemingly on a whim.
  • We can’t understand why people do things they do because, we’ll never understand the human brain and its function, mainly because we can’t access the  whole of our brain capacity in the first place. We’re self restrictive.
  • We can’t answer life’s big questions, with science or religion, because we can’t find and don’t have the answers, or the capability of proving or disproving things right or wrong.

I do have an opinion, on everything I’ve come across in my life. Its my job as a training academic (supposedly) to formulate opinions. My opinions fall on my realistic outlook – to me there isn’t a god or one religion that’s right or wrong, they are all systems of belief used as sociological control. There is no such thing as the afterlife and purgatory or parallel universes or dimensions. This isn’t to say that I am not interested in them or respectful either. I find it fascinating how people believe, what they believe in with little truth or fact. How we can be educated to believe and therefore we don;t know any different. How people find faith in times of mourning, when it would seem the most unlikely time. How belief comforts and carries, cares for people throughout their lives…But there are two things I do “believe” as loosely as I will ever believe in anything. (But they can wait for another post…)

It’s not so much a belief, it’s a feeling and like everything, I can’t understand it, can’t prove it, but unlike some people who would ignore it and discard it for that reason alone, I am utterly fascinated with the idea and implications of it, much like those above. For me its all possible, impossible and (im)probable all at the same time.

For me to think any other way is, close minded, ignorant and stubborn. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and as a fan of debating and discussing things, I would dislike a world where we all sat on the fence with a leg dangling both sides – yet to me, there is no other stand point. Formulate an opinion, yes, but do not be so narrow-minded as to think that. that is the only option, the only explanation and justification for said topic.

To live life like that, with that perspective means life is full of endless possibilities, and things we will not understand. For someone who likes learning that almost annoying to comprehend and yet, comforting. If you could know the answers to everything would you want to know? To find out there was nothing, no possibility, to never believe or have faith, to never have the chance to say, “Yes but what if…” ever again. I wouldn’t want to know. There is freedom in ignorance as there is in knowledge. It is not living life as an optimist, more as a realist.

Realistically I can’t say either way, I can’t certifiably answer any of those sorts of questions without an air of poetic license or personal opinion. (Realistically I can have an answer that the reality of a man sitting in the clouds is highly unlikely, at the furthest end of unlikely on the cusp of impossible), but what that does do is open up a world that is forever is never understandable and in that, there is hope, there is belief, and there is optimism. If we had all the answers, a term like optimism couldn’t exist, because things would be the way they were, without dispute – ever. How utterly depressing and unfathomable.

I like living in a world I can endlessly question, to go around and round in circles and never come to any sort of conclusion or answer – ever; A world of free choice, free interpretation and a life full of endless possibilities –  just the way I like it.

If we ever needed encouragement…

We all have days, days when we want to give up, days when we can’t see any point, days when we take yet another knock and think, is it all worth it? It doesn’t matter if it’s at work, if its home life, it’s a hobby, or an interest. Whether its something we’ve just started like that new gym regime, or something we’ve been doing for ages – trying to see ourselves better. Some days it’s a little bit too much effort.

Well, if there ever was a story to inspire, it comes once again in my beloved Mr Murray, who after his Wimbledon defeat, myself and the English Nation poured their hearts out for. A dream whipped away by the greatest man in tennis. We all said, how do you bounce back? How can you overcome something that took so much emotional strength from you, and so much passion to reach in the first place.

By winning, in straight 3 sets, 28 days later, beating the same man, on the same court, and take home a gold medal. It was never going to be an easy task but a glimmer of hope, a window of opportunity opened  and Andy took it. Maybe it was a grudge match, made it was revenge, maybe it was to prove himself but prove he did. The same emotional, shaky and unsure Andy had disappeared. A new man stood in front of us all.

Calm, collected, full of composure and relaxed. He played the best tennis of his life, he threaded the needle down the line more times than we’d ever seen, his shots were sublime, his speed and reaction as fast as ever, and Federer looked, well tired. It’s not to say that he wasn’t, that he wasn’t himself having an off day, but Murray took advantage.

He showed that in loss there is not defeat. That with hard work, with self belief and courage, you can bounce back and achieve whatever you wish. He won, the biggest match of his life, in perfect form and made us all realise, we need not give up on our dreams.

Rutherford, who went on to win a gold medal in the long jump, after defeat in Beijing, nearly gave up, nearly quit his sport and retired for good. How he would have kicked himself. He wouldn’t have realised his potential, wouldn’t have realised his dreams, and accepted his place as Olympic Champion. It would have been easier, to accept and to give up, but with more time, harder work, and the same support – just shows what can be achieved.

We need not give up on things we feel passionate about, when the boat gets rocked and a storm brews, when life seems to throw hurdle and hail storm, it may knock you down but it wont break you. For me, it was another time to realise that despite life’s woes there are so many things to be happy about, so much to look forward to, so much to strive for – so much more to achieve.

We’ll all have our break, it might not be in sporting history in front of 15,000 people, but we all have our moments, our chance to shine, our spotlights, surrounded by our fans – our families, our friends, our partners – ready to celebrate with us. Whatever your back breaker is, lets not give up just yet, because in a months time, your life could have changed completely.

We’re all to critical, we’re complex creatures.

We are all culprits of the self-critical. How hard to we push ourselves, work ourselves, how self analytical. As people we are so eager to focus on our own faults, to draw attention to the times we do things wrong, get it wrong, make a bad decision. We obsess about our negative qualities, the place about ourselves we don’t like, the worst parts of us.

None of us are terrible, we aren’t murderers, we haven’t committed any great crime, we haven’t truly hurt someone beyond repair, and yet we act as though we have. We beat ourselves up, riddle ourselves with guilt, of shame over the silliest things.

Sometimes things go wrong. Relationships don’t work, despite how every much work and effort we put in. Sometimes situations don’t go quite right, despite the best of intentions, situations or our comments, our actions are taken the wrong way. We cannot predict how people will take anything we do or say, and yet we take it to heart when someone  doesn’t understand what we meant, what we were trying to do. We don’t take the time to say, we didn’t mean it like that, we explain and yet we still take it personally, as though we really did mean for things to go badly.

How many times do we accept a compliment. This may just be me, but I’m not one for self praise. If someone gives me a compliment, it’s normally followed by a quick thought of, what’s their intention, what do they want, what are they trying to get… How ridiculous a way of thinking. Maybe they just, wanted to make you feel good, maybe they just said it because they were thinking it, with no thought or provocation, just a simple comment. Why don’t we just accept our good qualities, focus on them, say thank you and receive praise gracefully.

Why do we have to be so self-critical. I have made a point of being positive, of accepting that we aren’t going to get on with everyone, not everyone is going to understand our point of view, or even like it. That we can’t change, so believe in your own beliefs, your intention, your heart. Accept yourself for all its qualities good and bad.

I am no perfect individual, I make mistakes. I’m quick to write people off for not being my sort of people, to stop putting effort in when others aren’t putting the same back – that doesn’t make me a bad person, that s just a part of me. I make an effort to be different, to acknowledge this, and to try to change. But I don’t think I’m a bad person for it, I don’t beat myself up, I accept that I have high expectations of friends and that people aren’t perfect, people fall short of them.

I’ve made mistakes. I’m screwed up good relationships, given up, been focused on the negatives, been to slow to forgive. Its human nature, we’re hurt, we’re upset, we can’t see the trees from the wood. But we should. We should take the time to understand ourselves, the way we work, the way we think, why we act certain ways.

We should all strive to be the best person we can, but we shouldn’t be too harsh. We are after all only human, we’re a flawed species to start with. We are overly emotional, or not emotional enough, we’re quick to judge, to pass comment, to jump to conclusions or assumptions. Why not just accept it and try to acknowledge when we’re doing so, but not be hating ourselves because of it.

I welcome my flaws, it makes me human, it makes me a rounded individual. My mistakes have given me lessons, experience, I wouldn’t change anything because of it. I’ve been wrapped up in my own life and own problems when I shouldn’t have been, I’ve been overly harsh when I needn’t have been, but guess what. I’ve learnt. I’ve grown, I’ve become a fuller person because of it so I’m going to suggest…

We give ourselves a break. Love ourselves, take the time to think about ourselves. We’re all good people deep down, trying to muddle through life as we can, find the right path, our way through a world of inconsistency, problems and drama. To be loved and accepted we must love ourselves, our whole selves. Believe in you. Love you.  Strive to be the best you, you can and then… Well regardless of outcome situation, you can never disappoint yourself. Let alone anyone else.

I’m a person and I love myself, in the most non arrogant, not overly confident or self-assured way possible. Lets all do the same.

Have heart, Live for your Dream.

Never before have I felt compassion and genuine heartbroken sympathy for another individual like I did on the last stroke of this years Wimbledon. It’s not the loss of the nation, him letting us down or anything like that… To see a man, whose dreams, childhood dream is smashed away from him, when he tried so hard – is devastating.

We all have dreams, things we’d like to accomplish, some we give up on, some we can’t complete, some change… To be so close and to have done your best, must be so difficult. As I said the other day, I am overjoyed, proud and overwhelmed that he made it there, that he beat him in the first set, that he gave it his all. I just know, as was clear on his face, that for him, he feels like he’s let himself down, like his worlds crumbled in a few short hours.

Yesterday a dream came true for Marray and Nielsen, two men, not even meant to play in the doubles, let alone become champions, and in the same weekend, anothers is put on hold for another year. Everyone has a time, everyone has a goal, maybe this year it wasn’t meant to be, maybe Federer was just, to on form, maybe there was too much expectation… But we know someday, he’ll make it. Never have I seen a player more deserving than he. Never have I seen an individual want something so much, so clearly.

I have but a final thought, and the true reason behind an overly emotional (blame the time of the month)  post. Never give up on your dreams. Whatever your set backs, whatever obstacles are put in your way, always believe. Always have faith. You will succeed, with passion, determination and heart. For me Andy is today’s hero and my tennis star. Our true nations winner of today. For compassion, for determination, for composure, for grace and humility in defeat.

If we all had the same passion and emotion to everything we did in life, and believed in ourselves that much, the world would be a richer place.