Review: The Body Keeps the Score by B. van der Kolk

Review: The Body Keeps the Score by B. van der Kolk

A friend posted this book in her Instagram story, then in the same week it caught my attention at my therapist’s office. I can safely say it’s one of the most fascinating books I’ve read in a long time. Bessel van der Kolk has spent the last 30 years working with patients severely affected by trauma, mostly veterans or victims of sexual abuse in this book he outlines what he’s learned and how its informed and developed his practice.

“Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.” – Bessel van der Kolk

“As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know. That takes an enormous amount of courage.” – Bessel van der Kolk

After noting the way certain traumas were held in the body and finding tradition therapy had its limits he began trialing different methods in which to shift it, using more physical practices including theatre. The book is packed with enthralling anecdotes, brilliant facts, techniques for you to try at home, and is backed with just the right amount of science to not leave the average reader feeling bogged down or out of their depth.
That being said, considering its size, it did take me a month or so to get through as I was frequently left reflecting on what was being said.

I think one thing I found most fascinating was that “economists calculated that every dollar invested in high-quality home visitation, daycare, and preschool programs results in seven dollars of savings on welfare payments, health-care costs, substance abuse treatment, and incarceration, plus higher tax revenues due to better-paying jobs.”

“The greatest sources of our suffering are the lies we tell ourselves.” – Bessel van der Kolk

10 things I learned as a tradie

10 things I learned as a tradie

I completed my apprenticeship as a Marine Cabinetmaker (interiors for boats) at 21. My dad was a builder, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I always paid attention to details so it was the obvious option. I never much wanted to be a tradie, but now I’m grateful that I completed my time. It’s meant I was never not able to find work, no matter where I am. In the last 10+ years, even while I was at university, I worked in several different areas of the trade. From interiors for multi-million dollar boats to building commercial to residential buildings, to kitchens and furniture. I’ve been a tradie in NZ, Australia and the UK and thought I’d share a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way. 

1. If you have a weird feeling about something pay attention to it

How many times have you been on the saw and thought “mmmm I shouldn’t do this” done it anyway and made a mess of it, or yourself? I’ve literally seen people lose parts of their anatomy from ignoring this. If a niggly feeling says to approach something differently, whether it be the tool you use or the PPE (personal protective equipment) you’re wearing, maybe even tying up your hair or rolling up your sleeves, pay attention.

2. Keep a tidy work vehicle tidy

For some reason having a messy work truck is seen as something to be proud of amongst tradies. All it does is shows that you don’t take care of your possessions. It’s a valuable item, and just because its a tool, doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve care. From a holistic perspective, it shows you aren’t grateful for what you have. From a health perspective, tidiness is also proved to help lower stress as it reduces the clutter of the mind.
As a passenger its also nice to ride around in a clean vehicle. There is nothing worse than that stale odour of Redbull, soured chocolate milk and vinegary Maccas wrappers. And finally, maybe most importantly, if you’re picking up a date and they see the state of your truck, they are probably going to wonder if you have the same disregard for your personal hygiene and that of your bedroom…

3. Kick it in the guts

As a tradie there will always be something different to do, that’s one of the attractions. No one day is the same. Some times those jobs are shit, and we avoid them like the plague. The thing is, they will always be there and you’ll have to do them eventually. Get it done as soon as you can. I always aim to get them out of the way just before lunch, so I can wash up, or before the end of the day, so I don’t start the day off with a job I don’t want to do. This also goes for anyone currently doing their apprenticeship. Hit it hard, get it done as fast as you can, even if its just to get that pay increase.

4. Music sets the mood

This is something I’ve only started doing recently. I used to get in my car in the morning and wind up the drum and bass or listen to the latest episode of Joe Rogan. Now I’ve taken to listening to chill music to ease me into the morning and allow my mind time to swing into gear. 
You’ll also notice the effect music can have on a job site too. The right music can get people smiling and joking, and the wrong can just fuel frustration when things don’t go well or make the day drag. On the topic of easing the mind, I also meditate first thing each morning before work. You’d be surprised the effect it can have later in the day. On the days I do, it takes far more for me to react to a situation.

5. A tradesman is measured by their mistakes

I have made an unfathomable number of mistakes in my time, from gluing doors shut on boats at the marina to drilling through finished cabinetry, to cutting beams too short, but none of it matters if you are able to repair it. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you react and your ability to own it and fix it that is a true measure of your ability. From personal experience, if you do make a mistake, stop. Don’t rush to fixing it unless its obvious and easy, the number of times I made something way worse by not pausing, stepping back and evaluating the situation, or asking advice doesn’t bear thinking about.

6. If you f#ck up, own it

This was probably the first lesson I learned during my apprenticeship. And I learned the hard way, from a projectile piece of timber. Your boss/foreman/site manager is far less likely to fly off the rails if you own a mistake as soon as possible. They may still spit the dummy, but they are far less likely to lose it than if someone else tells them than they work it out themselves. It also shows you have guts, they may not thank you at the time, but they will probably respect you a lot more in the long run. It also feels good to stand up and take control of the situation knowing the cards are stacked against you.

7. Be nice to the young fellas

For me, this is probably one of the most important. They are the future of the trade. Just because you may have been treated like shit as an apprentice doesn’t make it right to pay it forward. It’s so much more enjoyable to chat to them about life, see what’s important to them, and teach them tips and tricks you’ve learned during your time. It also encourages them and makes them enjoy what they’re doing a little more. This benefits you too, as they are more likely to want to help.

This also extends to the shit jobs that you don’t want to do. There is nothing I respect more than someone further up the chain mucking in on the jobs no one wants to do. That’s a sign of a true leader.

8. Measure twice, cut once is an understatement

Measure as many times as you need to be certain you’re cutting to the right dimension. I’ve even driven back to the site to check something once more if I’m unsure. Its usually cheaper than replacing the, now useless, material.

9: Don’t be a stranger

Plain and simple really. Just a quick “g’day” is all it takes to break the ice. Tradies get a bit territorial about their sites, so its a sign of respect to acknowledge them as you enter their space, plus it’s just a nice thing to do.

10. Look after your body

Don’t be a hero, if it’s heavy, ask for help. Eat well. Drink plenty of water. Do some sort of exercise outside of your physical job. For me that’s yoga, walking and stretching. Take a look around, most of those old boys on site didn’t and now they are paying for it. I think the industry has improved a lot since I started. Tradies are gyming, choosing sushi over pies, water over V, putting down the ciggies and taking better care of themselves. When I first started, wearing PPE was seen as something you did if you were “soft”. Thankfully that’s a thing of the past. 

I’m sure I could go on, but this will do for now.
Let me know if you have any others to add

Embodied Emotion

Embodied Emotion

This morning I woke up at 4 am my mind already racing with nothing in particular. The familiar tightness in my chest that I’ve had for so long now that it feels normal. The only difference is the severity of the discomfort. The best way to describe this mornings was the feeling that I’m trying to breathe while someone is pressing on my chest. The sharp pain allows for shallow breathing at best. I find that when it’s at its worst I need to be especially conscious of the way I breathe as the added” weight” causes shallow breathing.

Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way. – Charles Bukowski

his morning there is an added delight, a slight nauseousness/discomfort at the pit of my stomach. I tried all the usual techniques, breathing into the discomfort, questioning it, sitting with it, but nothing seemed to help, so I end up going and grabbing my phone and scrolling for an hour or so. Yes, I know that’s the opposite of what I should have done, but hey, no one is perfect, and I was sick of my mind spinning through ridiculous scenarios.

I had the same sensations yesterday as I left work. A thick nausea at the bottom of my stomach. I’m aware these feelings don’t last forever but I’d really like to understand where it came from, and what caused it.

I know that it’s possible to live without it. After Ayahuasca the chest tightness completely left for a month or so. I’d never been able to breathe so freely but then it returned, seemingly here to stay. It leads me to believe that its psychosomatic, caused by unresolved emotion or thoughts and that there is potential for it to go, if even for short periods. It’s frustrating to be in a position where I am are aware my thoughts are playing a vital role in these physical manifestations in my body, especially when I spend so much of my time trying to understand them.

It leads me to wonder how many people never make these connections. Those with anxiety or challenging emotions, not seeing the responses in their bodies or maybe suppressing them, not wanting to acknowledge the effect they have. I think that I do the same. It feels like I am blocking myself from fully feeling into the discomfort no matter how much I try. In all honesty, I’m quite scared of the day when whatever it is finally making its way to the surface and I have to deal with it. All I can do is keep turning up, keep going to therapy, and allow myself to be as present with the sensations as my subconscious will allow. Frustrating, but from what I can see it’s the best I can do.

The largest part of what we call ‘personality’ is determined by how we’ve opted to defend ourselves against anxiety and sadness ― Alain de Botton

I was recently reminded of Søren Kierkegaard’s quote “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” I’m not sure I entirely believe it, but it’s a nice idea to help toward shifting the feeling of complete loss of what to do into one of excitement and anticipation for the future.

One thing that helped to ease the pressure in the short term was a walk and some good music. I spent an hour or so wandering the streets and admiring the houses along the way. It’s quite funny actually, I grew up here and until that walk, I’d never really appreciated the gardens, old cottages and 70s bungalows tucked away on the busy main road. I’d never notice them as I was always zooming back and forth by car or on a bike. I think walking is extremely underrated but maybe that’s a discussion for another time.

As I often tell my students, the two most important phrases in therapy, as in yoga, are “Notice that” and “What happens next?” Once you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts.” – Bessel A. van der Kolk

Ups and downs

Ups and downs

Last weekend I was feeling pretty down. I had just arrived at my friend’s house and was sitting in my car when I had the desire to write, weird I know, but I’ve learned to make the most of inspiration when it strikes. I was in one of those slumps where I just wanted to be left alone, but also not, if that makes sense.

I wrote the following:

There is a certain irony that I write this outside my friends’ house as I’m about to enter on this sunny Saturday day afternoon, but I guess the mind is a complex creation. The fact of the matter is I am incredibly lonely here in New Zealand. I do wonder if my memory plays tricks on me and that this has been the case in Sydney and London too. Sure there have been numerous occasions when I’ve felt a connection but right now that feels like a distant rose-tinted memory.

It’s difficult to move to a new city, and in a lot of ways, Auckland feels like a new city. People and places have changed, as have situations. I fantasise what it would have been like to be one of those people with a huge circle of friends, the type who can fill a whole bar, and I guess I am, unfortunately my community is scattered all across the globe.

It seems surreal to feel so isolated when I live in the most open country in the world right now, especially when so many of my oldest and closest friends live so close by.  It leaves me wondering if there is something wrong with me. I feel fine, healthy even. Just isolated and terrified that this is how I will always feel.  I’m not sure what the answer is. A relationship? no, maybe I’m just scared of not fitting in, or feeling like I matter. Who knows, all I know is that I’m probably not the one who feels this way, and oddly enough, that brings a little sense of hope.

“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke” ― Vincent Van Gogh

I read something a while ago that said the reason humans fear loneliness or being an outcast is that only a few generations ago that would have meant certain death, either through starvation or being attacked by predators.

“I am lonely, sometimes, but I dare say it’s good for me…”― Louisa May Alcott

I got out of my car and went inside and was welcomed with hugs, warm smiles and was invited to come along to a birthday BBQ someone I’d never met. I really tried to talk myself out of going but I’m so glad I went, I ended up having such an awesome time. I met some great people, ate good food, had stimulating conversations and laughed harder than I have in a long time.

“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it…” ― Nicholas Sparks

When these challenging emotions arise it often feels like they will never end. Sure, this week since hasn’t been all sunshine and kittens but it’s nice to remember that we can draw on these previous experiences as evidence that it won’t always be like this. I also find doing something I know I enjoy, even if I really dont want to always helps. For me that’s yoga, sitting at a cafe, walking amongst nature and swimming in the ocean.

“A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings. Remember that next time you feel alone.” — Mandy Hale

When I speak on these sorts of things there is always a fear that people will think I’m miserable. I don’t believe that is the case, I feel that these experiences need to be discussed more openly and with compassion. Life isn’t always easy, sometimes it feels like nothing is going how we want it. But I fully believe that we are never given any challenge we cannot overcome. 

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” – Haruki Murakami

These type of scenarios played a role in renaming my website too. We have these romantic ideas of how life should be, but the beauty comes from the polarity of emotions in the human experience.  Our romantic ideals versus our often challenging reality, which, in a way, often makes positive experiences so much more profound.

Review: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by O. Vuong

Review: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by O. Vuong

Sometimes, every once in a while, a book will cross your path, seemingly by chance.

A few weeks ago, I was chatting to someone on a dating app and she mentioned that this book was “the best thing she had ever read” (maybe my choice of topic is where I’m going wrong in the dating scene…). However, it wasn’t her stellar recommendation that caught my attention, it was the name. Something in it spoke to me. Like most online dating conversations, it withered and died, but I’m eternally grateful for this brief dialogue.

“Too much joy is lost in our desperation to keep it” – Ocean Vuong

I really don’t have the words to give you to portray even a smidgen of how this book left me, only to say that some things need only speak for themselves. The final pages read through increasingly blurry eyes. What Ocean and his family endured I cannot even begin to imagine, but through what can only be described as pure poetry, Ocean helped me try. To tell a story is a fantastic skill, but to be a storyteller is truly spell binding.

“Sometimes being offered tenderness feels like the very proof that you’ve been ruined.” – Ocean Vuong

The way Ocean captures ideas and links them throughout is pure art. The book is a letter to his Vietnamese mother who doesn’t speak a word of English. A biography of sorts, of growing up as an immigrant in the US and the challenges of being Asian and gay in an already accepting society, fraught with domestic violence and drug abuse.

I think I will leave it at that. On Earth We’re Truly Beautiful is as magnificent as the name suggests.

“I miss you more than I remember you.” – Ocean Vuong

Review: Already Free by Bruce Tift

Review: Already Free by Bruce Tift

Already Free by Bruce Tift was recommended by a good friend of mine mid last year (I’m a little behind with my reviews) . Bruce Tift is a psychotherapist who practices Buddhism and brilliantly portrays how two compliment each other.
It bounces between the approaches psychotherapy would take toward challenges and the Buddhist perspective, covering all manner of topics including our thought patterns around relationships and decision making. Bruce uses fascinating anecdotes to help portray his ideas. I think an aspect I found most fascinating was “embodied awareness”, sitting in the sensations of a thought or emotion.

All in all, it’s really jolly good, so I’m just going to leave you with a bunch of quotes.

“Its actually when we try to avoid our feelings that we tend to “solidify” them and make them appear significant” – Bruce Tift

“Although we look like adults, and have the adult capacities in other parts of our lives, in the arena of intimacy, we’re like a child trying to have a relationship with another child”- Bruce Tift

“As we cooperate with ourselves, we cooperate with life, and strangely enough, we begin to experience that life is cooperating with us”- Bruce Tift

“If I stay, I’ll be disturbed. If I move on, I’ll be disturbed” Once we are clear that any choice we make will never represent all of our very real and valid feelings, we can make decisions based on criteria other than the avoidance of disturbance”- Bruce Tift

“We approach neurosis not as “wrong” but as our best out-of-date effort to take care of ourselves”- Bruce Tift

“We may discover that the most satisfying life is one that is fully lived, rather than one in which we’ve accumulated the most positive experiences”- Bruce Tift

A brief stint with Stoicism

A brief stint with Stoicism

The Obstacle is the Way, and How to be Stoic

A good friend of mine in London first introduced me to Stoicism after gifting me his copy of How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci. He had found some profound insights from the perspective he received from Stoicism and thought I may be interested.

How to Be a Stoic is written as a series of “conversations” the author has with Epicurus, the ancient Greek philosopher, and covers topics including love, suicide, religion, and living according to nature. In all honesty, and I feel bad for saying this as it was a lovely gift, but it was pretty punishing and I didn’t really gain much from it. There are a few fascinating ideas here and there, but that’s about it.

“Shaping your character is ultimately the only thing under your control.” – Massimo Pigliucci

“Better to endure pain in an honorable manner than to seek joy in a shameful one.” – Massimo Pigliucci

I decided to give Stoicism the benefit of the doubt and read The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. It was far better written is more to the point than How to Be a Stoic and uses nice little anecdotes of both ancient philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius and modern examples to reinforce some of its points. Its very much focused on the perception of your reality, the way we perceive and react to events. 

Stoicism seems very focused on preparing for the worst, and (in no way) hoping for the best. 

If I’m honest it doesn’t resonate with me at all. There was a few noteworthy view points including reframing the challenges in our life and the importance of observing high morals over all else, and questioning our perspective of an event against the actual facts, but it disregards any sort of “magical thinking” or higher power. 

All in all Stoicism is extremely pessimistic and at points leaves the reader feeling like life may never get any better. I’m definitely grateful for reading Ryan Holiday’ book, and giving stoicism a second chance, but its not likely that I will convert to Stoicism in the foreseeable future.

Interestingly, since gifting me the book, my friend has actually turned away somewhat from Stocism due to the similar reasons I didnt connect with it.

See things for what they are.
Do what we can.
Endure and bear what we must.
What blocked the path is now the path
What once impeded action advances action
The Obstacle is the Way.

“Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of—that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.” ― Ryan Holiday

“The only real failure is abandoning your principles. Killing what you love because you can’t bear to part from it is selfish and stupid. If your reputation can’t absorb a few blows, it wasn’t worth anything in the first place.” ― Ryan Holiday

All in all, Stoicism is extremely pessimistic and at points leaves the reader feeling like life may never get any better. I’m definitely grateful for reading Ryan Holiday’s book and giving stoicism a second chance, but it’s not likely that I will convert to Stoicism in the foreseeable future.

Interestingly, since gifting me the book, my friend has actually turned away somewhat from Stoicism due to similar reasons I didn’t connect with it.

Conspiracy and Me

Conspiracy and Me

I fell deep into the rabbit hole. I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering what kind of moron gets sucked into COVID conspiracy theories. Well, as someone who fell way down the rabbit hole, I’m here to tell you it’s surprisingly easy. One minute you’re minding your own business, engulfing yourself in enriching podcasts, trying to better yourself, then before you know it, the people you have faith in have changed tack. You don’t notice it at first, you trust them, and they speak so rationally, but gradually a new narrative arises, you feel like you know more than the average Joe and this new narrative you seem to be hearing everywhere seems all too convincing, logical even.  Long story short, there was no way I was taking the COVID vaccine. I would never have called myself an anti-vaxxer though, as I still agreed to the use of certain ones and saw the value in them.

To be fair, for a long time now I have always been a little suspicious of mainstream narratives, especially concerning what happens in the US when we know that the CIA was proven to be up to some pretty wild stuff back in the day. I think you’ll find far more people than you might be lead to believe have conspiratorial ideas on COVID, most are just smart enough to not say anything.

After COVID hit, several personal development “coaches”, “influencers” “health experts” yoga teachers (essentially the whole alternative wellness industry) began doing their own “research”. I think this started with the effectiveness of masks, or maybe question the accurate number of cases (which is a mind field). They would take studies out of context and create strong arguments for things like the effectiveness of masks. 

“Why do we love the idea that people might be secretly working together to control and organise the world? Because we don’t like to face the fact that our world runs on a combination of chaos, incompetence and confusion.

– Jonathan Cainer

As someone who takes their health seriously, especially when it comes to the use of pharmaceuticals, it didn’t take much to convince me to not want to take a vaccine I “didn’t need”, and for all intents and purposes that still stands true, but it’s not about me, it’s about those who can’t take it.

The likes of JP Sears will tell you that we just need to look after ourselves, build herd immunity, and the death rate is a mere 5% of the infection rate (he actually says 0.5% and won’t correct it for some unknown reason), and that 95% are over 70 years of age. These stats sound great and make sense until you realise only a tiny percentage of the world has been infected thus far, and to reach the ~70% required to achieve herd immunity would mean literally 100s of millions of people would die as a result (if we were to maintain the current ratio). Sure, the current dead may have numerous comorbidities which also sounds like a strong argument, but come to think of it, how many of us don’t?

I for one have been diagnosed with asthma. It hardly affects me, but it still a comorbidity, and in countries like the UK, US, NZ, and Australia, all with obesity rates over 25% that comorbidity number becomes pretty damn high. This all but negates the “well they were going to die of something” argument.

“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.” ― Maya Angelou

As far as the argument for being healthy and you won’t get sick goes, he’s kind of right. But unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to convince billions of people to eat their veggies and go for a walk, when we can’t even convince them to stop smoking, drinking sugary drinks or eating fast food. I guess that’s why the WHO stick to “stay inside, wear a mask, wash your hands”.

Thankfully I started to question some of the narratives being pushed by the likes of JP Sears, Marcus Aubrey, Shaun Stevenson, and Kelly Brogan. This was tough, because they helped me grow as a person and I do owe each of them a great deal, and I often aspired to build something like they have or even work alongside them. Even mentioning their names here feels like I’m burning bridges that lead to dreams of working in their circles.

My concern went much further than I like to admit, and at one point I was very really considering the logistics of going sovereign. For those who don’t know, that essentially means handing in all governmental documentation and removing yourself from the “system”, more or less becoming your own authority and no longer identifying with the same system of law within the country you live as regular citizens.

Lucky for me I dared to discuss these ideas with my therapist who, without judgment listened to my concerns and later suggested I listen to the Conspirituality podcast. A podcast shining light on, and debunking many of the alt-right influencers on social media, including anti-vaxx material. Although I don’t agree entirely with all that is said, especially as they are so anti spirituality, it definitely helped me step away from the edge.

It seems that maybe the system these influencers are trying to take down is creating something just as toxic and that whether they like to admit it or not, their egos are getting the better of them. That, and the fact many of them have grown hugely in popularity since pre-covid. I’ve even noticed a trend in attractive influencers jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon in order to catch the “woke” crowd. Why would they do this? Because most are selling something, often supplements, which, might I add, ironically don’t require the same rigorous testing as the vaccines they so strongly oppose.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”. – Maya Angelou

Here’s a question that I’m glad I had the rational to ask myself: If these “spiritual gurus” really believe that they are eternal spiritual beings having a human experience, then why are they so worried about their physical bodies taking a vaccine? 

And if that’s not enough, ask yourself why we still aren’t seeing ID chips in vaccines, “benefits” to being vaccinated (i.e. you still can’t travel), people getting sick in droves from vaccine testing, or lockdowns on “predicted” dates.

These influencers will have you blame the mainstream media (MSM) and the agenda “they” push. But that media is made up of average Joes like us, doing the best they can, unfortunately, it’s funded by large corporations focused on ad revenue which will have an impact on narratives,  but I genuinely think those in the system are doing the best they can to do right by the community. There is one thing I’d like to mention about MSM which does bother me, and that’s that they lead the audience to believe that if a “conspiracy theorist” believes one thing, they believe in all manners of conspiracy, I can assure you this is not the case, especially (and I really cannot iterate this enough) when it comes to the earth being flat, or that they all support Trump.

I’m not saying that the world is perfect and that you should believe everything you hear but if you ever find yourself invested heavily in a thought or idea as I was, maybe take a step back from it all, listen to the other sides case even if its grating, try avoiding podcasts or social media for a while, catch your breath, go for a walk in the woods, pause and reflect. Keep in mind, that only a few months ago, not taking the vaccine was a hill I was willing to die on. Lifes a journey hey.

“The most fatal illusion is the settled point of view. Since life is growth and motion, a fixed point of view kills anybody who has one.” – Brooks Atkinson

Don’t get me wrong I am still wary of injecting something into my body but I’d like to think that now it’s from a healthy point of view. If I can I will avoid it, but I also understand that sometimes these things are necessary. I don’t regret the time I spent toying with these ideas, and if anything it really pointed out how flawed the system that we live in is. That these conspiratorial ideas don’t seem so hard to believe and at times make far more sense than the reality we live it.

In short, this is a cautionary tale of echo chambers, and that sometimes you don’t even realise you are in one until you take a step back.

That being said, Carol Baskin killed her husband, jet fuel can’t melt steel beams and Epstein didn’t kill himself.

“Belief and Change: They’re different.
Knowledge changes all the time. When we engage with the world, when we encounter data or new experiences, our knowledge changes.
But belief is what we call the things that stick around, particularly and especially in the face of changes in knowledge.
While more knowledge can change belief, it usually doesn’t. Belief is a cultural phenomenon, created in conjunction with the people around us.
The easy way to discern the two: “What would you need to see or learn to change your mind about that?” – Seth Godin

Indecision fatigue

Indecision fatigue

“I don’t know”. I use this phrase countless times a day. It often comes up whenever someone asks what it is I want to do with my life, where I want to live, how I feel, what my plans are. Now that I notice it, it’s becoming hard to ignore, and I’m starting to believe that it’s all a charade, that maybe I do know, and that maybe I’ve known for a while now, but that I’m just avoiding acting, feeling, and living, in order to live a safe life. I can’t even call it easy or stress-free, as I think this indecision causes a great deal of stress and pain, and it’s all wrapped up in three simple words, “I don’t know”.

“Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life” – Susan David

Upon reflection, I’ve spent a vast majority of my time “I-don’t-knowing”. Avoiding difficult conversations, avoiding pain, and saving myself from being fully present in my life. Retrospectively, that is a hard pill to swallow, that things could now be vastly different if I had trusted myself more. I mean, it’s easy to do, it’s a lot easier to coast in the I-don’t-know space free from responsibility instead of acknowledging the call to action. That call implies the ending of other chapters, relationships, ways of living, and embracing the struggle of progress and the vulnerability that goes with it. “I don’t know” allows freedom to keep doors open and offers a perpetual way out. The issue being that you can’t enter multiple doors at once, you just end up peeking from the hallway. An endless state of limbo. Nothing is ventured, therefore nothing is gained.

“There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.” – William James

Deep down I do believe that in several aspects of my life I do know what it is I want and in many ways that means taking the path less traveled, working things out for myself, and being fully to blame if it doesn’t work out. But at least I will have lived, loved, and pursued unrelentingly, without abandon.

So, it’s time to say “no” to things I feel I don’t want, and yes to things I actively avoid to avoid discomfort and maybe even ridicule, yes to living my truth, or at least something which feels more like it.

The end of the great “I don’t know-ing”.

“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life” – Stoic proverb

Review: Your Erroneous Zones by Dr W Dyer

Review: Your Erroneous Zones by Dr W Dyer

It’s been a while since I wrote a book review, not for lack of reading, more just prioritising other work, but now I have a bit of a backlog.

This book, Your Erroneous Zones, is a great little reminder to question more or less every aspect of our perception, both of ourselves, and the world around us, and to be mindful of self talk.

”You can be motivated by your desire to grow rather than a need to repair your deficiencies”. – Dr Wayne W. Dyer

For those who are familiar with Dr. Wayne Dyer, you can tell it was written before his spiritual awakening as he can be a little inconsiderate in the way he speaks of showing a little less respect to others than I would be comfortable with. That being said it’s great in the way in which he questions countless social constructs like etiquette and pleasantries. Why hold your fork a certain way, why give a gift because you have to, not because you want to, why complete tasks out of moral obligation not because we feel inspired to.

”The essence of greatness is the ability to choose personal fulfilment in circumstances where others choose madness” – Dr Wayne W. Dyer

He makes some fascinating points especially in regard to being yourself, our frequent use of “I ams” and not holding back. He speaks a lot on worrying less and doing what needs to be done through creating positive habits, and avoiding approval seeking habits.

when you use ‘I ams’….“You are really saying ‘and I intend on being the way I’ve always been”…….”any I’m which keeps you from growing is a demon to be exorcised. If you must have an I’m, try this one of for size ‘I’m an ‘I’m’ exorcist – and I like it” – Dr Wayne W. Dyer

I think what I found most beneficial was his comprehensive breakdown of approval seeking and negative self talk. Dr Wayne Dyer is one of those authors that comes at you from so many angles that you cant help but retain the concepts.

”Seize every second of your life and savour it. Value your present moments. Using them up in self-defeating ways means you’ve lost them forever”. – Dr Wayne W. Dyer

Personally I quite enjoyed the book. I think his newer work is better (there is a lot of it) but even so I believe he raises some interesting ideas and questions some social constructs that are definitely passed their used-by date.

“You are responsible for your own emotions and so is everyone else. No one has control over your feelings except you.” – Dr Wayne W. Dyer

Many years ago the late Dr. Wayne W. Dyer made a movie. Its a little cheesy, but non-the-less brilliant. It can be found here.

If you have any other book recommendations please feel free to list them in the comment section.

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