Pensive

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It’s a new year. It’s the dawn, the birth, the conception, the beginning. It’s the unknown, the unexpected, the unfamiliar.

I am pensive, reflective, introspective. 2016 for me, like many was not the best of years…not the worst, but it was up there. Like most, I began the year positive, optimistic, gung-ho! In the end I just about manged to drag myself across December 31st thanking every deity out there that I made it. I survived 2016!

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. There were many laughs, new experiences and some professional progress. I wish with said progress came some financial reward but hey, I should be grateful. I made stupid decisions, I lost friends, I had my name and reputation dragged through the mud. I also made some great decisions and not only made new friends and rekindled old friendships, but strengthened the bond with some beautiful people with the most genuine of souls. I’ve lovingly labelled a particular group “The Amethyst Crew”…..inside joke πŸ˜€ . I also learned a great deal about myself.

I have begun a new decade of life. I am thankful that I made it. I’m also thankful for seeing my adorable daughter complete her first decade. So I sit and I think. How has that last decade been for me? What will I do differently this decade? How can I give more, live more, love more, accept more? What will I do differently? How will I develop mentally and physically….and trust me after Christmas and birthday the physical needs developing! How can I be a better father, a better son, a better brother, a better friend? Will I stop being cautious and open myself up to give and receive love?

This post is ridiculously ‘heavy’ isn’t it? I do think it is important that we enjoy life. We only have one go at it so make the best of it. Be adventurous, be creative, be spontaneous. Every coin has two sides however, and we must continue to be thoughtful. To think about someone other than ourselves. To give without expecting praise or recognition. To laugh with, not at…this one may be tricky, even for me πŸ™‚ . To learn so we can teach.

And that concludes my preaching for this year!! Thank you my WordPress family as usual for all your support and encouragement over the years. Thanks for allowing me to use this forum to share with you and I wish you all everything that is positive for this year and beyond. God bless, live strong and one love πŸ™‚

 

 

No Pressure

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What’s your pressure gauge reading? Ever have those days where you feel you’re gonna blow? I’m trying not to be a ‘bottler’. Thankfully, I’m learning how to slowly open the pressure release valve. But do you find that sometimes that release valve gets stuck? How do you free it? What sort of pressures do you feel? Work? Relationships? Friendships? Self criticism? Do you feel no pressure, or feel very little? How do you prevent your pressure gauge from reaching critical? What happens if you don’t know how to release the pressure and it reaches critical? What happens then? Do you explode? How much damage is caused when you do blow? Are you even aware that the pressure is building? Are you allowing people and/or circumstances to stoke your furnace? Just a few thoughts. No pressure.

One love πŸ™‚

Different but the Same

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Are we accepting of each other’s differences or have we become more tolerant? Are we even tolerant or do we just choose to be quiet and keep our opinions to ourselves? I’m talking about acceptance of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and all the other labels that have been given to us, by us as HUMAN BEINGS. Why are we afraid to celebrate our differences? Are we so ignorant and/or blind to realise even though we have our differences we still share the same planet, breathe the same air, bleed the same blood, are of the same race? Where is our humanity?

I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying to be optimistic. I’m trying to believe in us as a people, but I’m writing this post with a heavy heart. Why are we so selfish? Why are we going around hating the world with our arrogant selves thinking that the world owes us something? From experience I have found that if you surround yourselves with people of a certain mindset, you eventually adopt that mindset, intentionally or not. My grandmother used to tell me when I was younger that “If you lie down with dogs you will catch fleas.” I’ve never forgotten that.

I therefore try and surround myself with the type of people who I share similar thoughts and interests with. People who believe in love, equality, empathy, sympathy, generosity, fairness. People with positive mental attitudes. Why? Because I’ve been to hell and back. I’ve been down the slippery slope. I’ve been beaten down by people, disappointed by people, hurt by people. It was people however, who supported me, who listened to me, who hugged me, who sat quietly and shared a pint (or two) with me, who told me to get my arse in gear and stop being a…(sorry can’t type that here). These people restored my faith in humanity.

It saddens me that people are allowing themselves to be sucked in by ideology, by mainstream media, by other people. It saddens me that people are trying to live other people’s lives instead of their own. It saddens me that we are killing each other.

You may wonder why I end my posts with the phrase “One love”. It is because I love and respect everyone regardless of our differences. This is universal love that I share with you. Hopefully you will help me and pay it forward, spread it, live it. One love πŸ™‚

Strumming My Pain

Guitarman

I sat looking at this photo for a little while, trying to identify what I was feeling. There is something there but I can’t quite put a finger on it. What is this ‘feeling that I’m feeling?’ I remember walking towards this gentleman and thought “This could make a great photo.” I could make the shot work. I was looking at the opportunity to get a photo that could arouse some feeling or emotion.

I can’t quite remember the difference between feelings and emotions. Do you know? I think I read somewhere that emotions are short-lived while feelings can have a longer lasting effect, and I can’t remember if emotions try to make sense of what we feel or vice versa. I think one of them has to do with experiences and is subjective….I dunno, something like that. It’s like my brain, one big muddled mass!

Anyway, back to photo. I thought maybe the guy is pouring his heart into the song, feeling every strum, knitted brows showing the pain of that major seventh chord. I thought, maybe he’s frowning because he missed the note, maybe he’s playing in the wrong key or he’s forgotten the next progression. Maybe he’s sick to death of sitting in the one spot trying to make some bread. Perhaps he’s thinking where his next location is going to be. He’s probably frowning because he’s pissed off that these bloody photographers are taking photos of him and not dropping any money. Maybe he’s not feeling anything. He’s just doing what he needs to do, what he wants to do.

As for me, I don’t know what I feel. At the time, I felt excitement at getting the shot. Now looking at it, I don’t know. How should I feel? What has the world told me to feel? Have you ever tried to convince yourself that you are not feeling what you’re actually feeling? Have you tried to force another emotion in the hope that it will override the current one?Do you feel guilty sometimes for not feeling how you are ‘supposed’ to feel? Do you lie about your feelings so someone else can have the feelings you want them to have? Why do we play with our feelings? Why do we play with other people’s feelings? Why are we trying to avoid or deny these feelings? Has anyone counted the number of times I’ve typed the word feeling(s) yet? I may very well be talking about emotions…I don’t know…hopefully you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Have we become desensitised? Have we been taught not to express, or to suppress certain emotions? I sometimes wonder if we can’t define our emotions because we have never been taught how to accept them. We have never been taught that feelings change, that it’s okay to feel, that feelings and emotions are what makes us human. Instead we have been taught what not to feel, what is acceptable and how to fake what we feel. Sad isn’t it? Probably explains why there’s a new wave of mindfulness sweeping the world now. This centuries old school of thought/way of life has suddenly become hip. Let’s hope that those of us who decide to delve into this ‘new’ way of thinking/being is open and patient enough to accept what comes with it. The way I see it is just live. Learn to live with these feelings and emotions. Learn to accept them and if you find them difficult, remember they’re temporary and will pass. You feel me?

One love πŸ™‚

Blue Belle By The Bridge

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Blue Belle goes up and down the Thames, slowly chugging past historic bridges and landmarks…..and she just chugs. Not oblivious nor ignorant, just….well….meh. Indifferent to it all. She enjoys the journey. She lives the moment. She hears nothing…..sees nothing…….but yet she is transfixed on her mind’s eyes as they paint the intricate details of her thoughts, projecting them onto the water in front of herΒ  as she meanders along.

She approaches some rapids…she tenses as she gears up….the engine is stoked, the pistons race and the steam builds up while the fuel, like adrenaline, floods her pipes as she prepares for impact. She’s there….she’s losing control. She’s disorientated, confused!!! The engine cuts out, she’s heading for the rocks! This is it…….

The strength of the current pushes her out of the jaws of the inevitable. She slowly rights herself and her vision and perspective returns. All is calm again. She is slowly regaining control. She gathers her thoughts and she chugs again, waiting for the next course of rapids. Blue Belle by the bridge.

Does Blue Belle remind you of anyone? One love πŸ™‚

Social Interaction

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With the way we communicate these days, one could probably say that these two are deep in conversation! With each other? With others? Who knows! In reality, they are probably just exchanging numbers so they can contact each other at a later time….probably via text message, WhatsApp or Facebook. Have you seen people on their phones lately? The dexterity of their thumbs is incredible! I mean I truly admire the skill, speed and accuracy with which they use those two digits…digits that at one time were associated with clumsiness!

I wrote a post a couple of years ago about ‘Snail mail’Β that made me question whether handwriting will eventually become redundant or be a special skill. I wonder if talking is slowly going down that route? I have some friends that can talk for England, and then some, but I am observing that there appears to be a decline not only in social interaction (says the guy who’s typing away at his keyboard instead of being sociable right?), but the quality of social interaction as well.

Little things like smiling at a stranger or even saying good morning or hello seems to be as painful as drinking acid for some people. We avoid eye contact and plug ourselves into our iPods or other media when travelling to escape, albeit audibly from our surroundings. I wonder if those people without books, newspapers or headphones feel vulnerable or uncomfortable on crowded transport?

I am not a very talkative person and I could easily go through a day without exercising my vocal chords. It’s not that I want to hide away and not talk to people, I just don’t have anything to say. Some people find my silence or ‘quiet moments’ uncomfortable, but to be honest, I sometimes find those ‘quiet moments’ most comfortable, especially when I’m with someone who understands me.

Does that mean that I don’t interact socially? Of course not. The point I’m trying to make is that we have become so dependent on our phones, smart watches, tablets, etc. that we can’t seem to prise ourselves away from them. How many of us find it easier to communicate via text message, email or Facebook? How many of us when we do go out talk about things we saw or read on social media? We don’t even ask each other how we are anymore because that information had been posted on Facebook the moment we woke up. We publish our entire lives and then boast about the number of friends we have and likes we got. Here’s a question for you…How many of us actually use our dining tables for meals and not just have them in the house as storage areas and clothes horses? How many of us who do use our dining tables turn the TV off while we’re having dinner? How many of us actually sit at the dining table as a family and talk to each other?

Yes I do use Twitter and Instagram and WhatsApp but I wouldn’t get a stroke or experience twitchy thumb withdrawal if I couldn’t access them anymore. Ever had that moment of silence while sat with a group and then the phones slowly come out? Is this post ironic? Am I being a hypocrite? Just a thought. What are yours? Don’t shout at me all at once! Happy Monday. One love πŸ˜€

Rainbow Rose

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When I spotted these rainbow roses today at a florists inside King’s Cross Station I thought, “Wow! That’s incredible! How did they do that?” I took a closer look and they were indeed real! Pretty impressive. (I know you’ve probably already seen these so forgive me if I’m a bit late discovering multi-coloured roses!) I can see the creative side to this and it will definitely help us guys if we can’t remember what colour roses the lady likes. Get her a bunch of these and we should be OK….hopefully. If not, we’ll just have to figure out another way to earn those brownie points!

What do you think about us fiddling with nature? I got to thinking about how we constantly modify flowers, fruits and vegetables, whether through genetic modification or ‘hybridization’ so they can be more aesthetically pleasing. I don’t really care whether or not my carrots are perfectly straight. That my oranges are the perfect sphere. There are benefits I’m sure but I’m one of those ‘if it ain’t broke’ kinda blokes. Yeah OK, I do enjoy seedless grapes and oranges but where do we draw the line?

There’s even talk about designer babies! Can you believe it?! Messing about with an embryo’s genetic code to alter a newborn’s phenotype…Really?! I can imagine the benefits of it, especially when it concerns health conditions that are usually passed on through genes, butΒ I’m afraid of opening up a can of worms so I’ll leave that argument alone for a while.

But seriously, is that what we have become? A world obsessed with perfection…which might I add is subjective? A society of ‘fix me quick’? This is kind of worrying, but who knows, maybe sometime in the future I will be the one benefiting from these technological advances.

Anyway, I still think the roses were a cool little gimmick. One love πŸ™‚