Happy Valentines Day 2024. No matter where you are…
Happy Valentines Day 2024. No matter where you are…
You know, as I get on with the day to day business that is my life, I’m realising more and more that for most of the time we are all making up our lives as we go along which to a recovering control freak like myself, comes as a great relief.
Yes, that’s right, a recovering control freak.
Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I love to be in control, even though that I knew intellectually that the notion of control is but only an illusion.
Feeling in control has made me feel safe and secure with the world around me and the upside of this feeling is that I consider myself a very organised and punctual person.
The downside to always wanting to be in control is that I would almost always get highly stressed out when situations don’t go according to the pre-determined plan that I have in my own head.
I’d get so stressed it would at times paralyse me.
I really loathe this feeling of being out of control but I didn’t really know how I could rectify this, a pattern that has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.
The realisation that we’re all making our lives up as we go along eliminates the need for me to compare my life with the life of others around me and therefore disengage myself from this need to be in control all the time.
Yes, I know that some people have their lives together more than others and I also know that we’re all unique in our own abilities, our history and the way we look at the world around us, but deep down we all want the same things, such as love, respect, validation, acknowledgement, recognition and happiness
When I look at life in this way I realise deep down we are all in the same boat.
Right now I’m working on creating some sort of balance between my need to have everything in my life catalogued and in its place and at the same time, being totally spontaneous.
Quite a challenge when it think about it but not an impossible thing for me to achieve.
I reckon there’s a song in this…
In the article “How To Slow Down: 97 Ways To Enjoy Your Life This Year” the focus is on the importance of slowing down in life, especially at the start of a new year.
The author of the article Courtney Carver emphasizes that instead of succumbing to the pressure of becoming a ‘new you’, it’s more fulfilling to enjoy life as it is. As she states…
“The good news is that we can reject all of the New Year, New You messages and decide to slow down instead. I’d rather be the same me and enjoy my life than waste time trying to fix something that is not broken.”
She also shares her personal journey of living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and how slowing down has been crucial for her well-being.
The article is structured around seven categories: body, surroundings, doing less, digital, mind, slow things, and simplicity, offering practical tips within each category to help readers slow down and be more present in their lives.
In a number of posts I’ve said that one of my main goals is to live a “slow, steady, simple and silent” life. Through trying to achieve this goal I’ve realized that slowing down is directly connected to how one enjoys life.
Each time I take a deep breath or engage in an activity that helps me slow down, I become more present and this presence allows me to notice and appreciate my life more deeply.
The article’s insights resonate with me, especially the idea that consistency is more important than intensity. In my journey, going slowly has indeed taken me further than rushing.
The article concludes with a powerful message: the fast-paced, ‘more, more, more’ approach isn’t always the answer. Sometimes, embracing a slower, steadier, and gentler way of living can bring more joy and fulfilment.
This resonates with me deeply, as I believe in the power of being present and enjoying the simple, everyday moments of life.
“What is the meaning of life?”
This is probably the oldest and most asked question that humanity is still trying to answer and while there is no global answer to this question, I do think it’s important for us all to attempt to find our own answers and then apply it over the top of our lives as we’re living it.
Now, all I can do is offer my personal observations as to what I think the meaning of life is so, here goes…
Asking a question such as this assumes that the concept of what life is about is constant for everyone at the same time. It also assumes that life is something that happens directly to you and therefore your reactions to life determines what you do within it.
With that in mind, some people have come to the conclusion that our life paths are predetermined by a God, the universe, fate or some other external mechanism and the meaning of our lives are one of the same for all and are already laid out before us.
Apparently, all we need to do is find the path and then walk it, but my take on all this is that…
Life (in itself) has no meaning or purpose to it. Life is just… LIFE.
There’s no agenda to life, life isn’t out to get you, there are no predetermined grand plans to your life whirring away in the background without you knowing it, no divine interventions and no hidden meanings.
Life is a blank canvas and we are but the paint that is applied to it creating whatever we choose to create onto it. Life is merely the environment, the space that we as human beings inhabit within.
Always remember, the sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening whether we exist or not.
This doesn’t mean however, that we can’t find meaning and purpose to our lives, it just means that we need to internally define what that meaning and purpose is for ourselves (and only for ourselves) rather than us trying to find the meaning and purpose externally.
Therefore, there is no “THE meaning of life” but “A meaning of life” which is as unique and as individual as we all are. Meaning and purpose can be defined for ourselves through the continual process of knowing ourselves.
Therefore, the meaning that we all seek then becomes the by-product of a greater knowledge of ourselves, not the other way around.
On a personal note, I have taken my own advice and applied these conclusions to my own existence and from doing this, a whole new perspective on where I fit in this thing called life has been developing for me.
I’ll make sure that I share these new perspectives in later posts but what I’ve found is that finding my own meaning and purpose through self exploration will over time create a sense of peace and calm in myself which will slowly permeate into everything else that I do.
This meaning and purpose to life is of course a dynamic and fluid thing and can always change at any time but having the knowledge that I am in control of the paintbrush and it not being controlled by someone (or something) else gives me a greater sense of freedom to just… BE.
What do you think is the answer to the meaning of life? Does the very thought of it make your head hurt or, is it a question that you actively strive to find the answer for?
Let me know what conclusions you come up with as it would make for a very interesting discussion in the future.
Be yourself. Everyone else is takenOscar Wilde
Did you know that YOU are the only YOU that exists right now? Did you also know that YOU are the only YOU that has ever existed and will ever exist?
Think about that for just a moment…
This means that from the time the universe came into being 13.8 billion years ago until the last supermassive black hole has evaporated (in about 10^100 years) there will only ever be one of YOU.
Very recently the Earth’s population surpassed 8 billion people and out of all those people, only one of them is YOU.
Did you know that the number of people that have ever existed on this planet since the dawn of human history is estimated to be around 117 billion but still, out of all those people, only one of them is YOU.
To put things into a greater perspective, it is said that the odds of YOU being created as uniquely YOU (and not your siblings, if you have any) via your parents’ egg and sperm joining together is a staggering 1 in 400 quadrillion (that’s 400,000,000,000,000,000,000).
To expand this even further, as YOU represent an unbroken lineage of around 150K generations that go all the way back to single celled organisms, the odds of 150K generations of successful fertilisation to ensure that YOU exist right now is a staggering 1 in 10^2,685,000 (10 followed by 2,685,000 zeros)
That’s not bad considering that the estimated number of atoms in the universe is around 10^80 atoms. When you think about it… YOU are the greatest miracle that exists today.
So, what does this all mean?
Well, it means that if YOU are the only YOU that exists, has ever existed and will ever exist then, everything that makes up YOU, being your experiences, your childhood, the different environments you’ve lived in and the choices that you’ve made, will be completely and uniquely YOU.
This also means that your perspectives on life, your thoughts and feelings, your values and judgements, your views of the world and what you create from all of that will also be completely and uniquely YOU.
So think about that the next time you stare at the blank piece of paper before you start writing or, the blank canvas before you start painting or, a random lump of clay before you start sculpting or, an empty DAW before you start recording because YOU are the originality of your songs, painting, writing, sculpture or anything that you create and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Now that today is the first day of 2023, I thought I’d start off the year on a positive note and list five things in 2022 that I’m thankful for.
I’m sure that if I thought about it a bit more I’d come up with a bigger list than the five things below but, I reckon it’s a good start.
Every day I am thankful for the fact that I had the courage to sell up and move down to the Fleurieu eventually ending up at Yankalilla.
It would’ve been easy to have the thoughts of moving but not act on them but thankfully I didn’t listen to my fear.
I also had Mara’s voice in my head egging me on and for anyone who knew Mara, she was a very persuasive individual and for that alone, I am thankful.
I wouldn’t be where I am now if I wasn’t able to stay with Mum and Dad for all that time I was looking for a house.
It gave me an opportunity to not worry about the rental transition between one house to another and it gave my dog Charlie a lot of room to move around as our old place had no real yard to speak of.
My sister and her tribe plus my extended family have all made sure that I know they have my back with everything that has happened to me plus the choices I have made over the last 3 years or so.
For their unconditional love and support, I am truly thankful.
Speaking about Charlie, I am so thankful that I have him around to remind me that life is not all about the self, it’s also about looking after others.
Being a fur-parent has taught me a lot of lessons about responsibility and mindfulness that I would otherwise have missed out on as I don’t have children of my own.
For that I’m also thankful.
He makes me laugh and at the same time frustrates the hell out of me. He is the perfect way for me to learn more about myself.
As well as my family, my friends are the people that makes life worth living and are one of the reasons that I get out of bed in the morning.
As a songwriter and musician, most of my friends are in the music industry but there are other friends who aren’t musicians and they really give me well rounded perspective on the world through the lives that they lead and the conversations that we have.
I am thankful for each and every one of my friends (you all know who you are).
Where would I be without music? I ask myself this question from time to time and I can’t really come up with an answer.
Or, maybe I don’t want to come with an answer at all. It’s just too scary to think about as music is what I am, not what I do.
Very soon I’ll be treading the boards again either as a solo artist or in a duo and this time around I will not be taking the opportunities presented to me or the audiences that I’ll find myself playing in front of for granted.
I am thankful that I have the ability to either work from home either in a recording or web development capacity or work as a professional gigging musician performing my own music or a hybrid between my songs and covers.
2023 is the year that I truly back myself and my abilities to ensure that I create the life that I want to live by doing the things that are necessary for this creative life to happen.
What things have happened to you in 2022 that you are thankful for? Let me know, I’d love to have a chat about it with you.
Since I moved down to the Fleurieu at the start of March, my primary goal was to buy a house and set myself up for the next phase of my life.
I wanted to find a place where I could work and escape from the world at the same time and as of a few days ago, this goal has been realised.
Yes… I’ve just bought a house in Yankalilla.
I’ll get the keys on November 8th and after some cosmetic tweaks to the inside such as a new kitchen, polishing floorboards and a new coat of paint, it’ll be ready for Charlie and I to move in and make our own.
It feels good to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel as there were a few times in the house hunting process that my hopes had been dashed but this time though, I got what I was looking for.
I’ll now be able to work and record from home in an environment that will be more conducive to productivity and creativity.
Living with Mum and Dad has been absolutely wonderful but the space I worked in was always a temporary one and therefore the atmosphere was always going to be different, more restless and slightly inhibited.
I’m now looking forward to creating more, working more, relaxing more and just “being” more because now that I have my own place… I can do what I bloody well like.
Pics will come soon.
In an earlier post I wrote about what the famous quote attributed to Socrates… “the unexamined life is not worth living” means to me and how I can utilise mindfulness (which I believe is inferred in the quote) in my day to day life.
What I hadn’t mentioned is what might happen when you stop using mindfulness to examine your life and start falling into the bad habit of living life on autopilot.
This is what has happened to me.
Firstly, a few days ago I got booked for speeding not by a speed camera but by a police officer with a mobile radar device. It was around 9:30pm on the Wistow to Strathalbyn road and I was doing 111km/h in a 100km/h zone.
Why was I doing 11km/h over the speed limit? I just wasn’t mindful of my speed, I was concentrating on the destination rather than (the speed of) my journey and in turn I was penalised for it.
Not a good thing when you’re running out of demerit points on your licence. Yes, I have been caught speeding a number of times by speed camera and always for going about 10km/h over the limit.
That’s inattention not hooliganism.
I’m currently waiting for my fine to come through to me by post and also whether I’ve run out of demerit points which means I might lose my licence altogether for a period of time or, I might get one point back as a second chance.
Secondly, I’ve started to get migraine headaches again, culminating in one that knocked me off my feet the day after I got done for speeding (I’m sure the stress of it all didn’t help matters).
It’s times like this that my body forces me to stop and take stock of what is happening to it and what I found isn’t that good.
Since coming to Goolwa I’ve put on about 10kgs and my overall health has noticeably deteriorated because of it. All of that hard work I put in last year after my Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis was starting to fall apart fast.
I’ve gotten lazy, comfortable and content. Again, I’m eating and drinking the wrong things, at the wrong time and in the wrong portions. I haven’t been walking due to my knees being sore which is due to my weight gain.
All of this is also because of inattention, of me not being mindful of what I’m doing in my day to day life but now that I’ve caught myself doing all this, I can now get back on the mindful wagon again and get back on track.
In essence, I need to practise what I preach and walk the walk. I need to stop getting obsessed with things that take my eye off the ball and I need to stop listening to others that have a contrary view to me when it comes to my overall health and wellbeing.
I need to get back to living the examined life, the mindful life. I need to slow down, steady the ship, be still and simplify my life again because life is the greatest teacher of all and if I haven’t learnt my lessons now after what has happened to me over the last week, then I never will.
But I won’t let that happen.
Yesterday, September 23rd, 2022 marked six months since I made the move down from Dudley Park to my parents’ place in Goolwa on the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula as a temporary measure until I found a place of my own.
In that time I’ve been busy setting up my temporary work/recording space in Dad’s shed and re-establishing my web design business ZenWeb plus getting myself ready for live performance and songwriting/recording as well.
On the house hunting front, I’ve not had that much luck of late mainly due to the current economic climate and how it’s affecting the housing market in general.
I am, however, using this situation as a perfect example of my life being the greatest teacher and it allowing me to test my patience and resilience. Although, I did think that I would be in my own place by now.
I’m also finding out pretty quickly that the SA real estate market is a fickle, ultra-competitive and ruthless game of chess mixed in with a dash of smoke and mirrors for good measure and I thought the music business was bad when it came to game playing.
Try buying a house at the moment.
In an earlier post I did write about my initial thoughts of life in Goolwa and how different it is to living in Adelaide.
Now that six months have passed, the novelty of the move has most certainly worn off but I still really appreciate the slower pace and the general sense of peace and serenity that comes with living down here because after all, Goolwa is Australia’s first Cittaslow town.
“What the hell does that mean?” I hear you ask. Click here to find out.
With any situation that you find yourself in whether it be where you live, the relationships you’re in or the job you work at, there are always good and bad points to experience along the way.
It’s so very easy to find fault when you’re in a temporary situation such as mine but really, when I look at where I’m at right now, right at this very moment… I’m pretty lucky.
I’m lucky because I have the luxury of time to really seek out the best place to start the next part of my journey from and there’s so much potential ahead of me, I just can’t wait to get there.
That is what I focus on when I start feeling frustrated or doubting whether I made the right decision. In the meantime, if any of you local readers are selling a house in the vicinity of Sellicks Beach to Goolwa or, know of anyone who is… Let me know.
(PS: Yesterday was also the 17th anniversary of the day that Mara and I first met but I’ll save that for another post)
Well, it’s all done and dusted. The house is sold and I’m slowly but surely getting myself acclimated to life down on the Southern Fleurieu.
I moved down to Goolwa last Wednesday (March 23rd) to my parents place initially with the view of finding my own place down this way and I’ve got to say, life in Goolwa is much different to living in Adelaide.
Firstly, the pace of life is so much slower.
I’ve already been trying to slow down my life a bit since Mara passed away so the change in pace is not that much of a shock but I can imagine that for someone who has come straight from inner city Adelaide life, the pace of Goolwa would be a bit of a culture shock.
Secondly, I’ve been sleeping like a log.
This is amazing considering that I have had so much trouble with my sleeping patterns since… I can’t remember when but ever since I’ve moved down to Goolwa I have been going to bed earlier and getting up earlier and pretty much sleeping straight through the night.
I think no longer having the sale of the house on my mind has a lot to do with my newly found sleep but I think another reason might be that the air is much cleaner down in Goolwa. I’m not sure why that would make such a difference but to me it does.
Thirdly, the overall ambience is much quieter.
This is because there’s not as many cars on the road, not as many people around and the location of where I’m staying is a little further away from the centre of Goolwa so not as many houses around either.
This certainly contributes greatly to the reduction in my stress levels and my ability to just be present
Lastly… I can see the stars.
With the lack of the type of infrastructure that gives off light pollution at night, I can see a lot more stars in the sky than I ever could living in Adelaide. Granted, the numbers are less than if I was in the Flinders Ranges but what I currently see above my head still fills me with wonder.
Night time is… Dark. The way it’s meant to be and again, this is another reason why I’m sleeping so well I suppose.
Today I was able to set up my working environment hence why you’re reading this blog post. I’ve almost finished setting up the temporary recording studio and when that’s all done I can start recording music again, something I haven’t been able to do for about three months or so.
Man, I’ve really missed making music.
Once that is all done, the last piece of the puzzle is for me to find my own place so I can finally start moving forward again, living my own life while at the same time, carrying on Mara’s memory and legacy close to my heart.
I remind myself that today is the first day of the rest of my life and I intend to grab onto it and hold on for dear life with a steely determination to not waste one iota of the experience.