Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Sun Always Shines On TV

Any time inclement weather rolls through, I always seem to think of the song by A-Ha. Maybe it's a secret wish to be on TV.
Of course, if I were on TV I would likely have to look presentable every day. That could be a problem.
I was out the other day doing my best orange Michelin Man imitation when a patch of ice covered concrete decided to darken my day. In a millisecond I went from staring at the contraption in my hand to seeing a cloudy sky whilst laying on a concrete mattress. Even now as I think back on the event, I can't seem to get an image of that fraction of a second to figure out what happened.
My balance is better than average.
I've stepped on patches of ice before. In fact, I've stepped on a couple in the days since. I have always been able to catch my footing and, as awkward as it may look for a moment, keep my myself upright. So what happened?
As I lay there assessing any damage that I may have inflicted upon my semi-fragile self, I muttered under my breath, “Focus, Dude. Focus.” Bruised ilium, bruised humerus, bruised ulna, lacerated elbow and bruised ego. At least there was nothing broken. I really did need to focus.
But focus wasn't the problem.
The problem was what I was focused on. For that instant, I was focused on the job and not my surroundings. I wasn't being mindful of where I put my foot even though I was moving forward. Accidents seem to happen when I'm looking down or looking back or looking too far forward.
The same thing seems to happen in relationships.
If I'm not paying attention to the conditions in front of me, there can be a sudden – and sometimes disastrous – change of view. Slowing down a bit gives me the chance to see what's happening around me; to assess a situation before it gets out of hand. It seems to me that life isn't lived getting from A to B as quickly as one can. It's lived in the moments when I stop to hear the breeze whisper through the pines or watch the glimmer of sun in a babbling brook or hold the hand of a troubled someone I give a shit about – all the while keeping my goals in the back of my mind.
It's okay to put goals aside for a moment now and then to enjoy living. It's okay to stop for a moment and adjust who I am to what is happening around me. Adjustments in my behaviour can easily save me from a slip and fall I should have seen coming. There are some things in life that are more important than "getting there".
I will get there, wherever "there" is. And it would be nice to be able to share that with someone I stopped to notice along the way.
In the meantime, I know I will heal. I always do. The sun will come out again and this brief little storm will pass.
And, perhaps, getting into TV isn't such a bad idea.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Showing Real

This year I am not making a resolution to change anything. Instead, I resolve to be more of who I already am.”
The above quote is the resolution I made at New Year's 2012. I believe it's been a success, though it's taken more than a single year to get results. Circumstances – both uplifting and debilitating - have aided in the migration from “circumstantial mask changing” to slowly throwing each mask in a refuse heap. It's not an easy task being genuine in all conditions and it is very, very easy to retrieve a mask from the waste bin when the excrement hits the fan.
I looked back over some of the old posts FaceBook was kind enough to pop up and remind me of at the end of the year; some painful, some joyous, some painful that turned out to be okay and some that seemed joyous and had a bitter aftertaste. None of those moments were a waste of energy. Every single one was purposeful. My choices were to remain real or to fetch a mask as quickly as possible.
Destiny is nothing more than a destination... an ending. Choices – which we are free to make - determine the bumpiness of the road.
There are times when we may slip off the path we have chosen. Sometimes we are pushed. It's easy to put on the “brave face” mask at times like those. I consciously remind myself that a step off the path for whatever reason is the way the Universe tells me it's time to reflect, rest and be accountable. One day - good or bad - does not a life make. The real trick is to show up for real every day. Showing up for real means sharing those “bad” moments (which often aren't as bad as they seem) as well as the good without putting on a social mask.
Sharing without an agenda of needing is important.
Social media is a place to connect, presumably. It's certainly a place to keep tabs on those we care about; to know what is happening in their lives. However, it isn't real on a couple of different levels. Firstly – and most obviously – there is nothing like the connection of looking into someone's eyes as they speak or hearing their voice or walking side-by-side on an adventure or seeing the same shooting star.
I'll take a phone call over a "like" click any day.
Secondly, most of us tend to share the good things or the things we feel strongly about. Seldom do we share those moments when we are sad or scared or lost. There have been many studies finding that reading social media is a depressant because we ultimately end up comparing ourselves to all of the good things happening to others with the idiotic notion that everyone's life is better than our own.
So... this is the year of showing real without fear or agenda.
Fear makes you foolish in your choices and skews your thoughts. Fear of being alone, fear of death and fear of loss are huge. Fear of being vulnerable and appearing "less-than" is bigger. No-one wants the rest of humanity to think they are weak. Being vulnerable is scary shit. It's the biggest risk anyone will ever take.
Without agenda or belligerence, I think it's important that both sides be shown on social media and, more importantly, in the real world. If I'm sad, I'll say so. If I'm elated, I'll say so. If I love you, I'll say so. (Being in love is different. Just sayin'.) If I have something to say that may be taken the wrong way, then silence or a personal message or – wonder of wonders – an actual phone call is preferred.
The point is, it's more important to me to be real about how I feel than to only show the “good” side of my world or to put a mask on that keeps the perception of strength. It's also more important to me the persons I am connecting with be real as well.
It's more important to me to be real than to fear vulnerability.
If you're brave enough to ask me how I'm doing - face to face or on social media - expect the real answer and the chance to hear the story that goes with it. 
The vulnerability train is leaving the station.