Determination

Shirt on. Buttons done up
Tucked into your trousers
Long days short nights
Tea left cold on the counter

Phone in hand. Sounds erupting
Tapping letters in reply
Flashing lights, screen awake
Always in demand

And although I don’t mind
And I knew what to expect
Don’t leave me behind
Don’t start to neglect
Because I am here for the duration
So please save some determination
For me.

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Choices

I have realised something, something deeply rooted within myself. I don’t know if by reading The Examined Life BY Stephen Grosz has made me more analytical towards my own thought processes, but choice overwhelms me. Too much choice makes me not want to choose at all. It makes me anxious.

Being a bookworm, I specifically find that going into Waterstones (especially a four-floored one) to be very dazzling. There are just so many different books, with completely different adventures waiting to be explored inside. It’s not difficult to pick up a book and be enchanted by the blurb. Knowing there are a thousand more on the shelves capable of doing the same is what makes me hesitate. The trouble is keeping one book in your hand and taking it to the till; what if I have made the wrong choice?

I have recently made a decision to begin reading classic literature, but as I approach that section in the store, I am unable to pick which one to read first, never mind which published version to pick or whether to buy paperback or hardback. Disappointingly, I find myself leaving empty handed.

Then I get thinking about a menu in a restaurant. If the menu isn’t bursting with different starters, mains and desserts, I automatically assume that that restaurant isn’t a good place to eat. However, when looking at a menu that consists of more than three pages, the choices available overwhelms me, and picking what to have becomes a difficult task, one that results in an impatient grumbling stomach and a foot-tapping partner opposite me.

Making choices tends to generate change, especially the big choices. So if you are unable to make decisions or view the many options in a positive light, how can you ever appreciate the changes that occur? With too many choices, I find myself rushing to attempt the next option. For instance, I went into Birmingham library to explore their many floors, one of which contains a room dedicated to Shakespeare. Due to being an English student I obviously climbed the many stairs (over a hundred) to reach this room. However when arriving on the top floor, I could see from the balcony the four-floored Waterstones I really wanted to visit during my time in Birmingham. I quickly glanced around the Shakespearean room before descending down the stairs that ten minutes previous I was so eager to climb, pursuing my next choice without fully appreciating the one I was completing.

I always feel like I am in a rush to experience, learn or attempt everything that interests me, ultimately failing to experience anything due to the profuse amount of choice.

 

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Is ‘sorry’ actually the hardest word?

‘Sorry’ has always been seen as the hardest word to say. However I am not buying that. I believe there are people out there who actually find the ‘S’ word really easy to say, but then we end up questioning its validity. Is that person truly sorry, or were they just trying to diffuse the situation and adopt the role of the doormat?

I am a person who believes that when I am in the wrong, or can see the effects my actions have had on a person are negative, I apologise. I swallow my pride and say ‘I’m sorry’. For me there is no better word. That’s what the word sorry is for, showing empathy for somebody’s lost or misfortune, or showing regret and remorse for your own wrongdoing. However I must confess that maybe there is a selfish element when the word sorry comes to my lips, as I find it relieves my own conscience from the guilt. As long as I have said sorry, I have done my best to resolve the situation. Still, just saying the word ultimately means you have taken responsibility.

Timing is crucial though. Say it too soon, and it shall probably end up meaning zilch to the wounded, as they have not yet completely calmed down themselves. There is no use in saying sorry to an angry person; they are not ready to acknowledge it yet. Saying it too late though, and yet again it could mean zilch, or ‘too little too late’ as the saying goes. The victim may have shrugged the conflict off, meaning that the sorry that you eventually manage to spit out, falls on death ears, or that your sorry is no longer good enough.

According to “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray, he says that men and women say sorry for different reasons. Women tend to find it easier to say sorry as its meaning is slightly different to them. Women say sorry to demonstrate their understanding in a situation, not necessarily because they consider themselves to be in the wrong, but to diffuse a delicate situation. Men only say sorry when they truly believe they are in the wrong, and even then their ego still finds it a struggle to voice that forbidden word.

Admitting to being in the wrong, to some, must be seen as a weakness. This must be why it is so difficult. But the word has been created for a reason, so let’s use it for its intended purpose and not abuse its value by overuse or degrade its power by avoiding it completely. This two syllable word does have the remedy to heal damaged relationships, so use it, and mean it.

I am just grateful that I am not a stubborn person.

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The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle

There is a book I always seem to turn to when times are getting hard. It is my only saviour that manages to keep me from falling into the mist of insanity, for I know I am a susceptible character to its grasps. Just like many of us, sometimes our minds can be our own worst enemy. This book is always in my handbag, ready to be pulled out when thoughts take over.

Eckhart Tolle’s words transformed my thinking, to the point where I believe thinking is no longer essential. His main aim is to levitate the chains of the past and the future that obstruct you from being present, because after all, that is all that exists, the present moment. When you realise this, you gain inner peace.

The book is laid out in question-and-answer format, a collection of questions asked by individuals from seminars, meditation classes, and counselling sessions, which I believe is a successful way in understanding the nature of his words. As I read the book, his methods and knowledge seemed to evaporate any negative thought that was clouding my mind, even if I hadn’t yet grasped its meaning, peace overtook me immediately. Even the title of the first chapter impacted me, “You are not your mind” but that’s exactly what you think you are. You think the thoughts you possess are what contribute to your personality when really it is just a false projection of the ego, latching onto imaginary scenarios, trying survive through what Tolle calls ‘psychological time’. When really the only time we all have is right now.

There are many different chapters dedicated to the process of spiritual enlightenment. Each one digs deeper into the method needed to achieve this state. At first I found it quite difficult seeing as I was basically trying to break a habit of a life time, it was hard to know what to expect and if what he was describing was in fact what I was experiencing. However as I got further into the book each chapter I found myself nodding along and agreeing with what was being said.

I specifically took an interest in the ‘Enlightened Relationships’ chapter, as relationships are a central focus in our everyday lives. We are a species that has to react with many different characters on a daily basis and we currently live in an era where romantic relationships are a crucial contribution to what we believe makes up our happiness. This is why some of us put all our time and energies into this area rather than focusing on ourselves.

The eradication of the ego is an essential stage in gaining spiritual enlightenment as without the knowledge of how it operates, you are potentially letting it win. Many of us (me included) feel that the problems we experience are fundamental to our sense of self, ultimately prolonging the problems we have as we cannot bear the thought of letting go of something that aids who we are. When you realise the intention of the ego, its needs and what it thrives off, you can begin to free yourself from the very same chains.

Overall I believe this book has provided me with a new outlook on life. I cannot say that I live my life as extreme as the author, in a constant state of peace. Nor do I feel I want to, but reading his words has enabled me to take a step back from situations and watch them for what they are and not for what my mind perceives them to be; which is usually extreme and completely wrong!

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately… you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you.”

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True Love??

Does it exist? Is there really only one person out there for each individual? No, I don’t believe this is the case, even though it is a nice thought, that one person out there belongs with you for the rest of your life.

I may sound cynical, but believe it or not I am actually in a long-term relationship, and love him very much, but maybe we just illusion ourselves with the concept of true love to protect ourselves from the pain we all know love can create. Sometimes telling yourself ‘it is meant to be this time’ helps eradicate the walls we build each time a relationship turns sour, but you are not being true to yourself, nor have you completely let go of your resentments.

The key elements I believe are essential for a romantic relationship is compatibility, hard work, and respect for each others’ differences. Because I guarantee, no matter who you are with, differences are always going to arise, and it is up to you to acknowledge them, but not try and change them.

When I say compatibility, I don’t mean you have to possess the same interests, but a shared view of what you want from life and what you require from a relationship. Respecting each others wishes is how you begin to fully understand a person and the experiences and thought processes that contribute to who they are.

Surely we have been around long enough and experienced enough to know that fairy tales do not exist, and you are being naïve if you believe otherwise. We seem to have it in our minds that a relationship is the sole purpose for our happiness, however if you think about it, giving someone that amount of responsibility, placing your happiness in the hands of someone else is an absurd thought (one I have been guilty of possessing every so often). Why have something as important as your own happiness dependent on the behaviour and love of another person. Surely it makes more sense to always remain in control.

Too many people tend to chuck in the towel these days before they have even given it a chance. True love doesn’t exist, hard work does.

As the saying goes “anything worth having is worth working for”

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Long distance relationship

We chat, alternating, asking about each other’s plans for the week ahead. The clock displays that seven o’clock is approaching which means our proximity will decline with his departure. I pull into a free space and turn off the engine. He glances at me and nods, signalling it is time to get out of the car.

Standing on the platform waiting for the train’s arrival, my arms envelope him tighter, letting him know that I don’t want him to leave, thankfully his actions mirror mine. The first sign of snow accompanies the cold wind that swoops the length on the platform; I pull my hood up to shield me away, reducing the risk of watery eyes and red cheeks. The gloves that his hands occupy cup mine. The wool strokes my hand but the comfort doesn’t reach it, as the urge for his bare skin overwhelms me.

He is slightly taller than me, so I peer up at him through a tangle mess of hair and acknowledge all his features. His familiar grin is engraved in my memory so that each time I see it I smile back, enticed by the beauty. He peers back at me through long eyelashes that I have longed to own since I first met him. His hair has started to flatten and his lips have begun to split due to the harsh weather. I reach on to my toes and plant a soft kiss causing his lips to part in synchronisation.

His suitcase stands at the side of our blended shadows, carrying the belongings he brought back for the weekend. I have the urge to run away with it and his laptop to prevent him from leaving me once more, but the sound of the train’s arrival illiminates this thought as another goodbye must take place.

His journey back to university is about to start. He wants to be a journalist, his ambition is to see the world and discover stories and be the story teller. His motivation has never wavered since I first met him sixteen months ago, if anything it gets more intense. I am proud of what he does, for I know he does it well, and although I am no fortune teller, I sense everything that he seeks now, he will one day possess.  The adoration I feel for this man is capable of sending me distances, distances that will enable me to be with him, he believes in me and although I don’t believe in myself, he helps me. I appreciate him, and those moments of pure clarity that I experience with him are what make the waiting even more worthwhile. He is my treasured jewel that never falters and keeps on shining and astounding his forever growing audience.

He gives me a squeeze and tells me that he loves me, I kiss him and say my goodbye. Heading to my car I don’t look back, as I fear that if I can’t see him through the hustle, I will not be able to stop searching, causing me to miss him even more.

To the next reunion.

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