My 14 Day Meditation Experiment

meditation

Day 1 –  11 January 2018 – Thursday

I had a 20 minute meditation session the morning. I am experimenting with a daily routine that includes meditation as soon as I have but my bag down at the office.

The impact this morning has been great –

  • Number one – I got back to my desk after meditation and found that I needed to clear everything up and create order. I did this for perhaps 20 minutes.
  • Number 2 –  when I got to my first task I was able to get right into it without distraction. Done and dusted. Ready  to go. The task was a very routine invoice that I needed to send off – that I have been delaying for weeks.
  • Number 3  – I received two business calls – one from Darryl Pryce Lewis, who is trying to  add more hours to a tender work plan than I would like and secondly from Mbulelo Notshulwana who was needing my assistance with accessing an aerial photo that was slightly more difficult to get than searching Google Earth. In both of these interactions I have the “limitless” feeling. I am not anxiously trying to get the conversation to end, so I can get on with whatever else it was that i was doing. In both instances I am able to see myself in the ring, as a boxer, seeing that this is a game and that there are certain objectives that I am trying to achieve here.
meditation space out building
It doesn’t look like much but it will do for now!

The space I chose to meditate is an outside room at the office – It used to be a Flatlet of sorts we are not using it for anything right now. I heard someone looking for me and peering into the room while I was meditating – they did not disturb me, I did not open my eyes or acknowledge their presence. My mind went to “Won’t they think I’m weird?”

“Won’t they think I should be working instead?” That, I suppose is what Eckhart Tolle would speak of as my “ego mind”. That part of my mind that confuses my identity with how people around me may perceive me.In any event, I am conscious of the fact that in fact people in my office will have a better view of me, knowing that I meditate. They will associate that with self -discipline, courage and determination. When I expose the script of my unconscious thoughts to the “clear light of day” I can see that they are meaningless and irrational fears. Perhaps meditation helps me to see this.

The other difference that I noticed in this morning’s meditation compared other times I have meditated, it how different it feels to go into my ordinary working day after meditating. (Compared to how it feels to meditate perhaps on a Sunday morning where, after meditating I would perhaps lounge around and not really to any challenging mental tasks. That is perhaps why I have not noticed the profound impact on the noise inside my head. The noise inside my head is very critical of me, is very judgemental, is not at all kind to me. It continually tries its best to remind me of the things I have not done (it does not praise me for what I have done). The noise inside my head continually tries to remind me of what can go wrong. “I may not have money for salaries at the end of January,  I may one day grow too old to be a good man to Poppina”,  “Litha and Noah may not make it through varsity this year” “I may lose all I have worked for in the divorce’. Of course these are all very real possibilities, but the noise inside my head keeps on playing the same record over and over again. The noise inside my head is unreasonable. It does not get it, that I am aware of the risks and have planned for them. It just keeps on making its noise, disturbing me  and distracting me, while I am working on the very plans, projects and tasks that will make the future a much better place for me and for those that depend on me for assistance.

Meditation quietens this voice. Or at least makes me conscious this voice. Meditation lets me see myself. Meditation helps me see that I am playing a game and it allows me to play the game at a much more effective level.

So my undertaking is to keep up with this experiment for the next two weeks. (After that time I will reassess) I will go back to my desk now and I will diarise my meditation sessions for the next two weeks,. I find putting something into my Outlook calendar is a statement of intent. I clearly communicate my intent to the universe. It is not a guarantee that it will happen as I have diarize it, but there is a much better chance of it happening than if I waited for a gap to open.

Let’s see how it goes. There is only everything at stake!

Day 2 – 12 January 2018 – 11:11 Seattle Coffee Shop

I got into the office at 7:55 this morning. I had my usual double short latte at the Seattle coffee station at the Caltex garage in Lorraine. Arriving at the office, I put my bags down, plugged my computer in, greeted everybody and went straight into the my meditation spot. Velile, says he saw me meditating yesterday. He has been meditating before and I can see that he is a little envious that I am building a meditation routine. Perhaps he will join me with time.

NBAF2859
Double Short Latte – Drink of Champions

The meditation was good. I sat myself down on the chair in the disused outbuilding. I put my glasses down between my feet. I put my phone on “flight mode”. I set me phones timer for 20 minutes. This time the 20 minute crept up on me very quickly. My method of meditation has evolved from what I learned from a Transcendental Meditation course that I did way back in 1989. I do use a mantra sometimes, if i really struggle. In fact I still use the same mantra the TM people gave me back then, but I am able to now just sit quietly and concentrate on not thinking. (Without using a mantra) Because I am able to recognize the state of meditation that I am trying to get to, I focus on the silence, or the emptiness or the color I see behind my closed eyes. Invariably my mind tries to think, and I try to gently nudge the thoughts away and reflect on the emptiness. If I pereserved in driving the thoughts away as I did this morning and yesterday morning I eventually emerge from a “tube” where I am aware but not thinking, not feeling and where it is no longer a struggle to not think. I no longer have to work to fight off the thoughts, I am just in that space of nothingness. The vast emptiness. I will then slip back into the tube and have to work hard to not think until I again emerge into the emptiness. My objective is to be able to hold the position in the emptiness for as long as possible without slipping down the tube again. It’s very hard to articulate what goes on in meditation without sounding a little crazy. I suppose that’s a challenge that I am facing be writing about this in this blog.

full moon
Emptiness, like the space between me and the moon

After the meditation I was very clear at my desk. A lot less going on in my head. A lot more focused on what was in front of me. I suppose I am only becoming aware of the anxiety and noise in my head now that it is gone.Yesterday, after a good meditation, I pushed hard to get the DEA tender out. I was able to focus completely on that. Ron Forlee came to say Hello. He is working on some projects here in PE and would like to partner with me. John White popped in to the office, there is a big project in Central he is trying to put together. I was able to remain present to both of them even though I was pushing for the tender deadline. I did miss gym yesterday. But I was able to think clearly about it and make the decision that I needed to take. There was not enough time.

I was tired when I got home last night. Poppina had a “girls night” out and I was missing her. By 9 pm I was a asleep.

It was a good day.

Day 3 – Saturday – 13 January 2018

I could be making thinks a little complicated now with this 14 Day meditation experiment. You see I am also now in the middle of a 3 day fast. So I will have to be extra attentive and try to figure out what (if any) effect on my mood and mindset are caused by the fast and which are caused by meditation. A little more about the fast for those who are interested. The rules I set for myself are as follows: (these are hundreds of different methods and routines – choose one that works for you)

  • Rule 1 – I eat my last meal on Thursday night, then break the fast on Sunday night.
  • Rule 2 – I allow myself water and coffee (and a tablespoon of coconut oil if I like)
  • Rule 3 – I do this once a quarter

Really quite easy and with a lot of benefits to health and wellness.

But let me talk about my 20 minute meditation this morning. It being a Saturday, I did not go into the office. The sun came up early at the farm and I woke up to find Poppina writing in the living area. I drank my usual two glasses of water (with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of Pink Himalayan rock salt) We then took a drive to get some coffee at the closest Seattle Coffee shop (which embarrassingly is a 10 minute drive from the farm)

Back at the farm, with a little caffeine in the system, I pottered around the Tilapia tanks for a while before sitting down with Poppina to meditate. We sat facing each other.
IMG_6019
I filter the Tilapia water though and aquaponics system growing spinach, chard and Peppermint.

Me on my favorite fold up wooden chair and Poppina on the couch. I set the timer on my phone for 20 minutes. This meditation was a little different – a little harder to let go of the background anxiety. I think it is because I was not alone. Maybe just more thoughts about how is she doing? Is she comfortable?  I am not sure. But I was able to get quite quickly into a meditative mind. I would snap out of the meditative zone, but there were not long chains of thoughts that I have had in the past. I became aware of the darkness, I could become aware of the self that was observing the darkness. I was aware this morning about how my mind tries to describe what I am experiencing. My mind would say something like ”I can observe myself observing myself” rather than what I could do for only shorter snippets of time, which was just to observe the darkness, to be in the nothingness.

The method I showed Poppina this morning was the method of using a mantra. I gave her a simple three syllable meaningless phrase to repeat again and again and again under her breath. This method is useful because it displaces thoughts that would come into your mind by filling the mind with the “almost zero content” mantra. So the mantra is a great way to block thoughts from entering your head, but it is not completely zero content. I prefer, if I am able, to stop thoughts by concentrating on the darkness that is really zero content, but harder for me to hold than the mantra. The 20 minutes passed quickly. I could hear the woodpecker outside in the Blue Gum tree, I could hear the rooster crowing in the chicken coop, I could hear the door creaking in the breeze, but these sounds did not cause me to generate thoughts about them. When the timer sounded I was in a deep space, but came out quickly. Poppina had fallen asleep. Her meditation was not as successful as mine. Perhaps she will try a five minute session tomorrow, then try to build from there.

So to the question: “What is the impact of my fast on my meditation?”

To be honest I don’t feel any impact. The meditation does not seem deeper or shallower or different in any real way.

But the rest of the day seems different when I fast (especially after I have day 1 behind me) It feels generally more calm and calculated. It feels generally more meditative. It feel generally less anxious. Interesting….

Day 4  – Sunday  14 January 2018 – 13:33 Pebblespring Farm

Well, I suppose if you are reading day 4 of the story of my 14 day meditation experiment, then it must hold some interest for you. I’m glad. Even if only two people read this and decide to try out meditation as their own experiment then I would be happy that by recording this I would have done my bit to make the work a better place. The more you look’ the more you will come to see that so many people who are doing great work have a regular meditation practice. Often it would not be something that they advertise to the world, but with a little bit of in depth questioning many thought leaders and visionaries will reveal to you details of their regular meditation practice. How do I know this? Do I hang around with a lot of thought leaders and visionaries?

IMG_6043My favorite wooden chair

One or two I suppose. So then what is my secret to finding out the strategies, routines and inside tricks of exceptional people. Well, I read books about their life stories. And more especially I listen to a very good Podcast called the “Tim Ferriss Show”. Tim does a fantastic job of interviewing a whole lot of really cool people on his weekly Podcast. About 80% of whom we find out have a regular meditation routine. Coincidence perhaps?? I think not!!

But back to my experiment. I got around to meditating only at about noon today. It being Sunday I’m flexible with my routine. So today included another (embarrassingly long) drive to get a cup of fine coffee. A double short Latte to be precise. It’s just so nice! Then I go to pottering around the cottage – I checked the Tilapia. They are breeding out now so I scooped one or two of the fry from the tank to the bucket that I put out for this purpose. Then I got going inside with the tool shelf I’m busy building in the tool room. I told you yesterday that Im busy with a three day fast and I find it easier to fast if I’m distracting myself with physical activity. Not too much physicality like digging a hole or cutting a tree, but some light carpentry works just fine. Then into the shower before wrapping a towel around my waist and sitting down to meditate on my favourite wooden fold up chair. I set the phone’s timer for 20 minutes and sat opposite Poppina as she sat on the couch. She was fidgety and grumpy from not eating since Thursday so she took a while to settle down. She shuffled and applied moisturiser,making little noises that I would prefer  not to have when I am trying to meditate but that I was quite good at allowing not to disrupt my meditation. I was struggling a little with a busy mind. I tried my mantra, but still a struggled. As much as I tried to empty my mind, I was faced with a flood of involuntary thoughts:

  • I would think of how I was going to get Drake the rooster back in the coop this afternoon?
  • I would think of a cool idea I have for a meditation “gazebo” in the garden at the office.
  • I would think of the grid of screws I would set up on my tool shelf in the workshop.
  • I would think of writing this report in the “My 14 day meditation experiment”
  • I would think of how it was that the idea of writing a report actually impacts negatively on meditation, because I am trying all the time not to forget what the experience was like, thereby disrupting the meditation…………….AAAAAARGHHH!!

It must have been 10 minutes, by which time Poppina’s fideling an fidgeting had stopped. I was beginning to have longer and longer patches of “meditative mind”. Just being in the nothingness and observing the depth of it.  But then I felt Poppina’s hand on my leg. Her meditation was clearly not as deep as mine or as much of a pressing priority. She had another form of adult entertainment in mind! I think what I am trying to say is that in my records, I will show that today was a 10 minute meditation and not a 20 minute meditation : )

Some of you reading this may judge me for being weak and ill- disciplined and  for not sticking to my 20 minute meditation; “come what may”. To those people I say. “Get a life!!” Seriously, the reason I work so hard in the office, the reason I watch my eating, the reason I work out and the reason I meditate is so that I can experience more fully and with more gratitude this incredible life that I have the opportunity to live. And if the “magic” happens and the time is now to express my love to the most amazing woman in the world, then no office meeting, no meal plan, no gym routine and certainly no meditation slot will stand in my way. Meditation is not a bitter pill to swallow; “like it or not”. No, meditation is a beautiful time. Not asleep and not awake. Completely conscious, but not feeling. Aware but not thinking. It is a beautiful thing and we do it because it pleases us. I do it because it pleases me.

Day 5 – Monday 15 January 2018

I’m feeling quite a bit of tension as I sit down to write this. I feel in in my shoulders. I feel it in the shallowness of me breathing. I suppose though, more importantly, is that I feel it and I am conscious of the fact that I feel it. If I can feel it that means that I don’t accept it as normal. If I notice the tension it means I can at least begin to see it as something separate from me. I can see that a state of tension and anxiety is not something that I should be tolerating for my life. I should not be tolerating a life that consists of a sequence of tasks and events that I must endure in order for them to pass. I insist that my life must be one that I enjoy – A life that involves me laughing. That involves me loving what I am doing and looking forward to doing more of it. I don’t like to use the word “deserve”. As if somebody owes me this kind of life. I prefer to say that:

  • this is the life that I want,
  • this is the life that I choose.
  • this is the life that I desire.

What has all this got to do with my my meditation routine?….I’m not sure if it has anything to do with it. Or perhaps it has everything to do with it. You see in this morning’s meditation I felt a strong sense of love (or at least that’s the closest word I can think of that points to that feeling) As I was able to peel away the thoughts, perhaps like layers of an onion, I would go deeper and deeper in to a “centre” of sorts. The closer I came to the centre or the core, I could feel it as love.

candle

A very beautiful thing. At my core, at my centre, when I don’t think, when I don’t stress, beyond tension, beyond anxiety is a calm and beautiful place filled with love. So perhaps my way of seeing the day and my life in the office is not about me believing that I deserve something better than what I have, but rather that meditation reveals to me the state that already exists in me as a default, before the layers of thought and feeling are wrapped over me to create the distortion that I confuse as reality

Day 6 – Tuesday 16 January 2018

I meditated just after seven am. My day was very busy and I found it hard to find the theme to write about my session. My meditation was characterised by a strong “sexual energy”. I am sure if I was part of an eastern traditions I would have a name for this kind of energy. It’s not a desire to have sex as much as a urge to get things done and a feeling power almost throbbing in the body.

I want to speak about coincidence and luck. Is it my imagination or are things beginning to happen that i have been hoping for for a long time? John White walks in to my office this morning out of the blue. He wants to partner with me in expanding his portfolio of properties. This is a very exciting prospect, There is no guarantee of course that anything will come of this, but the fact is that I am attracting into my my life the kind of opportunities I desire. I know I will build a great rental property portfolio. Does meditation open me up to allow this to happen? Does it make things happen? I don’t know?

What I do know is that mediation is teaching me, (or perhaps more accurately reminding me) to do one thing at a time. In meditation I have to put aside my thoughts and say “Hey! I’ll get to you guys later…right now I am focusing on one thing and that one thing is meditation” This attitude bleeds over into my day, where, when I am meeting with John I am in a meeting with John, when I am talking to Ken, I am talking to Ken. Is sounds really obvious, but this ensures that I am giving my best by focusing on what it is that I am in a unique position to offer and then giving that.

Day 7 – Wednesday 17 January 2018

I got in to the office at 8:05 this morning

I had to send a quick email before i could start my meditation. Peter Kennedy wants to meet this morning and wanted to confirm a time. So I mailed him to ask for a 4:30 time slot:

  • A – I prefer not to let other people’s sense of urgency drive my agenda
  • B – I prefer to keep my mornings free of meetings – slotting those in the afternoon rather.

I sat down in the meditation room. It was not easy to go into meditation. I was a little upset with Myself. I had wanted to greet mandisa at school with a cup of coffee on her first day. I got going too late. The queue at the coffee place was too long, and the traffic was terrible. I was whipping myself. Giving myself a hard time. I was though conscious enough to see that i am being hard on myself. Maybe my meditation routine is helping me to be aware of my inner dialogue including that part of the dialogue where I beat up on myself.

The meditation though was crowded with inner thoughts and a kind of heaviness that made it hard for me to get into the zone I wanted to be in. Toward the end of the session I was however able to get snippets of time in the nothingness. Right at the end i got a powerful sensation that i was being blasted with “light energy’ it was coming into my face from the front. I could feel the energy, but while this was happening the alarm sounded and the 20 minutes was over. I got back to my desk and had a few minutes to spare before the 9 am teleconference with Eldred and the Sisanda people.

Day 8 Thursday 18 January 2018

I did manage to meditate, but I didn’t get a chance to write about it : (

Day 9 – Friday 19 January 2018

Wow. What a week. As i write this it is 18:15 i am sitting at the gym (I did not workout- but just needed a place to site and write)

My two weeks with Mandisa starts today – she is meeting friends down at the “food truck Friday” event. I’ll go down there as soon as I have written down my thoughts. Firstly – I’m very happy that I am not into my second week of 20 minutes meditation a day. It’s been a rough week, an exciting week, a creative week.

There’s a whole lot of things going on at the same time. Let me try and list a few:

  • I have Musa on site at 48 sixth avenue – converting the loft into a flatlet
  • Mandisa had her first day of the school year on Wednesday
  • I had the kickoff meeting for the coega dairy project yesterday
  • I received a counter plea to the divorce summons (which attempts to take mandisa away from me)
  • XXXXXX at work,  told me she has cancer
  • I met with Kas, to ask for advice on how to formalize my relationship with Poppina
  • We have placed adverts for the sale of the prado and the polo
  • XXXXXX’s best friend found out she was pregnant
  • I prepared the concept design for the ports St. John’s  Oneness university campus
  • I presented the concept to Punji – she’s “all systems go”
  • I’ve been invited to take a 50% stake in the Easy accommodation
  • I managed to overcome another one of XXXXX’s attempts to halt the sale of our shares in Sisanda
  • I got quotes for the insurance claim at 71 upper hill
  • I entered into an agreement with Steve for the letting of part of 71 upper hill
  • I took delivery of 5 new hens at the farm,

What I am trying to illustrate, is that there has been a lot going on, but I have not missed my meditation times. I missed Gym a few times, I missed meals a few times but not the meditation times. I have felt strong. I have felt that I have the energy. I felt that I have been able to face the confrontation. And in all of this I have felt that I have been able to be creative. I have had the discipline to sit at the drawing board, (something I love to do), and something that I have been doing so seldom, first last week for the master plan for 48 sixth avenue and then this week for the Masterplan for the Oneness university. I am getting that Limitless feeling. A feeling of indestructibility and feeling of the inevitability of my success. Coincidence?? Does it matter??? I will continue and complete the 14 day experiment. At this stage it seems foolish to even consider not pushing this to become permanent!!

Day 10 – Saturday 20 January 2018

I didn’t get around to it. Sorry!!! But I suppose that’s also OK.

Day 11 Sunday, 21 January 2018

I had a great start to my Sunday morning – Poppina and Mandisa and myself took a drive down to Hobbie beach. The weather was windy, but warm. The sea was like a washing machine. But what a glorious swim. If there is a perfect temperature for sea water, then Sunday morning was it. Diving under the waves, flowing head first back into the white water. Such an energizing time, why don’t I do it every day, or at least every weekend? It’s just so great. I’ve been hearing people talk about electrical currents of the earth and how we need to “ground” ourselves by walking barefoot. I suppose there is a real possibility that the conductivity on the wet beach sand is really at this best. But is it important to know the science behind what makes me feel great? Is it important for me to know and understand the science behind what aspect of meditation makes me more creative and more productive? No, Not at all. What is more important to me in my own life, is to conduct the experiment and observe the effects. And that’s what this little writing experiment is about. I am recording this 14 day experiment, not for the purposes of “science” I have no intention to get my results published in a scientific journal. I am recording my experiment purely for my own benefit. So I can look back at this for it’s and take a decision regarding whether to make this a full time feature of my daily routine or not.

So Sunday, after coming back from the beach, I spent my time ordering my tool room. In itself quite a meditative exercise. I must of spent maybe three hours doing this. It was terribly windy outside, so inside work was a much better idea.

I meditated for 20 minutes at about 15:00. I sat in my bedroom on my favorite fold up wooden chair. The 20 minutes was good. With some deep patches toward the end.

Day 12 – Monday 22 January 2018

The traffic was quite bad this morning. We left the farm at 6:20, but I only got to my desk at 8:00 admittedly we stopped for our usual morning coffee, but it normally does not take that long.

My meditation is normally a battle with my thoughts. This morning was a battle with feelings. Trying to set aside feelings that were dominating my mind. I had a fight with Poppina on Sunday evening. My feelings were of sadness, of fear, of jealousy. But using the same method of meditation I was able to put these elation’s aside. As they entered my mind, I was able to gently move them away, until my mind became clear, It’s almost as if though the wind stops blowing and suddenly I can see the pond in all its beauty, I can see below the surface through the crystal clear water.

stones

The meditation went through patches of intensity. I developed a clear vision of an eye with three eyelids, the three eyelids revealing a rounded triangular shape. I will make a sketch to explain.

I also had a clear sensation of flying with big black wings.

I noticed again though my day yesterday, how in fact my whole day becomes a “Meditation” what do I mean by that? I mean in the same way As I am able to sit down for twenty minutes resisting the impulse to think and do, so too am I able to apply a similar mind to the day today situations I find myself in without getting distracted. We have been interviewing people to take on a position as general assistant. These are the types of tasks that generally tend to make me fidgety. They generally tend to make want to move on to the next task. They make me want to check my phone or doodle in my sketch book. But tin this instance I was present to the process. I was focussed. I was mindful of what I was thinking. I was listening to what Jessica had to say. I was listed it to what Velile had to say. One of my many flaws is that I would become impatient with people that irritate me, especiatial it they come across at slow or lacking in understanding. Yet I was able to remain polite and caring and not become my usual sarcastic and hurtful self. I am also drawn to getting tasks done. Not allowing things to hang and drag out. My work drive has been quite impressive.

I had a good work out in the gym doing arms. I came within millimeters of achieving 14 pull-ups (which is my all time personal record. I also put in good effort with the bench press and the crucifix exercises.’

When I got to the farm I found that the pressure pump was not working. I was able to notice my calmness at I sat doing doing my best to troubleshoot and get it going again. I was not angry at the world I was not “Wo is me” I simply did what I could. And when I realized that it had to be taken in for repairs, I simply disconnected it an loaded it on the back of the bakie, making peace with the fact that I would boil water on the gas stove to wash in.

I went to sleep and 9:30 and set the alarm for 5:15

I slept well!

Day 13 Tuesday 23 January 2018

This morning was a bit better as regards traffic. I got into the office at 7:30 having left the farm at about 6:15.

The meditation was good but interrupted with many thoughts with huge positive energy and an urge to get off my seat and start getting things done. When I slipped into meditation there was a sensation of throbbing or pulsing…a powerful energy. The colour I could see behind my eyes was a bright white. (not the usual blackness with s centre of luminous yellow and a circle around the black of luminous yellow and luminous purple)

The day was very productive. I got immediately into “getting stuff done”, dropping the pump off for repairs,then into the last interview for the general assistant post. Then meeting with Musa the builder – finishing the reconciliation for the flat – I could see myself being calm and collected. I could see myself not getting flustered or upset. I was patient  but firm.

A text came through from Steph my neighbor. I tree fell down last night on her fence. She wants to know how I’m going to deal with it. I was not angry I was not frustrated. I was not tempted the weak “why me” I was pleasant – said I would have a look in the evening. I did. And I got back to her. No issue (I’m waiting for the quote to repair it now – but let’s see)

I picked mandisa up from school, then went together with her to Gym, that was nice, I’m gonna try to schedule more of my gym sessions with Mandisa in the weeks when I am with her. We worked Abbss – she is really good and physical. I am very proud of her. I am conscious of the fact that I am proud of her and I am conscious of the fact that I love her. I wonder if having less anxiety and being more conscious radiates out and effects the people around me, Mandisa, Poppina, Litha Noah and the  people that work for me? I am absolutely convinced that it has a huge impact.

Day 14 – Wednesday 24 January 2018

So it came to pass that I reached the last day of my 14 day meditation experiment.

The meditation this morning was a little hard to get into. The problem being that I was bursting with a creative energy. My mind would not slow down, it was flashing me with things that I would love to do and get done. Not the anxious flashing of thoughts that says “you haven’t done this and you haven’t done that” but more like”wow, I’d love to get that done right now. “ or “would not it be nice to get this done quickly” But I did persevere  and I did get into a beautiful throbbing meditation. I was able to visualize the colours behind my eyes “throbbing” or “pulsing” just watching them change became the focus of my meditation. At one stage I felt a dropping sensation. Like a dip on a rollercoaster. I feel this every now and again and my attempt is to just let go and keep moving with the roller coaster. But it only lasts a few seconds then my mind tries to hold onto something. I am sure its just a case of practicing this a little more.

Looking at the this 14 day exercise I can see that it has helped my come to see a number of benefits to my life.

  • I sleep better
  • I am more productive
  • I am more creative
  • I am more loving
  • I have improved Libido
  • I have reduced anxiety
  • I have become conscious of my thoughts

I will not attempt in anyway to quantify these as in “I was rating my anxiety at 8 out of 10 and now I rate it at 2 out of 10” Why will I not attempt this? I’ll tell you. It’s because I am not trying to prove anything to you. So much of our thinking revolves around the concept that some one else, some scientist in a white coat and thick black glasses, must prove something in order for it to be true. I support this way of thinking for almost all questions that require answers. Where I don’t support it is where the answers can be gained through self experimentation. And yes, I also agree that some things are just too risky to try personal experimentation. I think for example that the risk of experimenting with eating mushrooms I find on the farm to discover which are deadly poisonous and which simply induce mild hallucinations is just too risky. With mushrooms I rely on the nerds in the long white coats and thick black  rimmed glasses.

But if the question is:

What song helps you get in a party mood?

Or

How many glasses of wine cause a hangover the next morning?

Or

Do beans make me fart?

Or

Is my life better with a 20 minute morning meditation routine?

Then I suggest that self experimentation is by far, I mean by at least a mile, the best way to find out. Why is this truth so obvious, but yet so seldom practiced? I’m not sure, but what i do know is that I cannot lie to myself. When I put my hand into a bucket of ice water, the pain I feel is not a lie. When I fall in love, the love that I feel is not a lie it is real. I suppose it’s about trusting this feedback from a deep personal space in a world where we are thought to be cynical and distrustful.

This experiment has taught me two things:

1 – regular meditation is good for me on a whole lot of levels

2 – I will seek out other experiments to help me find other ways in which my life can be improved.

 

I Love Building!!!!

I love building! The hammer and nails, the step ladder, with cordless drill. The pain in my joints in the evening as I rest after a day of sweat and pain. Building of course starts way before any hammer is swung or any brick is laid. Building begins like all other created phenomena. In the mind as an idea, a notion. It may then find form words in discussion with a loved one, an argument with a banker, then later it may take the form of text, a letter, a blog post, an idea in a journal, emerging only later perhaps into sketch form growing over self-confident: a serviette in a late night restaurant at first, a koki-pen drawing on a desk pad soon after. Each step of this building process comes closer to completing the vision and giving physical form to what was just a notion. The bricks mortar, timber an steel follow when the idea is strong enough to survive in the physical world.

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Building “Littlewoods”

I love the feeling of freedom that building gives me. The freedom to move beyond all the “reasons” why something cant be built. Overcoming the “reasons” and excuses and physically seeing the from emerge to completion.

While building is my great interest and passion, so too over the years I have come to be very interested in “Freedom”. I have become interested in what this word “Freedom” actually means to to me, and how the idea of Freedom may be different to you reading this post right now. Also I have become especially interested in the idea….in the truth that Freedom is not something that we simply stumble across, but rather that it is something that we build for ourselves. Freedom is something that must start out as an idea, then find its way into conversation, eventually into text and writing, then documented plans and ultimately in the concrete action in the physical and spatial world.

This website is about Building Freedom. Not about marching for freedom or fighting for freedom or voting for freedom. Here we test the notion that for freedom to be lasting and meaningful, it must find its expression first at the level of the individual. (You and I). Sure we can collaborate, pool our individual energies where we can align ourselves to obtain such freedom, but here we will explore there idea that you and I must first define for ourselves what it means to be free in our own lives. Having defined that freedom for ourselves we can choose to become free or to remain imprisoned.

Imprisonment may come in different forms for different people. You may be imprisoned in poverty, you may be imprisoned in your dead-end job, in your sexuality, in your family traditions, in your relationship. Most people reading this will not be physically imprisoned or enslaved, but sometimes those that are physically held captive are in a way more fortunate in that there is know doubt in their mind that they are not free. They have no doubt in their mind that they are being held against their will. If they try to escape their captors, they will be instantly met with violence.

In 1986 and 87 I was held captive as a conscript in the South African Defense Force. The army at the time was a brutal institution known for it cruelty and intolerance. Never once did I try to cut my way through the razorwire  fences that surrounded our barracks or risk being shot by the guards. The threat of violence was though imminently clear and evident. The public punishment of those that did try to escape was enough to discourage me and most others not to even try. In that system I knew that I was not free. It was made clear by the fences, the guard towers the barbed wire and the armed guards and by the military police. It was made clear by the suffering of those held in the notorious “detention barracks”. I had no doubt that I was not free. I had no doubt about who my captors were.

But what about you and me today? In our ordinary jobs, in our ordinary families in our ordinary relationships. Are we free? What does it really mean to be free? I have thought about this quite a bit. I have played with a few different definitions and I suppose what I have settled for is “freedom is choosing without fear”. So, In other words if I decide to stay inside the military base because I love the accommodation, the food and the camaraderie then I am free. But if i stay because I fear getting shot by the Military Police or being held in the detention barracks, then I am not free. If I stay in my job because I fear that my children will not eat, then I am not free. But you may say “well of course we need to feed our children”. But hear me. To be clear, I am not saying for a minute that anybody “deserves” freedom. All I am saying is that many of us (maybe most of us) are not free, because we are motivated everyday by fear to get out of bed and endure what we endure.

I have come to see in my life that it must be my mission to live free. Perhaps I will never achieve this objective. Perhaps until the day I die I will be striving toward achieving a life motivated by joy and not by fear. But what I have decided is that I will not resign myself to a life of fear. I have decided to build freedom. I have decided work in the same way we would set about building a house or a church or a hospital. I have decided to build freedom in a methodical way. Starting first by recognizing where I am not free, then conceptualizing and designing a new, free place and new reality. Then working hard to build it. To make it real.

August 2016 THC

Is your life like an inbox?

For the last two weeks I have been “unsubscribing”.  Every time I get a mail in my inbox that I don’t want to be there, I take the time to unsubscribe. The good news is that my mail box is getting clearer and clearer and more full of mail and messages that are important to me. I mean; really!? Who puts me on these lists? Conferences in Dubai and Singapore, Solutions for document management, special deals on earth moving equipment and once in a lifetime offers to travel to Bali or Budapest. I did not ask to be on these lists, or at very least I may have been interested three years ago, but have not taken the time to click on the button at the bottom of the offending email that says “unsubscribe”. What happens is that eventually the flood of junk mail becomes so big that I become exhausted. I give up trying and just resign myself to an inbox that is not of my making, of no interest to me and from which I can expect no joy or fulfillment. Bear in mind that I am not here speaking of “junk mail”. You know the kind of mail about erectile dysfunction and instant cash loans. That king of email does not even allow us to opt out. We have to me more violent with that by employing IT guys at our internet service provider to develop special filters to protect us.  No, I am talking about that stuff in our inbox that comes from legitimate operations, offering legitimate services, that at some time in our lives may even be interesting to us, but that frustrates us because it is not what we want for ourselves right now. For this the solution is simple ….”UNSUBSCRIBE”.

unsubscribe

I am beginning to see though, that what is true for my inbox is true for my life. I have “subscribed” to many things that at this point in time frustrate me, or bore me or are just not what I am into any more. It’s easy to unsubscribe from some of these. “Sorry, I just don’t watch the news any more” or “Sorry, I just don’t eat carbs anymore” or “sorry I don’t wear long hair any more” or “sorry, I don’t schedule business meetings over the weekend” or “sorry, I just don’t check voicemail”. These actions and others like them have all been quite easy for me to take and have all had a refreshing impact on my life. I am glad I picked the small “unsubscribes” first. They are easy to do and they show instant results, but I think the real benefit is that they give me the courage to begin to tackle the bigger “unsubscribes”, the more complicated ones, the ones that will be resisted by people that may have become comfortable with the benefits that flow to them from me being a subscriber. And this is I suppose as far as we are able to stretch the “life is like your inbox” metaphor.

 

There are things in life that each of us are responsible for, that we can’t just opt out of because we have lost interest or we have “moved on”. But what are those things? What are we really responsible for and what is it can we unsubscribe from even if it causes some disappointment? This is a million dollar question. A question I would guess many of you reading this are wrestling with in your own lives right now. Maybe the point to remember here is that everything is negotiable. Even your “responsibilities” can be negotiated. Let’s say for example you are responsible to pay your bond every month. You can’t just click “unsubscribe“ to make the bond payment go away, No! Of course not. But you can negotiate. You can say, “How about if I sell the property, pay the bank what I owe them, then I won’t be responsible for the bond every month.”

  • Of course the banks not happy because they would prefer to profit from your monthly bond payment.
  • Maybe your kids are unhappy because they quite liked the swing in the backyard of the bonded house.
  • Maybe your friends are unhappy because now they have to update your details in their contact list.

The idea is to realise that I am responsible for the commitments I have made and do go to each of those you have committed to and make good through renegotiation. Don’t just say “Fuck you all! I don’t like paying the bond every month so I won’t, and you can just do your damdest!” No that’s a recipe for years of unnecessary and completely avoidable misery.

But don’t give up on your attempt to “unsubscribe” .Go back to each of those you have made commitments to and say:

  • “Dear bank, I know I said I would pay this loan off for the next 20 years, but I’ve changed my mind. I’ve sold the house. Here’s your cash (and the penalties you made me agree to)”
  • “Dear Kids, I know you liked the backyard swing in the old place, but how about now that we have this smaller place that daddy prefers, we walk to the park and swing there every evening, and then with the money I save on the bond we go swing at Disneyland at Christmas time every year”
  • “Dear Friends, I know you like the idea of knowing where I stayed. But you know what I’ve moved to a new place. Get over it! And by the way I’m having a house warming braai at my new place on Saturday – see you there!”

 

You see! That wasn’t so bad. You’ve negotiated out of your responsibility, you have unsubscribed in a way that does not leave unhappy people in your wake and you dealing with consequences for many years to come.

 

Because I see in my own life that I become stuck with that which I believe is can’t be “unsubscribed from”. Someone I’ve employed, a project that’s irritating me, a city or a place I find myself living in. The feeling that I can’t do anything about it is debilitating. Its depressing. It robs me of the energy I need to get out of bed in the morning.  So my promise to you is this. No more capitulating, No more giving up. No more putting up with it in the hope that it will pass. If in my heart I know that my circumstance is not aligned with my higher purpose, I will feel it. And when I feel it I will find the courage to act. And when I find the courage to act, I will act in such a way as confront and negotiate the responsibilities I have toward the people around me and ecosystem of which we are an integral part.

 

Mark my words!

Don’t let culture be reason to isolate ourselves from others

This piece first appeared in The Herald on 12 January 2017

December holidays in South Africa, perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, are a glorious celebration of idleness; an annual reminder to all of us that there is so much more to this life than working for a boss.

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The young man returning from the bush dresses in a certain way (Photo: Tamarisk Glogauer)

But, other than idleness, December in our region is also dominated by significant “cultural” and “traditional” obsessions. In my family, we follow both Xhosa and European traditions, so December means Mgidi season and Christmas season. This year was particularly intense as my second son (recently matriculated) went to the bush to participate in the thousand year old Xhosa tradition of circumcising boys and initiating them into manhood. So, this December was not just about attending the various celebrations as a guest, but rather hosting a huge feast (called an Mgidi) in my back yard in Walmer.

Of course, once everything was done with the Mgidi, the marquee taken down, the last of the ox eaten and the last Mqomboti drunk, I quickly got into Father Christmas mode and rushed off to the mall to get the gifts, the turkey, the gammon, the crackers and all the other paraphernalia that is absolutely required to make Christmas a success. It all worked out well and so many of our friends are patting us on the back for being “multi-cultural” and for “promoting diversity”.

But I have been thinking about this a little over the holidays, as the fog of burnout begins slowly to loosen its grip on my brain. I really don’t want to make myself unpopular, but I am just no longer sure that all of this talk of “embrace your culture” and “be proud of your roots” is going to be good for us in trying to build a society and a culture that attempts to pull together in the same direction. The thing is that your family traditions (be they Diwali, Imisibenzi or Christmas) are very, very useful tools at making you feel part of “the group”. There are so many little rules in these cultural events that we all “just know”. Those of us that celebrate Christmas know that Father Christmas comes down the chimney, not through the front door; we know that gifts must be wrapped and shiny paper and must be given on 25 December. We know that the Christmas dinner must include a turkey and that it is absolutely essential that you wear one of those flimsy paper hats while you eat.

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Clad in brand new white blanket the young man turns his back on his childhood and heads home – Phot0: Andrew Hewitt-Coleman

Those of us that attend Mgidis “just know” that the young man will come home from the bush in the morning to the loud bashing and clanging of pots. We know that he must be adorned in a clean white blanket and must carry a blackened stick. We know that he will be smeared in red clay by his sister and given a new name. Knowing all these rules and sub-rules makes us feel comfortable, makes us feel part of something larger than us.

But the truth is that cultural events like Christmas, Bar Mitzvahs or Mgidis originated at a time when everyone around us in any direction for a thousand kilometres spoke the same language and held the same beliefs. Cultural events were therefore a comforting and regular reminder that we are all on the same page. The reality of course is that we don’t live in that world any more. So, my fear is that the very same cultural events that evolved all over the world to make communities stronger are now having the opposite effect in an age of multiple overlapping Diasporas. What we call “culture” has the very real effect of making someone who does not know all the little rules feel like an outsider and in a very real way, unwelcome.

I may have lived next door to Greek neighbours for ten years but would still feel like I don’t belong at a birthday party where there is bearded guy dancing in circles while his mates chuck the crockery on the floor.

Otherwise intelligent friends of mine speak about South Africa being a cultural “melting pot”, where the (completely unscientific) belief is that if each family just keeps on following the same routines that our great-great grandparents did, that we will somehow magically develop a new culture and tradition that is uniquely South African. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it. What I see from where I am standing is arrogant conservative backlash that says “this is how we have always done things and to hell with all of you!” I know that Trump supporters and Brexit people may tell you otherwise, but this mind-set can only be a recipe for extinction.

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The temporary structure the boy stayed in is burned to the ground along with all boyhood possessions – Photo – Andrew Hewitt-Coleman

So what can we do?  My suggestion is that we begin to discuss the challenge of culture, but not from the perspective of trying to conserve some dying detail, but rather from the perspective of “What aspect of my family’s tradition can I soften, explain or modify to make accessible to everyone? What can I do make it easier for those around me to understand and participate in?”

And another thing: Get over yourself!  It’s just not that serious! These traditions are just a game that we play. Because deep down, in our quiet time, each of us know that we are so much more than the language we speak or the village we come from.

Let’s lighten it up a little!

Law of the farm number 17: “Don’t sell the farm to buy a tractor”

One of my favourite “tools” on the farm is our little 160cc Suzuki quad bike. My friend Eldred had it lying around in his garage and gave it to us as a gift when we first bought the farm. What I like about it is that it’s small and light, but powerful enough to take a load of fence poles or drag a log out of the dam.

Having a big fancy John Deer tractor would be great, but very expensive, so right now we make do with what we have. The heavier puling tasks the quad bike can’t handle, I use my 4X4 for. The big digging and pushing tasks I hire in a TLB at R300.00 per hour. No, it’s not ideal, but I am working within the realistic limitations of what we have and how best we should invest what we have. And what’s more, the quad bike is agile, it has a tight turning circle, it can manoeuvre through narrow paths in the forest. Places where a tractor just could not get right now. The quad bike is also light on the ground, it will not easily compact the soil or sink into muddy patches. Oh yes, and of course, it doubles as a toy. I feel quite comfortable to let even smallish children take turns up and down the driveway on the quad bike. I would not be able to let them do this with a tractor.

My policy favouring a quad bike (for now) over a tractor I suppose comes out of a long tradition where my grandfathers’ grandfather would have had to make such conscious choices all the time. My grandfather’s grandfather would have lived on a farm; he would have known that if he invested too heavily in extravagances he would struggle to feed his family. If that meant walking to town because he could not yet quite afford a horse cart, then I guess that is what he would have done. If that meant housing is family in a one roomed cottage, that is what he would have had to do. That’s just the way things were, and actually that’s still the way things are.
Except…
Our modern urban lives have helped to blur the lines between what is possible and what is impossible. Banks and other credit giving business have created the illusion that we can have anything we want right now. All we have to do is sell our future lives to them. All we have to do is to agree to labour for them. So we buy the horse cart, or the three roomed cottage or the tractor, but we sell the very thing we were trying to attain by entering into the bargain. Let me be clear. In some way or other, we are always trying to be free. When we buy something or build something it is in order that we may be free. Free from discomfort, free from toil and struggle, free from inconvenience. We are always trying to buy our freedom. The banks and credit giving institutions know this, but also know that we have become conditioned to selling our very freedom, our future time and energy for the privilege of having right now what we actually can’t afford to have right now.
The debt trap has become so common and so widespread that it has become generally accepted that this is the route any young person should follow when leaving home and embarking on their journey to independence. Young people who do not go into debt to buy cars, clothing and big screen televisions risk becoming social outcasts. There are the brave ones that do resit the trend, but these are a very small, very courageous minority of thought leaders.
I must be careful to clarify that I am not speaking out against debt as a concept; I am speaking here about moving toward some acceptance that debt is a very powerful and at the same time a very dangerous tool. Clever people have learned how use debt to invest well and build empires that serve them and their families for generations. But debt is dangerous. Like dynamite. Not something to hand out an street corners to children , but something to entrust to experienced miners who after years of training, know how to apply its force surgically and precisely to extract the ore from the rock. Right now, we are suffering a pandemic of indebted , young and old, running around dazed through the city streets with sticks of dynamite blowing off hands and limbs.

 

I am not saying that buying a tractor is a bad idea; I am not saying that debt is a bad idea; I am saying that we must be become skilled before making decisions so that we are not tricked into selling the farm to buy the tractor.

Law of the Farm Number 12: “The Porcupine does not consider digging up bulbs as work”

Of course I don’t know what goes through the porcupine’s mind when it digs up the bulbs of our arum lilies. In fact I don’t even know for sure that it’s is a porcupine that is destroying these beautiful plants with their distinctive white cone shaped flowers with the bright yellow poker protruding from the centre. I am assuming it is a porcupine because when I post pictures of the damage on Facebook, my clever friends tell me that it is only a porcupine that makes that kind of damage and that porcupines absolutely love arum lilies. I was actually secretly holding out for the hope that we had bush pigs on the farm. That would be exciting. Perhaps we have porcupines and bush pigs? It’s very hard to say because these animals move around in the dead of night and are very shy. But whether it is a porcupine or bush pig destroying my prized plants, I strongly suspect, that when they are digging the deep holes in the soil required to access the tasty bulbs, that they do not for a second think that they are “working” in the way that you and I may think we are working when we report to the office and begin to wade through our inbox or finish the report or sit through the meeting or return phone calls. When I see pigs digging for roots or rolling for the mud they look to me as if though they are having a huge party. In fact many clever farmers have now taken to sprinkling a few kernels on grain into massive compost heaps that need to be turned. The pigs go crazy having a great time turning over the mountains of compost at the cost to the farmer of a few handfuls of grain.

But you and I have been conditioned differently. It’s not that we are afraid to exert ourselves mentally or physically. We are quite happy to exert ourselves on the soccer pitch to the point where our legs burn and we spit blood. We are quite happy to put our brains to the test playing scrabble or Grand Theft Auto. We have come to buy into the idea that these are “leisure time” activities and that it would be crazy to build up a sweat (or a headache) doing any productive work outside of office hours or school hours. Well, call me crazy, but I love to do physical work. I love the feeling of using my muscles, my arms and my legs. I love the rhythm of thinking and doing. I love the feeling of physical exhaustion in the evening.  I love the supper time retelling of the achievements of the day and I love the deep satisfied sleep that follows it. (I especially remember the very satisfying time working with my late father on his wooden house in the forest)

 It seems strange to me therefore, that I have put so much time and effort in my life to ensure that I don’t have to do any physical work at all. My twelve years of schooling in maths, literature, history and science required no “doing”, no lifting or pushing. It did though; prepare me for another five years of study at University which would eventually deliver to me the degrees I required to become an Architect and be guaranteed of never having to push a wheel barrow, thrust a spade into the ground or cut firewood.

On leaving University, life as a young professional was clear, nobody ever handed out a rulebook, but the understanding was that we must put in time at the office to earn our money, but if we put in too much time we will break down, so we must take some of that money to buy “leisure”. That leisure must not involve doing anything productive or meaningful.  We may choose from a vast array on mindless sporting or cultural pursuits. We may participate or spectate. If the mindlessness of the leisure becomes unbearable, we may numb ourselves with alcohol, sugar or nicotine. This is just how it is.

I can see how in the headlong rush to get to the ‘top of my game” I have moved further and further in my career, away from actually doing any work. Like lifting a pencil, to sketch a chimney detail or calculating the fall and cover of a drainage installation. All of that is “outsourced”, because that is the law of competition and the law of competition says that, if I am an expert at running an architectural practice, I can’t be “wasting” my time actually being an Architect. I must spend my time delegating, checking what others have done, motivating, admonishing, fighting with debtors, apologising to creditors because that’s what we do when we get to the top of our game.

Does any of this ring true for you in your life? Perhaps, what each of us needs to do is sit back and look at the route we have walked to get where we are in our careers. Each of us needs to get down and do the dirty work of thinking through how we have been conditioned to look down on anyone doing physical work. Even in our homes, when we can’t resist the instinct to get our hands in the soil that we are married to, we make every attempt to dress up our gardening activities as “leisure”. We call gardening a “hobby”; we don’t call it “work”. When we can absolutely not resist the instinct to grow fruit and vegetables, a productive pursuit, we hide these away in the back yard.

So, what I am doing in my life about my dysfunctional relationship with work? I suppose, I am slowly beginning to participate, wherever I can, in actually doing stuff. I am also looking for family traditions and practices that involve real work, even if it just taking the time to cook the mother’s day meal.  Some families in our region are fortunate to belong to a tradition where work is still honoured. If you drive through the streets of New Brighton or NU 7, on any given Saturday you will find clan groups participating in “Imisibenzi” (literally translated as “works”). These traditional functions mark a range of special occasions, but what is interesting, is that everybody attending the function works. From the slaughtering of the beast, to the processing of the meat to the brewing of the beer and the peeling of the carrots. Hosts and guests work together. Honouring tradition and honouring the idea of work and how it is in fact not separate from leisure. To a lesser degree, but not entirely dissimilar, on any given Sunday in the suburban backyards of Summerstrand and Sherwood we find  family groups around the braai, spicing the meat, turning it on the flames. The hosts and the guests working together, some in the kitchen with the potato salad and toasted sandwiches and others outside with the chops and the wors. These are important traditions to hold onto, where the tendency is toward the American situation where 43% of all meals are no longer prepared at home and where work is generally regarded as something you sell in exchange for cash.
So more and more I come to see that any activity that helps me understand that work is not separate from leisure and that work is more than just a commodity for sale, is where I want to be spending my time.

 

Because this separation of work and leisure, is not of the natural order, it’s certainly not way of the farm, in fact it contradicts the law of the farm which states that:  “The Porcupine does not consider digging up bulbs as work”

A Place of Power

I have been cleaning up the yard a bit at home. I suppose now that we have the farm, I have little excuse left for turning our sub-urban backyard into an ongoing agricultural experiment. We have veggies, fruit trees, grape vines, Tilapia, a duckweed pond and a chicken run. I am under pressure to move the chickens, the grape vine, the tree nursery and the Tilapia hot house out of the back yard and on to the farm.

But its kind of sad. I know I am making space for bigger and better things, but I still have a vision for this backyard, that will now remain unfulfilled. I would have like to have completely taken out the lawn and replaces it with a tree nursery or chicken forage. I would like to have drained the pool, roofed it into a Tilapia aquaponic garden hothouse. I would have liked to have gone further with rainwater harvesting, composting and grey water systems.

But in clearing out the yard, I am also taking stock. I am clearing out the rubbish that has accumulated. Burning those short bits of timber I thought I would use here and there. Its funny, its almost as if all this stuff grows to have some power over me. And as I burn it I feel the power return to me. Too much stuff! That’s the real problem. We get more and more of it and it begins to mess with our minds. It begins to take my personal power.

I am not sure that I know what I mean by “personal power”, but I have come to see that inside me there is a personal energy or “power”. Some days it is stronger, some days it is weaker. I can feel it change sometimes. If, maybe somebody close to me says something hurtful. I feel my power diminish. If I am doing physical work, I may feel tired, as if though I cannot go on. And piles and piles of disorganised stuff has a similar effect on the energy. This “power”. It makes me feel weak and discouraged.

This realisation is behind my drive to simplify, to live with less. I can see that living with less will give me greater vitality and greater strength. I have go no idea why, of course. But, the mechanics of this phenomenon are not as important to me as the absolute knowledge, that for me, in my life, the less clutter there is, the less noise there is, the less stuff there is, the stronger I feel. And, what’s more, I notice that its like some sort of spiral effect, because the stronger I feel, the more I am able to do to rid myself of those things that are making me feel weak, so I, in turn become stronger again.

My quest , and I suppose, many of yours to, is to find my strongest self, my fullest self. All else flows from there. My ability to love and give. My ability to lead and contribute, all of these are by products of a strong self.

So, as I step back into the work week tomorrow, let me remember the feeling of power and strength I hold today. Let me carry it with me to the meetings, in the proposal and the reports. Let me remember that the place from where I come is a place of power.