2014: A year of lessons and gratitude.


What I learnt in 2014:

  • Every person is a process, which means that every relationship is a process. We are changing all the time, our dynamics are changing all the time. Every cell in our body is changing in every second, and in every few years, we are literally, physically a different human being.
  • Change is natural. It is the most natural, most certain truth on earth, and of the deal of being alive on earth.
  • If you resist change or hanker after the past, it will only turn you bitter, frustrated, resentful, cynical and angry. You will surrender any power to change; you won’t stop growing, but you’ll be dragged into growth in whatever haphazard, reactive way.
  • The only thing that belongs in the present… is the present. The past and the future don’t belong in the present; they must be dragged, like wraiths out of time, ghosts out of their dimension. That’s why they grate against the present, against us, and cause depression or anxiety or bitterness– because they do not belong here.
  • Very few situations are ever all good or all bad. In fact, situations just are; they’re neutral. We give them meaning and value. And that meaning and value changes over time, our perceptions of those situations change over time, because we change over time. But what we will remember the most, what will never leave us is how we felt at the time. I am suddenly reminded of those lyrics, “In the end we will only just remember how it feels.” Which brings me to…
  • We decide in each moment how to feel and what to think of something. That is an ideal situation, of course, but with patience, mindfulness and time, we learn that skill– the skill of being present and claiming any agency we might have in a situation.
  • Mental illness, like depression (or bipolar, or chronic anxiety, etc.) strips us of this agency, of balanced perception, of choice in how we view the world; it takes over like a huge black cloud and blackened windows, pours tar into your chest and squeezes your ribs and heart and mind and soul shut with blackened twine. It is the biggest waster of human energy and talent on earth; it steals from both rich and poor the ability to feel positive emotions, to act, to care, to feel anything at all.
  • Every story has more than one side. Woe be the person who only listens to one. And bad journalism.
  • A sense of wonder, an ability to be excited, amused and amazed, are conscious choices, and they must sometimes be consciously fought for; sometimes one must even decide if one is willing to face the consequences of choosing to retain these things. In the same way, it is a choice to take the responsibility and consequences of remaining authentic, vulnerable, and loving.
  • Those of us who have the space, access and luxury of knowing or discovering what it is we love best to do, to do it, to live well, and not to be persecuted for it, are the luckiest of all. I hope we all discover for what we are put here, the courage to do it and keep at it, and the luck to be appreciated for it.

Congratulations on what you have all built and survived in 2014, happy new year, and may 2015 be all you hope it will be.



I’m grateful for followers and feedback.

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Goodness. When I started this blog, it was an attempt at cultivating the practice of gratitude, in the way that many Buddhists cultivate the habit of meditation or acceptance or non-attachment (all of which I am not very good at just yet! They’re lifelong endeavours, though, I feel, for those of us without Lama-like souls).

I also hoped it would attract people who had been similarly called/forced/dragged kicking and screaming to find a deeper meaning or higher spirituality in life, and vice versa, of course; thus becoming part of a community of those engaged in the search.

I’m very honoured and privileged to be a small and fleeting but regular part of the lives of other travellers through this life, and for their unique insights and often lovely and serene, dark and macabre, practical and clever, or downright beautiful writings and muses.

I’m grateful to you. Thank you for your feedback and encouragement.

I’m grateful for different paths.

Right, now I owe three poems. So this Day Six NaPoWriMo prompt helped:

Today’s optional prompt is to write a lune. A lune is a sort of English-language variation on the haiku, meant to better render the tone of the Japanese haiku than the standard 5-7-5 format we all learned (and maybe loved) in elementary school. There are a couple of variants on the lune form, but just to keep things simple, let’s try the version developed by Jack Collum. His version of the lune involves a three-line stanza. The first line has three words. The second line has five, and the third line has three. You can write a poem that consists of just one stanza, or link many lune-stanzas together into a unified poem.

We went to the Rhine
And sat there with lunch, talking.
This was where I died.

My heart was brand-new
But my soul had been blended.
It was time to choose.

We are all dying-
What is a little haste, then,
To begin again?

I’m grateful for authentic people.

I love Sarah Bareilles’s Brave music video.

Despite having faced many of my fears head-on, I would never have the guts to do this, even though I know it’s probably the precise fear that I should tackle with the same crazy-enthusiasm as I’ve tackled all the others. It’s probably the one fear that could change my life: the fear of embarrassment, of what other people think. They heard the music; they had the moves– so, who cares if those who couldn’t hear the music thought them insane? Who cares? I love how free and happy I felt watching this video– a vicarious sensation, but such a light and lovely one.

I’m grateful for moodiness.

For it ensures I read and view very different and varied material indeed. There are times I simply cannot tolerate another dystopian future fantasy, young adult or otherwise; times in which I just can’t bear another good-story-nonetheless-consisting-of-sappy-romance (I have never experienced a mood in which I want to read sappy romantic fiction otherwise); days I can’t bear another sequel, or another metaphysically-gifted adult or teenager.

Moodiness has led me into nostalgia, which has prompted me to re-read things like Alice in Wonderland, Sophie’s World, and The Merchant of Venice, stuff of my childhood. Moodiness has led me into no-nonsense, no-indulgence exasperation, which has led me to authors I normally overlook, or stories I hadn’t immediately taken to before– an example is Katya’s World of the Russalka Chronicles. I LOVE the Russalka Chronicles now. It has even occasionally given me the patience to overlook crappy writing for an otherwise good story for its target audience. *coughTwilightcough*

And I definitely need to be in a particular mood to read poetry.

I like my moods. Yes, getting our emotions under control is a mature, productive and freeing thing, but we don’t need to demonize moods, moodiness or emotions to achieve it, for those things make us what we are: juicy, changeable, loving, empathetic human beings.