On being extra ordinary

Dear quarter lives,

Do you remember being asked as a child what you wanted to be when you grew up? Do you remember the answer you gave? Did it change as you grew up and realised the handyman that you wanted to be as a five year-old was not good enough for the world so at fifteen you decided a doctor was more suitable and then at eighteen you decided no a doctor isn’t enough, you need to be even more important than that. You didn’t want to be tucked away in a hospital saving lives quietly, you wanted to be seen for your accomplishments, recognised by the whole world for something great not because you were egotistical but because you needed greatness to give your life value. Not meaning. Value. It wasn’t about your life meaning anything, but it being worth something. And greatness is value. Greatness means you are worth it, it means all the mistakes you’ve done were worth it, it means your birth was worth it, the trouble you put your mother through to be born was worth it, the tremendous investment your parents poured into you was worth it. It means that the life you have lived was worth it. It means that when you come to die, you will feel like you were well spent.

But then your eighteen year-old self became a twenty-something old self, and you came to realise that greatness was not at all what you thought it was. Greatness wasn’t something the outside could give you. Greatness wasn’t accomplishing great things. Greatness wasn’t an object you could accumulate or collect. And as your twenty-something self approached your thirty year-old self, it dawned on you that greatness was in fact the complete opposite of anything your fifteen year-old self could’ve imagined. It dawns on you that greatness was never going to be found in the large things, but the very small ones. It dawns on you that greatness could never be achieved, earned, or accomplished but that it was a sort of being; a state one can access only from within. It dawns on you that you had completely misinterpreted what it meant to be extraordinary. It was right there in front of you but you just couldn’t see it. Extra ordinary. The most ordinary possible. And you realise how foolish you had been. How can something so obvious be hiding so well in such plain sight. Language indeed can be very crafty, but in its craftiness will manage to always keep it simple. And so it dawned on me that I could only become great through the ordinary. Through the everyday being, the everyday talking , the everyday loving as well as the everyday worrying, the everyday frustrations and the everyday resting at the end of it all. Being great is being really good at being ordinary. So this whole time, the only thing stopping me from being extra ordinary was my own resistance to ordinariness.

To pursue extraordinariness, I thought I needed to make a monster out of ordinariness. And I did. For so long, I had been so afraid of being ordinary. I was afraid of being swallowed, of being invisible, of not standing out, of getting lost in the crowd. And so as a result, I have exhausted my self pursuing a ghost. Now, I can finally rest, I can finally stop running, I can finally stop feeling so hungry for attention, for validation that I matter, that I am important, that I am worthy. Finally, I can see what I had been so blind to — the sheer freedom that ordinariness offered. All this time, I had attributed such confinement to ordinariness that I couldn’t see that it was in fact a liberation — a gift of being just so. I cannot say yet that I know ordinariness; I have yet to get acquainted and allow it to pulse through me. All these years of resisting must now become all these years of allowing, of giving permission to all that is ordinary within me to just be. And in doing so, I hope I can eventually get to a place where I am comfortable swimming in the greatness of my very extra ordinariness.

I recognise now that truly great people know they cannot accumulate any real power, because there is no power to be accumulated. Great people do not delude themselves they are powerful when they are in fact powerless in the face of time, nature and death. Great people are those who are aware of their nothingness and yet do not try to fill it up or mask it because they know nothing ever can. Greatness is knowing our power is not ours alone but all of Ours. Greatness is knowing that our personal strength comes from knowing we are a link, a chain, a connector, a communicator between all that is living and all that is dying. There is no person or being alive who was not born of someone. Our story never begins with us and neither will it end with us. So to recognise that even within our own story we might not be the main character but just a character — that, I believe, is greatness.

With love and always for peace,


On the Illusion of Change

Dear quarter lives,

Often we try to move but find ourselves in the same spot. Square 1 we like to call it. Although we are still where we’ve always been, we notice something has changed. Something does feel different. But if it’s not where we stand on the outside then something must’ve shifted on the inside. It must be us. The inside you see is not as still as the outside, we just seldom look at it because we are constantly striving for movement but it’s already there happening inside of us all the time. We move countries, jobs, friends, homes, all in pursuit of something. In pursuit of ourselves, but our selves are already here with us. All we need is a moment alone with our selves to realise the moving hasn’t been in pursuit of ourselves, it’s been a deliberate escaping from ourselves. As stressful, as busy, hectic and erratic the outside world may seem, there is nothing louder and more congested than the traffic jams of our minds. Peace of mind, “happiness” as we like to call it, does not come from a beautiful home, a stable job or a conflict-free marriage. Peace of mind comes from a conflict-free self, a mind and body that are given attention, that are seen the way we see the people we love, that are gifted and celebrated when it is time and disciplined and quieted when necessary. All you could ever want is right where you are, all you need to do is look at it.

But it’s not that easy to look at our selves at first. So much is happening. You don’t know where to even begin to look. You feel overwhelmed. You remember your breath, you go with it, and for a moment it takes you away from all that traffic. But you find yourself pulled back to a party of thoughts, fireworks are going off everywhere, your ears begin to hurt and you remember your breath. It pulls you out again to a quieter place, and again more thoughts come, and again your breath pulls you back, and back and forth you seesaw from mind to body, and you grow tired of their war. You want peace. You decide to resolve this conflict between them and mediate their peace talks. You begin to mediate and very quickly you realise that you cannot understand what they’re saying. You listen closely but hear no words, you realise this isn’t a language you can decipher from a dictionary, it’s a language unique to your own mind and body and to understand this language, you must learn to observe and decipher patterns in their communications. So you begin to listen like you’ve never listened before. And after much observing and watching yourself, you finally know all there is to know. Nothing. You finally know that there is absolutely nothing to know. And if there is nothing to know, then there is nothing to observe. You finally notice the quiet, the silence. Peace has finally come. And finally you realise you have made it. You are here. You are finally now.here. Finally “present”. You realise you were here all along, you just hadn’t noticed it. We are always at square one, we will always be at square one, so what changed? Absolutely nothing. You see the unsettled mind only appears to be unsettled when we first look at it. The mind isn’t what settles, it’s our gaze that does. Thoughts are like a painting covering a blank canvas, the colours are always there but so is the blank canvas too.

Change is an illusion of the mind, as is stillness an illusion of the eyes. The walls you see all around you, the floors beneath your feet, the trees outside might all seem pretty fixed in place, but look at them long enough and you will see they not only move but dance too. It is a dance always between the inside and outside, between body and mind, between change and stillness. All we really have the power to shift is our gaze. Whatever you choose to adjust your gaze to, whatever frequency you choose you will see it everywhere and in everything. If you choose to see anger, you will see it even in the trees. If you choose to see fear, you will haunt your own dreams. If you choose to see love, it will ooze out of everything you lay your eyes on. It is all about how we see. It is how we choose to observe that changes the world around us and even changes us to ourselves. It only feels different because our eyes see different. So cherish your eyes, they are your gift, your superpower. If you feel powerless in any situation, know that no one has power over your eyes except your self, and no one can take away that power except yourself. Progress isn’t that we change but that we learn to use our eyes differently. Progress is a matter of perception. So open your eyes wide, and intentionally choose the channel you would like to watch. Don’t settle for the one you know best. Always remember: It’s your tv and you’ve got the remote control to it right between your eyes. So use it wisely. It’s your magic wand! 🙂

With love,