Solutions to decision-making

Dear quarter lives,

As a young child, we were taught at school to follow the rules and do as told. Free-thinkers and rebellious children who feel called to act differently to the rest of the group are deemed troublesome. They are told to behave and do as told and not what they feel. They are told to stop thinking for themselves. Flash forward 10-15 years later, when these very kids enter university and the work force, and all of a sudden they are expected to make big life decisions themselves. Now, they do not have someone telling them what the “right” thing to do is. Now, they must think, feel, and decide for themselves. Sadly, now, after all these years of being trained out of thinking for themselves, they cannot. Now, we have young adults who were taught to disconnect from their natural instincts and inclinations, they were trained to distrust all the signals telling them to do what felt right to them. Now, as grown ups, they cannot decide for themselves. They are so disconnected from that internal source that used to tell them as a child what to do but it is too the very thing they were told was trouble. Now, we have young people who fear their own internal voice because they were told it was bad. No wonder so many of us are afraid to just be ourselves, because our whole lives, ourselves were deemed unacceptable if we deviated from the “norm”.

The reality of the matter is that most of us will fall outside of that box of norms because what are norms really but a random set of silently agreed upon rules and codes of conduct that are specific to a particular group of people, and what is normal somewhere might be completely unacceptable somewhere else just because that’s how the story of those people evolved, and not because there is a singular “best” or “true” version of the human being we must all aspire to become. There are endless possibilities to how a human being can be, but we have limited ourselves to only allowing a select few to express themselves. For authentic humans to exist again, we need to make room for them, not only in our minds but in our societies. We need to encourage differences, instead of condemning them. For our true voices to reveal themselves to us, they need to feel safe to come out. Until they do, they will remain hidden and so long as our voices remain hidden, we will remain hidden. So it is absolutely necessary for us to find our voices if we are to ever find our authentic selves again.

Cultivating that connection with our internal voices is definitely no easy task, but without it, I don’t see how we can ever come to peace with ourselves again. Now whenever you feel daunted by any decision you have to make, reassure yourself that it is not your fault, reassure yourself that it is perfectly normal after all those years of militarised standardised education we were subjected to as young children with very malleable minds to grow up to be adults that struggle deeply with decision-making. Remind yourself that your voice is not lost, even if you can’t hear it clearly right now, you will again someday. That is why we meditate, to cultivate enough stillness, enough silence, to be able to hear that voice we lost so long ago.

Without our own voice guiding us, we shall remain lost, we shall remain afraid, and we will always feel torn apart because we actually were. So to myself, to all the young souls searching for their voice, may you meet again with that sweet beloved you lost. Do not give up on your Self; do not let the silence scare you away. Believe me – you are already living your worst nightmare because there is no greater loss, no greater trauma than to be severed from our Selves. So find your stillness to find your voice and come to peace again.

Love+Light,

S.A.

December 6, 2020 — Sakkara, Egypt

When butterflies sing

Dear quarter lives,

Portable aren’t they these voice of ours? Yet how is that we lose them sometimes? And how is it that we find them when they are already with us? If they are always there, if they never vanished, then is it our memory of their presence that vanished? Is it us who forget our voices and not our voices that forget us? But why forget our voice? Why abandon such an integral part of ourselves, why remain quiet? They say a baby’s cry at birth is to recognise their own vibration, to know their presence, to hear their existence. Our voices are our DNA in sound. They not only tell us about ourselves but tell the world about us. As you might have already noticed, some voices are louder than others, some scream for attention and others forcefully quiet themselves to disappear. What happens when you forget your own voice because you haven’t used it in years or used it only in unison with another and made noise instead? What happens when you can no longer hear yourself, when you fall mute and go deaf to your own vibration? What happens when you finally decide that you want to speak but can’t because you’ve lost all contact with your voice? What happens when you look and look for your own sound but do not know what you are looking for because you’ve forgotten what you sound like? How then can you keep yourself safe? How can you tell a foreign vibration from your own? How can you tell if someone entered your space if you do not know where your space begins in the first place, who your space is, and what your space is made of? Could you have been afraid of an intruder this whole time that was you because you forgot that this is what you sound like? Could you have been hiding this whole time from the big bad wolf only to realise the wolf is you? Could you have been chasing your own tail this whole time? Fear muddles our vibration and confuses us. It creates doubt around our boundaries and we can no longer recognise where outside begins and inside ends. But fear developed from self is only fear now; fear in the present that later transforms into love but only when you can remember who you are, what you feel like, and what you sound like. So speak up. It is the only way you can finally recognise this sound is coming from you. It is possible to violate one’s own space, just as it is possible to suffocate oneself. And the only way to stop yourself from suffocating is to recognise it is your own hands that are choking you. It is your own silence that is eating you up. So let it out. Those sounds you wish to make. Wail. Cry. Until you can finally sing with the butterflies once more. 

Love,

S.A.

Remembering Choice

Dear quarter lives,

It might be a matter of circumstance that we end up where we are, but it is certainly a matter of choice that we become who we are. Circumstance might seem dictated by an external source, but it appears this way only so that we can recognise choice. For there would be no choice to make if there was no situation to exercise it in. Circumstance is but mere context for our choices to play themselves out. It is the setting offering choice the opportunity to arise, and through exercising choice we come to realise who we are. You see if choice is an expression of liberty; then we are Liberty herself. And it is the act of choosing that helps us remember. This constant choosing reminds our souls of their free will to partake in this journey called life. And to recognise such will, we must first realise our role as people in it. For once we are born and the journey is embarked on, the boat sails to sea and the storms keep coming until we reach the shore. And in the midst of these storms, nothing can save us but remembering our freedom to choose. And the storm is exactly what helps us remember. For nothing offers better contrast to choice than a situation you did not choose. The storm is the context giving birth to your choice. They are not mutually exclusive. They are not separate entities but rather each an integral part of the other without which you will not be able to reach the shore. In the same way, it is not without pain that you can find pleasure, not without anger that you find peace and not without plunging into the depths of sadness that you can find joy. It is the deep darkness of emptiness that gives a rounded fullness to your happiness. It is the contrast that teaches. It is the contradiction that gives birth to resolution. There can be no failure without success, no death without birth; therefore, do not judge your context prematurely. Do not mistake the beginning for the end. Do not confuse the storm for the shore. Do not refuse to exhale because you are afraid of the scarcity of air. You will suffocate. Do not refuse to give love because you are afraid of the scarcity of love. You will become fear. Do not refuse to share your light because you are afraid of the scarcity of light. You will fall dark. Remember we are people. And what are people but conductors of energy, and it is the role of a conductor to receive energy and pass it on. It is its only role. And so not unlike a wire, if we refuse to pass it on, we begin to break, to overheat, and that is how we melt away. That is how we fall ill and lose our minds. It is our own resistance that breaks us. So remember always the role you play: You are nothing but a transmitter of energy so all you have to do in this life is to receive things and pass them on. That is the only choice you have to make: to receive energy or not, to pass on energy or not. And energy comes in many forms: love is one kind, fear is another, anger is a third, and they are all contagious. All communicated and passed on through us. You see, it is not so much about what passes through us, but that we allow it to pass through. The context is what comes through. But it is not the context that breaks us, it is our own resistance to let it flow. To let it go. And it is this act of letting it all go that will carry you to shore, that will save you during the storm but you must first exercise your choice to let it go. It is only your own will that can free you. No one else can choose for you. Not even God. So dear quarter lives, always remember your freedom to choose, to choose to be open, to allow the storm to flow through you. It is also your choice to shut your doors and force it out, but the resistance will only serve to give your power away to the storm, and the storm will use the heat from your own resistance to break you. So recognise the vital role your right to choose plays in your life and cherish it. Choose wisely, dear quarter lives, and remember to stay open. It is only your choice that can save you. It is, too, the only thing that can break you.

Love,

S.A.

On Guilt

Dear quarter lives,

They say guilt is a feeling. They say it comes from regret. And regret only comes from a time that has passed. For guilt to arise, one must be living in the past. For guilt to pass, one must arrive to the present. Guilt is a train inviting us to journey away from our past and into the present. But to ride the train of Guilt, one must be prepared to travel light. We cannot carry anything or anyone from the past, and that includes ourselves. And that is the hardest part. Leaving ourselves behind. All the selves that no longer serve us. All the selves that are too young or too old to be present. How harsh it is to leave a child behind? How brutal it is to leave a sick person behind? How evil it is to leave a hungry one behind? How heartless it is to let all those people die? 

But you see they have all already died. Yet you carry them with you refusing to honour their memory and forget about them once and for all. How heavy one dead body can be, imagine carrying ten. It is very difficult to forget something that was once alive. We feel by forgetting those parts, those people, it would be like they never existed, like all that happened in the past never was. By letting go of all that was, we risk forgetting who we are. We risk forgetting that we were once loved, that we were once happy, that we were once in pain. But laying something to rest, laying all these aging parts to rest is the only way to survive the present. One cannot live their life scattered all across a timeline, for what purpose does that fulfill except shield us from the guilt we are afraid to confront of leaving someone behind. The guilt makes it feel like we killed them. But it is just time that has. Time washes away every memory, every person, until nothing remains but a clean slate more fertile, more rich than the one before. Trees don’t feel guilt over the leaves they shed. They know it’s a necessary part of the process if their soil is to become richer and their roots stronger. The earth needs to eat too and the earth is also what feeds them. A leaf must fall for another to grow later. Trees trust that new leaves will grow once again but first nature has to run its course. This is not to say that loss is not significant or the guilt of moving on is not real. It is just to say that nature has a system for dealing with loss and so let the guilt carry you through her system. Let it carry you and support you in the process of shedding. It is hard to throw anything out let alone loved memories, loved ones and our beloved young and old selves. So feel the discomfort of guilt, it is ushering you into the present. Guilt is how you know you need to shed. It is signaling tool telling you you need to move on. Guilt, too, carries our grief with it because sometimes it is much easier to feel guilt than grief. Guilt, itself, is training you to shed Guilt. When you finally reach the last stop on the train, the hardest part will be getting off that train and leaving Guilt behind. But by then you will be ready, for you will have shed much more precious things than Guilt. Finally, you will experience your present without being seduced and guilted by anything from your past. And perhaps a new seducer might come visiting from the future, but by then you will know the drill and another journey shall begin. 

Love, 

S.A. 

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,

S.A.

Finding Faith in Each Other

Dear quarter lives, 

There is no wrong feeling. There is no ought to feel, or should feel. There is only I am feeling. A truth only true in the present. A truth only true to you. There is no proof of it except your word for it. And I’m afraid words are fickle. People don’t believe words. They believe only their own thoughts on the words expressed. And so the more you can make your words believable to others, the more you become believable to others. So how do we get our words to be believable? How can we get people to believe us? To trust us? And the answer is simple: You need to believe what you say. If you believe your own words, others will. If there is an inkling of doubt in anything you say, people will know. How? They will feel it. And feelings don’t lie. They are our primary tool to discern information both emanating from inside of us and outside. Even though we can’t tell exactly what another is feeling, we can tell if what they’re saying matches how they feel about it because you either believe them or you don’t. You can validate their expression of what they claim the truth to be but not the truth itself. So why is it important if people believe what we say? Because it is the only way to tell if we believe what we say, if we believe ourselves. People need one another to validate each other’s truths. Our truth hides from us the same way our eyes do. We never get to see our eyes, we only ever see their reflection in mirrors and other people’s eyes. So in a way, we can never see ourselves on our own. It is only through other people that we can see what we look like. And so it is with our faith, the only chance we have at seeing it at all is through its reflection in others. Not everyone desires to see themselves, not all desire to see their faith, but for those of you who want to see it, you need other people to help you out.

People can believe in different things while still believing in each other. Finding faith isn’t finding what is absolutely and universally true. It is finding what is true to you. Faith is knowing what you believe in and continuing to believe in it despite what other people’s faiths are. Faith is holding on to your truth knowing all well that it is only true to you, and that it is only true to you in this moment. Faith is holding on to your truth knowing that tomorrow this truth could change and no longer be true, but choosing to stick by it anyway and committing yourself to it today. Faith is believing when there is no reason to. Faith is knowing there will never be proof for your faith except for your faith in it. And the only proof there is for your faith in what you say you believe in is other people’s faith in your words. We need people to have faith in us not because it feels good to be trusted and believed, but because it is the only way to know we have faith in ourselves, and there is no more crucial faith to have than in yourself. It is important to note that people’s faith in our words is not what creates faith in our words, it is simply the evidence for our own faith. You must believe your words first before anyone will ever believe them. You must have faith in yourself first before anyone else will. Other people merely offer us a reflection of our truth so that we can see what it looks like and learn to recognise it. But you know yourself before you ever see your reflection in the mirror. Always remember that. Always remember your faith comes from you. It is only through others that we can see it. But you always have it there inside of you. It is just sometimes we forget what it looks like, and when we do, people can help offer us a reflection of it until we can find it again. So allow yourself to trust your words, allow yourself to believe in yourself, and if you can’t, if you are struggling to trust yourself, a good place to start is with other people. Trust their eyes for a moment if you can’t trust your own. They will offer you a reflection of what you refuse to see with your own eyes, until one day you are finally ready to trust your own. So you see, dear quarter lives, when your faith is in crisis, extend it to another, and they will show you the way. When we are struggling to find our own faith, we can find it in another. In learning to believe another, we learn to believe ourselves, in learning to trust another, we learn to trust ourselves, in learning to love another, we learn to love ourselves. Sometimes it is far easier to zip up another’s gown than it is our own. So dear quarter lives, may you find your faith in one another because it’s the only place you ever will.

Love, 

S.A.