Encuentra Tu Gente

Puede ser difícil ser quien eres.

A veces eres tú que es tu peor enemigo o mayormente, la gente a tu alrededor de ti, como tu familia o tus amigos, aunque te digan que te quieren.

Tal vez tengas sueños en los que quieres renunciar a tu trabajo para viajar por el mundo o empezar otro trabajo. No importa qué sea. La verdad es que tienes que seguir tu camino, no importa dónde te dirija el camino. Pero hay gente que no puede entender lo que dices o lo que quieres hacer. Hay gente que no quiere hacerlo. Y hay gente que tiene miedo de lo que tú quieres hacer en tu vida. No en su vida. Tu vida.

Por ejemplo, si quieres dejar un buen trabajo que has tenido durante algunos años, pero ahora ya no te motiva, tal vez piensen o te digan “¿por qué dejarías algo bueno por algo desconocido con todos los riesgos?” Si has decidido hacer algo así, es como si estuvieras cuestionando la vida que ellos han elegido. Es suficiente para ellos. Entonces, ¿por qué no es suficiente para ti? ¿Quién te crees que eres? ¿Piensas que eres mejor que nosotros?

Preguntas y pensamientos así están llenos de miedo. Como un perro, la gente así responde con ataques para protegerse. No son personas malas. Normalmente, son amigos o familiares que quieren protegerte, pero, cuídate, si estás siempre rodeado de gente así, podría tener un efecto negativo en tu vida y en tus decisiones.

Sabemos todos que no podemos cambiar lo que hacen otras personas. Podemos cambiar solo como respondemos y lo que hacemos nosotros. Tal vez, un amigo o un familiar no pueda entender lo que quieres hacer, pero esto no es necesario. Lo que es importante y necesario es que nos apoye en lo que queramos hacer.

Entonces, ¿qué puedes hacer?

Encuentra tu gente.

Siempre hay gente a la que no le gustas o no te apoya. Pues, si puedes, sácalos de tu vida. Esta gente no es tu gente. Necesitas personas que te apoyan, aunque no te entiendan. Eso es el amor de un amigo o un familiar. ¡Gente así es tu gente!

Si nos focalizamos en cosas o personas negativas, recibimos algo negativo. Y claro, igualmente, si nos focalizamos en algo o alguien positivo, recibimos algo positivo. Por ejemplo, ¿cómo te sientes después de pasar una noche con un amigo o familiar que se queja todo el tiempo? Cansado, harto y negativo. Y probablemente, no querrás ver a este amigo nunca más.

Y con un amigo que te pregunta sobre tu vida o quiere ponerse al día contigo o te hace reír, ¿cómo te sentirías? Probablemente, feliz, relajado y positivo. Claro no podemos ser felices y positivos todo el tiempo, eso no sería realista, pero entiendes lo que digo. Pero como todo en la vida, encontrar tu gente necesita un poco de esfuerzo. Tienes que buscar en todos los lugares y además estar abierto a toda la gente porque a veces, puede sorprenderte.

Es importantísimo poder hablar y pasar tiempo con gente como tú. Gente que tenga los mismos pensamientos para hacerte sentir que eres ‘normal’, lo que sea que eso signifique. No tendrías que luchar y justificar nunca más todo lo que crees, dices y haces. Podrías ser tú mismo. Tal vez, por primera vez en tu vida.

Y eso merecería la pena, ¿no?

 

Fotos por Kimson Doan y Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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What If It Goes Right?

A friend was recently telling me about their plans for setting up their own business. They’d been thinking about it on and off for years and things were such in their life that now seemed like the perfect opportunity to make it happen. But strangely, although she was clearly passionate about this idea, all I could hear her say was ‘But what if it goes wrong?’

What if I start the business and things don’t work out. Businesses go under all the time.

But what if it goes right?

What if I go with this supplier/client and it goes wrong and they end up leaving me in the lurch?

But what if it goes right?

You get the drift.

Of course, we have to be practical and realistic with our dreams and ambitions if we want to make them happen, but how does constantly focusing on the potential negative outcomes help achieve this?

There are no guarantees of course and I do not belong to the cheesy and simplistic ‘positivity is everything’ school of thought, but from a purely practical point of view, how differently could things turn out if we focus on the positive factors of our situation? It takes just as much energy to focus on something positive as it does something negative.

And even if the result is not what we would have wanted, we would have at least spent our time more constructively wanting something good to happen as opposed to expecting something bad to happen.

I know which I would prefer. What about you?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

You Are Not The Mistake

Every now and again you make mistakes. You are not the mistake.
From time to time you feel bad.

The feeling will disappear.

You are not the feeling.
Mistakes and feelings do not define you.

They are a part of you for a moment in time.

They pass. In time.
Leaving you free to be who you want to be.
When that happens.
What are you going to do?

And who are you going to be?

Can What’s Missing Be Your Strength?

I have been a fan of Q (English music magazine) for many years and in the latest issue, I was reading an interview with a band called Royal Blood. Now I’m not really a rock fan but every now and again a band comes through that I really like and Royal Blood are currently and pleasantly deafening me with both their albums. But why am I talking about this band and what has the header image of a vegetarian dish got to do with this band?

Well, when I used to visit Brighton in the past, I occasionally visited a restaurant called Terre A Terre, a rather good vegetarian restaurant in the city. In the Q magazine interview with Mike Kerr, the singer/bassist with Royal Blood, mentioned that he used to work as a chef in Terre A Terre and while there he was struck by how inventive they had been with the ingredients available to them, especially when they had a supposedly necessary ingredient to many i.e. meat taken out of the equation as it had forced them to be more creative with what they had.

Royal Blood

At that time, Matt was also putting together a new band and after being inspired by his experience at Terre A Terre in creating more interesting things with ‘less’, he realised that instead of having a traditional line-up, he decided that the band would just be his mate Ben playing drums and himself playing bass and singing. He may have made the right decision as last year Royal Blood sold out shows in Europe and the US, are now friends with rock stars including Muse and Jimmy Page (from Led Zeppelin) and have been one of the most successful bands in Europe in the last 3 years since they first came on the scene.

We don’t need to do what others have done. What many see as ‘something missing’ can in fact be a strength if we choose to see it that way. A restaurant doesn’t need meat to be successful and Royal Blood don’t need a traditional rock band line-up with a guitarist. So, my question to you is:

‘do you have something ‘missing’ in your life that is or could be your strength’?

Watch Royal Blood video for ‘Figure It Out’…

How Bruce Lee Helped Me Get A Spanish Driving Licence

Perhaps this is something we don’t like admitting, but although we may want to get things done as soon as possible, sometimes it will just take longer. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

 

I’ve just managed to get a Spanish driving licence for a friend. It’s been a process which started a few months ago and as is the case in most places, dealing with bureaucracy can be a challenge and in Spain, perhaps more so. Either way, after several months and visits to various official administrative departments, I collected the document this morning and I’m relieved and happy, even though it perhaps took longer than it needed to.

 

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However, when faced with a potentially unfriendly beast such as government departments with some staff who lean more towards the ‘computer-says-no’ school of customer service, I have found there are are four key elements to get what you are looking for:

 

1) be prepared, do your homework and make umpteen copies

2) focus on developing a relationship with whoever can help you as opposed to having a go at who is being obstructive. Perhaps I should have known that the grumpy man in the pink trousers was not going to be the most helpful. Having said that, can you ever trust anybody in pink trousers?!

3) take a breath and be patient (this one is important)

4) take another breath and be a little bit more patient (more important than the last)

 

Bruce Lee talked about ‘being like water’ where the water in a bottle takes the shape of the bottle or whatever container it is in.

 

In this case, I had to assume the shape of the staff in the Traffic Department and ‘speak their language’. In time, it worked, but in the meantime, being like water and working together with the ‘system’ was ultimately much more productive than if I had fought against it.

This approach may not work in all situations, but I know the next time I will have to deal with Spanish bureaucracy, like Bruce Lee, I will most certainly aim to ‘be like water’…

Baby image courtesy of The Odyssey Online.
Bruce Lee image courtesy of Bloody Elbow.

 

Permission To Not Be Positive

“Sometimes I want to go home and stay out of sight for a long time”

 

This is a lyric from a song called ‘Van Occupanther’ by one of my favourite bands, Midlake which gets me every time. On listening to it today, it got me thinking especially about how it feels to ‘sometimes want go home and stay out of sight for a long time’.

 

Being online for example can be a wonderful thing and maybe the truth is that some people ‘lie’ about their online presence as they want to put on a ‘happy face’ on Facebook or maybe don’t feel strong enough or that it’s even appropriate to talk about things on their mind and share in such a public way. And of course, this sense of having to put on a brave/happy face can also be  a personal or professional pressure in our everyday lives.

 

The reasons for wanting to stay out of sight for a long time could include depression, loneliness, prospect of conflict or just having a bad day. We’ve all been there to some degree and some more than others. When we feel like this, many people focus on the positive solutions and offer up advice which can be and is certainly meant to be helpful. Statements in the manner of ‘You just have to focus on the positive’ are well-intentioned but like everything in life, the solution to each problem is not always the same. It needs to be flexible depending on the situation.

 

However, sometimes we do just need to ‘go home and stay out of sight’ if not for a long time, then at least for a while. We may come out the other side in a better way or not, but that’s not really the issue here.

 

It’s more about giving ourselves ‘permission’ to occasionally feel okay about setting aside positivity for a time to embrace sadness, which after all is an inevitable part of the human condition of which many people are quite naturally afraid.

 

Once we’ve spent a little more time with ourselves and our own sadness, we may then have gathered the strength to not only not be afraid of dealing with sadness itself, but also anything else which we may face in our lives, including perhaps the ability to be positive.

We can’t be positive all the time, however hard we may try. From time to time, I think we need to give ourselves permission to not be positive.

 

Read a previous post inspired by music Embracing The Melancholy.

 

Watch the video to ‘Van Occupanther’ by Midlake.

 

Do Your Work And Then, Step Back

A while ago, I spent a few months travelling across the USA and one of my favourite places was the rather laidback city of Portland, Oregon. There is a thriving food, art, music and craft beer scene and it’s also renowned for its slightly hippyness. What’s not to like?

Maybe I could sense something in the air, but it was while wandering around this wonderful city that I started thinking about the words ‘Do your work and then step back’ by Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism.

From my point of view, everything gets done and works well in Portland but there seems to be this wonderful consciousness there that whatever you are doing, your intention is to do it well even if it takes a little longer and this includes everything from working on one of the infamous (and rather fabulous) food trucks to making coffee which is practically an art form there.

Yes of course, there are the overly pretentious, hipster places as depicted in TV comedy Portlandia, but it’s even the ‘regular Joe’ coffee shops where there is a sense of pride in everyday work. Community is very important there and after only a few days you really notice it. Portland has a downtown/centre, but the heart of the city is not there, but in the thriving centre of each local neighbourhood.

One of the barmen I met there said one night: ‘The slower you chill the ice, the fewer bubbles you get and you have clear ice’
or as I interpreted it:
‘The more slowly and mindfully you live your life, the fewer obstacles there are and so, the clearer things become.’

Being in Portland reminded me of the benefits of being more conscious and mindful of things you do each day, however small they may seem. It doesn’t have to take time, just a momentary awareness and focus on what you’re doing. A kind of mindful meditation I guess.

It was lovely hanging out in Portland and I can see why people want to live there. It’s a quietly inspirational place which encourages you to do your own thing in your own way whatever that may be. Again, what’s not to like?