Monday, January 11, 2010

11th -29th Jan 2010: "We're sending you back, to the future!!"

What a great film!??
(In case you don't know, the quote is from all time awesomest film trilogy, "Back to the Future")

In the film; 2015 sees flying cars, sleep algorithm generators and hover-boards; we could get there is 5 years right? ;p

So it's now January 2010 (albeit at the end), a time where everyone talks about diets, training, plans, goals, 'last year was rubbish', and the list goes on with the changes they wish to make, commonly being making this year, ‘different from last year'.

But what does 2010 hold for you?

Wouldn't it be great if I could tell you, or, if someone could tell you what your future holds?

Maybe I can...... I'll get to this a little bit later.

Regarding this blog post: I usually have some experience in my living and movement that awakens something deep within and so I write to share it. But tonight, I am writing to write and update, and funnily enough, it's just shooting out of my fingertips, so lets see where this is going ;p. (started on the 11th Jan, finished today and funnily enough experiences over the past two weeks have contributed to the content of this post. Providence!)

--- Quick Life Update---

Christmas has lost it's childhood charm without a doubt, I have over the past years asked for nothing pareticular as effectively, there is little I need or even want, and I'd rather we give to others who are in need. This year was obviously different, as for me, Jesus and family have been a real focus and really trying to remember and understand the reason for the time. On the 28th I did a "panto in a day", in which we are given the scripts etc; and have to organise and do everything to host a pantomime for that same evening; this of course was great fun. (Few pics are up on facebook.)

29th December Saw me reach 1 Year of Dreadlocks. (Thank you Kate and Amy <3)
New years was excellent, with Church friends and newer friends, got to see some amazing views of fireworks across the Southend night sky from their high up flat and just in general have a good time getting to know people and chatting about all sorts!


Had the first week off of work off as I have holiday to use up so was nice to chill out and think about where I'm heading and what I'm doing and try to work it out... little progression there, heh.
Saturday 9th saw the BPCA AGM which went amazingly, covered the surprisingly large amount we did in 2009 and created many very promising plans for 2010, progressing and making a positive impact in the Parkour community, so on that front... keep an eye on the BPCA site and check your in-boxes over the next few months.
Work’s been going very well since heading back getting much more organised and in turn, more useful for Young People’s development. My Youth Work NVQ is being assessed currently, resulting in me being a qualified youth worker. Might have more Youth Work to do in the near future working for another Youth Service; might be moving out soon, coaching opportunities on the way, travelling options, and God showing me so much in life by putting faith and trust in Him.


So that's me updated, back to the topic, what does 2010 hold?

I once again wish to express, I do not consider, nor do I claim to know and have all the answers to everything in life and world, I’m still figuring so much out, myself! However, my experiences have and do appeal to, and help others, so in the  words of a favourite author, “life and it’s lessons are only made useful if shared”, so again I wish to share with you, my brothers and sisters.

Do with my words as You, feel is right.

I don't know all the ins and out's of your specific year. But there are some things I do know, almost with a certainty.  If you listen (or read) and test what I’m sharing, I'm sure it will help you become a more rounded, understanding and happier person in 2010 and beyond.

So what are you going to face? Let me tell you...

Uncomfortable situations, fear, uncertainty, hardships, loss, gain, good times, change, undeserving feelings, pain, love, happiness, getting older (can't avoid this one), being hated, being loved, heartbreak, adoration, misunderstanding, bliss, confusion, anxiety, grief.... and hugs. (End this incomplete list on a good note ;p)

Life is full of these things, 2009 was probably held of these things, and this year will probably be the same, it will be good, and then it will knock you off of your feet, in ways mentioned above and more.
But what are these things really to us?….. Good or bad? Wanted or avoided? Put simply....They are the challenges present in our lives.

Now in response  to what’s been said so far, you might say, "I could've told you that"…. I hope you can, it's a good indicator of the statements' truth. Time and time again however, You and I forget, or simply do not see the importance of these things, the necessity of them all, whether we feel or believe it at the time or not.

Let me tell you my thoughts and tested beliefs as to how to approach these issues in order for us to live a happier 2010 and onwards. These are ways I have tested and been living. I believe them to be worthwhile practices and approaches to start to explore and live more of your life, I pray they can do the same for you.

--First Step--

Awareness and Attention

How many times have you likened a bad situation you've had to one a friend is going through, in order to show them how it's all worked out, one way or another?

This is a simple example I know, but it's a common situation where your 'mishaps' have helped another.

Of any "resolutions" or changes you're thinking of making this year, I think the biggest one would be to think and pay attention to what is happening, both the 'good and bad'. At least pay attention to them, if you can write them down. (One habit I have gotten into is keeping a notepad handy for any thoughts that I feel may have future use or any thoughts in general, they are put there for a reason and there’s no real harm in writing them down, “all knowledge ultimately leads to self knowledge”, even if you don’t use what’s written to much use, you can at least compare it to you now and see how far you’ve come.)

It sounds simple and it is.

Why do I need to pay attention to what is happening??

Whether it is now, or 10 years from now, if we have paid attention to what is happening, often the lessons materialise, enabling us to help ourselves and others in the future.

Sometimes we may learn a lesson instantly, in which case, we have some instant gratification and justification from this way of thinking. Sometimes, however, they do not happen at that exact moment, but that’s fine too. Often this is because we aren't ready for that knowledge or lesson yet, we've not experienced enough for us to safely learn and live out that lesson. Accepting this strengthens our character and spirit and teaches us faith in the process of life. (This  I have learnt through my life experiences both before and more so after finding my faith in Christ. Believing in God’s plan for me in life, putting my faith in Him for process of my life)
We have God-given emotions and feelings, we should accept and celebrate them, but I believe balance is key. Sometimes we rush into emotional responses and forget the important factors involved. Thinking of the situation in a third person’s context is useful to see how emotion may be clouding your judgement. - On the other hand, emotion is there for a reason, so listen, question and weigh up each side; practice balance.
By all means express your emotions, but sometimes taking some time out and looking at a situation objectively can help you assess the situation a little more clearly, and help others in a much more fulfilling way.

--Second Step--

There are lessons and things of use that come out of all that is and all that happens, however, we often don't have the eyes to see them. This, I believe, comes from lack of attention, as has been explained above. We remedy this by hearing, not just listening; seeing, not just looking, and feeling with our hearts. The next problem is that when we see what is, often we shut off, resist and hide....

Why do I hide from problems by avoidance or covering them up with other problems?

Why's it so hard?

Why do I give up and let the bad things consume me and long only for the 'good things'?

I'm going to tell it as it is.
  • Because we are afraid, tired, faithless and weak (not just physically).
  • Often, we are equally afraid of failure, and afraid of success.
  • We actively resist change.
The need to overcome a problem forces change, which requires effort, and energy.
The first issue is that in our lives, we tend to waste our energy on self destructive habit’s and behaviours. We waste it and live in fear of needing to change ourselves, and use some of that energy. (Habits and addictions such as need of refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, talking, being afraid, poor posture, lack of sleep, too much sleep, lack of exercise, over-exercise, junk food consumption; etc. These habits use our energy to carry out and repair from the damages they cause.)
It is easier to let problems take us down than it is to confront and learn.
Here’s a quote I believe explains it well:
“Most people live, whether physically, intellectually, or morally, in a very restricted circle of their being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul's resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into the habit of using and moving only his little finger. Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed.”

It's easy for us to say "I'm tired", "I can't", "I don't believe".
Aren't these choices? Aren't these things that we say to ourselves, because deep down, we're afraid that if we try we might fail, or possibly more likely and crazily, afraid that we’ll succeed and have to change ourselves and our, currently comfortable situation.

Our choice, to let 'the bad things' take us down, gives it greater power over us.

I have learnt over my life so far, that should we ignore the problems and avoid it at all costs, we do not equip ourselves with the skills needed in order to overcome our future problems.

“He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity”

Some of the more challenging obstacles in life such as death and loss are not easy things to deal with, I know, and I am not saying don't grieve or pretend it didn't happen, but acceptance of what it is, for what it is, is the first step to overcoming. Resisting change will only prolong the pain and difficulty, we must develop courage to push through.

When we see the situation realistically, you can effectively overcome the problem, otherwise it's like fighting an illusion or ghost, it's not really there.

We tend not to see the real obstacles and challenges in life.
The physical obstacles I face within my Parkour training are only obstacles if I allow them to be I put them in my way to develop my strength. Money is only an obstacle if I say it is... We need to break down the walls around/ between you and the real obstacle. (This is something further backed up by words spoken at church over the previous weeks, many people seeing many thoughts and visions of walls needing to be broken down)

Our attachments to objects and our beliefs on success, failure and change are often the biggest barrier. Dig deep, explore the terrain find the real issue.
--Third Step--

We have established that paying attention allows us to immediately or in the future, learn a lesson from our problems. By looking deeply into a problem and exploring where the real problems lie, we can create a game-plan to overcome the problem. And this is where the third step, action, falls in.
The solution to future happiness is not easy, but if you want happiness, you have to work through it, and spend a little energy. Surely happiness is worth the effort? You have to see the challenge through, and take the lesson from it.

Use your own experiences in testing this one… Who wanted to do work when they were at school? Very few I’m sure, but looking back I’m sure you wish you’d have done so, or could go back and try harder etc..? Why aren’t we applying that same lesson to every part of our lives?

Lets bring this back to a real life I experienced at the weekend.

Situation: (I felt God needing me and me needing to ask God to guide me in a gap that needs to be filled at my cousin’s wedding). After discussing faith with my aunt as she decided to ask about it all to which I did openly and honestly (Steps one and two). I then felt the need to head outside for some air. There was a group of young people out drinking and throwing glass bottles around so I decided to walk and head in their general direction. I was listening and working out if I should talk to them or not (Steps one and two), when I remembered a quote by Martin Luther King Jr,

"You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say."
I then went over to talk, not to lecture, not to tell them off… but to talk. We discussed goals in life, choices in life, society, why we do what we do and what we can do to solve issues, for a good 30-50 minutes. (Step three, action)

Outcome: If they listen and change, then great I succeed, if they don't change and laugh of all I said and we discussed I still succeed. I faced a challenge, and did what is right, strengthening my confidence and faith in self and in God.
The first two steps allow you to see more in what you do, and aid you in finding the real success’ and failure’s from the choices you make with the third. Even if we try and 'fail' in situation in life, we can turn it into success, we've successfully found a way that doesn't work right now and strengthened through trying.
Why do we struggle to speak with those who we may be able to help? It is not our lack of ability, because we can do these things... it's our attachment to the illusion of failure and fear of change, etc, mentioned in the first 2 steps. To not do something in a situation that requires action, will result in failure. Whereas to do something, to act... has a chance of changing things (no matter how small a chance do it anyway, Mother Theresa said “We can do no great things, just small things with great love”, by all means aim for heights, but do the small things you can do right now and your efforts will spark others into action and to growth) ... it is our choices that decide how we move onwards, choose to do it, and put all your love and energy and heart behind it.

We will also be developing our situational understanding, problem solving skills, perseverance and courage should we make the choice to continue onwards with other situations. But in order to do this we must act, we must do, we must choose to live.

Life is a practice of action.

This then enables you to keep moving onwards, allowing you to keep grasp of where you are, strengthening your mind, body and spirit to deal with these problems in the future.

As we explored earlier, things happen, good and bad, on and off, continuously, the problems we face through action gives us the strength to get us through other problems in the future.

Life is a training ground, either suffer it or learn from it to/ and move towards happiness.

-Last Step… (before another first step)-

So we've acted and after a while, we've overcome a problem, what now? Do we blindly repeat the same action for many different situation? Sometimes we may be able to, but the greatest strength and realisation comes from weakness, and acceptance that you have more to learn.
To recap and adapt what you have achieved, enables you to move forward, and gain strength, to work with the forces of life and to not stagnate. This of course requires your to act, to test and accept this as a truth and to use it to continue to benefit your life.
As new situations arise, new problems approach and new obstacles challenge you revisit the steps above and gain a realistic grasp of where you are.

So to recap, how do we have a happier 2010?

1. Attention: Look at what's happening, take it in, the good and the bad, write it down if needs be.

2. Be realistic: See issues for what they are, we need to knock down the fake walls around the issue and see what the real problem is.

3. Action: Do something about it when you feel ready, if you are not, make small steps/goals to achieve each day, working to overcome the issue, and eventually you'll get there.

4. Reflection: Be humble, enjoy the work and what you have achieved, but understand that it was for that situation. Reflect and improve, and move back to your very first step, and a very unique and life strengthening situation.
----What does 2010 hold for you?----

You will face some sort of challenge this year, some loss of form of upset, (Ironically this can come from not getting what you want, or getting exactly what you want).
The question is how you're going to face it. Blindly and randomly, or by taking a simple, adaptable approach to make the best out of a difficult situation.
Are you going to suffer the challenge at hand, or have faith, charge through with eyes wide open, and believe you’ll come through stronger?
This is what works and has worked for me for some time, so I wished to share. By all means test what I’ve given you above, and improve it, make it your own, I’d love to hear your thoughts and testing.
(The more observant among you may well notice that Buddhism contains ‘4 Noble Truths’, which are very similar to the process’ mentioned above. There are truths and methods for life in the world, I have come to realise the above points through my life experience and exploration within my life and faith. God teaches us to love and grow together. Anything that can be used to glorify God and His word belong to Him.)

Much love and I pray for success for you in 2010.

Hope to see, train and learn with many of you this year.

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