Taking a step back

A moment of serendipity. A leap of faith. How scary is the perspective of a trifle being able to change the course of your entire life? In the past six months I have counted at least six potentially life changing crossroads. In each of them a slightest turn in my decisions could have led me to an entirely different place. Workplace, university, people, city, even countries – in past six months I’ve had three of them to live in.

Having a hard time to decide on either one of the theories of human destiny; whether your faith ultimately brings you to a place you are supposed to end up in, or is it that you are on the road, surrounded by a vast net of choices, each and every one leading to different outcomes. Eighth dimension of all the parallel possibilities in which your life could go.

 “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

– Karl Marx
The resolution that has evolved recently is one good teacher about taking a step back in order to take a step forward. By following the gut feeling, looking for the unknown, I have found myself right where I am supposed to be. I’ve seen myself taking chances as fast as they arise, knowing they are, ultimately, trifles. The choice itself is a trifle. What scares us is the aftermath that follows. The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, states that roughly 80% of your happiness is an outcome of 20% of your actions. Only a fifth – how scary is the perspective of a trifle being able to change the course of your entire life?
What scares us is the different reality we will never see, having made a choice.
The reality is that the first decision, the easiest solution that seems to appear for you right in front of your eyes is the best one. Had to swallow my pride in order to go with it, and at this moment I am hell damn satisfied I did. Even though the road is never straight when you wander with your curiosity and stumble on your mistakes- but man, it’s hell of a ride. Driven by curiosity for all the unknown possibilities in life. Driven by wanting to know all the scenarios, I have cracked at one point, took a step back, moved forward so much more than I thought I would have done otherwise.
“We all think that we are running away from insanity. In reality, we are all running circles in our own asylums.”
-Avinash Wandre
It’s the realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore that can cause you to take a step back and set your life back again on the track.

Ups and Downs

“pray I’ll never learn from mistakes I’ve made”


     Lost my friends more times than I can count. Seen how two-faced people can be. I have trusted every bit of information to whom I called my friends, only to find out how the backstab feels.
     And only due to that I’ve seen who really stands by my side. No matter what I do. Groups of people polarized out of the chaos around. Those who have seen all of my mistakes and yet, have let me repeat them again, and again, and again. And never judged me for it. I could never be more grateful to them for that.
     Only by the experience of both ups and downs, I could have the essential experience. No matter how many advices you get, no matter how many tips you hear, it is worth absolutely nothing if you do not have experience of both the good and the bad.
     Chinese philosophy of yin-yang describes how contrary forces are complementary, and interdependent in the natural world. They give rise to each other. The bad lets you feel the good and vice versa. Life is never black, or white, it’s both. It is a duality.
     So many people are so afraid to lose, they never let themselves do it. And exactly by doing that, they have no idea how much they lack in life. Succeeding in every aspect of your life, you never lose. And you go on about your life, scared of really living.
     Personally for me, life is not about reaching a certain point, which is so often defined by successful job post, house of your dreams, a car, holidays with your family every year on a nice beach in Europe. This is the laziest, most superficial interpretation of the success in life.
     If anything, success to me is to reach a point where you are no longer afraid of failure. Because this is the point when you start to actually live.

Connecting the dots.

It’s funny how the life goes. Once you switch on to the open attitude, say ‘yes’ to more and more things, give more of you to other people, follow every impulse, trust your intuition. You let go of the steer in your life and paradoxically, it gives you control. You devote your time to other people, help them and listen to them, realizing how this is the only way you can have it all.

     I’ve been seeing that on all of the events in my life recently, more and less serious or important, each and single one of them contributed to creation of the overall picture I have in my mind right now, typing these words.

“When he was turning thirty, Jobs had used a
metaphor about record albums. He was musing about
why folks over thirty develop rigid thought patterns and
tend to be less innovative. “People get stuck in those
patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never
get out of them,” he said. At age forty-five, Jobs was
now about to get out of his groove.” 

     It takes 30 days for anything to become a habit. My opinion is, you should never let that happen when it comes to your life- take risks, change, and most importantly, never let the fear dim your decisions and choke you as you’d stay in the same job you hate, same house for years even though your eyes almost bleed the moment you look at it, same and unchanged image of you yourself, unknowingly making you love yourself less. 

Don’t you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone!”

     From my very own and recent experience I can tell the image unveils to you with hindsight. You will never see the whole way home while driving at night. But you drive anyways, your headlights showing you only three meters ahead of you. Seeing this distance you go, push further, drive on and ultimately reach home. 
     And you will never see the big picture while it’s in its creation. It is only after you can connect the dots from one person to another, one place to an event, event to a catastrophe, catastrophe to a lesson, lesson to another event. The big picture emerges as you start to accept this is the one and only way you will be able to see it.
 

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature,

nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits
in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”


 
     Funnily enough, when my phone has been stolen, it brought me more amusement than worry, having to write my best friend’s number on my arm with a sharpie whenever going out, convincing strangers to let me use their phones, noting down their numbers with a pen on the palm of my hand. And, actually having to remember their names, instead of finding them on Facebook right away. I stopped looking for excuses and stopped saying ‘I need to‘, ‘I should”, instead, had a multitude of sleepless nights filled with doing everything that was coming to my mind, instantly. We cooked, danced, stumbled our way to the beach to see sunrise (where we’ve been greeted by Cloudy & Rainy Sky Always, est. in Scotland of course) and done every thing that we thought of doing- just for the sake of doing it.
     Nothing could surprise me anymore at this point, I reckon, as I know ANYTHING may happen. I do not wish or hope for anything, hence everything that comes is amazing as it is. After all of it, the big picture that emerges afterwards makes me say “I love life” almost all the day, making strangers and friends to think I am perpetually drunk.
    
      And I would never wish for that image it to be revealed to me in other way.

Everything is temporary.

Learnt it the hard way, repeated couple of times just to make sure it is true. Had my friend say to me that you keep bumping onto the same people until you learn your lesson. Now, the post is the lesson.

There is a Latin adage of Tempora mutantur, advocated by Heraclitus around 500BCE in ancient Greece, by whole Protestant Reformation in 16th century Germany, and by all of the people in your life that keep telling you “people change”. It was also Heraclitus that said everything is temporary, everything flows. No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

     If you have read or watched “Eat, Pray, Love”, you also had Elizabeth Gilbert say to you that it all goes away. Eventually, everything goes away.
     The Second Noble Truth of Buddhism is the idea that there is only one cause to suffering, which is attachment. Buddha, who could be considered a brother to Heraclitus in his skeptical judgements, knew already sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE that everything is impermanent, whereas I still fall for the idea that you could meet someone to stay with you forever. Way to go, silly me.
     In fact, impermanence is embedded so deeply in Buddhist school of thought that is has become one of the main doctrines – one of the three marks of existence in this religion.
     In real life, nothing is really granted to you, neither is sure or constant. Change is the only constant in life. Every one of your days is fuelled with external influences that you could never expect. I used to say in my life that nothing ever surprises me, and right now I am coming to a point to realize how fucking stupid I was by saying that.
     Maybe you have had the Bible shout to you, by verse 4:18 Corinthians, how the things which are seen are temporal, and the things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow yet I am almost sure, and surely would bet that you had fallen for ‘easy come easy go’ at least once. Although in fact, as I think about it, Christianity seems to be fast and easy-to-use solution to the problem. The promise of eternal life and God, the Father, who loves you no matter what shit you do, no matter how many people you hurt as long you come to him? Seems like heaven. Oh wait, they even call it like that. Well guess what, I think, that is so easy. So convenient just to rely on that, hold on desperately to the promise of eternal happiness even if in real life you fail miserably and keep on praying to God to help you. Way to go. Just stand up from your knees and head tilted down, walk out of the church and face every problem you have yourself cause heaven is here, right there, on earth. And if it looks like hell, then yes, this is how it is.
     And I’ve had Pink Floyd flooding my ears with how I wish you were here, and now I think, way to go, guys. The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance, which was already stated by Alan Watts in 20th century, who has also led me into reading more around Eastern philosophy. Funny thing, two of my friends pointed that out after my last rambling about integrity, yet it took hippie-looking philosopher for me to actually get interested.
     Actually, even more of the things I was saying and doing were pointing me to that, when I was “earning my Karma points” as I’ve called it, hoping for Hindu beliefs to turn out to be true, yet this Vedic theory of moral law of cause and effect has proved one more time to me that Karma is a bitch, but I am a bitch even more. Now that I think about it, ironically, I am a perfect depiction of how everything is temporary. Because who, and why picks up any activity so to ditch it barely few weeks after so to pick another, and who can barely make it up-most 3 months in a relationship, who attends three different schools in a time period of 3 months, study completely different, unrelated things in each one of them, then applies for medicine in one country, just to leave to another country and study business? Oh, wait, and studies business for 1 year there just to re-apply for another university in a different country and move there this September with whole life, starting University one more time.
     Well seems like I have earned enough of my Karma points.

Life is a joke

Life has a pretty much ironic way of resolving the issues we have. Fritz Haber aimed to create a gas able of killing thousands, invented the Haber Process, gas obtained ended up saving millions of lives. By producing ammonia at most efficient rates, intensive farming has been enabled and fed whole countries- not much as for the nickname of father of chemical warfare, Fritz.

     Let’s meet the most amazing person to us. Let’s both become sure each is just the type of person we could spend our lives with. And then, come back to our lives cause you two live thousands of miles away. Probably married. With kids.
     Let’s go on meticulously planned trip to a seaside, just to be welcomed by heavy clouds ready to take a rain piss on you.
     Let’s make A to really like B, and guess what, B likes C. Sometimes even C is into A, which would be a threshold of irony, borderline with just plain evil.
    I know how some people say life is the best screenplay. But if God exists, sometimes I wonder whether he is a sadistic maniac watching us run in circles over and over again, making us think “Dammit I’m mad” – which is even more funny considering that this phrase is a palindrome.
     Moreover, life has geared us (or at least some of us) with an amazing skill, just fit to fuck with our minds even more. Intuition. How many times have you said “I knew it would happen”? Too many, I guess. And even worse case is saying it and actually not falling for the hindsight bias- this is what is called Murphy’s Law. Sometimes, you might even end up having a true epiphany, a moment of revelation, but in the end all your dreams, and your deja-vu feelings combined with conspiracy theories that humans create leave us further than any closer to making sense.
     All ambigrams that you tattoo on your forearms are just a perfect metaphor of what I’m saying. That is just a tribute for all the twisted life scenarios and us, running in circles, thinking we’re getting closer to something. I like how Mick Jagger phrases that. What’s confusing you is just the nature of my game, just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints, as heads as tails, just call me, Lucifer (and how exactly do you call it when it just so happens that as I write it, it’s Friday the 13th?)
     Hookup? Why are we able to give all of us to a stranger, but cannot be sincere with closest friends?
    Or even the fact that internationals often speak English to the poshest level possible, moulding the language, creating neologisms and portmanteau words accordingly to their needs and yet Americans still can’t tell the difference between your and you’re.
    I tend to say that nothing ever surprises me. I think of a person I haven’t spoken to for years; actually, not even think, they just come across my mind for a brief minute and- baam!, next day they write to me. I try not to be surprised when that happnes. It holds true as long as you accept that in some ways (many ways, to be honest) life is, actually, a joke. As long as you do not try to control it, nothing can surprise you. The moment you let go is the moment you take the steer.
(Oh, the irony of that conclusion.)