Even in the most uproarious settings, quietness and healing can be found by paying attention to details, instead of focussing on the chaos of totality.
Often, when confronted with almost insurmountable difficulties or changes, I find it useful to concentrate on basic and essential issues, rather than trying to take on the whole challenge in one fell swoop.
Step by step, moment by moment, piece by piece, issues unravel and become comprehensible. And, as is so often the case, the rewards are mostly not found at attaining the goal but by travelling the path towards it and learning the lessons offered.
Looking back, it's been quite an adventure during the last three years. Today, in 2008, I went to the clinic for the first time to have an alcohol problem treated. It's been quite a ride since then, but also one in which I've rediscovered myself and many of the ideals I'd lost across the years.
Probably the most worthwhile discovery has been that painful experiences are worth confronting, no matter how discomforting they might be in the immediate situation. Many lessons were needed to understand that the path of least resistance usually wasn't the most appropriate one, and quite often even the most harmful one under the circumstances.
Three years of self-analysis, catharsis, evaluation and self-criticism has delivered me the benefits of a broader view of the world, an insight into what motivates me and the people around me, and the ability to look through the veneer of an insane civilisation hell bent on avoiding anything that might cause discomfort or confrontation with oneself.
The ride's not over yet, not by a long way, but the tools and methods are in place to continue recreating my life in a way in which I can be of benefit for others in similar situations as I'd been through.
Crushed by the dilemma he finds himself in and unable to reach a decision, Beethoven tries to recall the particular actions in his life that have led to his damnation. In anger, he confronts Fate for having dealt him such a cruel hand in life. Taken a back by his accusations, she offers to review his life with him and to change anything that he wishes to change.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra / Beethoven's Last Night
And here in the night As I feel the inferno I stare in the dark Thinking what is eternal
The man or the moment The act or the reason These thoughts fill my head As I contemplate treason
Of dreams I have had And dreams I have pondered When late in the night My mind it would wander
To things I have done And then quickly regretted While denying vices My life had selected
And I think what I've done Or have yet to begin And the man I've become And man that I've been
Now caught in a waltz With the eternal dancer I'm courted by death But death isn't the answer I say
All I was Meant to be Could I Suddenly Just decide Not a thought Would survive Could it be My life's worth Ended there With my birth
If I could see someone Who's been there before me And traded his soul For a moment of glory
His penance or mercy By spirits debated While judged on a scale That's been heavily weighted
And what have I done Could there be such a sin In this man I've become In this man that I've been
Now calling to God From the pit's very bottom I pray he forgives Every sin I've forgotten This day
And who would have thought That my fate it would conjure This twist in the road On which I have wandered
Each vision and dream now Completely dismembered To give one's whole life And find nothing's remembered
And what good is a life That leaves nothing behind Not a thought or a dream That might echo in time
The years and the hours The seconds and minutes And everything that My life has placed in it Betrayed Betrayed Betrayed
The things I have done The places I've been The cost of my dreams The weight of my sins
And everything that I've gathered in life Could it be lost Could it be lost in this Could it be lost in this Night
After a day of intensive photography yesterday, I've been pretty well knackered today. The only thing I could put reasonably much effort into for this Sunday was a short 5km run, more for relaxation's sake than anything else.
It's been a very busy week, up to and including yesterday, and I notice how much tension is lingering in my shoulders and back. Running was good to get rid of part of that, a good warm shower helped lots and occasional exercises in the course of the day took away most of the soreness and mental agitation.
Lots going on here, well on track with the goals I set myself at the beginning of the year. Life's getting better all the time ;-
Youngest Daughter had another match today, for placement at the National Finals in March. She's been training well recently, a lot better focussed than last year, and ended up equal third in her category. The final decision if she's to be place at the national level depends on the results from two other districts, although the points she earned were far above the provisional norm. We'll know at the end of the month.
Vault at completion spiral exercise.
Part of the straight line exercise.
Part of the straight line exercise.
Youngest Daughter with teammate, as equal 3rd.
With 2nd and 1st place winners, also from our team.
At the end of a busy, mixed-up and strange week, once again a little time for some experimentation. To be perfectly honest, my heart wasn't altogether into what I was doing so the results were both surprising and inspiring in hindsight.
Yesterday evening was spent testing a new lens for speed and ease of use with my latest camera. I'm very pleased indeed with the results, there's a sharpness and flexibility here which will be very useful during the coming match season..
I'll need to work on the white balance though, sports halls can be pretty unforgiving at times although this venue is one of the better ones.
This, apparently, is the new face of conservative politics in the United States of America. If you can't beat 'm, put 'm in the crosshairs and shoot 'm is, so it seems, the new message.
Image as previously shown on one of Sarah Palin's pages.
So said, so done unfortunately. At this moment, one of the targeted people, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, lies in hospital in a critical but stable condition after having been shot in Tuscon whilst speaking to constituents.
The act need not be committed by someone affiliated with conservative politics in any way, the fact remains that such images, placed in public view in such a fashion, attract the attention of less than stable individuals working on their own agendas.
Isn't it time the world woke up to what is really going on? The rule of law is rapidly desintegrating into the rule of arms, wielded or guided by a small elite who have the resources to push their own agendas at the expense of the rest of the world (think Wikileaks, Manning, undeclared wars etc...). Time to do some serious waking up, methinks.
Have you ever had the feeling, in the middle of the night or when caught up in a crisis, that certain situations or events have become so large that they are almost insurmountable? You sweat, they block your view of anything else and you start to panic, but in a strange way, once your attention moves on to something else needing attention, the problem suddenly seems to have become a lot smaller. For myself, for example, getting out of bed and doing something else or taking the time to attend to other, routine, tasks seems to help me diminish the size of whatever's worrying me.
The fact of the matter seems to be that, whatever takes our attention or grabs our interest, seems to become larger than life or more apparent than before. I've often had the experience when, having learned a new word or having bought something new, I'm suddenly hearing that word much more often in daily conversation or seeing the same object I've just bought, in many different settings around me. They've probably always been there, but it's only now that I'm paying attention to them. At those moments I seem to have shifted my perceptions of reality to focus on something that has become important to me at that time.
During the difficulties of the last few years, I've been tempted to wallow and fixate upon so many negative and disturbing things going on in my life. At moments I've even ventured down this path for a short while, but noticed that the only thing that was happening was that I was feeling even more miserable and downhearted. Even though I wished things would turn out differently, I couldn't for some reason. In other words, as I became more obsessed about the negativity in my life, the negativity in my life became larger, and the outcomes in my life became negative also.
Thoughts are like seeds, what we sow we shall reap. The more we plant, the greater the returns. The more we think, the more we reinforce a particular pattern of thought. The good news is, though, by the same mechanism of focussing on negativity, that by maintaining a positive, cheerful attitude and a hopeful, grateful countenance, life becomes a lot easier and a lot more transparant somehow. The issues which worried me to death in the past don't seem to have such a grip on me any more, they're still there but can't drag me down into self defeating behaviour if I choose not to let them do so. Focussing on becoming happy, makes becoming happy happen, in a manner of speaking. Focussing on success breeds success, focussing on learning encourages learning, whatever I focus on becomes larger and more real in my mind.
My affirmation for today is "I choose to be happy, despite all the mental undercurrents working toward the contrary". Today is mine, with all it's possibilities. Make it yours too.