We’re built to serve others. When we lose hope in being served by others, we withhold our service in protest until we convince ourselves that no one will take care of us so we must take care of ourselves. That’s when life becomes hollow because it pulls us away from our core need: To be…
The last year has been a beautiful mess. It has been a year of pushing boundaries and testing long-held truths. People, relationships, skills, passions, and even hobbies all came under close scrutiny as I peeled away the layers of assumptions that coated them over the years to test whether they still served me well, or at all.
I tested my hand at mindful living, more so at carving my own path through the forest and the lessons that I learnt along the way, most of which are still incomplete, have unlocked new realities and resurfaced old joys. My sense of self continues to evolve, almost on a daily basis. Accepting a truth about my reality on one day seems foolhardy or delusional on another. But in between it all there has been a lightness in my steps that has been absent from my gait for decades.
I lost myself to life over the decades. Courting authenticity with a naive mind can be taxing and expensive. Living out my convictions has increased the isolation around me. Only, it’s an isolation that holds much peace despite the loneliness that it threatens to share. The peace is the absence of expectations, except for the moments that the capitalist structures around me tear away at my being through the yoke that still weighs down on my shoulders. The realisation that what feeds the soul doesn’t feed the belly intensifies each day.
We leave things behind because we find them unpleasant, not because we find them endearing or cherish-able. The same is true for relationships. Perhaps this is why it is more difficult to recall the good times when you focused on the bad times for so long. Idealism can taint judgement and spawn good intentions that are disastrous at times. Good intentions don’t always result in wholesome outcomes. Sometimes it causes more destruction than any bad intention ever could.
Optimism or pessimism are both choices. The trials we face can be unending or brutal with barely any space between them to just pause and take a breath, but succumbing to them is still a choice. Allowing our spirit to be broken is also a choice, even though it isn’t a choice taken lightly, nor one that should be made light of. Depression is a state we achieve after persisting in pessimism or losing hope in what we assume the future to hold for us. None of us know with absolute certainty what the future holds, so again, assuming the worst of the future is based on trends of negative outcomes in the past. But the moment you recognise even a single moment in your life when your projections about the future, or even the next moment turned out to be wrong because of a surprise occurrence that benefited you or gave you hope, you know that it requires a deliberate effort to ignore such hope.
While I may not be able to resist the physical oppression that overwhelms any physical means of resistance I have at my disposal, it has never been a reason for me to remain oppressed in my mind. Far too many see the shackles on their wrists and assume that to be a denial of their freedom to think and to choose. I may not be able to choose my freedom of movement or association at all times, but I can always choose how much of that oppression defines me or what I am capable of contributing towards its dismantling.
Defining moments are those moments that mark a turning point in our lives. It’s either recalled as a moment of upliftment, or sadly too often a moment of duress. Both, however, define our lives and influences our behaviour in ways that we rarely recognise.