I Can Still Hear The Waves

Standard

 

Two years have passed since I started this new chapter of my life. Since I packed up my world as I knew it – my relationships, my jobs, my home, my community, every aspect of this world which I considered to be part my life. I piled some into boxes; I threw some in the trash. I minimized, I cleansed. I closed the door on what had, to that point, been my most defining chapter yet. I left on a journey to shed my proverbial skin and in the process to allow my inner child, the innocence in which I entered this world, to shine its brilliance once again.

Naively I believed that the journey would be a baptism of fire in the corporate world, finally entering a place which I had kept at arm’s length for so many years. I believed that my journey would consist of me trying to find my soul and keep my innocence in a world where everyone was trying to rip it from my grasp. I thought that my exploration would be a process whereby I find myself amongst the adversities of a humanly constructed society. I thought wrong.

I remember sitting there in the yacht’s cockpit on the hell-bent stormy seas, my body insulated in thermal clothing and yet still shivering. Hands and head wrapped in scarves and gloves. A harness firmly strapped to my waist holding me to my single lifeline – our boat, our home, our vessel for learning. The waves rose and fell like liquid mountains, hiding the sun in a moment. The boat was a toy with which ocean played. It tossed us and dunked us like a lost buoy floating meaninglessly in the shore break. It was relentless; it wasn’t smiling at us letting us know that it was testing us, that this all was simply a lesson which was prescribed as part of our audacious task of crossing its mighty waters.

In those moments there is no stop button. You can’t pause that lesson or quickly head out for a breather or bathroom break. You don’t close your eyes or pinch yourself and it disappears. It’s also not a moment to be brave, because bravery won’t calm the waters. Bravery won’t settle the mighty oceans and bravery won’t ensure that you get home in one piece. It is a moment that you simply need to let go. You need to humble yourself and succumb to its strength, its persistence, its sheer greatness. In that moment when you let go, when you are willing to lose everything that is worldly, when you stop worrying, when you stop feeling. That is the moment when you find yourself. That is the moment when you find the purest version of yourself that is holding onto nothing that is of this world, nothing that we ordinarily perceive to be of importance in our lives. It is the most basic you.

From that point everything can be seen for its true brilliance. Sunrises have never been so bright and magnificent, rain has never fallen so purposefully and food has never nourished your body with so much vigor and intent to give you life. In that moment when you are so ready to cease in your own existence, that is the moment when you first truly start existing in this world.

Lessons can be learnt, lessons can be lost. Memories come and go like the passing winds and the moments of brilliance and realization which we experience in our lives can sometimes start to drift to a place of distant recollection. However, even now, when life starts to feel like it wants can consume me and reclaim my innocence, I simply close my eyes… And I can still hear the waves.

Advertisements

Life. Decision or Destiny? 

Standard

Figuring out what it’s all about is grossly confusing. Here we are, evidently in existence. But are we forging a path or fulfilling a destiny and are the two mutually exclusive? Simply reminded are we that our pasts are a culmination of experiences and memories which have shaped us, our behavior, and ultimately the way in which we make decisions for the future. Our future on the other hand is an abyss of opportunity and mystery which takes its form through choices we make, opportunities which present themselves and unforeseen interventions which redirect us. 

So are we then predisposed to become a product of our past, of our pervious environments?  With the monumental impact that our experiences have on guiding, or forcing, us to our present, is it really within our scope or earthly mandate to even believe we can reshape the ultimate course of our existence? This isn’t a reflection on destiny or the role of religion in life, it’s a simply an inquisition into what would drive us to start to try and change the direction we believe we are leading once we realize that we desire something different.  When we decide that we would prefer a different eventuality for our existence. 

I read a quote once which I will refrain from referencing for the purpose of inclusivity of this text, ‘Naked I came from my mothers womb and naked I shall leave this life.’  It is a cold, harsh truth that we begin our lives in a vulnerable state of solidarity only to be clothed and cared for by those who will eventually leave us. Existence is a constant flux of death and birth and we play out our very own chapter which coincides with those who enter and leave our lives. And eventually one day our own chapter too will end, the story will go on but we will no longer be a player in this game of life. So then what is the ultimate point of our decisions or destiny? We are not immortal and the statues and legacies too will fade and disappear with the ages. We cannot, contrary to our greatest efforts, live on in this earthly realm forever, so why do we try so hard? 

Because we are resilient, because we are unable to simply sit back and believe that it just ends and there is no purpose, because we are human and believe that if we try hard enough we can reach out and touch the stars. Were we not born to conquer, or is that a foolish odyssey which will ultimately lead to the downfall of us all? Were we born to create abundance and perpetual existence on earth? I, as a simple pawn in this game, do not have the answers but find it necessary to ask the questions. I don’t know what drives us to want to leave a legacy, to want to immortalize ourselves or simply change our status quo to a better life for ourselves and those around us. 

Conquerer or peacemaker, hermit or citizen, martyr or tyrant, legacy or meaninglessness. It’s seems life is a game of both decisions and destiny. So you can decide to choose or let life take its course. As an adaption to the words of Elanore Roseveld, “Legacy is not a goal… It’s a bi-product of a life well lived.” Your life, your move! 

You don’t deserve it!

Standard

You hear it ringing  in your ears with every interview, every time you think that you are owed the next pay increase  and every time you believe you have learnt enough in what your bread winning 9 -5 has to offer. It’s the  sound of judgement, a voice that says, “back down and wait, you are not ready!” And you take it to heart, you heed its warning because it’s a voice you’ve heard since you were a child. When you though you could fly they said no, so you didn’t jump. When you believed you could be an astronaut, pilot or the president of a country then society told you to study, get a degree and get a ‘real’ job – something stable and guaranteed. When you looked up at the speckled night skyline and reached out your hand to touch the stars and the moon alike, you were told you were a dreamer, because let’s be honest, no man can touch the stars.

Well this is a nudge from the nonconformists; the kids who flew; the pilots, astronaughts and presidents; the ones who hold the stars and the moon in their hands and dance along the planets. The fact of the matter is that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. When you are standing at the edge of the proverbial cliff of success, don’t wait for the push. If society has taught us anything it is that it will pull us back off the edge to safety. Society doesn’t think it’s safe at the edge or at the exciting destination upon which we will decend when we make our own ballsy decisions to flourish. Society doesn’t want exception, it wants the norm, it can handle and control the norm.

Sir Ken Robinson in his TED talks reminds us of the exceptional ability of every human, which is unlearnt through our cultures and societies throughout our upbringing. I have spent the last few years re-educating myself on what real food is and how it can nourish my human form in a manner which is ‘real’ – as irrelevant and trivial as that might sound, we have lost contact with what it is our bodies and minds can perform and what they require to operate at the optimal point. Now it’s time to re-educate ourselves and others of the natural ability to be the most extraordinary, exceptional, and unrelenting versions of themselves. The only version of ourselves that the universe intended.

No person who every did something for the first time was truly ready or else it would not truly have been their first time. They would not truly be plunging their heart, soul and being into the unfamiliar abyss for the oportunity to experience the ultimate unknown of their capabilities and their excellence. I’m not saying reject society. I’m not saying quit your job. I’m just saying be a child again. Take a road you’ve never driven down, learn a new language, change your weekend or daily routine. Remind yourself what it feels like to be great.

Because truth be told, you do deserve it.

This blog is for dear friends who allowed me glimpse of my greatness and life beyond societal norms; JJ, Elzet and Pieter Kloppers.  

 

The Young Man And The Sea

Standard

I thought I had forgotten it. The story he read. There I was sitting at my desk on the second floor of Port Edward Primary School. Mr Baggins (whose name I conceal for the purpose of this text) was aptly sitting afront his desk, a dusty old book in his grasp. As unfamiliar as I was with this gentlemen, my English teacher and the literary aficionado I would come to know, he was evidently enthralled with the task he was about to undertake. The excitement loomed within his eyes. Right then and there, I knew I had an adventure on my horizon.

Days, weeks and months came and passed and our afternoon reading prevailed. Soon I was to know what it would mean to fight a giant of the ocean. I was so excited to know how the most acclaimed written fisherman of all time had overcome his ruthless sea beast with his bare hands and rope. The battle was relentless, blood-shedding and most of all, mental torture. It was everything a 13 year old, small town boy needed to stay engaged in literature and the education which encompassed it.

It would be years before I learnt the true value of the fight, of survival. Yes I had experienced the relentless power of the ocean. I had known the loneliness and helplessness which overtakes a person in a moment of complete vulnerability when you realise that nature is unfortunately bigger than you and far more unrelenting. I had felt the distress of a loosening rope, at who’s end was the only proof a journey travelled and a life lived. A rope which forces the mind to reach beyond its own known capacity and will.

I am not a survivor; I am merely an ‘understandor’. I understand now that the journey goes beyond the success thereof and is largely about the continued implementation of the sobering experiences and lessons of humility which one gathers along the way. In our modern societies and lives, our egos, driven by regular societal and community pressures, begin to guide our logic and intention. We find ourselves driven by motives such as financial gain and career progression based on titles. We lose sight of the ocean.. of the fight.

Yes life is a ruthless mother f@$&er. It will stray you, bite you, eat you alive. But that’s only if you let it. Grab the rope, stead yourself fast and get ready for the ride of your life. Stop conceding to life. Stop drifting with the bloody current. If you’re gonna make a success of it, whether it’s your ego or soul, you’ve gotta fight. You’ve gotta get dirty and bloody. And every time you have a small victory, don’t forget that it really is just a small lesson, a small reminder of what is to come. Life doesn’t strike once. Life is like the weather, when you think the sun is shining and the day is scorching, life is preparing for its thunderstorm. Life doesn’t want to destroy you, it wants to replenish you, to renew you. But only if you are willing to be a fisherman in this great big ocean of life, if you’re willing to fight. Are you?

 

A blog for my dear friend Tyff.

Life Is Waiting

Standard

The moments we create are never lost. Although our circumstances may change (drastically) and life may take on new paths with challenges, both exciting and painstakingly linear, the things we experience, beliefs we develop and moments of brilliance which illuminate our souls don’t disappear. There is an instance of realization that you experience when you do something for the first time, visit a land of foreign tongue or have an interaction with nature which is beyond words – yet resonates in your spirit and soul. If you have had one of these moments then you will know what I am taking about. It is a moment when your soul smiles and the universe smiles back at you in utter content and agreement.

Yet these moments are presumably lost so quickly when we close the doorway from our soul to the world. We close the curtains and switch off all the lights. Our souls sit in a quiet, hidden room and slowly they forget of the beauty which so longs for them beyond the superficial barriers which our lifestyles create. We forget that life is not governed by alarm clocks, work demands and lifestyle pressures, your bank balance, superficial interactions, and chasing the proverbial dream of modern success.

The thing is, life… real life, is sitting waiting for you to just open the curtains and let it in. Turn ur phone off for the day, stare into the day or night sky, notice the birds, take the wrong road and go somewhere for the first time, watch the sun rise or set without saying a word. Let real life re-excite your passion and zest for living and be amazed with all the little nuances of brilliance you have been missing because ur eyes have been closed! IMG_4858.JPG

*Enter Yourself*

Standard

20140713-220220-79340382.jpg
Some of us might have been raised rural, might have been raised in near poverty or in a town/community that lacked ambition. You might have been abused, rejected, or simply had no one believe in you for your entire upbringing. In a life where it’s you against the world it is not just bloody tough, it’s mission impossible against the status quo of social consumption in all regards.

So like a beaten dog you may retreat and subscribe to a life of lacking ambition and accepting cowardice, living with the preconceived notion that life is now and ever more against you. A woe is me perspective of self-sacrificial prejudice. Or you can get busy living, get busy loving, get on with life as so few know it.

What you need to remember is that the world is yours. In every sense of the word. Maybe you feel that the world doesn’t accept you just the way you are, and society ignores your brilliance or your profound view on life. The problem is that your are subscribing to life as you know it, in the most mundane of viewpoints. Perhaps you are just too busy believing that society is a prescribed version of life written but your family, school, church or community. In the words of Drew Dudley, “Because we’ve made leadership about changing the world, and there is no world. There’s only six billion understandings of it, and if you change one person’s understanding of it, one person’s understanding of what they’re capable of, one person’s understanding of how much people care about them, one person’s understanding of how powerful an agent for change they can be in this world, you’ve changed the whole thing.”

If life is a play, as Shakespeare so often suggested, then stop being so hesitant to be the main character in your version if it. When it comes to the opening scene, the climax or the entire story and it is time for the pivotal character to enter, *Enter yourself*. Step up, perform and be undoubted in your brilliance.

Life is the version 1.U.

20140713-220731-79651726.jpg

Smile, Its Free

Standard

Image

Moving from Stellenbosch to Johannesburg has meant that I can’t simply take a stroll down Victoria or Church street for my favourite caffeine hit or for my next exciting conversation. Nope, this neighbourhood is slightly bigger, just slightly. The pleasant thing is that I get to ride more often in the Blakiemobile (my little Chev Utility and symbol of independence in the world). Such a change brings new discoveries and surprises which I welcome with open arms.

Now I am used to beggars, bergies and the odd drifter surprising you in parking lot or at a traffic light, but Johannesburg takes this to a whole new level. There are thousands of traffic lights and every one has more than one opportunistic entrepreneur lurking between the stopped cars. I say entrepreneur because they either have a novel and comedic poster stating how they became homeless or what they need to survive the day, they collect your rubbish for small change or they juggle a couple not-so-fresh oranges in the hope that their entertainment will win your favour and possibly dislodge some loose change. Unfortunately for them this Jozi newbie (me) is not sucking off the teet of the UIF state cow and is indeed unemployed, thus small change, big change or cash of any sort is a scarcity.

Enter a smile 😉

With those pleading eyes, full of overcome disappointment and ever-lingering hope, looking through my window at me not understanding that I do not have a cent to give, I share what I do have. Love, for humanity and God’s people. Happiness, for the fact that even though some people have nothing material they still are alive and are surrounded by majestic beauty if they choose to see it. And a smile, because smiles are free and if its free I have it in abundance. So there I sit behind my steering wheel, watching a mother in a SUV instruct her daughter not to look at the beggar and the daughter immediately focuses her attention forward avoiding further argument. Behind me the young male driver ignores the trash collector as if it was a simple breeze blowing by. My turn. As he approaches my window I embrace him with my most honest and humble smile. First we gesture, me indicating that I have no rubbish, him insisting that straight cash will do. Our gazes are unbreakable and smiles continue to grow. I wind down my window and make sure that he has understood my body and sigh language and he confirms wishing me a great day. I then reach into my side compartment and fish out a White Rabbit sweet – one of my childhood favourites and recent travelling companions. His smile grows as we unwrap a sweet together and I explain that the rice paper is edible. There for a brief 20 seconds while I wait for the green light, ready to continue my life without this new stranger, we share a moment of connectedness and familiarity. We smile, we laugh and we form part of each others lives and history.

I don’t know if I will see him again. I don’t know his truths and suffering. To a degree I am ashamed of this reality, was my meeting with this stranger superficial? Did I take more from the encounter than him? Perhaps these are questions we should be asking the Big Guy (God). All I know is that in a moment when I didn’t have a cent, I was simultaneously the richest man in the world, I had stopped, I had been vulnerable with someone who was perhaps the most vulnerable a human can be, and I was enriched by it. Since then I have made a concerted effort to smile at municipal workers, mothers with babies, tellers and packers, interviewers and corporates in passing. Perhaps many think I am crazy, perhaps I am. I find absolute joy in sharing my human wealth with them and I’m made richer by every smile which is returned.

You should try it. Just smile, its free.

*This blog is dedicated to Liz (The Travel Liz), for making me smile today.