Push to shove

The most difficult thing is to ask Allaah for something and then face a period of uncertainty where you have to patiently resist the toxic parts of you coming up to the surface to block your growth.
Holding on to the kernel of your soul while all else falls apart, to make room for your dreams.
How painful it must be for the frail plant that is breaking through the soil to reach the light!

It is clear that we must trust what is difficult; everything alive trusts in it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself any way it can and is spontaneously itself, tries to be itself at all costs and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must trust in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it.

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Crashcourse

She followed slowly, taking a long time,
As though there were some obstacles in the way;
And yet: as though, once it was overcome,
She would be beyond all walking, and would fly.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

Focus on me

illuminate

Monika Serkowska ( Falling Apart)

“Don’t be confused by the nature of solitude, when something inside you wants to break free of your loneliness. This very wish, when you use it as a tool for understanding, can illumine your solitude and expand it to include all that is. Bound by conventions, people tend to reach for what is easy. It is clear, however, that here we must be unafraid of what is difficult. For all living things in nature must unfold in their particular way and become themselves at any cost and despite all opposition.”

Rainer Maria Rilke (letters to a young poet)

Whilst the world is on hold

For nearly a week now I’ve been off facebook to regain my focus. I felt my energy was scattered all over, and that I had neglected myself. In the time since, I’ve been in a near-constant state of flow where time and space ceased to be. I’ve been devouring books in ways I haven’t in over a decade. Below are some of the books I’ve read (either entirely or partially) this past week:

 

Let passion kill you so that you can live

Ideas don’t change the world, people do.

truths

In every culture and institution, in every individual’s mind, there’s the overwhelming and compelling need to be significant in some ways. The idea that once we’re dead, our memories, thoughts,feelings, personality – would disappear forever is frightening and is the driving force behind every action ( and inaction for that matter). Some seek it through fame, others through the notoriety of crimes and bloodshed. That’s why there are prestigious universities like the Ivy League in the US and Oxbridge in the UK. That’s why many parents push their kids to take up violin lessons by age 4, join student organizations, competitions, pageants; they want to be significant through their (hopefully) successful child. They want to be the Parent of THE President, Parent of THE Lawyer, Parent of THE Doctor. That’s why many a young bright minds with fire in their bellies go for the careers with best potential of wielding power over things that matter to them, and create change on a larger scale. The same bright minds find themselves, 10-20 years down the road, overworked,underappreciated,drowning in debt,and with depleted hearts.

Who doesn’t want to be like  Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein? Who doesn’t dream of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg, or the discoverer of a cure for cancer? What’s happening then? Why is there such a big disparity between what people want and what people become? Why is it that in an age where virtually anything is possible and everything is accessible, more social media apps are created than discussions had on a permanent solution to toxic waste; people focus more on picking out the perfect selfie from the 50 nearly identical selfies they took than they do on corrupt leaders or horrible tragedies, like the drowning of nearly a thousand migrants in the Mediterranean ocean ?

Why is the self-help industry a  multi-billion dollar industry when we feel more lost than ever?

I’ll tell you why: passion can’t be standardized. 

Whoever purports to give you a map to attain your passions, or become who you dreamt of being- they are either fooling you or fooling themselves. People aspire to be just like the prolific giants who went down in history for their achievements,art, and excellence. They want to know how many hours Picasso put in, what books Einstein read, how to follow Zuckerberg’s trajectory and come up with the new Facebook. 10 000 hours or 10 lifetimes won’t get you the answer. YOU hold the answer. Cliché, huh? We do not choose our passions, they choose us. We’re born with that candle waiting to be lit. We stumble across some book, or see some comedian, and voilà! We are burning with passion. But it wasn’t random or because you just happened to come across comedy before chemistry. Passion is a force beyond our comprehension. It can’t be forged nor can it be forced. It’s an intricate part of our being, just like our height or eye colour is an intricate part of our body. It doesn’t need fixing or adjusting. It just needs to be unblocked; unblocked by your fears, and perfectionism, and what-ifs, and shoulds. You need to declutter others projections,perceptions,predictions and pessimism that have accumulated within you over the years, and give your soul space to grow a garden.

Let go so that you can grow.

Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein,MLK,Gandhi- they didn’t envision, at the onset, that they’d achieve what they did. They just did what they were burning for and that fire of passion purified them and shaped them into their legacies. They didn’t see it coming. But it was within them, just like a tiny seedling that grows into a giant sequoia tree; let yourself grow into you, and stop forcing yourself to become what you’re not!

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Q•U•O•T•E•S

 “If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
― Joseph Campbell

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”
― Katharine Hepburn

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
― Catherine of Siena

“Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got.”
― Janis Joplin

“It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Every living organism is fulfilled when it follows the right path for its own nature.”
― Marcus Aurelius

“Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.”
― Rumi

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
― Henry David Thoreau

“Within you, you will find everything you need to be complete.”
― Bryant McGill

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization.”
― Abraham Maslow

“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke

“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

 

How I found my way back home

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Travis Bedel

 

I made a list this morning. Of all the things I wanted to achieve the next couple of years; road trips, travelling to see friends, writing books. But as I was writing this, a familiar feeling crept up on me like a smoke cloud. It was the discouraging, uncomfortable feeling I’d get every time I dared to dream. Dejected I put down my notebook and quelled my rising anxiety by telling myself that it’s ok, I’d forget about the list, I’d just focus on the now – on drinking coke, watch The Following ( great stuff btw), finish reading Geneen Roth’s phenomenal book  ” Women Food and God”.

The suffocating cloud soon dissipated and I went to my familiar place where feelings go to die, and I’m safe.

I’d usually bury myself deeper in hopelessness and wallow in my self-sabotage, but not this time. This time I decided to follow the cloud to see what bonfire emitted it.   grow

I sat with the pain and let it lead me down the path the smoke left in its wake, and before long I came across the bonfire, deep within me. The fire that fuelled my intuition, my creativity, my feelings, my soul, my existence. For many years no, it had sent me smoke signals in a bid to draw my attention to the state of my inner landscape, but I kept putting out the fire. The billowing smoke clouds made me an anomaly next to others;  it’d sting people’s eyes. I had to water it down to fit in. But by putting out the fire, by ignoring my soul’s SOS signals, I effectively told myself ‘ You don’t belong here, you’re not welcome’. I didn’t want to be the person I truly was, and I couldn’t turn into something else.

I didn’t want to have to accept myself; I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to belong in a crowd. To lock up my feelings and uncomfortable thoughts and throw away the keys. So all my dreams and fantasies were of a happy ending where I had finally made it through the pain once and for all, and rejoined society once again; as if I had served a 25 year sentence, as if the pain was punishment and acceptance by others was reward.

But I see now that pain is simply a reminder that my fire is smoldering and that I’ve strayed off my path. I’ve decided to let go of what I think I want in order to be happy and whole, and instead become comfortable within myself, not having to run away from my home.

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“To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference. If we do not respect ourselves, we are on the one hand forced to despise those who have so few resources as to consort with us, so little perception as to remain blind to our fatal weaknesses. On the other, we are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to live out – since our self-image is untenable – their false notions of us… “
— Joan Didion

“But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)

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