This episode is about my experience of being a Black Brit who moved from London to Paris in a pandemic. I discuss having covid, language barriers and general challenges of integrating into a new society.
Nothing is more important than what you choose to do with the breadth of your life.
To not forgive is to rob yourself of a life you deserve.
Unforgiveness* is a treacherous con artist because it deceives you into thinking you’re punishing the offender, but alas it is you that has been sentenced to a life in prison.
No one or thing should hold such power over you, no matter how dastardly the situation. And yes, there are many horrific experiences strong enough to desire exacting revenge or retribution, but at what cost? In reality, the lengths we may go to to punish a person, is seldom equal to the offence or pain caused, nor is it truly gratifying.
Forgive them and forgive yourself. Do it for you, and your prosperity. And in doing so, you will experience more freedom, a lightness, and have greater room to embrace the sweetness of life in its fullness.
This is the true win.
P.s Thank you for seeing me.
*Not an acknowledged word but should be.
It didn’t work.
Didn’t it? Or did you give up after the first attempt?
We’ve become accustomed to expecting microwave results.
We no longer believe in the art of cultivating, nurturing or giving of ourselves to a thing. We want it, and we want it now.
I often go back to what I was like as a child. It reveals much of who we are today and who we could be.
When I couldn’t skip well, I skipped until I could.
When I could barely do a roly poly (forward roll), I practiced until I could to that and cartwheels.
When I wasn’t the fastest in a race, I ran until I got faster and faster.
When I was terrible at maths, I studied until I excelled at it.
When I was told by my Sixth Form Law teacher to stop mucking around in class, I got an A in my coursework to silence her.
When I couldn’t swim, I learnt what I could from friends and later on in my 20’s I took lessons.
When I was told I couldn’t do something and I disagreed with their opinion, I didn’t accept it as gospel. I instead invested the time and effort to ace it and prove myself right.
You were like that too. You relished the opportunity to know more, and you could spend hours on end practicing, learning, and doing it over and over again. What happened to that person?
The results of course were important, but the focus was in the undertaking, and this is what made the accomplishments sweeter.
Let’s get back to engaging with the process, and move away from obsessing about the outcome/whens, because truly that is where the real treasures lie; in the doing, in the learning, in the growing. The results are simply the icing on the cake.
We are full of excuses. Excuses that hinder, inhibit, and can foster stagnation. And yes, sometimes they are valid and substantiated, however, they are only as powerful as we say they are.
I often remember what a coach said to me once, after I poured out my heart and laid out my issues regarding overcoming a fear I had. I was keen to hear the solution to this matter and to be set free.
My expectation was for her to give me a well-thought-out, empathetic, reasonable response, but instead she said ‘Just do it’. That was it. No drawn out speech, no ‘I understand your plight’, no digging deeper to gain further insight.
I was flabbergasted.
Did she read ALL that I wrote?! Is she mad?! and I mentally came up with all the reasons why it wasn’t a matter of simply just doing it.
I didn’t have the words to respond with void of it being offensive, so begrudgingly I swallowed it and wrote thank you.
She was right though.
As time passed, I realised the truth and emancipation in those three words.
There’s no better way to get through or over something than by doing it.
I intend to hopefully do what she did for me for someone else today with words of my own, and its this; If you wanted to, you would.
What I thought 2019 would be vs what it is was. I felt like I was dragged through the mud, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if you have to fight tooth and nail for it! I share some of the difficulties of life and adulting.
When I take an unexpected break (which I am now calling a mid-season break), I usually return with an explanation in hand.
I’m not doing that today (maybe later), and I hope by the end of this read, you too will choose yourself and your best interests.
Society demands that you work incessantly. It’s crammed down our throats at every turn. Partly because we need to earn money to live (this will always be messed up to me), and the other side is the acute desire to do more than just survive.
The downside of that, is a lot of the time the need to have, is driven by fear, and consequently that produces greed, abuse of power, and wickedness in some people.
That was never life’s design though.
When you look at the earth in its untouched glory, it works beautifully, seamlessly, without struggle, and all things co-exists, side by side.
I believe this is how we were meant to be.
What lives we could have if we ceased to give into fears, and stopped forcing things to happen?
We have this idea if we do not do all that we do, everything will fall apart. It won’t. And even if it does, so what? Let it fall apart, and watch it all come together in order.
The upside of this time in our lives, is that we have had the space to reflect, and more of us are realising our power, and wielding it purposefully.
So as we start to see lots of go get it, make it happen and grind don’t stop messages to mark the beginning of a new week, I want you remember this story that you are probably familiar with.
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
We have the same power as the fisherman, and all we need to do, is choose mindfully what we want and what we need for ourselves, by ourselves.
We are often too involved in things that are none of our business, and not attuned at all to what is our business.
I moved from one country to another in the last year because my peace of mind, wellbeing and quality of life is a priority to me. I recognised that I had the ability to decide. I chose to do what I was inherently drawn to.
By following that, I now wake up most days cherishing the life I am creating/have created.
Wouldn’t it be nice to say that you chose this life deliberately?
P.s New podcast episode this Thursday!
I cannot remember the last time I decorated my home for Christmas. My family, at least the younger lot, aren’t fussed with Christmas much to my dismay. How and why don’t you love it?!?
Keeping up the Christmas cheer when others around you are not enthusiastic about it, has been challenging and ultimately demotivating. As a result my festive spirit waned over the years. Bah hambug!
This year is different. Maybe it’s because I’m away from home and in a new home, but I decided that given everything that has happened, creating a little joy in our place was necessary.
Saturday was the first day of the non-essential shops reopening, and having spent the last few weeks only going to the supermarket and straight back home, I was itching to get out and do other normal things, albeit with a mask on.
We spent the day deciding on Christmas decor; should we get a white tree? a green one? a snow Christmas tree? tinsel? a Christmas plant? decorative Christmas window stickers? Yes. Yes to everything.
That evening we put the tree together. It looked small and scrawny.
We spent the first few seconds after erecting the tree laughing at how uncharismatic and un-christmas it looked. Um did we make a mistake going for this tree?
A can of fake snow, tinsel, glittery green and gold baubles and LED lights later, we had a semblance of healthy-ish and joyful looking tree. Results! (Still a work in progress)
The warm and inviting ambience the lights create as it subtly illuminates the room, gives me instant joy and is a reminder that good and wonderful things exist. I’m glad I didn’t succumb to being the Grinch this year, as 2020 really doesn’t need any help with that!
My point is mark the occasion, no matter how little or who likes it or doesn’t, curate a little joy for yourself.