Thursday, 18 May 2017

A few things this week has taught me

Well well. This one really has been one of the toughest weeks in a good while. It's pretty rare for me to get too depressed these days, but I certainly have got pretty low. The reasons why aren't too important, but .. wow .. we can go through some pretty crazy stuff in this human experience.

I've been through worse, for sure .. but part of me gets really panicky when the storms hit - survival mode gets activated. Another part of me is counting my blessings that I chose the spiritual path and that I have the tools to deal with the storms, however hard they may be. It makes things a bit more bearable.

So anyway, human nature being as it is .. we tend to grow more through the tough times. In fact, sometimes, the universe brings us situations, or has to bring us situations, that practically bring us to our knees - in order for us to change. If you're nice and comfortable, not wanting to face our own crap, then you might be able to get away with living an okay life. In fact, there's probably a fair few people who would not be able to properly deal with things when shit properly hits the fan.

In some ways, I envy people who have not faced significant mental health challenges. Okay, we all go through some shit, but some definitely go through more than others. If I was to reincarnate, I would probably prefer my life to be a little bit easier, at least in some ways. Certainly, the breakdowns I had in 2001 and particularly 2006 were the most horrendous thing imaginable. But, I kind of got the impetus to move up north after the second breakdown - so every cloud has a silver lining I guess.

Anyway - what have I learnt from this week?
1) Ask for help. For goodness sake, don't try and deal with shit yourself. One of the worst things about this world is that a divisive society has been created. We should all be working together and lifting others up when they are in need. Sadly, that doesn't always happen. But some people are too scared or too proud to ask for help - the worst thing you can do when you're depressed is to keep things hidden to yourself. I find Facebook a good outlet to express my feelings as and when I need to.

2) My heart isn't as open as I might want it to be. And I don't need to beat myself up for this.
As much as I might like to see myself as a good spiritual person, with an open and receptive heart and mind - the reality, at least at times, is that I can be closed off. Life has given me a bit of a battering, and it can take a good while for healing to occur - and I don't think there'll ever be a time when I have my shit sorted out. Plus I can just be resistant to life at times.

3) Sometimes life tests you to see if you can apply what you've learnt. Whilst life can still be tough at times, I have undoubtedly learnt a heck of a lot that can help me. That said, there may be times when it seems God or the universe has abandoned you. The situation with being out of work has got on top of me a bit this week - plus other areas where I have a few 'demons' to deal with have been crashing down on me.

4) It is about you - in some way at least. The subconscious mind can be a difficult thing to deal with - but much of your life is a reflection, in some way, of your deepest beliefs. It can take a lot of deep inner work - and help from a skilled therapist - to uncover and face your own shit. If you struggle in one particular area or more of life - you'll probably find there are deep underlying beliefs that partly explain these struggles.

5) One day at a time. My mind often races with anxiety about the future - and it can be hard to deal with that, especially if you're facing some kind of crisis - but do your best to take each day as it comes. It makes things a little easier.

6) Time spent in nature - like at Malham, below - is very beneficial.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

The wait for a 'soul mate', the journey of self, and more ..

Okay. So my emotions are still a little heavy, although subsiding a little. But .. this post might be a little bit on the heavy side .. but hopefully you will enjoy reading it :)

So for much of my life, I have quite keenly felt the 'lack' of a partner - as if something's missing from my life. I did have a short term relationship recently, but that ended, so I'm back on the 'single' path again.

I'm not sure I know why, but sometimes it seems like the 'ache' for a soulmate is almost unbearable, certainly quite painful. My mind keeps wondering when it will happen - the prospect of being single years down the line isn't especially appealing :)

I read a lot of stuff about being happy in yourself, loving yourself, treating yourself well etc. Which are all well and good. I certainly think there's some credence in being happy and living life to the full, whatever your relationship status. The trouble is, my subconscious doesn't always believe all this. The pain is still there.

And, I do believe that you should not ignore any sort of emotional pain - regardless of whether it seems justified or even if it seems a little silly. Aaaaaand .. I suspect a lot of people can relate to the pain of not having a partner in their life, when they would like one.

However, I think it's important to go deeper into the pain itself - I'm not necessarily saying that the pain has to be 'transcended' and I'm not even saying that you should try to be completely happy and fulfilled on your own - instead, just allow the longing for connection to express itself, allow tears to come up if needed, and trust that the universe will bring you the right person as you resolve to do the best you can with your life. I think when you go deeper into something and allow it to be fully expressed, the intensity of the feelings will subside.

Ultimately, your life journey is all about you. I'm not saying some people don't have it harder than others - they certainly do - but the starting point for change is internal. It does take a bit of time to shift beliefs from predominantly negative to more positive - and also - you cannot force yourself to change, even if you can see that changing your internal beliefs will change your life.

The pain of my perceived failures in relationships and career has hit me quite hard - and dealing with issues in both my 'big two' areas right now is not easy. However, one thing I need to do is be patient. Sometimes my heart seems very closed off. Part of me feels upset and perhaps even violated inside that I have spent so long alone. I get pissed off that I keep repeating the difficult experience of being out of paid work. Some of my life experiences, I would not wish on anyone. And as much as I would like to live life with an open, overflowing heart .. sometimes I just have to respect that, in some areas, I am still closed off. The excellent Jeff Foster says to not try and force your heart to open .. I think he said that trying to force this is an act of violence.
For me, the best thing when my heart feels closed is to just be okay with this and do the best I can.

So, the best tips for me right now (and this post is written for me as much as anyone else!)
1) Do things I enjoy
2) Love without expectations
3) Learn to love myself a bit more, bit by bit
4) Establish what I want and go for it!
5) Follow my intuition rather than being led by what other people say
6) Live more in the present moment
7) Make new connections


Monday, 8 May 2017

Getting back up .. it's about persistence

Okay, so I've fallen off the bandwagon a bit during the last week or two. Stresses about unemployment plus feeling ill (it's very rare for me to be ill and like many guys, I'm not that great when I'm ill) have kind of brought things to a head.

I am aware, that after many years of negative thinking and lack of self-belief, that I'm probably likely to have times where I feel defeated and inadequate. I don't enjoy feeling like this - however, I've learnt over the years that feeling 'negative' isn't the end of the world - and, sometimes, trying to feel 'positive' can be another way of resisting pain.

There is, however, a certain type of negative feeling that really isn't beneficial. Ultimately, this particular feeling is all about saying 'no' to the present moment. It also tells you some pretty rubbish stuff about yourself - such as, you're worthless, inadequate and unable to make anything much out of life.

Most if not all of you will have had plenty of experience of not feeling good enough. And guess what. Even the ones who seem to have it together, the ones who are making a difference in their world - will have had more than their fair share of self-doubt. Success is all the more sweeter when you have faced the fires of hell.

SO .. WHAT IS PERSISTENCE? 
Sometimes .. we just need to climb these mountains that
life brings us :) 
Luckily, I rarely stay down for too long now. Knowing who I truly am has changed my life for the better, and knowing that there is a higher power that is watching over me helps me during the tough times. Persistence, to me, means coming back to my senses when I fall down. Knowing that, even after the times when I feel totally useless and will never 'make it', there is always a way to get back up. That's not to say that there aren't some situations that might keep someone down for a good while, and some that might require a lot of prayers and support.

But for me, persistence is coming back to what is called the 'higher self'. The part of you that believes in yourself, that sees your potential, that pushes you forward in spite of your resistance. That does not ignore pain or try to pretend that you don't have negative thoughts, but that allows everything to be as it is.

It's also important to give myself a pat on the back and realise how far I've come. I may not be exactly where I would like to be in life, but I am usually in a place where I can learn something and use the situation to my benefit.

What is persistence to you?


Friday, 5 May 2017

Unemployment sucks

I have to admit, I have been pretty downbeat this week. More so than usual. It's been the kind of week where it's been hard to see any positivity. A very convenient bout of illness which kept me in bed from Sunday afternoon until Monday afternoon, plus the dreaded lethargy which has reared its head the last couple of days, has not helped.

But it's more this continuing spell of unemployment that is bugging me. I am becoming more and more convinced that getting my last job - one of the first I'd applied for at that time after taking some time out - was truly some sort of divine miracle. Perhaps it was what I needed back then. But oh, I wish it could have been just as easy this time.

I hit a bit of a new low on Wednesday by missing an interview I'd travelled a bit of a distance to. The venue (which, honestly, was in a very grotty part of Leeds) was closed and I could not open the door. I thought I might have been scammed and drove back to Huddersfield feeling annoyed. I later found that the interview invitation had said 'Please use the buzzer at the side gate' or words to that effect. But, with those instructions being below the part of the invitation I read, I missed them. I was absolutely livid and stressed. I am a bit funny anyway when it comes to venue entrances being unclear - and really, I would expect an interview venue to be easy to access without the need for any instructions - and also, depending on the layout of an email, I can easily miss certain things if they are not obviously stated and unmissable.

The only possible positive I can gain from that fiasco is that perhaps that job was not meant for me.

I JUST WANT A JOB

I just want to get out of this whole process now. I absolutely loathe searching for and applying for jobs - if I could, I would delegate someone else to do it for me. It really is something I dislike. I have hardly ever applied for jobs whilst I've been in work - it takes up a fair bit of energy and I need to preserve my mental health as best I can.

Plus it brings it home more markedly than usual just how much of a mess my career has been. Lack of confidence, mental health issues, personality traits and having no idea where I was going have been some of the reasons why I have drastically underachieved in the workplace. The recession badly bit me too.

However, I have never really been cut out for the nature of the 9 to 5 world, which is maybe why I've settled for jobs that are probably below my capabilities. I do find it hard to work long hours - at least, if I'm doing something I'm not passionate about. I need to somehow find a better way - which will probably be a case of - find a job to keep me going and pay my bills for the while, and work on my passions outside of work.

Life lessons

I have had bouts of unemployment interspersed between jobs, some of which have been very stressful jobs. Work stress is one of the most horrible things I have ever been through and I would not wish it on anyone. I truly think work stress is worse than being unemployed and I hope it never happens to me again.

I have made some costly mistakes which have seen me at the Jobcentre more often than I would have liked over the last seven years. My mind has the occasional freakout that I'll be out of work long term again, that I'll never have a decent career, that I'll struggle in the coming years.

I have to be honest, I hoped I would never be back at the Jobcentre again. I feel sick and tired of being in the same unwanted situation. I really don't want to 'accept' this particular situation. It sucks. It brings up all kinds of negative emotions.

I'm not going to say something super spiritual like 'There are lessons to be learnt from being unemployed. Accept and embrace them'. Because, at this moment in time, I'm not sure I can. The only thing I can accept is the exact way I feel - even if it is a bit of a case of pissed off, despondent and frustrated.

At the end of the day, perhaps the lesson is to accept exactly where you are at.


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Purpose, shortcomings and more

It's easy to focus on our shortcomings. Mine are quite a long list. Here goes ..
- I have a low concentration span at times and find it hard to focus. (Although, that said, this could partly be because I'm doing things I REALLY don't want to do or enjoy doing).
- I feel like I'm quite lazy at times. Or, at least, I need time out to recharge - part of the character makeup of any highly sensitive person.
- I don't have a clue when it comes to marketing and selling myself.

.. There are more, plus I seem to have a minor case of writer's block at this moment and I'm not sure where this post is going, but I'll carry on and see what happens.

The idea is not to gloss over these things by trying to positive think your way out of them - you really do have to tackle your demons if you are ever going to make a success of your life.

This happens one step at a time. Just like you're not going to get from a regular employee to a CEO in quick time, your subconscious programming is not going to change overnight.

In fact, the 'lulls' that seem to happen all too often are part of the journey. The times where nothing seems to be happening, when you feel you're back to square one, wondering if there's any point in trying.

WHAT IS MY PURPOSE? 

I have often felt that I fell behind early in life; in reality that's probably true - I certainly wouldn't relive my childhood again if I was given the opportunity to start over.

Part of me just wants to prove that it is still possible to live the life of your dreams, even when you're getting older and even when your credentials don't seem to stack up.

I still don't know yet how this is going to happen - what I do know is that there is something in me that believes this is possible, and without question I have a life story and experiences that can be used to help and inspire others.

So on we go ....

A picture I took in the Yorkshire Dales when it started to
get foggy. Sometimes the road ahead isn't clear but if you
keep following the path, the rewards are worth it. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Diary of a jobseeker again ..

I've done diary of a jobseeker posts in the past, when I have been out of work. Previous posts along these lines include this and this.

Some of what I say might be similar to what I've mentioned in those posts - however, I have changed a lot since then, so maybe my perspective might be a little different in some ways.

Image courtesy of Pixabay
So what is happening? Well I have had 3 job interviews, none of them successful. I am starting to think that getting my previous job so easily was something of a miracle - divine intervention, if you like. Because this time it ain't proving easy. Plus I'm back signing on at the Jobcentre, a place I hate. The way they treat jobseekers isn't particularly humane - and people who are more vulnerable than myself could really struggle with the whole thing.


I am still more than conscious of being split between 'This whole system is crazy, I need to be doing something for myself' and 'I need money, therefore I need to be looking for jobs, I have no idea how to truly change my life'.

Career has been of my 'biggies' for a long time, the other one being relationships, although the latter has seen some movement at last - so I guess the one thing that really needs sorting out is career. Or does it?

As I've mentioned before, I do compare my 'achievements' to that of other people - and when I do this, it can be hard to not feel a bit intimidated. I'm certainly frustrated that, up to now, my paid work involves Accounts Administrator, Administrator, etc. Whilst these jobs are important, I know I am capable of more. But I have been a square peg in a round hole for too long.

However, I've realised that the whole journey is not just about focusing on the externals - what you do for living doesn't matter quite so much as inner peace and opening the heart. Self-belief is important here - even though it might not be easy to change your life, if you don't believe it's possible, it will never happen. I do believe that opportunities will open up the more your heart becomes open and receptive - although you also have to take advantage of those opportunties.

My mind is still telling me that there's no escape from the situation I'm in. But it is true that you have to be okay with uncertainty, and keep trusting when there's no evidence that things will get any better. Sometimes, things will feel worse.

Anyway that's how I feel at the moment. This whole subject is taking up a lot of energy right now. Maybe that needs to change.

Laters

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The gap between where I am and where I'd like to be

Okay. So let's start with a bit of reality here. Most people are not living the life they would truly like. At the same time, most people would rather have the so called security of a paycheck, mortgage and car rather than take a risk and do what their heart would truly like.

This is the easier path - and perhaps for a lot of people, it's a better option to stay in the 9 to 5 environment. But for certain people, it becomes, in time, fairly obvious that this environment is not suited to them.

This is me. I don't necessarily hate working in a job - in fact my previous job was pretty good - but, deep down, I have probably known for years that a full time job is not really for me. I certainly have no doubt that the western work system of today is unnatural and that it keeps us from spending quality time with family and friends.

At the same time, I have never been quite sure what else I can do that can also provide the money I need. There hasn't been an obvious door opened or an obvious calling as to what I should be doing .. well .. I'm sure, considering my life experience, that one of my callings is to support people with mental health issues or going through tough times .. but I'm not sure how to make a start on that without it involving money or a qualification that I don't currently have.

THE UNDERDOG

I will always support people who have had it harder in life than many .. and it's absolute claptrap to say that everyone is on an equal footing. Some people really do have a harder deal than others.

I often feel inferior because it seems like most people who are doing what seems like their purpose in life have been far more successful previously than what I have ever been. I have always had low paid jobs and never been what would be termed as 'successful' in the conventional work environment. And I've found it hard to get past this. I guess I feel like a bit of an underdog.

The fear

Whilst I am more willing to trust the universe than some, things have definitely come to a head now. I know I can't be relying on administration jobs for much longer. I certainly won't have enough to retire on unless I make changes (although the whole goal of retirement after your prime years are behind you seems a bit odd to me).

But the voice still nags in my head that says:
- You need the money.
- You won't be able to do what you love and get paid for it.
- There isn't anything realistic that you can do.
- You don't have the energy and commitment to be able to make something work.
- You don't really know what you want.

In other words, the gap between where I'm 'at' now (ie unemployed, lack of qualifications, uncertainty, supposed to be spending x amount of time looking for work) and where I'd like to be (travelling, mentoring people, writing, helping people with mental health issues, etc.)

TRUSTING

The middle ground between where I'm at and where I want to be, is a tricky one to negotiate. It can be even more confusing when you listen to advice from others - some people say don't quit your day job until a certain time, whereas others will say that you will be supported when you follow your heart.

There is no right or wrong advice here - I think you just need to do what feels right to you. And, perhaps most importantly, take one step at a time rather than try to work out the full picture. I know how frustrating it can be when you don't seem to be getting very far. And I'm feeling it today. Sometimes I wonder how I'll ever be able to escape the rat race.

As a wise person once said, sometimes all you can do is 'trust the process'.

FOCUS ON THE INTERNAL

It's so easy to get focused on the outside circumstances and what is going wrong .. but, one of the most important things I've learnt is to focus more upon myself and how I perceive the situation and what beliefs I have that causes this situation to arise. For example, my beliefs that I'll never be able to find the right vocation in life and get paid enough for it. So this is what I intend to be doing and I intend to go with the flow and allow life to happen as it will.

Perhaps I will talk a bit more about this subject in due course.


A few things this week has taught me

Well well. This one really has been one of the toughest weeks in a good while. It's pretty rare for me to get too depressed these days, ...