Continuity of Adventure

To be ready?

What is ready?

I seek to write. And to travel.

It is simple.

Though if I am not ready for that, then I guess I should put down my pen, end my lease here in Sydney and return ‘home’ to Brisbane.

Because, after all, for what I say I am not ready, I am already doing.

PJ.

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Humble Submission

Thank you for the talents and abilities you have given me; thank you for the opportunities you continue to provide.

I hit submit on my final assessment piece and so close the book on my first complete year of tertiary study. I reflect on my ability to balance a full-time work load, full-time study and life, whilst somehow delivering a trio of high-distinctions. That was the second trimester. Curiously, I have found managing my time to complete just one subject this final trimester (after the two others were cancelled) far more challenging.

As I have learned of the intricacies within employee engagement, the topic of student engagement has seemed to become far more complex. I am glad now to be permitted the freedom to breathe once more. And with it, the freedom to write, in my own style, and at my own pace, without the demand for my creative energy to be expended elsewhere.

I return to the pages of my journal, pausing for a moment to recount one thought in particular:

Still it feels there is so much more to have and yet in this moment what more do I need?

I continue to embark on this somewhat instinctively human journey toward ‘more’ though stop now to remind myself that in this moment there is no more; I stop now to remind myself that the dreams that once felt so distant are now at my door; I stop now to remind myself to release my grip on the quest for certainty and humbly submit myself to life’s call.

PJ.

The Happiest Bike Ride

There has been much that has happened recently; many reminders to let go and allow.

First, there was that argument with my best mate a few months ago; we shouted back and forth; I maintained my assertion that in order to achieve we must fight. It cannot simply happen. What good does it do to sit back and idly wait for our hopes and dreams to magically materialise? He did not share my viewpoint.

Then there was that chance encounter with the girl at the mall; a colleague of my house mate. Though just a little strange, intuition told me that this girl was going to play an important role in my life, however big or small. We caught up for coffee in the week that followed and again for a beer a week later. The point was the same: Stop fighting, let go, and allow it to come.

Then that time in the shower; I was there in body though not in mind. Rather, my mind continued to ponder my life’s impending financial collapse. I stood there until the water went cold, at which point I returned to the present and remembered some of these lessons from the weeks preceding. I took a deep breath, listened to the sound of the water, and let go.

I arrived back in my room to notice an email from my agent (not as fancy as it sounds). Earlier in the year she had cast me for a Qantas TV commercial. I had been wondering why I had not heard from her recently though was forgetting I had told her not to contact me until I had finished my studies in December – it was September. The job was worth $2,500! Precisely what I needed to escape my predicament.

I went to the casting the following day, was shortlisted, but didn’t end up getting the role. It didn’t matter though; I understood the lesson contained within. And whilst the $2,500 would have looked far nicer in my bank account than whoever else’s, a series of extra shifts at work, the perfectly timed sale of my car and many other fortuitous events and encounters have allowed me to continue my adventures without going hungry.

Somehow it all just keeps adding up.

Then there is that colleague of mine, a shining beacon of [seemingly] endless hope and positivity. Many wonder why so many good things continue to happen to her; she does not allow a setback to distract her focus; she does not place adverse pressure on herself to achieve; fueled by grace and a persistent smile she humbly follows the direction of life.

In this there are still more lessons for me to learn.

– – –

Whilst we determine our course, life will determine the necessary steps.

– – –

As I exited the bus last night, the rain’s intensity increasing, I thought it an ideal time for there to be an unlocked rental bike laying around to accelerate my commute home. I gave it no further thought. Then, twenty meters into my journey, I look to my right and could not help but laugh.

It was the happiest bike ride of my life.

– – –

PJ.

When I Should Be Studying

I start this sentence, extend this sentence and now continue this sentence for no reason other than to delay yet more the commencement of my final college assignment for the year, due now in a little over thirty-eight hours. I giggle at the irony in the topic of today’s reading: Motivation.

As I trawl the bore of management jargon found within the pages of the now, in my eyes at least, infamous ‘Samson & Daft’ text, I look out to the blue skies and crashing waves and wonder why on earth I ever dreamed of continuing my studies for another three, maybe four, years.

Sure, there is much more that I could learn from continued study though for me the most crucial lessons from this course were from no textbook but rather from succeeding in my commitment to getting it done. 

There is not much for me to write this morning; I do really need to get back to my readings. The truth is, I’ve written more here in this blog over the past fifteen minutes than I have in the pending assessment piece (only 1800 words to go there…).

So, I’ll conclude with this, an excerpt from my journal last week:

“Knowledge alone is futile without efforts toward a richer understanding. Though even understanding has little practical use without application. Only through the application of knowledge’s derivative comes wisdom; not in knowing what to do or what something is, but why it is so, most importantly, why it is not something else.”

PJ.

Let It Begin

Today is the 1st of December meaning that today is the first day of Summer! A fitting day to re-commence my writing given the title of my last post!

I have been planning a return to this blog for a while. My drafts folder has grown ever larger as questions pertaining to the quality of my work [and my abilities as a writer] have clouded my confidence.

Self-doubt. What a bitch.

But as I have continued to wonder what 2018 [and my life] have in store for me, I have continued to write. Every day I sit at a cafe, or on the bus, and fill pages and pages and pages in my journal[s] with thoughts and ideas.

It’s simple, really. Writing makes me happy.

It is not just the content nor freedom of thought, it is the way the sounds and syllables combine and contrast to form intricate webs of literature so lush that suitably delights my soul. For me, it is even the feel of the pen as it graces the fibers of each page; the disconnect between my mind and my hand as I watch in awe as the shapes of the letters and words beautify the English language yet more.

I’ve known for a long time that I am meant to write. It is what I feel good at. And it is definitely what I enjoy the most. The frustration I feel when I cannot find the right word, am unable to articulate the right metaphor or fail to identify a third example to satisfy the flow of a sentence (like now), is perhaps evidence of my desire to become better and to really make this my jam.

Though isn’t this the scariest thing? To pursue the thing that could really be our jam? It is so easy to leave it on a pedestal for the rest of our life; to keep it in that comfortable place of ‘I could do that if I wanted to…’. It makes sense too. If all of our other pursuits in life fail there is always ‘that’…

– – –

Before writing here again, I have been waiting for ‘the right time’. To start this new chapter could have been met with more delays. I could have waited until my birthday in three weeks, my 25th Birthday. Surely this would have been an adequate enough milestone to pull my finger out and pursue that which truly means something to me? Or what about the beginning of the New Year? Cliche, yes, but justified. Or perhaps May the 28th? The day that all of my adventures began six years ago? That would have really made sense! No, I’ve got it… August the 10th! The day I fought back from the clutches of suicidal depression and returned to the UK in 2014 to achieve what I said I was going to exactly a year before? Surely that fits best with this renewed feeling of vim and vigour?

Or, if none of these, than surely to begin on my birthday next year, the 26th anniversary of my arrival, would make little sense. So, I guess I would then have to wait until my 30th? Because that seems logical… But supposing I was not ready then either, well, I guess I would then have to start on ‘Monday’, like everyone else.

– – –

Behind these pixels are commitments that I have made to myself for the upcoming year. Over the coming months you will observe the result of these. In many ways I am scared to witness the result of these decisions. I will be putting myself out there; embracing vulnerability; making friends with fear. And yet I know that it is what I must do.

– – –

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet still they are fed. Are we not much more valuable than they? Who of us by worrying can add a single hour to our life?”

– – –

On the 22nd of October I wrote in my journal the following:

“The future you seek is not as far away as you might think.

“Harness that vision and make it your reality.

“Be definitive in the steps and decisions you take.

“It goes beyond mere belief now; the time has come to act.

“You are not alone.”

– – –

And so, with this in mind, let it begin.

PJ.

I Really Hate Winter!

I sit down for my morning coffee; before me a stunning view of Sydney Harbour glistening in the sunshine. I start work in 32 minutes so I don’t have much time to piece this blog together. I’ve been meaning to write more (as always) however life has had other ideas…

I’ll start by happily declaring Winter to be officially over! Spring has definitely sprung and the cold depression that was the last three months has frozen to a halt. Will it be my last? I hope so. Year round adventures to maintain my place in a suitably warmer climate are my goal come June next year!

Winter 2017 began with some unfortunate news. It was my first time stepping up from part-time to full-time study and I was nervous as to how this would impact me. These nerves were then compounded when on the first day of the trimester I was called by my employer and advised that my employment was being terminated amid widespread cutbacks (that’s the short version of a very long story!).

I was angry and frustrated and very well aware of the financial strain this would place on me. I wallowed for an hour or two and then resolved to keep marching on. I reminded myself of the many situations similar to this that I had been in in the past that I had endured; situations that had in fact lead me on to far better things!

That afternoon I got a haircut, printed my CV and drove to a shopping center nearby to start my job search. Later that night I began searching Gumtree and Seek, applying for yet more jobs. A week later I had a job trial at a small marketing firm after breezing through the initial interview. It was an amazing opportunity and one that I had been dreaming about for a long time! And I still hadn’t even finished my diploma…

It was a scary day that job trial. I barely slept the night before. And the day seemed to go on forever! I dabbled in many areas of the business and sat down with the owner a number of times to assess my thoughts and feelings on things. We went back and forth, trying to reach an agreement though something within me just didn’t feel right. As great of an opportunity this was on paper it just wasn’t the right one for me.

Back to the drawing board.

I sat down in one of my favourite Coogee cafe’s the morning after to begin following up the other job applications I had sent around. There was one, at a men’s clothing store, from whom I still hadn’t heard back.  I phoned them and within a week I was offered a job. Win.

I never saw myself working in a retail clothing store. Not after five years travelling the world, climbing the ranks to management positions in the fitness world, racing cars and marketing other drivers. It seemed like I plummeted all the way back to ground zero. This has been hard to get my head around and yet it’s allowed me the freedom to focus on my studies. High Distinctions overall in all three of my subjects confirm to me that I’m on the right track.

Let me add to this a note on sacrifice and commitment. Last year I commenced my studies though somewhat reluctantly. I had convinced myself that study wasn’t for me. I vowed never to go to uni. I wanted to be that successful entrepreneur who bypassed ‘the system’. I guess this originated when I dropped out of school six months early. And thus I dropped out of my first four college subjects too with no intention of ever starting again.

These past three months I have felt a level of commitment only felt when I was preparing to go back to the UK to race cars. I had completely resolved in my mind that whatever it took to excel, I was going to do. And I did. And I’m very proud of myself.

This came despite a painful winter, a painful relationship breakup, the painful search for a new job and the painful financial consequences that came alongside. Still there are many challenges that face me in the coming months face and though I do very much hope that I don’t have to fold T-shirts for very much longer, Summer is on it’s way and life is rewarding me in ways that I could never have imagined.

These lessons I am learning are so valuable and though it is hard sometimes, I am very very grateful.

PJ.

How Much Can You Learn From A Trip to Dominos?

I’ve been sick for a few days now. Bound to the couch for the most part. Sleeping excessively. Letting my body catch up and adjust to the rapidly changing seasons. Though still, between naps, my food supply, already rationed, had depleted. It was time to venture out to replenish the pantry.

Of course, I was still too lazy to cook, so a detour to Dominos en route from Woolies was necessary. Returning home, this meant a delicate balancing act was needed for the walk to my flat to transport the four grocery bags and pizza box, with a garlic bread baguette balancing precariously on top.

It took me long enough just to get all of these items in hand to commence the two hundred meter trek. I dreaded having to put everything down at the door to my apartment complex to contend with its awkward outward opening and subsequent three-flight climb to my apartment. Surely at least one egg, or my garlic bread, god forbid, were going to be casualties of this arduous journey.

As I neared the half way point, I decided it best to practice what I have been learning in one of the books I’m reading: Think and Grow Rich. Instead of focusing on the difficulty of the impending task, I decided it best to believe that somehow, someone would be entering the flat complex at exactly the same time thus assisting with this dreaded door. It is worth keeping in mind that in the seven months of living in this complex I had seen my neighbours less than half a dozen times. I accepted that I didn’t need to know how this would happen, I just needed to trust that it would. I took a deep breath and found a place of calm.

The moment drew ever closer and I turned down the final pathway. No one was in sight. I expected someone to be coming in at the same time. But as I arrived at the door no one was in sight. Maybe someone was going to come out? I peered in through the glass: No one. I inhaled deeply and began bending over to place my groceries down whilst closely monitoring the position of my garlic bread.

Then, just as the first bag began to touch the ground, I hear a voice, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll get that for you’. I paused for a moment, thinking that it was coming from the flat complex adjacent. Two or three seconds elapsed in my ponderous amazement before I turned to see if that call had indeed been for me. It had been. Leanne, my neighbour, hurriedly approached the door and opened it for me as I maintained a solid grip on all of my groceries AND, most importantly, my pizza.

This might all seem a little silly. You could say that it was a coincidence, chance or luck. But I would disagree. When you know you know. I have recently become aware of two distinct thought processes that I would typically employ in situations like these.

The first? Wishful thinking. Or attachment to a specific outcome, let’s say. The trap of ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if…’. We don’t genuinely believe that the desired outcome is possible. Instead, it’s place in the fantastical realm remains.

The second thought process feels vastly different and is difficult to explain. But I would describe it as ‘faithful thinking’. It does still maintain the element of desire but, unlike wishful thinking, lets go. It says, ‘Okay, this is what I need right now, but I can do no more.’

We are taught that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. And yet this teaching’s ties with religious origin confuses exactly what this means and detracts from its enormous power. We talk of ‘people of faith’ and people without faith. But what we mean by this is people who identify there to be a ‘higher being’ and people who cannot fathom the possibility. Faith I believe to be independent of this belief.

Faith is stillness. It is not so much about emitting an energy to seek out a desired result but rather calming yourself in order for the required frequency of energy to find you. This stillness, this letting go, is the most important part and is where we will find what it is that we seek.

Let me put it this way: You cannot say you ‘trust’ your partner yet still check their messages and incessantly question them on their whereabouts. This would be silly, right? And yet how many of us still do this not just in relationships but in life?

It is about letting go.

These lessons I have only recently learnt. Just three weeks ago I found myself in an argument in which I stood firmly on the opposing side of this philosophical position. Though as I am beginning to practice what I am now learning more and more I am very quickly changing my perspective and am excited to share with you some of the amazing outcomes. On this occasion it saved me a garlic bread (win!) but I’ve no doubt over the coming years it will save me a lot more.

What could it do for you?

PJ.

 

 

The Blues Behind The Insta-Blues

If you didn’t know any better, and you happened to look at my Instagram feed, you would likely think that where I lived was a magical place in which the sun always shined, the skies were always blue and the water was forever the most alluring shade of turquoise.

Sure, I’m very lucky to live where I do but the notion that this is always the case is simply not true.

The truth is, my Instagram feed is carefully curated and one twenty minute walk to get coffee on a bright sunny day could give me enough content for many weeks worth of posts. What this creates however is the impression that things are always fucking perfect.

Incorrect.

If you’re a long time reader of mine you might remember a post on my old website that discussed the illusion we can create through social media. It’s so easy to do. And so easy to hide behind the fantastical perception it portrays of our reality. Often though, it can be the furthest thing from our reality.

I promised in a blog earlier this year that I would share my story with honesty, transparency and authenticity. And whilst, like many of us, I am not willing to give up the harmonious colour palette of my Insta-feed, I am willing to break down to you what’s really behind many of these snapshots into my life.

Let’s say you see this photo of mine…

Blue Skies

…looks great right?!

Sure. And it is!

But even on such a gloriously sunny day still there are times in which I don’t feel anything. I feel tired for no reason. Simple conversations with people or friends becomes the hardest thing in the world to do. The thought of going to the gym no longer seems one that I am willing to act on. And, even when I do, I will get there only to stare into blank space for twenty-five minutes after my first set of bench press and wonder the hell why my body feels so lethargic and unwilling to give a fuck.

I have many days like this. Today is one of them. Yesterday was too. Though often it’s easier just to edit a photo of the Bronte swimming pool or Coogee Beach with the classic heart eye emoji as the caption, followed by twenty-seven thousand generic hashtags, than to try and understand and to talk about why on such a sunny day I am feeling so grey.

But, of course, this does little good.

This is one of the reasons why I love to write so much. To me, writing is freedom. No rules. Just pure expression. It makes me happy. And if by sharing some of these thoughts I can help someone else out there; help them to understand that they’re not alone in the way they’re feeling, than even better.

I promised you honesty, transparency and authenticity, so here it is. Today might be tough, yes, but tomorrow gives birth to new opportunities and a new chance to do something great. Whether the sun is shining or not, I’m ready.

Truth.

PJ.

Story Time: Twelve Months Ago Today

There are much deeper questions woven into what I am about to write. Much deeper questions that involve our origin and greater forces at play. And yet, what I have chosen to guide my focus delves not into such fantastical philosophy but rather the fortuitous memory of rather a challenging time.

— — —

One beer, two beers, now three. I look across at her and feel the energy and enthusiasm cast upon me. My dreams no longer dreams instead burgeoning realities. The fjord that had long since divided the two no longer impassable. Not that it ever was, really.

There are those conversations we have in life; those conversations in which the many dots in our life that once carved their own solitary pursuits become one. Tonight was one of those moments.

We talked and talked and the food kept coming. We spoke about life and about love. And businesses that could change the world. We spoke about ‘The Secret’ and the law of attraction. Synchronicity in thought and in desire. We spoke about the tough times and the many struggles we have both faced. And then it dawned on me…

On this day, 365 days ago, I was discharged from hospital. Three days earlier I had admitted myself. I was scared for my life. I could no longer trust myself in my own company.

Those three days were a strange three days. Of course I will say that I did not belong. I did not want to be there. In fact, I wanted to leave before even being admitted. One night in the emergency ward seemed enough of an aid.

There was however the doctor that convinced me to stay. And the nurse who slid some tablets my way. The decision was somehow made. And eight hours later I woke up in my room. It was grey and empty; the door resembling something more from a prison cell than a hospital ward.

There were four others with whom I shared this ward. It took me a day and a half to talk to any of them. I wasn’t there to talk. Not to them. I was scared. It was all so weird. And yet still part of me wanted to understand their stories and how they too came to be staying here. Of course this was not possible. And my journal to record such stories I had left at home.

The jigsaw puzzle, the literal one, left unfinished on the dining table would become my legacy. Between attempts at its completion I would nap on the couch and watch a movie or three. The world around me seemed a monochromatic and dull affair. The food was bland. Though I don’t think I was able to taste much at the time anyway.

I would endure the daily psychology sessions. No great revelations here. I could only think about the day I was free from these suffocating confines. Time was tight too, I was meant to fly to Perth for my sister’s wedding later that week. And my parents were yet to know of my whereabouts.

I negotiated my release and finally set foot back into the outside world once more. I arrived at my car and noticed two parking fines. Not a great start. But nothing a medical certificate and a heartfelt story couldn’t get me out of.

I returned home and fell to my bedroom floor. How had all of this happened? I packed my bags for my trip west that night and drifted off into a comfortable sleep. The morning dawned, my Uber arrived and to the airport I set off.

As VA551 spread its wings and took flight, I reclined my seat and pulled out the journal that had been a much needed though missing companion these past days. For three hours I wrote and wrote, filling more than seventy pages.

We landed at last and I navigated my way to the pick up point. Dad arrived and I sat down in his rental with a feeling of relief. I felt safe. At home. He asked, ‘How are you?’.

Now I had to spill the beans.

It was a strange journey to meet the rest of my family in which we shared the most open and honest conversation we have ever had. It began a re-birth of sorts. A reminder that things were okay. That family was the important thing. And that despite the relationship heartache I was transiting in Sydney at the time, I was loved. Unconditionally.

— — —

This was precisely a year ago now. It seems to have passed far quicker than the six months that preceded that horrible week.

I am proud of myself for what I did. To realise that my health and safety were far more important than my pride and ego. And now I understand that what I feared the most was not so bad after all; that if things were ever to get to that point again, I do not need to be scared, because I know of all the beautiful people who are there to help.

Still there are days in which my anxiety feels crippling. And silly thoughts tempt my focus. But I have vowed never to return to such a place of despair. I have committed myself instead to focused pursuits of the positives and towards my potential.

What I have found in making this commitment is that when times become tough my focus no longer drifts to that place of toxic thought but rather to a place that seeks only to find a way. It’s harder some days than others. But that’s okay.

I’ve proven a lot to myself these past twelve months. And moments like last night provide valuable reminders that I am, in fact, a fucking champion. But only with the help and support of my team.

Much love to all.

PJ.

When FOMO Strikes Hard

I arrived home, exhausted. Tonight was the night. A short nap and then it would begin. Tomorrow was deadline day in which that bitch of an assignment would be due. It was going to be a late one. As late as was required to get it done. Focus was going to be important. Calm and quiet therefore essential. Though surely there were powers conspiring against such desires.

I tried to have that nap. To give me at least some small remnant of the energy required. But the lives of those others with whom I live had contradictory plans. I guess it was a Saturday night after all…

Intoxicated ecstasy fueled laughs and questionable social interactions; the entire flat an amphitheater of care-free joy. I sat upright in my bed. My notes sprawled across my sheets and my laptop perched upon my knees. I tried to block out the noise. But my broken earphones allowed the backing chorus to remain a persistent distraction.

I guess I could have shut my door. But still there was something inside me that wanted to remain connected to the night’s activities. Surely a better prospect than the bore my night would soon become?

Hours went by and visits to my room from increasingly drunk friends rose in frequency. As I looked back down at my laptop screen and noted the stagnant word count, a growing feeling of dread came over my body. Surely I must have known there would be plenty more nights out such as these? But in that moment it seemed as this would be the last of such opportunities.

I am proud to say that I stayed in that night. And I am proud to say the results achieved, despite my internal doubts upon submission, were well and truly worth it.

It is not all about the results, of course, however these small successes are instilling a growing sense of belief within; a sense of direction; a sense of, ‘if I switch on, focus and commit myself to this shit, then there’s really no stopping me.’

Part of my is falling for this arduous grind. More than financial analysis, consumer behaviour analysis and strategic human resource planning, I am learning just what it takes to achieve; just how much hard work and sacrifice is required.

Since that night there were many more occasions in which the word ‘No’ would again become a reiteration of just why I was putting myself through the sleep and social deprivation. It’s not the piece of paper I’ll have in four months time. Nor then the ability to make mention of these sleepless nights on my CV.

It is instead the the knowledge that all those bullshit excuses I once told myself will be cast from my life once and for all; that the many pages of my journals, listing the myriad of things I had started but never finished, can be torn out [and burned] and replaced with far more helpful affirmations of my potential.

And to be blunt with you, that gets me feeling pretty fkn excited.

 

PJ.