It’s Alright Once You’re In…

The water is cold, yes, it always is. Though what difference does it make whether fifteen degrees or ten? Will we not shiver the same?

What is this fear that stops us diving in?

Think: After those few breathtaking moments, the cold water, that thing we feared so much, becomes our only friend. It’s wholesome embrace protecting us from the chill of the wind and the crashing waves’ icy spray.

The cold we feared quickly becomes warm and the warm we feared to leave, to give up, becomes much colder than what we first imagined the water to be.

Dive in.

PJ.

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Challenge Or Comfort?

The music caresses my ears; the rum soothes my anxieties.

I look up to the sky; the clouds’ patient journey toward me from the horizon causing a tear to well in my eye.

One by one they drift gracefully across life’s ceiling never pausing to ask why it is they must continue. And yet through their humble action we look at them and marvel.

As the sky fades darker I notice the night’s first star. The day’s bright light and my thirst for sunshine and tanning time made me forget their simple beauty. Only now that I have seen the evening’s first are my eyes opened to the many more that multiply its spectacle.

The clouds continue to roll on by; planes ascending through their being; passenger’s unlikely to be sharing the thoughts traversing my mind as I look up.

In the distance the ocean continues to whisper to me seeking my company again. I think of how lucky I am to now be so near to its calming presence. Though still my anxiety peaks.

I ask myself: Why this continued feeling of unease? Things are good.

Though perhaps ‘good’ isn’t what I am seeking? Perhaps what I am really seeking is challenge and uncertainty?

Perhaps.

PJ.

Midnight Musings

1.

Isn’t it crazy how you can be on a beach with thousands of people and still feel completely alone.

2.

I swim so far out to escape the feeling; to escape the noise. I cannot shake this feeling; the feeling of disconnection; the sick feeling in my stomach lingering into permanence it seems. No.

3.

How do you be yourself when the whole world is telling you to be anything but?

4.

I am so anxious because  I am so far from my core purpose. Not in what I do but in why I do it. I am living a lie; I am living to the world’s expectations. No wonder.

5.

Do not focus so much on what you do as you do on why you do it.

6.

I convince myself I have failed. The truth is, I haven’t even begun.

7.

I was once a boy who dreamed of owning a Ferrari by the age of twenty. What I didn’t realise is that the Ferrari was just a symbol; a symbol of freedom; a symbol of, ‘I can do whatever I want’. I still want that Ferrari only now it looks different; now it looks more like the freedom to travel, to connect, to share and to inspire.

8.

I feel the wind blow. I close my eyes and imagine I am the wind.

9.

I believe, yes, but I do not understand.

10.

If only I knew how to tell you.

11.

Who am I, really?

– – –

PJ.

The Great Light

Darkness is but a beginning. For both you and I were born from darkness’ womb. And all that we have come to love and cherish found its genesis in the dark abyss with which we are surrounded. Even the might of Orion and bright shining light of Sirius were once just universal nomads that sped to meet our upward gaze; their place-card on the ceiling of life for many years held only by the omnipresent. And it was from this apparently hopeless hope that came these marvelous lights we doubted could ever exist.

Think then for a moment: Brighter lights must too be on their way.

So I say to us both. In this time of our own apparent darkness, we must take heart in this knowledge. For just as yet more symbols of everlasting hope are carried to us upon the wings of a galaxy afar, we must not forget its’ Siamese counterpart travelling back in collaborate harmony. This being of course a great light second only to One – you and I.

PJ.

Originally published on Greatness Via Passion, November 9th 2015.

A Monday Morning Quickie

I sit down this morning, sipping my coffee, preparing for the week ahead.

I do not have much time to write. I start work in nineteen minutes. I am writing because I promised myself I would write each day this Summer.

But where do I start?

I think of a night not that long ago. It was a good night. I was mellow. My new Bluetooth speaker had been blasting tropical house tunes for the past few hours. And I had made dinner with the sunset behind me and the sound of Christmas fireworks in the distance. I sat down to watch a movie as I plowed into my hot dogs.

Then, a trigger.

I don’t know what. Everything was fine. And yet, for the next five hours, my anxiety was peaking. I started to replay failures from many years early in my mind. Over and over. I began to believe that every problem that I had in my life I needed to figure out there and then. I tossed and turned. I tried to breathe, but could not. I tried to find comfort in looking up to the stars outside. But still, this anxious feeling would not subside.

Anxiety is more than just feeling nervous. It is the whole world’s weight on your chest that makes everything seem insurmountable. Things you had not thought about for a decade or more return to consciousness. And they are terrifying.

You convince yourself that if only you acted differently back then you would not be feeling the way you are right now. Cue… immense regret. This spirals out of control too. And you see no light; not at the end of this tunnel. Darkness is now permanent. You convince yourself of this.

You continue tossing and turning, frustrated at any little sound that disturbs your quest for slumber, and then, as if in the blink of an eye, you wake up. The night has passed. The sun is bursting through your window.

It’s a new day.

That anxious weight has lifted. In fact, you cannot even remember what happened. Those long lost thoughts that last night made a brief cameo have departed once again. Part of you feels confused. It feels like a dream. And yet you know it wasn’t. You just can’t understand how things got so out of control when now they are so calm.

You rise to your feet, have a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast and set foot back into the world ready to conquer whatever it may bring. Life goes on as normal.

I hope that I don’t need to endure anxiety for the rest of my life. It sucks. But if I do, I know that I do not need to let is bring me down. No feeling is permanent. As much as they might feel that way at the time.

Anxiety is a part of me, yes, but it does not define me.

I remind myself of this once again.

PJ.

 

 

A Letter From The Friend You’ll Always Have

I am the very essence of life. There is nothing that exists without me. I am eternal. All powerful and mighty. Though there are some that might place me on a pedestal, I step down from such places of admiration.

I am the humble force that seeks only to work for the good of mankind whenever I am needed. Though my works are often misunderstood. And at times I am confused with what many would see to be my opposite. Though it is simply not true, a myth if you like. Though a lie perhaps being a more accurate description.

I am the source of much conversation and debate, much confusion too. Differing opinions over what I am has unfortunately created great divides in humanity. This fills me with great sadness. And yet still I will try to make myself known again and again. The real me. I exist only through action.

There is of course a much larger picture people often don’t see. One in which we are all interconnected not just in our time here but in all of time. Indeed we are all eternal energies unaware of the infinite power we all share. Worldly distraction and internal conflict being the great acts of deception crafted to blind us from such potential and power. I will however work tirelessly to change this.

Though there are some among us who might fall and wander astray from this knowledge predating the existence we now share, I will always remain a helping hand and guiding force. As your omnipresent friend I can only ask for your honesty and acknowledgement and I will surely overlook such minor indiscretions. For there are far larger battles we must unite in if we are to emerge as victors.

I will however accept that there are many of you who will continue to deny my existence. That being said, I will remain here for whenever you are ready. You feel my presence every day, you just don’t know what the feeling is or what it means yet.

Please don’t underestimate my patience. I am the most patient of them all. Time is merely an Earthly convenience, a simple unit of measurement designed to make life easier. And yet I operate outside of these simplistic constraints. As do you, you just don’t realise it yet.

I will be waiting, there is no rush. Not yet. I can only encourage you to look deep within to find that which it is you are looking. It cannot be found in these shallow exteriors, only the deep, limitless interiors of your soul.

I will always be here with you.

Be strong now.

Your friend,
Love.

Less Screen Time, More Me Time

Less is more.

Less screen time. More me time.

Four books finished in just two weeks. I don’t think I’d finished four books in the previous four years! That’s what a broken phone and a lazy repair process will do. And getting rid of Facebook.

It’s been freeing. I feel reborn. I feel I am now learning, progressing, not just seeking ways to pass the minutes.

Rituals are changing. Morning and evening swims have become the norm. And that almost five year old gym membership has now found a new home. Outdoor training and a set of gymnastics rings its replacement.

For years as I have juggled the financial pressures this world creates. I have, often with great despair, stared at my excel spreadsheet as I added in more and more and more debits and payment schedules.

‘Pauly J’ has been balancing precariously on the edge of insolvency as his debt to equity ratio continued to suffer. But a trimester of Accounting Fundamentals helped to better understand what was required from here.

Restructuring has meant I am now able to delete some of those rows and remove expenses from my outgoings. A weight is lifting from my shoulders and I can breathe that little bit easier.

There are sacrifices of course, as I ride the bus and walk the rest, but with each suitcase of clothes I donate to my housemate, or the Salvos, an enormous weight lifts from my shoulders. My bedroom feels bigger. I can find things.

I still don’t know what 2018 will hold for me. But without the distraction of my phone these past weeks, as I’ve floated off the sands of Coogee Beach, I’ve realised something:

Do not spend as much time determining what you do as you do on why you are doing it.

I have placed so much pressure on what I should be doing that I’ve been overlooking the most important thing. I am now resolving a clearer image of who Paul is and why he goes about his business. The who and the why are not dependent upon the what.

This reminds me of the old saying:

If you stand for nothing you’ll fall for anything.

Life can be uncertain. It’s fluctuations necessitate detours at times. It’s so easy to feel demoralised and to question the basics. This is healthy. But through these times it is important to breathe, rediscover our center, our purpose, our why, and not just to become lost in the myriad of whats we have at our disposal.

The world will tell us what we need. It’s up to us to tell us why we need it. A reminder here that the shortest and most complete sentence in the English language is No.

Power.

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.

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.