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.

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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.

 

 

I Believe I Can Fly, Almost.

After three snoozes of my KLOCKIS (I believe that is Swedish for ‘multi-purpose alarm clock with colourful backlight’), I rose this morning to assess the day’s weather.

It was cloudy. But the sun had done well to penetrate and colourfully illuminate the layer of Altostratus; the sky’s paddle-pop palette whetting my appetite for tranquillity of thought and a day of deep meditation.

I am lucky to have such a view to enjoy. To my right, the populous hills surrounding Randwick; behind which a constant stream of planes take off, landing gear still retracting, each banking sharply in my direction.

To my left, a virtually uninterrupted view across the tree tops and flats adjacent, to the ocean not a kilometre away. The water appears calmer than previous days; the waves now ripples; their white turbulent peaks buried deep once again.

The air this morning is fresh. But not too fresh that would require me to put clothes on… I stretch my arms into the air and inhale deeply as three birds lost in schizophrenic flight chase one another past my nose in celebration of the morning’s glory.

I am no morning person but surely there is no peaceful a time as now? I pause for a moment to express my gratitude. Then, I open my eyes, returning my gaze to what surrounds. As ever, I search each inanimate object for deep philosophical meaning. Because I like to feel normal…

But today’s deep metaphorical insight comes not from a tree or a passing cloud but from the trio of Rainbow Lorikeets playfully dancing on the ledge of our neighbour’s balcony. I observe them hopping along. It seems that when you’re a bird, walking is pretty, err, lame.

I think to myself how scared I would be if I too were boisterously parading on such precarious ledges. At six-foot-three a fall from such a height would likely result in thousands of dollars in medical bills and months of rehabilitation. Though if I were just fourteen inches tall with toothpicks for bones…

I ponder the meaning contained within and pose the question:

Would we still be afraid of falling if we knew we could fly?

Surely not. For in my travels so far, I am yet to come across a basophobic bird. Nor has one stopped me to ask, ‘What is my purpose here?’. Putting aside the obvious communication difficulties of course…

But I must ask again: Would we still be afraid of falling if we knew we could fly?

Maybe we can fly after all? Maybe we just haven’t figured it out yet? Or maybe, and far more likely, flying for us means something completely different.

And yet in both cases, we are separated by the same thing: A leap of faith.

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.

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.

Dreams to Travel and Inspire

It was the end of 2015 and I’d just returned from England. I was unemployed, reluctantly looking for work and with it a return to normal Australian life.

Each day I would get up and sit out on the back patio with my laptop. I was meant to be on Seek looking for jobs. Instead I would have my journal out and be writing about where I would rather be and what I would rather be doing.

I would look up to the sky and watch the planes fly overhead. I would dream of being on them and of all the amazing places they could take me.

Two years have now passed. Still I have those same dreams. Between then and now I have transitioned many a job and found myself living in Sydney. The moment the first plane flew overhead my Coogee flat on final approach I knew this was where I was meant to be, even if only for now.

As I write this, I am sat on my balcony with my feet up, a clear view of the beach in front of me and watch as plane after plane fly into their destination.

I know that I will soon be on those planes and living my dreams. And as I descend on final approach to destinations all over the world, I will look down upon those looking up at me with the same dreams I once had and am now living out. I will remember how I felt and the struggles I faced in arriving at that moment. And I will remember the purpose and responsibility I have in doing so:

To inspire.

PJ.

Throwback: Passion and Persistence Pays Off!

This moment pictured above was almost three years ago now. It’s hard to believe just how quickly that time has passed! It was a moment that at times I thought was never going to be possible. Doubt is natural of course; our inclination to avoid painful situations, potential failure, intrinsically human.

And yet we can challenge this. We can change this. We can decide not to doubt but instead to focus on the goal and only that which draws us closer.

After seven years of dreaming and seven months of intense focus and hard work immediately preceding, it finally happened.

— — — —

In January 2014, having not raced for four years (previously in go karts), I decided that it was time this dream came to fruition. I decided that I could no longer continue to dream this dream and not take the action needed to make it a reality. I decided that this was the year in which I was going to make my car racing debut AND that I was going to do it in the UK!

I can’t quite describe just how certain I felt on this. And yet to enable this certainty I somehow needed to raise $25,000 in investment…

After two months of hard work and focus, attending networking events, speaking at events myself and connecting with potential investors, I was fired from my ‘day job’. I bet you didn’t see that coming – nor did I! I guess it was clear to my employer where my real motivation and focus was…

This began a difficult week. And though I’d been in similar positions before, something felt different. Whilst the financial practicalities of the situation remained, I didn’t plummet to the depressive lows like I had done in the past. I remained focused and within a week had found another job.

Win.

For the next six months, working a job that meant absolutely nothing to me other than a means to pay the bills, my schedule looked like this:

Wake Up – 7am
‘Day Job’ – 8am to 5pm
Gym – 530pm to 7pm
‘Night Job’ – 8pm to 2am+

Night job? I began operating on UK time when I made it home from the gym. I Skyped UK companies, sent emails, made phone calls, wrote proposals and prepared presentations. It was during this period in which my addiction to strong [and shitty] black coffee came to the fore. (One that continues to this day!)

I would sit in my bedroom, at my desk, beneath my vision board; on it were images of the car that I would race, screenshots from on-board footage and ideas and strategies pinned around it on how I would get there – how I would sit in that seat and enjoy that same view!

I was totally consumed.

In those six months there were setbacks, of course. A sponsor that I thought was a sure thing pulled out. A week or two later another sure thing fell through. Time was running out. And yet still I remained certain of my impending success.

Then the breakthroughs, two of which particularly stand out, not just for their financial impact but for the enormous confidence boost they gave me.

The first:

I attended a local business networking event to deliver a short speech. I was given the opportunity by a business connection in the hope that I could share my dream and garner investment from those in attendance. A young bank manager came up to me afterwards and handed me his business card saying simply, ‘Give me a call, would love to chat’.

A week later I had my first sponsor.

WIN!

The second:

I had set up a crowdfunding campaign to complement my sponsorship push. Anyone who has run a crowdfunding campaign will appreciate just how hard it can be to attract donations! Things were just as slow for me and I wasn’t expecting much to come as the campaign began to wind down to a close. Then…

I attended another speaking event and struck up a fortuitous conversation with a man there after my presentation. We exchanged business cards and he invited me to a conference a couple of months down the line. THEN…

That night, I was having dinner with a friend, relaxing after a busy, and relatively successful day, when an email notification came through to my phone. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A donation to my campaign that more than doubled what I had raised up until that point.

WIN!

And yet still, despite all of this, now with only two weeks to go, I had not raised enough money to make this dream come true. So what did I do? The only logical thing of course…

I bought my plane ticket!

I was convinced that a door would open up. Even if it took knocking on the door of every company in London, somehow, this was going to happen. I just knew it.

In the end my conviction not only persuaded business but the man who enabled my passion from the very beginning – my Dad. One final conversation, whilst pacing the hallway of my South East London apartment, with a $1 Tesco’s pizza in the oven, the final deal was done.

My dream was about to become a reality!

WIN!!!

I’m very grateful to have been afforded this amazing opportunity. And while it has not yet lead to my ultimate goal, one that has proven to require a rather different and longer term strategy, I am taught, and now reminded, of this:

Passion, persistence; they really do pay off!

PJ.

The end of evangelism?

Easter: A time of love, hope, forgiveness and new beginnings. Whether your life philosophy originates from theistic or anti-theistic foundations, the Easter Spirit is one that we can all embrace.
 
There is little need for ongoing religious debate. Surely this only reinforces societal divides. Simply, my beliefs are my beliefs. Your beliefs are your beliefs. Both have come to be through a complex chain of events that is, for the most part, impossible to explain and to be understood.
 
We must simply choose to accept one another and to learn from one another; seeking to create a society that is built upon the best bits from all ideologies and not to discount the beneficial merely for its religious origin.
 
There is no right and wrong. Only what is right and wrong for you and I. Surely the time has now come in which we must cease fighting and forcing our opinions on each other; the time has come in which we must simply love one another.
 
This sense of growing religious stigma is as frustrating as it is destructive. None of us should be defined by what we believe. We should only be defined by how we act, how we treat other people and how we love other people.
 
There are those that exist within religious communities who fuel enormous misconceptions. Broad generalisations are subsequently made and many lessons of love, hope and forgiveness left to rot by the wayside, lost in the rubble of selfish terror.
 
What is the point of this?
 
There are fools who exist on both sides of the religious divide. And yet we are fine to call the atheist fools what they are without going on to label every member of the anti-theistic community with the same label.
 
How can we not see what we are doing here?
 
I write this as a young man with thought origins of Christian foundation. I grew up in a Christian home, I attended a Christian school, I try to attend church as often as I can and I pray every day, giving thanks for the blessings that come into my life. Personally, this adds great value to my life.
 
My beliefs are not founded from what I read in a book. They are founded through real life experience. They are founded in the moments of my life in which I was alone, lost and hurting. In these moments I prayed, calling out for the strength needed to endure such struggles. I believed. I persevered. And hope was revealed and the strength needed provided.
 
This is where I found my faith.
 
And whilst I say this, my faith strong, I acknowledge that the universal embodiment of ‘my belief’ is not the way forward. There are lessons I seek to learn from all cultures, all religions and all life philosophies.
 
The way forward I believe to be through universal understanding of all ideologies. The way forward I believe to be through open conversations with those of differing belief systems; conversations in which we seek not to argue but simply to understand; conversations in which we can walk away content with the knowledge we have gained rather than angry having failed to convince them of our belief.
 
We must not be afraid to have such conversations. We must not be afraid to engage with those who might not agree with us or share our thoughts. This fear being most counter-productive.
 
I am excited to be making plans for my life in which my adventures will enable me to learn many of these crucial lessons. And I hope to be able to share some of these with the world so that we may garner a more holistic understanding of humanity’s binding purpose.
 
Religion, I believe, has now grown to become an enormous obstacle in the way of the advancement and prosperity of the human race. I believe if religion stands in the way of any member of our human family receiving love, respect and equal opportunity, then we as a religious community have failed.
 
Times like these, symbolic of love, hope, forgiveness and new beginnings, must serve as such a reminder. We are not here to force opinion. We are here to serve. It is not about us, it is about one another. Love is selfless, remember.
 
Religious or not, this is something we must all remember.
 
Happy Easter!
 
PJ.