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.

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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.

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.

 

 

‘What am I doing with my life?’

I haven’t blogged in quite a while now. It’s not that I haven’t had things to write about. In fact, I’ve probably had more than ever!

And yet, still, whilst my drafts folder has grown ever larger and hundreds of pages in my journal have been filled, nothing has successfully made it through my approval processes to appear on your laptop, tablet and phone screens.

Why?

When people ask me, ‘What do you want to do with your life?’, in my mind the answer is pretty simple:

I want to travel, connect, share and inspire.

I want to write.

I am a writer.

I might not be the best writer. There are English lessons at school in which I wish I had paid more attention. Lessons on sentence structure. Lessons on poetic foundations. Lessons on verb usage and pronoun placement. Not least, the lesson on what an ‘adverb’ is…

Regardless, writing is what I love to do. The way sentences flow. The way sounds and syllables bounce from one word to the next. I read my blogs over and over again. I fall in love with the rhymes and the rhythms. I change words over and over in my efforts to perfect their sequence and timing. I mightn’t ever succeed. But it fills me with great joy.

I remember getting in trouble early in high school for sending an inappropriate message to a classmate of mine. She showed a teacher. There was no denying it. It was there in black and white. Sooner or later Mum found out. She scolded me, of course, but added an important message:

‘Paul, be careful what you write, there’s no taking it back. It’s there for all to see. No he said she said. It’s clear. Words spoken might be misheard or misunderstood. But the written word is different. Tread with caution.’

I paraphrase. But the point is clear.

The written word is powerful.

I first started writing properly soon after I left school. I was deeply depressed. Inspiration was easy to find. In six months I’d filled three complete A4 notebooks. These reside in my bookcase back at the family home in Brisbane. Sometimes when I visit I sit on my floor and re-read some of these.

It’s inspiring and energising to remind myself of how far I  have come. And whilst much has changed since then the many core ideals I have toward the world and humanity still remain.

When people comment on my writing they note with admiration the honesty through which I communicate. This is a great compliment. It is the foundation on which I have come to base all of my writing:

Honesty, Transparency and Authenticity.

And so to continue in this theme, I have something to share:

I woke up this morning feeling just about as bad as I ever have. I wanted to go to the beach this morning. To soak up some sun. But the grey skies loomed large overhead. The gym was also an option but the pizza hangover gave me every reason to bury that idea beneath the mountain of duvet and pillows in which my body found itself comfortably intertwined.

I thought about seeing friends. But this seemed merely a portal through which to maintain my connection with the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Well, sex, drugs and EDM.

It’s not a world to which I want to remain connected. And yet it does create the means for connection with other humans. The alternative? To spend my Wednesday morning sat in a cafe, alone, writing.

I remind myself:

Better to be alone than in the company of wolves.

I check my phone, searching for additional motivation. I have a notification. A WordPress notification for my old blog Greatness Via Passion. For many months I have tried to access this blog after the domain name expired. And yet it seemed to have disappeared. Strange it now was to discover that people were still reading it. And still liking it!

This was my motivation to get up.

And now, here I am, about to finish my first post in over two months. Stoked.

I have many ideas about what will come next in my life. This year has taught me so much and I feel closer than ever to the person God intended for me to be.

Perhaps I am not so much a writer as I am a helper. And the gift God has given me through which I am to help the world is my ability to write. Though there is still much for me to learn about this.

There will come a rebirth of Life of PJ now. A new direction. A new focus. And new blogs far more often! They might not always be pretty. But they will be honest. They will be me. And if you’re interested in sharing this ride, to learn and to be inspired, then I’d love for you to join me.

PJ.

The Six Month Sydney Summary

I didn’t think I’d like Sydney this much. It’s so beautiful. So diverse. Such wonder there is to discover around every turn. To finish work early and visit the beach for an afternoon swim. Or to start work late and begin the day with an early morning swim. Followed by breakfast and a coffee sat in cafes overlooking the glistening peaks of the waves crashing not fifty meters away.

I didn’t think I’d learn so much here. At least, I didn’t think I’d learn so much about the things I have. Many of which I’ve been forced to learn the hard way. Of course, these things are not easy to deal with. I’d be lying if I said a trip to the Emergency Department of the local hospital wasn’t a part of this learning process. Or the three days in a mental health ward that followed.

I knew this year was going to be a game changer for me. I guess I just saw the game changing in a different way. Six months in a relationship doomed from the start was one such hurdle to face. And the bi-weekly psychology appointments that have followed are another. And yet without these, certain revelation-ary breakthroughs would never have been made.

I’m twenty-three this year. It’s my favourite number. Inevitably my expectations for the year were high. My move to Sydney and step up and into my ‘dream job’ filled me with the idea that I was on the right path for an incredibly stable and exciting year. And yet the stability train derailed just weeks in.

It’s hard to believe six months have now passed. Beginning with three weeks sleeping on a couch and ending with another three weeks sleeping on a couch [before moving into my new flat]. Strange also to think that I began my time here managing my own gym only now to be working as a receptionist at another whilst earning the lowest hourly wage of my post-school working life.

And yet remarkably for the first time I feel free from the expectation of society as I pursue things outside of just a ‘career’ but instead things that I am genuinely interested in; things that I have always been eager to explore.

There was a poignant moment in recent weeks in which I declined a number of opportunities to further my career within the familiar surrounds of the fitness industry choosing instead to prioritise both my mental health and the pursuits of inner potential left largely untapped until now. I cannot accurately describe the sense of freedom I felt in these moments.

I am always drawn back to the thought that we always know what we would rather be doing; we always know the things we really want to be doing in life. We just create a shopping list of excuses as to why it’s not possible.

As children are are lead by instinctual desires. We know things and act on things not from fact but from instinct. At such an age it is all we have. And yet as we grow older we lose sight of this. It’s sad. And confusing.

I am learning now to go back to these roots of instinctual decision making. To trust and respect myself enough to act on these deeply rooted desires of my heart and of my soul. Not to doubt or to second guess. But to believe.

In a way it is faith. The courage to act on something not seen but felt. Might I reference the law of attraction? Or what others would call prayer? Sending out positive energies to a God or the universe. Such power there is in something even as small as a mustard seed.

I am beginning to understand the complexities of creation. I am beginning to grasp a more holistic understanding of humanity and what we all feel. The connection we all share to something greater; our united pursuit for an understanding of how and why we have come to reside on this planet.

Of course this blog began with the title, ‘Beaches, Bibles, Beers and Babes’. I was assured that I was embarking on a journey toward spiritual enlightenment. I saw that coming in a different form though early adventures to protestant congregations were short-lived. I could not remain a part of such a close minded family of ‘believers’. Surely there is more they don’t believe than that which they do.

As my mind has expanded through experience and connection my faith has not withered but flourished. And it will continue to do so. The prospect of further adventures abroad and escapades into the world of film, TV and theater continue to whet my appetite for exploration, both of myself and the world around me.

Herein lies my purpose with love both my means and my motive.

Excitement builds.

PJ.