Being Time in Kenya with Heidegger

Anything that can capture the ephemeral nature of time and space like this piece is brilliant. Thank you.

Global Sojourns Photography

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The concept of time is fascinating. From physics to philosophy, the notion of time is difficult to define.

From our normal existence in the world, we often define time as ‘fleeting’ in the sense there is never enough. Frustration builds as the majority of time is spent catching up on work…work that is always running further and further away.

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The more worry about time, the less there is.

This has been the script for me this year.  Just as I am ready to celebrate and enjoy autumn, this great season is fading fast.

Back in September, I noticed the leaves turning color. But instead of picking up my coat and heading out, I dropped my head for a quick analysis of work and business only to look up a couple of months later to find winter staring me in the face.

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Pushing open the window, a gust of cold wind…

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

In addition to being the title of a famous book by the Czech Author Mila Kundera, ‘the unbearable lightness of being’ is a phrase which resonates deeply with me. There is a depth to that combination of words, an almost weightiness to the concept of being unbearably light, in itself a juxtaposition that invites more than just a passing thought.

The premise of the novel is that Kundera is challenging Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence. The idea that the universe and it’s events have already occurred, and will occur ad infinitum. It is due to this eternal recurrence of events that our decisions have a weightiness to them, for what we choose to do now will affect our outcomes not just in this life, but in every recurring life we inhabit for eternity.

Kundera posits that we only live once, and that what happens based upon our decisions is unique and fleeting, hence the lightness of our being. Whatever may happen to us only happens once, so there’s no need to be at pains over that which occurs, it is but fleeting and shall never recur.

All that aside, the reason I am so enamoured of the phrase is that it has a certain attractive quality to it, a beauty that not every sentence has, and a resonance that is rare, in my mind at least. I believe that Kundera’s assertion is more accurate than Nietzsche’s, that our existence is a one time affair, and that whatever happens this time around shall never occur again. Depending on your religious beliefs, you will die one day and either ascend to heaven, descend to hell, transcend into an endless, meaningless void or he reincarnated as a creature with a higher or lower level of consciousness and social status based upon how you lived this life. I like the Buddhist approach best, the last one, despite being raised as Roman Catholic, believing in God and all the values of the church.

So why is it that our being is so unbearably light? What is it that gives our existence such an ephemeral, almost intangible quality, despite how caught up in the drama of our day to day lives we.sometimes become? It is because I have come to.discover that the ONLY moment we need worry about is THIS moment, right now, the present.

That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the past or plan for the future, but regretting what has come to pass or worrying about that which may occur is a sure way to wind up with mental health problems, whereas living in the NOW is a sure fire way to ensure your serenity, if not happiness and contentment with what life has to offer. For even if I am in excruciating pain, I know that it is only for this very moment that I need bear the pain. The next moment, I can deal with when it arrives, and be grateful the last has passed.

If I were to dwell in the past, I would wind.up depressed, I know this for a fact, because it has already happened to me. If I were to only worry about what kind of future I have ahead of me, I’d be so busy stressing about buying a house, finding a girlfriend, raising my children and making money that I would never give myself the space to enjoy what is going on around me. I wouldn’t ever stop to ‘smell the roses’ or enjoy a great piece of music, a delicious meal or a friend’s good company.

So keep this in mind as you go about your day today.

Yesterday is history,

Tomorrow is a mystery,

But today is a gift.

That is why it is called The Present.

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To Live In Fear or Hope?

As you may already know, I suffered a frontal lobe brain injury, which has caused structural changes to the neural pathways in my brain, and resulted in lasting changes to my personality. Namely my ‘executive function.’ This is the ability your brain has to schedule tasks, organise your life and respond appropriately to any given situation. 99% of the time, my impaired executive function causes no issues. I use a calendar, reminders in my phone and a healthy dose of self restraint to ensure I  don’t offend, upset or ignore the needs of others. I have received a lot of encouragement and support from a large group of f  riends, both new and old, since sharing the story of my accident, seperation and ongoing challenges life has thrown at me since I fell off a balcony a few years ago.

For this I am eternally grateful. I could choose to become reclusive, stay silent and deal with my issues alone, in fear of the judgement that may be directed towards me for the chouces I have made. Or, I could do as I have done. I can live in hope that the understanding and compassion that we all harbour for our fellow man will triumph over the loss of social esteem that sharing my story may incur. And triumph it has.

1% of the time, I respond to situations inappropriately and then have to live with the consequences. I am guilty of going to a local cafe, drunk, at 7am one Saturday morning a few months ago and doing something that, to me seems innocent enough, but not to the cafe owner…

When I returned on the following Monday the owner of the cafe, a young bloke more concerned (it would seem) with the image his cafe projects of being hip, sophisticated, and cool than of maintaining an amicable relationship with a regular customer, gave me what money was left of my weekly $50 tab that I pay at the start of each week, and asked that I never return again.

“Why is that mate?” I asked with confusion written all over my face.

“What you said on Saturday morning is just not on. I can’t have that kind of talk in my cafe.” He replied.

“What did I say?”

“Well one of the customers commented on the fact that you were at a cafe drinking coffee at 7am when you should really be home in bed sleeping it off.”

My reply, apparently, was, “If I was at home I’d just be smoking it up and whacking it.”

I assume I got a laugh…either that or a look of disgust. Whatever the case may be, the owner didn’t appreciate it one little bit.

So I haven’t returned since then. Until this morning. I stood at the takeaway windows, and received a happy, “G’day mate, how’s it going?” From one of the baristas.

Then the owner came to the window and said, “Can I help you?” with a look that clearly indicated he would rather not.

“I’m just after a takeaway mate. Is that alright?”

“Um. Yeah. I guess so.” He replied with about as much enthusiasm as someone offered an undesired yet necessary enema.

“Look mate, if you never want me to come back again, just say so, and I’ll never come back again. I just think it is unusual that for 99% of the time I drank coffee here, I was well behaved, friendly, appropriate in my interactions with your staff and customers, and based on a single comment, you’ve asked me never to return.”

“Please don’t come back again.” Was all he had to say.

Does he fear I’ll drive off all his business? Is the colour of my money different to anyone else’s? Is he threatened by my outgoing personality. Does he suspect I’ll lose it and hit him in the face?

Whatever the case may be, he chooses to live in fear of what me and my less than fully functioning brain are capable of.

Do I now live in fear that I’ll never drink coffee at this cafe again?

Or do I live in hope that the narrow minded approach this proprietor has shown me is an anomaly, and find somewhere with better coffee, service and more open minded staff? I chose the latter. And it is going well so far. Plus I drink far less coffee than I have in the past and save myself at least $40 a week.

So what would you do if you were the proprietor? Choose fear? Or choose hope?

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Accidental Wisdom

You may already be aware that in February of 2012 I had a bad accident, falling ten metres from a balcony and breaking 17 bones, puncturing my lung and kidney, and sustaining a frontal lobe brain injury.

Bones mend, pain subsides and injuries heal, but I wasn’t told I had a brain injury, merely a bruised brain. So I went back to work 5 weeks after the accident. I was sacked after three months at the end of my probation. I went back to my previous employer, and was sacked two months later. At this stage I had discovered that I had a brain injury, and my employer agreed to meet with the specialist I was seeing. After that meeting, they also agreed to take me back on. I was sacked for the third time a month later.

I became a stonemason, and expended huge amounts of energy training every morning and working hard lifting and shaping stone for 8 hours a day. I quit that job when I realised that my boss, an alcoholic and a marijuana addict, was not a great person to be around while I was abstaining, on specialist advice, from all drugs – both legal and illegal.

I returned to a role in recruitment with an organisation that specialised in the For Purpose sector, however, by this time my post brain injury mania had switched to full blown clinical depression. Getting out of bed was a challenge. Getting out of bed and pushing my sons to two separate day care centres in a double pram, then catching a bus to work, then a bus home and picking up the boys to push them home again was a bigger challenge, but I got it done. Despite the anxiety, desperate unhappiness and general malcontent I felt with my life and the situation I was in.

In January of 2014 I confessed to the Directors at the for purpose recruitment firm that I was severely depressed. I was surprised by the compassion, support and genuine care they showed me. They told me to take as much time as I needed to get better.

A few weeks later I had a breakdown, and checked myself into Northside Clinic, a mental health and drug & alcohol rehabilitation hospital in Sydney. They prescribed Lithium, in addition to the Zoloft anti-depressant medication I was taking already, and I got out two weeks later.

Since February 2014 I have been well. I am exercising regularly, eating well, taking my medication and meditating every day.

Then in August my wife told me she no longer loves me and wanted a separation.  I agreed, shocked that the woman who had been by my side through the worst two years of my life could feel this way, when things were finally getting better. We had just moved into a new house we bought in Newcastle, I had put in a beautiful vegetable patch, the kids were happy with all the space we now had and life was good.

I’ve been living alone in a bachelor pad in the city, about 15 minutes drive from my wife and children, for three months now. We have been to two marriage counselling sessions and have one more booked today. I assumed we were going to a marriage counsellor to try to get our marriage back together. Imagine my surprise when my wife said her intention was to work out how we could best raise our two boys to be happy and well adjusted while living in separate houses for the rest of our lives.

She must have reiterated at least a dozen times that she doesn’t love me anymore, and never will again. It was like a knife to the heart after two years of savage beatings from life following the accident.

My friends and family were understandably worried. After all, I have been through so much, and when I am now finally getting back on my feet, my wife, the woman I love more than anyone else in the world, has pulled the rug out from under me.

My compelling argument is that we had been in love for seven wonderful years before the accident. We already had one child, and we had a second after the balcony incident. They are gorgeous little boys, who bring us both so much joy, and we are a strong family unit. Obviously not as strong as I thought, nor was my argument compelling enough.

She attests that it is unfair for her to give me any hope that we will get back together, when I could be out finding someone else who is interested in the same things that I am, and who will support me better than she can on my life’s journey in the future.

So what have I learned from all this? What measure of wisdom have I attained from the worst few years of my life? There are several things I now know to be true:

  1. Even if you have been in love and living with someone for seven years, you still don’t really know their true colours. Not until you have to go through a significant trauma together.
  2. Of all the people you call your friends, if you are lucky, 10% of them will be there for you when you are really in need. That’s not in any way derogatory to the other 90%, I mean we all have our challenges in life and are busy trying to get by the best we can. There isn’t always time to check in and offer to help a friend in need.
  3. No matter how many times you have been knocked down, there is strength in you enough to get up again, and again, and again, and again…”our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.”
  4. Even once your heart is broken, it is still possible to find love again. I’m not at that stage yet, but with every passing day I feel like I will, one day, be able to find someone new to love and spend my life with.
  5. Never give up on yourself, or anyone else. Life is too short to live in fear, with bitterness and resentment in your heart. Never fear that your health won’t improve, for it may well do. Even if you are dying, live in the hope of a better life after death, reincarnation, or peaceful oblivion once the end comes. Don’t fear that your friends have abandoned you when you need them most. Don’t hold onto the bitterness and resentment that you may feel when you are lonely and in need of support that just isn’t there. Time heals all wounds, and maybe one day those friends you missed will be even more important than they once were to you. Life is full of surprises.
  6. Family is the most important thing in life. When all around you are losing their heads, turning their backs, judging and pointing the finger at you, you can (usually) rely on your immediate family for support. My wife and I have two beautiful boys, and we will always be their parents. My mum and dad, brothers and sister have been invaluable in helping through the most difficult period of my life. Cherish them. Thank them. Value them. Support them when they need you. They are your rock, your strength, your port in a storm. You can be theirs too.
  7. Money means nothing unless you have people you care about around you. You can’t spend it when you’re dead, and being a millionaire counts for nothing if you have no love in your life.
  8. If you have a family history of mental illness, you need to work extra hard to keep the Black Dog at bay. Exercise daily, meditate, take your prescription medications, avoid alcohol and drugs, live clean and stay vital.
  9. Never give up on becoming a better person. No matter what you have done, been or said in the past, redemption is possible. You can become a better person than you were yesterday, last year or last decade. You need to work at it, but it is always possible.
  10. Without a higher purpose, life’s accomplishments can seem shallow. Find something you are passionate about. Get involved with a community of positive people who wish to make positive changes to the world. Start raising money for charity. Establish a charity. Do a fun run. GET INVOLVED.
  11. Always be true to your values. If you know that family is the most important thing in your life, and you need to forgo an overseas trip (which will make you a million dollars) to spend quality time with them, forgo the trip. If your physical and mental health is important, have the discipline to abstain from alcohol or unhealthy foods for a month or two. If you value your friends, make time for them.

I guess these are all things that people might think, “Well I know that, and I didn’t have to fall off a balcony to work it out,” which is fair enough. However, I feel that I have learned more in the past 3 years than I would have if I hadn’t experienced the initial trauma of the accident and the ongoing trauma of losing jobs, mania, depression, separation and life as a single Dad.

While I’m not about to say I am happy all this happened, I am certain that the positive outcomes – that have resulted from the traumatic life conditions of the past few years – far outweigh the negative ones.

On the blessings front, I have two beautiful sons, an ex-wife whom I still love and have a fantastic, amicable relationship with, my health, a successful business, a great circle of supportive friends and a roof over my head. Plus a 1972 original Fender Stratocaster.

So if you’re struggling with a seemingly insurmountable problem, you have relationship or health issues, you are broke, or you just don’t care any more, think of all the positive reasons you have to go on living. And not just living but never settling for anything less than the life of your dreams.

I’m on my way to achieving a better life than I ever dreamed possible.

If not for the accidental wisdom I have acquired through all this trauma, I may never have seen the light.

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Isagenix Day 2 – Belief!

So it would seem that the end result of hanging out with around 500 energetic, motivated, happy, successful people with common goals is not just feeling awesome. For when you’re committed 100% to learning about, sharing, and developing yourself in unison with many and varied partners, you discover something.

You discover that whatever your limiting self beliefs may have been prior to these 3 days, be they around earning potential, lifestyle choices, travel, experiences or anything else, you can actually achieve anything at all that you put your mind to.

Theodor Hertzl wrote, “If you will it, it is no dream.” In his book ‘Old New Land.’ This was a seminal text which has since been credited with providing the impetus to begin the Zionist movement, and for the Jewish people to reclaim Israel, Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Whatever and as horrible as some of the atrocities that have been committed on either side of that ongoing conflict, you must marvel at the power of that assertion, that sentiment, that truism.

If you will it, it is no dream.

I will it that I shall become a Crystal Executive in 6 months, and live life without boundaries. I will that I shall enter and train the house down in an attempt to win the IsaBody Challenge.

I will this not because I am a different person to he who walked through those doors on Friday, but because I have belief. Belief in a fantastic product, a broad range of systems and tools, a fantastic community of top notch people, opportunities for personal development at every turn and the fact that I shall, henceforth, live life on my own terms.

In 7.5 hours my first IsaConference will be completed, and this same bloke as 3 days ago will walk away with an unshakeable belief in the certain knowledge that life’s challenges shall, henceforth, be met from a position of both positivity and prosperity. I will it to be so.

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Isagenix Day 1, “What’s the drum?”

I’m pretty stoked to say that David T.S. Wood is all I expected he would be, and more. He’s not cheesy, nor does he use gratuitous euphemisms, metaphors or analogies. Leave that to the Jordan Belfort’s of the world (a.k.a. The Word of The Wall Street).

He talks straight, and he makes his.points with simplicity, finesse and a heap of impact. He uses tie downs often. A tie down is when you ask a question to confirm your audience is listening, like, “So we have created 122 millionaires in 12 years through our networking marketing model and compensation plan design. That’s a good thing right?”

Possibly the best thing I’ve learned is that I don’t need to be an expert on how the product works or what is in it. Not xt time someone asks, “What’s in it?” I’ll say, “Dunno. Read this.” and text, email or hand them the necessary literature.

I’ll make time to view all of the videos that Isagenix have developed. I’ll watch them repeatedly to ensure I can call on specific details that are relevant to potential new members of the Isafamily. I’ll send them links, show them results pictures, and tailor the solution offered to the perceived problems they themselves wish to tackle, be it weight loss, athletic performance improvement or healthy ageing.

I’ll live and breathe Isagenix values, without having to learn by rote all the details behind the products. That way, I won’t scare anyone off with technicalities. Rather I’ll entice them with the potential of massive future income increases, as the product speaks for itself.

I’ll attend more events, safe in the knowledge that every dollar I spend on an Isaevent will multiply ten fold the effect I can have on changing people’s lives positively. The added bonus of helping them attain true financial freedom and gain much more time for living (who does a trip around the world while still cashing in 1/2 a million in that very same year Steve?) is awesome, and the better part is that l while improving my team’s income, I will also increase my personal income.

Seems this trip to the big smoke has been well worth it so far and I’ve only just completed a third of the course. What shall today, let alone tomorrow bring?

Game continues…

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A New Leaf With Isagenix

I’m sitting in the back seat of Nicola Gray’s Puegot on the way from Newcastle to Sydney to hear David Wood speak about how to achieve the “kick arse life.”

David was born in England and dropped out of school when he was 15. You see he was told by his teacher that he would never amount to anything, so he should be clear on what lay ahead. He then set out on his life mission, (unclear as yet) which turned out to be: become successful beyond your wildest dreams, become an inspiring and aspirational coach and trainer, and a father to two sons.

His website bio states: ” David Wood is the host of the The Kickass Life Podcast. He is a Business Leader, Author, Trainer, Coach and Humanitarian who has lived, traveled and worked in over 50 countries and brings his passion for people, culture and the unknown to everything he does. As a business leader he has grown multiple multi-million dollar companies. As a Trainer and speaker, he brings his global experience and deep understanding of the human condition to create some of the most dynamic, engaging, fun and effective trainings, courses and events. As a coach, David is internationally recognized as “The Trainers Trainer” and works with thousands of trainers, teachers and educators, and has a goal to personally train 10,000 trainers who are committed to delivering transformational work. As a Humanitarian, David is a spokesperson, fundraiser and advocate for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. David would tell you, however, that his greatest accomplishment is being the father of his two boys, Calvin and Ben.”

I am not going into this conference with any pre-conceived notions as to what I will or won’t learn, however, given the room will be full of Isagenix Associates, who are on a similar journey of self discovery, abundance and positivity, I dare say it shall exceed expectations.

Emma Harrison is ain the passenger seat next to Nicola. She is ball of positive energy, which may explain her fast elevation to Director. Her work ethic and passion will ensure she will become a 3 star Executive by 2015.

Nicola Gray is a 6 star Executive whose clearly visible health, enthusiasm and energy is a testament to the benefits of the Isagenix Program. She claims she is introverted and had to apply herelf significantly to feel comfortable trying to sell the Isagenix Program to anyone, even those whose obvious need for weight loss and detoxification should make it easy to present the obvious benefits.

I am certain of one thing. Come 3pm on Sunday November 9/11/14, I will be more motivated, more excited, have clearer goals, a decisive plan of action, and a certainty that life will be more fun, successful and productive than it is today.

So as I begin to turn over this new leaf with Isagenix, I am full of positive energy, excitement and 20/20 optimism for what lies ahead. Game on!

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