One Does Not Become Fully Human Painlessly.

I’ll try, and probably fail, but will continue to try, and next time, fail better…to keep MyFutureSelf posts as ‘woo-woo’ free as possible and avoid (too-much) public self-flagellation.

Having said that, I do glean some of my own ongoing guidance and learnings from ‘spiritualists’ & ‘gurus’, however I am reticent to just simply cut and paste the inspired  information I study and research, as I’m cloddishly attempting to reinterpret & translate much of the ‘word’ from said teachers, both alive and dead, into not only real-world applicable content, but content shone through the prism of my own bumpy fucked up journey…that will…if intentions are accepted,  resonate with others..or at the very least provide a few good laughs as ‘what not to do’.

The inspiration for this particular blog idea was borne from another blog piece that I’m currently working on, which, has taken on a life of it’s own, and what started as 8 Quite Frankly Pain in the Arse Steps to Improve Your Life Trajectory (working title only) , has morphed into,18 Quite Frankly Pain in The Arse Steps…and counting…it’s a WIP.

[I have to say that I think (shameless I know) the above-mentioned article has the potential to become next “The Secret”, or more realistically, and due to my propensity for profanity, and my anti-woo-woo-guru stance to the ‘laws of attraction’, will probably see my publication evolve into an extended blog, and or, a neat little PDF e-book, given away to subscribers that can be read on the bog…a bog blog if your like]

Anyways…I digress.

My own transformation, ongoing as it, was finally liberated from the initial colourful and intoxicated period of self-inflicted abuse, that finds me, very gratefully I might add, to this very point in time right now.

And though initially my journey of transformation consisted of taking care of the mechanics of my past-actions and behaviours, e.g. stop drinking = stop doing cocaine = relapsing over n over, whilst slowly making better choices (Then, fast track a couple of years) = no cocaine at all = (remarkably) better eating habits = better sleep (golly, really!) = fat loss (and the epiphanies keep coming) = inclination to get fit = improved self-esteem = desire to change career/falling off career radar = healthy and broke.

#careertrajectorydownthetoilet #didntcare #stilldontcare

So fast-track a couple more years and…I don’t drink (very much at all), no more nose candy and I’m pretty “fit”, “healthy” and “happy”.

I’m ticking all the “Mens’ Health” boxes me thinks, I’ll be the next 40+ year old cover model ‘shredded’ and promoting “Abs in 6 Weeks, and still eating whatever I want” (…then I woke up…gratefully)

But, and there’s always a but…what came lumbering towards me, like a slow motion car-crash scene from Smokey and the Bandit was the self-realisation that I’m still fucked up…I realised my brain & emotions were left behind during my physical recovery… they didn’t catch on that I was, you know…getting better…I was emotionally, mentally and spiritually juvenile. (I also think, now looking back, I suffered a little (undiagnosed) depression. I was working (use that term loosely) in SE Asia at the time and clearly remember my sorry state of mind and incredibly self-suffering inability to clear the head and think optimistically…a rare thing for me as I always had an abundance of ignorant & blind optimism.)

And though I wasn’t ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ in the spiritual sense, I wonder(ed)* why I  felt so hollow, emotionally exposed and vulnerable to the potentiality that I could relapse into past impulses and behaviours which, I (thought I) had attempted to shed in every training session, bench press, burpee, through every diet, supplement, detox, kombucha enema and kimchi faecal translate over the previous 10 years…and though the physical superficial transformation was now on autopilot and achieving the desired results…I still felt like a fraud, an imposter…my head, heart and body were not only not connected, but my brain was abusing me.

These thoughts and experiences were further amplified (and exacerbated); as sobriety continued to gain momentum, as the mental fog lifted, the painful self-judgement of habits-past shone like full-beam headlights into the back of my eyes.

I really thought things were going to be easier from now on…nope.

On a brighter note…one quality I’ve always had though is an innate resilience. (which is very fortunate as I achieved a black-belt (in macrame) in fucking up over the years) This combined with furious curiosity to learn, coupled with a desire to self-help myself, I picked up my bowling-ball and decided to look for answers, by seeking to find the right questions to ask myself, to ultimately begin healing and resolving what-ever-the-fuck was going on in my troglodyte brain.

Another inherent knowing was I always knew deep-down, and to use a Winston Churchill quote,

“Facts are better than dreams.”

My dedication to my sobriety had created a climate in my mind for the truths to manifest and become apparent and heard within me. 

As painful as it was.

So what did I do next?

I went straight out and bought a 6-pack of beer and 3 grams of coke…no not really.

I started to read…philosophy mostly.

The majority of which at the time was from the great Stoics, the likes of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius…that dude from Gladiator.

They say a Philosopher’s School Is A Hospital, which explains why I triaged myself into the hospital school of thought.

As Epictetus says…

“People, the philosopher’s lecture-hall is a hospital –  you shouldn’t walk out of it feeling pleasure, but pain, for your aren’t well when you enter.”

So as I read, studied and learned, new questions were manifesting and being pitched to myself everyday…questions that demanded confronting self-reflection.

I stress everyday, because the process to know thyself demands time and persistence.

I had spent decades running amok and was I realistically going to ‘fix’ myself in a day or two of reflection….again…nope, nope, nope…

One does not become fully human painlessly – Rollo May

I was getting to know myself again…

What unfolded was years of reflection (continues to this day, and will continue thereafter), wading waist-deep through the psychological quagmire of my past.

And not only to know myself again, but also forgive myself.

I needed to acknowledge, face and overcome my compulsions. They were still very much present, but had manifested into different behaviours and habits.

I had to enact daily disciplines, routines and regimes to retrain my internal narrative, to present a calm mind and to observe only, without judgement the ‘false-ego’ at work. (The false-ego, left to run rampant, is a fucking tyrant…can’t remember where I read that, but as soon as you take time to look within, you soon realise that you cannot believe anything that goes on in your head.)

So, some of the internal repartee and conflictive Q&A that arose during this period included:

Was my focused commitment to my own health-wealth simply a change from one compulsion of booze n blow to another of burpees and body dysmorphia? 

Why is it that I found group socialising just painful?

(I realised I hated parties, nightclubs, bars – anywhere where there’s too many people, yelling, not being heard whilst perched on the edge of a sticky bar stool.)

Was I an introvert all of a sudden, or was my ‘predication for medication’purely a means for me to ‘engage’ with people in group situations, which in a sober state, I’d avoid like the plague?

I often thought, how many introverts are out there that are continuing to drink just to be able to ‘enjoy and/or cope’ in social situations?

Would they, or anyone for that matter, still continue to go out, if they didn’t drink alcohol?

How many adults are lubricating themselves with booze daily to cope with life, their partner, job, children or their own life-dissatisfaction and discontentment?

How many adults use/abused booze, like I used to, to either bring me out of a depressive state, or ironically, send me into one?

(I think booze is often used and abused, very subconsciously, to ignite and inflame our compulsive behaviours and thinking…and weirdly, it’s when we perceive things are OK, we’ll relapse into a binge session, just to return ourselves to the comfort of pity, grievance or hostility…that reaffirms our exiled position that we’re screwed and flawed…so let’s just make it fucking worse)

So apart from the introvert epiphany, I also had to reconcile…

Why had I had become so very, very passive-aggressive?

Looking back I had mastered the ‘smily-irony-passy-agressy’ attitude, which I’m sure I thought at the time was gilded with humour and gentle elegant rebuttal, like a Roger Federer backhand slice,  but now, looking back I was about as subtle as a LeBron James slam dunk.

Why had I become so hard on myself?

I had a crippling explosive internal temper, wasn’t often for others to see, but inside I could snap…and probably a result of the binge-cycle drinking…der!

Why did I feel such shame, hurt, guilt & embarrassment for my past behaviours and actions?

And to further entrench my negative belief systems at the time, my internal narrative (that arsehole ego) manifested and loudly broadcasted “Failure, Failure, Failure…” in glorious Dolby Surround Sound in my noggin pretty much 24/7

Ah..Good times.

Now looking back with hindsight, my sobriety and physical health transformation had allowed me to engage in a constructive, challenging, self-dialogue and inner-debate that allowed me to post-mortem my past habits and behaviours without either (eventually) attaching blame and judgement and…forgiving myself (and every other bastard that had crossed me…I jest…a bit) in the process.

I still believe to this day that if I had not given up the booze and continued the process of investing in my health-wealth everyday that I would not of been able to self-audit and properly process my past and make my mess into my personal message. 

To enable further clarity and optimise a daily self-reflection regime, I actively pursued clearing and removing all the crap, clutter, possession and toxic behaviours and relationships in my life.

I relinquished everything that, I thought at the time, was important to me…it wasn’t.

Anything I didn’t need I donated, recycled or gave away.

I studied minimalism (it’s a quick read), and now take great joy in not only owning very little, but I’ve become very mindful about buying into shit I just don’t need, which in the past, I wouldn’t have given a second thought to…and for me, was incredibly liberating, as one of my post chemical addiction alt-compulsions was to spend wads of cash on meaningless ‘stuff’.

Minimalism is about intentionality, not deprivation.

Minimalism was also applied to include reducing the noise in my life…simple distractions that mind-mumblingly and insidiously take over large segments of our lives…from commercial radio & television, I deleted my Netflix and other streaming services, leaving my mobile phone at home when I went out, or leave in the other room when at home…I audited anything else that stole my time.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all Kale smoothies, Kombucha body-scrubs and celery facials, I love good movies and TV, and adore music…I just don’t and won’t tolerate noise and watching ‘stuff’ for the sake of watching /wasting time…and being a slave to mobile devices.

I will prioritise education over entertainment, whilst reading, and now writing, takes precedence in my relax time.

Over the past 24 months I continue to hone and audit my days, and it’s within this process that I continue to learn, grow and become not only more chilled, but much more dedicated and focused on the dreams and aspirations that I have and the processes and actions that manifest ‘my’ life-vehicle to move onwards and upwards.

Hey, this self-awareness lark has some merits me thinks.

Things (will) continue to go wrong in my life…

My ego continues to rear its head.

I (will) still self-judge

I (will) over-indulge on occasions.

I still take things too personally.

I have lazy, unfocused days.

I get frustrated and angry

I still say stupid shit that I wish I hadn’t.

…and that’s cool with me, because at the end of each day I remind myself of who I am, and everything else I am not, I put aside, and go to sleep.

The challenging process of facing, accepting & forgiving your vulnerable past is the foundation to set your future trajectory alight, because if that platform isn’t stable, our ability to move forward, to overcome impulse driven habits and behaviours will be doomed.

I also believe strongly that one’s physical health is the best way, no, the ONLY way, to manifest the change and the accompanying epiphanies that help you along the journey.

The long, arduous process…and it is arduous…is getting to know you again, unshackling yourself from past behaviours, disconnecting from non-existent belief systems, addressing compulsions and mindful not to replace one compulsion for another.

Unpacking all that shit, is really the only way to unlock you life.

Finding out your true self – we cannot ignore the real, in favour for the ideal.

Radhanath Swami says that the mind is the mirror to the self.

Over years and decades that mirror becomes dirty and clouded by the compulsion and stresses of life…anxiety, addictions, depression, anger, sadness etc.

It has to be up to the individual to create and maintain a daily bespoke practice of self care – through meditation, quiet reflection, movement, being in nature, nourishing your body etc to clean the mirror of the mind, so that the true-self is both present and reflected.

Ultimately the true benefit and outcome, by actively seeking your own self, is not only for you, but everyone you love. By mentoring ourselves, we profoundly mentor, by default, the ones nearest and dearest.

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds – Bob Marley

 

(* “I Wonder”…Track 8 off the Album Cold Facts by Rodrigues aka Searching for Sugar Man)Feel Free To Share: Sign Up