​List bratovi #2, Výhry

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Drahý bratku,

Keď som ti už napísal prvý list, snáď by bolo vhodné napísať aj druhý. Vieš, pokračovať. Nie je majster ten kto začne, ale ten ktorý dokončí. Toto písanie listov teda nemá žiadny konkrétny cieľ, ale predsa len, nejaká pravidelnosť by sa hodila nie?
Dúfam, že sa máš dobre.

Ja sa ako obvykle, snažím mať dobre. Vieš ako, každý sa musí o to svoje dobro starať. Našťastie mám v tomto staraní skvelého pomocníka, každý superhrdina má (teda, v mojom prípade je skôr ona ten superhrdina).

Totiž chcel som ti opísať zážitok z poslednej nedele, kedy som si uvedomil, aké veľké privilégium je mať po boku tak úžasnú bytosť ako je Anneke. (Niečo čo si sa mi snažil povedať už dlho, niečo čo som samozrejme vedel, ale nechával som si túto vzácnu vedomosť prekrývať rôznymi starosťami a zbytočným rozmýšľaním.) No ale k príbehu…

Takže –

Ako každý rok, aj  tento rok sa v arboréte v Nottinghame konal Green Festival. Nemal som nejaký veľký záujem naň ísť ale už len samotná zmienka o ňom vyvolala v Anneke obrovský záujem a keď poprosila nech ideme, že ešte nikdy na žiadnom festivale nebola a v očiach jej žiarila tá jej typická zvedavosť zmiešaná so vzrušením, povedal som si, že sotva narýchlo vymyslím niečo lepšie a tak sme po kúpe nových topánok a kávy vyrazili pešo hore hlavnou ulicou do arboréta. (Anneke si v kaviarni vypýtala vodu a keď som ju videl piť tú obyčajnú vodu slamkou z modrého pohára s logom Nero, došlo mi, že tento okamih je zázračný. Snáď to bolo to, o čom mi neustále rozprávaš – prítomný okamih.) 
Počasie bolo krásne a atmosféra v arboréte bola príjemná. Prešli sme pár stánkov, Anneke nadviazala kontakt s pár predávajúcimi a vyhliadli sme si jeden prívesok, ktorý sme chceli cestou späť kúpiť.

V polovici prechádzania sa pomedzi stánky sme však natrafili na zaujímavý (snáď najzaujímavejší) stánok, ktorý prevádzkovala Strana Zelených. Tombola v ňom bola pomerne bohatá a desať lístkov bolo za £5. (Nie som až taký gambler ako ty, ale dobrej tombole nepoviem nie. Obzvlášť ak som vcelku dobre presvedčený, že pomer medzi pravdepodobnosťou výhry a hodnotou výhry v pomere k cene za lístok je slušný.)
Kúpili sme prvých desať lístkov a boli z toho tri výhry.

– ručne robený kožený obal na mobil

– prvé vydanie komixu SLAM

– sypaný 250g čaj Assam z miestnej kaviarne/čajovne

Urobili nám fotku pre ich Twitter a my sme kúpili ďalších päť a vyhrali znova, tentoraz jedlo pre dve osoby v jednej super reštaurácii a kvalitný krém na ruky.

Tak som za ďalších päť kúpil ďalších 10 a znova jedlo pre dve osoby, v krásnom pube v centre mesta. 

Keďže tam bol aj krásny Element ruksak, rozhodol som sa ešte raz sa tam vrátiť. Rozlúčili sme sa a išli sme sa prejsť celým festivalom. 

Keďže nám dochádzali peniaze išli sme po ďalších £10 na hlavnú ulicu.
Anneke si chcela vyskúšať šťastie v inej tombole a tak sme išli. To bola taká mierne skromnejšia tombola, ale mala medzi cenami hračky. Lístky sa ťahali zastrčené v slamkách z ježka z plastelíny.

Tu Anneke vyhrala jednorožca, macka a detskú kabelku.

Potom sme išli skúsiť vyhrať ešte do nášho stánku kde nám prialo ale už to bolo len tričko. 
Myslím, že nech sa na to pozrieme z akéhokoľvek uhla pohľadu, bol to skvelý deň.
S odstupom času mám však pár postrehov k tomu, ako som vnímal veci vtedy keď sa diali.

Napríklad – keď ruksak ktorý som veľmi chcel, vyhral chlapec po nás, pričom si kúpil iba jeden jediný lístok, veľmi nadšený som z toho nebol, a až po pár minútach prehodnocovania pravdepodobnosti takej šance som sa začal usmievať.

Tiež moja radosť z poukážok do reštaurácie v momente keď som ich vyhral nebola obrovská, keďže som chcel ten ruksak (môžeme si namiesto ruksaku dosadiť “materiálna vec”), avšak po rozhodnutí ísť na jednu večeru s Robom a na druhú s Anneke som si uvedomil, aké skvelé je to mať možnosť niekoho pozvať. Plus, mal si vidieť ako Anneke kričala od radosti,  že ideme do reštaurácie. Úplne sa až triasla od radosti.

Čiže som na vlastnej koži zažil to, čo si mi opisoval – niekedy nedostaneme čo chceme, ale dostaneme niečo lepšie! Musím uznať, ruksak som nevyhral, ale keď si pomyslím na možnosť stráviť chvíle s dobrým kamarátom, a s najkrajším dievčatkom na svete, povedz nie je to vlastne to, čo ma môže naplniť? Ten pocit keď si sadneme k stolu a začne plynúť prítomný okamih v ktorom si môžem vychutnať život?

Bratku môj, dobre si mi hovoril, je to v tom ako sa správame k tomu, čo sa nám práve deje. To je život.
Nie som si istý či to celé nebola len Anneke a jej schopnosť čarovať. Pamätáš ako sme chodili podávať s našou sestrou na bicykli vo viere, že nosí šťastie? Ktovie odkiaľ sme to mali, ale poviem ti, ďaleko od pravdy to nebolo. Čo myslím bolo ďaleko od pravdy bolo naše vnímanie toho, čo je šťastie.

Nechcem sa pokúšať o definovanie toho, čo by to mohlo byť. Len som ti chcel povedať o našom zážitku z nedele. Nič viac.
Musím povedať, že konečne rozumiem ako sa niekedy Anneke cíti, keď prežíva niečo krásne. Ten pocit, keď si niekde a neželáš si byť inde, s iným, keď skutočne si kde si a si s tým úplne spokojný. Veľmi sa teším na ten obed s ňou.

Veľmi.

Maj sa dobre, bratku.

Fotky:

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List bratovi #1, Jízdy v protisměru

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Drahý brat,
Prepáč že ti píšem tento list takto verejne, ale nemyslím, že sa ty, alebo ja máme za čo hanbiť. Žiadne špinavé prádlo sa tu prať nechystám. Navyše si myslím, že si zachytil vlnu prebúdzania sa ľudí z rôznych druhov spánkov, respektíve ich otváranie sa stavu bdelosti a teda by som rád tento list napísal ako pozvanie na otvorenú debatu o tom, čo sa okolo, ale najmä v nás deje, pretože to vyzerá tak, že sa dejú vskutku zaujímavé veci. 
Pokiaľ si dobre spomínam, na minulé Vianoce som ti daroval knihu Shaun Usher, Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience a priznám sa, že z toho veľkého množstva literárnych útvarov sú mi listy asi najbližšie a preto som túto formu písania zvolil i pre tento svoj mini-projekt. 
Pýtaš sa, čo za projekt? 

Nuž, 

bavili sme sa o robení a nerobení vecí a keďže si myslím, že existuje jednoznačná súvislosť medzi tým, čo robíme a tým ako sa cítime (čo máme, čo nemáme…  atď), rozhodol som sa  (pokiaľ to bude možné), namiesto dlhého vypisovania cez rôzne typy mobilných textových služieb písať moje postrehy k tvojim písomným útvarom, či zážitkom ktoré medzi sebou budeme preberať formou takýchto listov. 

Čo ty na to, môže byť? 

(Tu by som rád poznamenal, že toto bola rečnícka otázka a odpoveď nečakám.) 

Takže – 

Napísal si blog, Osvietenie, link tu.

Čítal som ho. Dobrý. Páčil sa mi. 
Viem si predstaviť z akého rozpoloženia si (možno) vychádzal pri jeho písaní. 

Nedávno som si spomenul na pre mňa najdôležitejšiu pieseň od Kryštof – Jízda v protisměru. 

V blogu si spomínal, že ak nerobíme čo máme, robíme, čo nemáme. Nuž a vtedy ideme do protismeru. 

Znám, už dobře znám…

Kryštof spieval síce o zběsilých jízdach v protisměru, ale sú aj také, kedy nám vlastne ani nedochádza, že ideme v protismere. A také dlhodobé jazdenie v protismeru je ešte hádam horšie.  

Iste, pri tých šialených krátkych nočných jazdách môže dôjsť k rôznym haváriám a určite ich nechcem schvaľovať, ibaže mám pocit, že ísť v protismere, v smere ktorým ideme len preto že tak idú iní, potichu, pomaly, zo strachu, prináša so sebou ešte väčšia riziká. Síce v takýchto prípadoch ideme v protismere opatrne, snáď aj dodržiavame ostatné predpisy, ale skôr či neskôr nám to dôjde a nastane bod v ktorom prudko zabrzdíme na najbližšom odpočívadle a s hlavou na volante ticho plačeme, ako sme si nemohli nevšimnúť, že ideme úplne opačným smerom. 
Sám sa v podobnom bode nachádzam a poviem ti, je to vskutku silná káva. 

Auto odstavené na krajnici, dvere otvorené, na prístrojovke sa skvie nostalgická fotografia a ja sediac na zvodidle dumám čo s tým…

Čo s tým…

Čo s tým…  
Pri predstave cesty späť ma… 

Škoda hovoriť. 
Tuším by som mal sadnúť do auta a… 

Pohnúť sa späť. 

Bude to dlhá jazda. 
Keď nerobím čo mám, robím čo nemám. 

Znám… 
Už dobře znám… 

Jediné v čo dúfam je, že jazda v protismere je lepšia než ostávanie na mieste. 

A možno na tom ani nezáleží. Možno jediné na čom záleží je byť v aute a ísť, ísť,

í s ť. 

Možno nejdem kam mám ísť, ale idem. 
Tak zatiaľ ahoj brácho, sadám do auta,  nastavujem spätné zrkadlá a čítam “Objekty v spätnom zrkadle sú bližšie než sa javia.“, pomyslím si ~  “Bližšie, ďalej, čo na tom… všetci si to šninieme diaľnicou, či lokálkou života a raz nám dôjde benzín a koniec budeme musieť dokráčať pešky.”
Drž sa. 

Ladím rádio, hrajú The Strokes – Is this it… 

Môže byť. Kurva že môže byť. 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
<
Ozvi sa. 
S pozdravom 

Tvoj brat 
P.

6,400,099,980

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“In “The Merits of Home-Leaving,” which is the title of Chapter 86 of his book Shōbōgenzō, Zen Master Dōgen   praises his young monks for their commitment to a path of awakening and explicates the granular nature of time: the 6,400,099,980 moments that constitute a single day. His point is that every single one of those moments provides an opportunity to reestablish our will. Even the snap of a finger, he says, provides us with sixty-five opportunities to wake up and to choose actions that will produce beneficial karma and turn our lives around.”
~ Ruth Ozeki, A Tale For The Time Being

#01, How long is NOW?

I am obsessed with the Dōgen’s number (I am even thinking of getting it tattooed) that I first came across when reading the book mentioned in the opening paragraph. I remember how I tried to imagine it all, but never really had time to sit down and look at it in more details. So let’s look at it together, NOW, shall we?

Let’s start with some maths (sigh)…
A day has 24 hours, which adds to 1440 minutes,  (24 x 60), which makes 86400 seconds (1440 x 60).
So when we accept Dōgen’s figure as representative enough for the purpose of establishing the duration of the present moment (now), in each second, there is 74075 present moments (6400099980÷86400).

To establish how long does the present moment lasts would require opposite division, 86400÷6400099980, which would make a pretty small number, 0.00001349978 of a second to be precise. Almost unimaginable. Unmeasurable by our brain. Unnoticeable.

#02, From now to know

I am in love with mathematics after reading Jim Holt’s book, Why does the world exist?.
I am trying to live as mindfully as possible and if you have been through some books, websites about living the best life, you must have come across the idea of “LIVING IN THE NOW”.

I guess there’s some kind of obsession with that amongst certain circles, but let’s not go too far here. It’s a pretty neat concept, but for people like me, hard to understand. Thank God for the mathematics though, it can help to explain many things. Apparently it’s kind of a religion and as far as being religious goes, I’d say to love mathematics might as well be the most beautiful way of being it.

So,
I struggled to grasp the whole “EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING IN NOW” concept for a long long time. Only after reading the book from Ruth Ozeki and the one about how our world came into existence (which is advertised as an existential detective story and it really is) I started to understand it.
First of all, let’s look at the way we process what is happening.

We have certain amount of senses (we are taught that the human body has five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. But many neurologists identify nine or more senses, and some list as many as 21) and through these we interact with the outer and internal worlds. But the thing is, when we actually sense something, when our brain translates the sense’s sensation into a feeling, recognisable experience, the event has already happened, so we’re constantly behind THE NOW, as we need time for our neural paths to get the information from receiving sensors into our beautiful brain.

So then, how it is even possible to live in the now when we’re constantly behind it?
I guess it’s about the way we look at time. We have been taught that time is linear. Which it doesn’t seem to be (check the first paragraph, apparently time is granular).

We all can mind-travel in time. Recall past events, dream about future ones. Isn’t that also part of our living, inseparable from our attempts to be constantly present with our feelings? Is it really bad to rewind, or to fast forward? How is that experience different to the one we’re describing as the present when every presence we observe is actually a past by the time we have a chance to realise it?

So I am not too keen on advocating living in the now. If you’d say, living in the closest proximity of now as we can, then yes, perhaps. But no one lives in the now. No one, not all the time. Actually, make it never. It’s our separating of the past, presence and future that somehow makes the presence the automatic winner here. But what if they cannot be separated?

#03, Embracing the time / Frame of reference

NOW is AN IDEAL.
An unreachable, yet poetically beautiful concept. So I understand why people love it as an idea. It’s kinda cool and, I’d say, trendy at the moment.
But here’s a heretic thought.
This is the most beautiful statement I read about the life and living to the fullest. It’s from another book, with absolutely stunning title, The Two Kinds Of Decay, by my friend Sarah Manguso and it has nothing to do with now. Funnily I understood it much later on after I read her book.

“This is suffering’s lesson: pay attention. The important part might come in a form you do not recognize.

You might not know to love it. But to pay attention is to love everything. To see the future as brightness.

Everything that happens is the last time it happens. We see things only as their own fatal brightness, and there is nothing after that brightness.
You can’t learn from remembering. You can’t learn from guessing.


You can learn only from moving forward at the rate you are moved, as brightness, into brightness.”
And that’s that.

You don’t need to know how long is now.
How to explain it.

It’s much simpler.
Just…

P
A
Y


A
T
T
E
N
T
I
O
N

Know that, whatever happens, happens only once.
Nothing happens again in exactly same way.
Every moment is the paradox of birth and death, we’re simply living and dying at the same speed.
Speed of love. Speed of life.

I personally think, knowing this, the inescapable fact of life being unrepeatable is much easier way of appreciating your own being here as the most beautiful mystery than any attempts to describe how to live in the now.

Pay attention.
Pay attention.
Pay attention.

Then you love everything.

THEN YOU LOVE EVERYTHING.


Pay attention, the important part might come in a form you do not recognize

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“This is suffering’s lesson: pay attention. The important part might come in a form you do not recognize. You might not know to love it.  But to pay attention is to love everything.  To see the future as brightness. Everything that happens is the last time it happens. We see things only as their own fatal brightness, and there is nothing after that brightness. 

You can’t learn from remembering. You can’t learn from guessing. You can learn only from moving forward at the rate you are moved, as brightness, into brightness.”
~ Sarah Manguso,  The Two Kinds Of Decay

#01, Juggling

It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon and I am tired after the rushed morning where I simply juggled more balls than I planned.

Or actually,
did I plan any of what happened? I don’t think so. Much of what happened, simply happened because, as Sir Isaac Newton wisely noted, for every action, there’s equally big reaction and as I left the house and started to interact with the world, the world responded to my actions.

It was quite interesting thing to observe and at some points, I actually shifted from being the one affected by what’s happening an I just kind of let it all touch me as if I was a wild animal that somehow let its own curiosity win over its fear of the unknown.

The reality that was then created might not have been immediately recognizable as a direct result of my morning actions (plus there might be more actions that I have taken long before today that we also necessary for all of this to happen), but I truly believe it is so. That much, if not everything, that happened today reflected the shift in my willingness to open myself as a active being to the outer environment and don’t be afraid that it will respond back in pretty much unpredictable way.

If I disattach from the story and distill the essence of it, it was as if I was living a dream that I didn’t even know I had. On occasions it felt kind of surreal.

I had this strange feeling, that if I haven’t read the book by Sarah, I wouldn’t be able  to recognise that right in front of me, life is manifesting itself in a very interesting and beautiful way and it is worth noticing.

#02, Remembering

I have chosen the excerpt from the book “The Two Kinds Of Decay” as an opener for this post because after a few years from reading her wonderful book “The Two Kinds Of Decay” I’m beginning to fully appreciate its depth. All that happened today would still probably happen anyway, but the fact is, my mind would definitely process it differently. And, I believe there’s equally likely possibility that none of this would happen and I am glad that I have paid a lot of attention to what was happening as it was magical.

(I appreciate that you might not see this the way I saw it, but please, when you will get a little, almost unnoticeable feeling that something important is happening, please pay attention. It truly is to love everything.)
So, what exactly happened?
My friend wanted to buy a book for another friend that she’s visiting soon and planned to try to find it in second hand book-shops in the afternoon.

I have changed my original decision not to go to carboot market today and shortly before 8am I a grabbed my daughter and we went. So I offered my friend that I’ll try to search for that book as there always are a few people selling books.
When we arrived to the carboot location it only had 30% of usual attendance. And it was beginning to rain. I didn’t feel great as I slept bad and I started to regret leaving the house. After we passed a few stalls where people were selling all sorts of junk we arrived to a table where two women we’re selling a fair amount of books. I asked, whether by any chance she has any books by Dan Brown. She said “Yeah, there’s one in that pile on the ground, fourth from the top, but I forgot the name.”

At that point I kinda knew it’s the one I’m trying to find.

And…

… it was.

Was I surprised? No.

I didn’t think it’s a miracle, or anything big, but I was paying attention. I let that moment of joy to fill my heart like it was a cup, because I knew my friend will be happy. It was as if I was I decided to live the best version of reality and enjoy everything that will come my way. Because I felt that it will be fun. Because all that is happening, is happening for the first and the last time. Always only once. So we truly must be paying attention because we can easily miss the most important part. 

~

“Nothing happens in a moment. Nothing happens quickly. If you think something’s happened quickly, you’re looking at only a part of it.

Firing a rifle shot seems to happen quickly, but what about the movement of the trigger finger? What about the decision to fire the rifle? What about all your careful target practice? What about everything in your life that happened before you decide to fire that rifle?
How can you separate the incidental from what was necessary to your decision to pull the trigger?

Nothing happens in an instant. Nothing starts happening and nothing finishes happening.
~ Sarah Manguso, The Two Kinds Of Decay

~

#03, Fabricating

I came to Starbucks where my friend was enjoying her morning with coffee and I joined her. It was raining heavily.

Once I given the book to my friend, I got to the counter and ordered myself the usual large Americano and I let Anneke to pick a chocolate.
As we were talking with my friend, she noticed a tiny white feather on Anneke’s jumper and pulled it out and shown her.

Anneke is a very curious and intelligent girl and my friend is a great storyteller. I sensed something magical is about to happen.

We started to talk about the angels and magic and after Anneke’s little naked doll got a new plait and a a dress from the golden foil off Anneke’s chocolate coin I decided to up the game and let Anneke to become a white witch. I was going to use the foil to create a magic stick for for her, but then I just peeled off the sticker off it and attached what we decided is the angel’s feather to the wooden stirring stick. As always, Anneke played her part really well. She immediately got into her role of magician and grabbed her stick as if it truly had the power to turn things and people into whatever she thinks they deserve to be.
She was showing off as always. It is her way of displaying trust. I could see she’s enjoying it, she always puts her whole heart into her plays. She wanted to turn my friend into some amazing animals, when I got to be turned into:

– a slug
– a frog
– a rat
– a snake
– a pigeon
you name it (anything she thought I wouldn’t like)
>>>

And in the end – a poo.
(Cheers darling.)

I heard that children are the best teachers and it is so true. I have to admit, that I am often guilty of not paying full attention to what Anneke says, or does and at this point, I realised how much I am missing. It is arguable whether we can pay 100% attention 100% of the time, but the point is, we just have to try our best. Tragedies have happened because of people not paying enough attention, relationships ended due to lack of attention, conversations turned bitter because of it.

Then I decided to turn Anneke into some ugly things too, but she and her new found ally were protecting the magic wand vehemently. So I decided to make my own wand. Black magic wand. The counter force to their white magic.

I took the black plastic fork and broke the middle two spikes to create a wand I called Devil’s horns.

As much as I tried, I couldn’t beat the white wand made of angel’s feather. And in the end, my black wand got destroyed. It was a great game and it was wonderful storytelling. 

~

#04, Only now exists

I cannot bring the whole story back. It all happened once and this poor description of it all just shows how important it is to be present in the moment when the life is happening. Moments move like a fluid one into another, but at any time, only one moment exists. We can look back and make a slow motion movie out of our moments, but that doesn’t bring their beauty in full. The beauty lies in the present moment.

With all of this being in the past, my heart fills with a little sadness. Of course there are many more new moments to live, but sometimes what we experienced was so magical that we somehow want it to last. 

But nothing lasts forever. Every moment is a hello and goodbye. Please pay attention to life around you. Smile. Look at things with respect, enjoy presence of your friends, family, strangers. I know I want to.

Love and light. 

Pictures in our heads

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A while ago, in a post from my friend Ally Hamilton, I read that much of our suffering comes from realising that our daily reality is far too different from the picture of it that we have painted in our head. We dream of A, B, C, but instead – D happens (what a shocker!) – and there goes our picture! 

I had a unique opportunity to observe this painful realisation in front of my own eyes as my six year old daughter broke into tears after  making a little mistake (that’s how she referred to it) while colouring/drawing a picture of a kitty from her new pyjamas which I printed on an A4 paper for her. (Basically she liked her kitties pyjama a lot so I made her black and white colouring pages of the kitties from it.) 

This is the pyjamas:

Here is the picture as it was given to her:

She started colouring it with a great enthusiasm and I could see her eyes shining. I think she was doing really well and I really liked how she added some nice little flowers onto kitty’s top. As you can see, there is only one flower there now, the rest were covered by black marker pen. 

I think it’s a pretty good looking kitty, but it was born of tears and disappointment. Here’s how it happened:

Everything went according to the plan up to the point when one more circle was added to kitty’s shirt to make up a flower. As soon as Anneke realised that she hasn’t placed the circle high enough from the flower below it to be able to add a stem she got really upset. She already had about six flowers done and it looked all great, but somehow the pen slipped, or she lost a bit of her focus and there it was, a mistake that was impossible to unmake. 

She started to cry and I sensed she might rip the paper. Huge tears appeared in her eyes and they dropped onto the paper, making her even more upset than she was. 

I think she got upset mainly because she was so close to the end of it. It looked so great and I’m pretty sure she was proud of it. But, it all was now gone. At least, that’s what she thought. 

It came to me as a real shock to see how attached she already is to the pictures in her head. How hard she is on herself for not being able to replicate her visions on the paper. 

Well, I draw and I know how it feels. The disappointment of looking at the paper and seeing something completely different to what you “seen in your head”. I think I even ended up making some animal caricature from what a realistic picture of a human should been originally. But unlike me, Anneke couldn’t decide what to do with her mistake so she just broke into tears. 

Of course I tried to comfort her and I even suggested a simple solution of drawing the flower in a slightly different way to the others, but she was having none of it. 

Finally she said, she’s gonna fill the shirt with black ink. I thought she meant, she will fill the empty space around all flowers with black marker and cover up the wrong one completely. You know, like in one of those cover up tattoo jobs. So I was colouring my kitty and when I raised my head I was shocked to see that she is covering all the flowers. 

Now I was upset.

I think it was partially because I really liked the idea of colouring the shirt in black and partially, because she didn’t accept any of my well meant words of comfort. I felt like I have failed to convince my own daughter that I love what she created. It hurt. 

It hurt, because I am exactly like that. The very same day I have tried to write an address on a letter to my friend in a really cool font, and although I didn’t have a specific picture in my head, the idea wasn’t executed very well and I was disappointed from the result. 

But when I sent her the picture of it, she replied:

“Great handwriting, as always”

I’m pretty sure she meant it, but I still hesitated to accept that I actually did a good job there. Like if I can only accept praise if I created a masterpiece. Like if anything less than perfect is not worth anything. 

Now, I understand where such bullshit might have come into my head, but I couldn’t believe Anneke already struggles with perfectionism. 

Is it because of school?  

Because she’s told to bring good grades?

Because she can see our faces when she doesn’t do something well?  

Because the children in school compete amongst themselves and she isn’t the best and she doesn’t like it? 

Because she saw me being upset after I drew something “imperfect”? 

Because I didn’t watch my language when I spoke about it with her? 

I don’t know. I really don’t know. 

I just decided to observe her and watch my language and the way I create stuff in front of her. I’m pretty sure she picked something from me there, but I need to remember this story and be more careful about how I express my disappointment from my own work. 

Even this simple story could have been told in much better way. I could have written a better letter to my friend. I could have said better words to Anneke as she started to cry. But, I didn’t. I did what I could in those moments. And that’s fine. It really is. 

I think we struggle so much with perfectionism. We’re bombarded with pictures of perfect bodies, holidays, food, cars, phones, mattresses, diets, jobs, the list is endless. But perfect simply isn’t real. You either want one, or the other. The picture of the perfect kitty as imagined by Anneke hasn’t been drawn. Instead, a pretty average picture of kitty made by her exists and I love it to bits. And I’m thinking, maybe it is the ordinary me, her, you that we need to fall in love with to live happy lives. Because can you imagine how difficult it would to be to love someone, something perfect? It would probably end up being worshipping, which I have no intention doing. I would much rather love something, someone imperfect, than worship something perfect.

And I hope that I can let go of trying to be a perfect father. I just need to be me. Imperfect, but real. And that’s what I’ll try to teach my daughter too. I don’t want to crush her creative spirit with perfectionism. There simply must always be joy in creating. That’s what counts the most.

So here’s the only flower that remained. Maybe that’s how it should have been. 

​Waiting for an idea

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I think. 
A lot.

A lot from what I think is rubbish.

My mind constantly creates a noise. Like the low electric humming of the big Riso printer in my work office. Same as the printer waits for a command to print something, my mind waits for some command to get busy thinking about something. Then, when I find something, the humming becomes part of the bigger noise as my mind starts to process the individual thoughts and throws them out into the output tray where I pick them up wondering where the hell these ideas come from. 
I think, because I hope that it is possible that eventually, after a lot of thinking, I would come up with some brilliant idea Tha will “make me happy”. I hope that the realisation of what we want in life comes from thinking. I hope that whatever it is that will make me happy is something that my mind can eventually hit when it will think for long enough. Like it is bound to find it, a treasure amongst the trash. 

Then when that great idea is found, I will get excited about it and I will move me into an action. So far, not much success. 
So, that suggests there is a fault in the above theory.
I keep hearing thinking is bad. Sometimes I get accused of thinking too much and not doing enough.

I have to admit that I probably don’t take enough actions and the actions I eventually take are not the ones I probably should be taking. 

Procrastinator? Maybe. 

Avoider? Maybe.

Afraid? Yes. 
So what can I do about it all? How to cross the bridge from thinking to taking actions? 
I’m not sure. Thinking about this probably won’t help. If it was the right thing to do it surely would have helped by now.  

But… Wait! 

What if I was thinking wrong? What if my thinking was like walking in circles, like when you get lost in the forest? It’s not walking that’s the problem when your goal is to to find your way out of the forest. The problem is not knowing which direction to walk, because sure, you can choose a direction and keep going that way but that’s just a wild guess. (Still better than not moving at all I suppose though.

So maybe thinking isn’t the problem here. The problem is that I keep thinking the same things. All over again. 
As in my my favourite movie, Big Hero 6,i need to start looking for an outside the box thinking. That is not enforceable, I cannot tell my mind “Find me an outside the box solution!” Mind can easily get stuck in certain ways of thinking and then outside the box idea becomes somewhat unachievable. 

I think the first step is to stop the mind as soon as you realise it’s down then same old track. 
I have a six year old daughter. One day she asked me whether she can draw with me. I said “Sure.

She started and did a few lines and then her face became red, tears appeared in her eyes and she ripped the paper in two, crumpled both pieces and threw them on the floor.

Through sobs she then said “I cannot draw.”

It is one thing to know that your mind is lying to you about your capabilities, and other to see someone so young being already manipulated into believing that they can’t do something. 

So let me give you a bit of analysis here:

> Anneke wanted to draw something, maybe a dog > She had a picture of this dog in her head and that picture is what she wanted to draw > What appeared on paper wasn’t the picture she had in her head > Based on her inability to draw that one picture of that one specific dog she ruined her joy she she originally had when she asked me whether she can draw with me and generalised that into the soul crushing statement “I cannot draw!” (even added the exclamation mark at the end)
Now I am her father and I always loved her drawings. Always. No lying. I think they capture her personality really well and although I could admit she’s not Picasso, quite close though, I would happily frame anything she drew. I like art not for perfection (although I like some ridiculously detailed works too), but I want art to make me feel good. 

I would want Anneke to be an artist (of any kind). But it’s her choice. So it hurt me bad to hear her already putting herself down because her little mind tricked her. 

I did comfort her and explained her that she just needa to practice, but I knew that she seen me doing the same so I was really careful to not cross the line where I will somehow lie to her. It was a lesson for me to don’t do the same no matter how much I will dislike what I drew (and believe me, I dislike probably first four, five sketches of what I am trying to draw and they all end in the bin, ripped). 
So what did I try to say? 

Basically, in the situation, should I see that my drawing went “wrong” and I didn’t EXACTLY replicate the beautiful picture I imagined, I could, before I rip the paper, stop and search for an outside the box solution. Not pretending that what I drew is great, or lie to myself, but what if somehow I could rework it? 

Because let’s be honest, if I’m trying to get better at drawing, for every good piece there will be ten bad ones. But those ten are necessary for the good one to be born. So are they worse than the one I will choose to publish, or keep? No. I need too learn to treat those maybe with even higher appreciation, like one would a child that has got learning difficulties. 

And that is what I want to do. 
Always search for an outside the box solution. I’m sure there is always at least one. We just need to believe in that possibility and slowly change our ways of thinking. I’m sure we can do it. 

​A peace of mind

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Me and my brother had recently discussed some aspects of human mind and as much as I tried to defend mind, my brother kept saying, that mind is the root of all suffering that we endure in our lives. 
As it was during my hours at work, I said I’ll write a little something about it, as it was an interesting discussion we started together have and to not forget where we were and what we said about mind and how do we, humans, interact with it, I said we can keep this topic open and each of us can come with some explanation for why we believe what we believe about the purpose of our mind. So here’s my opinion. 
Mind

Wiki >>>

Facts 

First of all, I think mind can only work with the facts. Or some kind of statistics, or probability. It seems to be what’s responsible for our decision making when we can divide things into black and white. Once we are talking about more shades, it kind of struggles because it can’t decide what’s best for us.
I read something like for each road we take there’s more roads that we don’t take. And when we are deciding about some long road, something like a career, marriage, any kind of long term commitment where the exact outcome cannot be relevantly predicted, naturally it will be our heart what will try to push us certain direction. 

Mind can decide what is the best thing to do to achieve what the heart desires, but mind doesn’t decide what it is that we want to pursue. 

The trickiest thing, and something I go through at the moment, is to figure out what to do when your heart doesn’t know what it wants. I mean it doesn’t know exactly what it wants. Mind is then struggling to provide the instructions how two achieve it as it doesn’t have a valid target. It feels lost and I think it starts misbehaving. It goes awol. 

I think mind can only find its peace in processing relevant information. It needs to feed on something measurable. 
– end of part I
PS: “I published this to to give my mind some peace. I got behind with my posts and I started to feel disappointed. 

I set myself some goals and with goals comes the possibility of disappointment. 

Because even when we try hard, sometimes it just won’t be enough, but that wouldn’t necessarily mean that our disappointment is deserved. I am now quite OK with what I have managed so far, this year. I’m still learning to manage my day to get the most out of each and every day and I’m sure eventually I will become fully focused on what is the best for me and the goal I want to achieve this year,or further down the line. For now a little peace of mind with where I am and how far I have gone is enough.”

​Little things

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Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
~ Aaron Siskind
I have chosen this post about the little things and photography as I really liked it. It is amazing how a photograph, especially the long forgotten one, with faded colours, can return you right away to the captured moment of time and remind you of “everything”. 

That’s partially the reason for my writing of these, at this point, kind of meaningless, posts (I’m trying to make one every day). To have something to remember. 
And today I also have a story, a story that I want to remember. 
I had to book an appointment at dentist and that meant I would have time in the morning to take Anneke to school. 

So we did everything as we usually do. There was a moment of deciding which bus to take, but Anneke’s grandmother, who was with us for Christmas and New Year said that 8.25 bus would be too early so we went for 8.43. 
We came to the bus stop and Anneke said her hands art cold. She has somehow somewhere misplaced her gloves. As we had plenty of time before the bus arrives we went to the shop across the road to get a bit warmer and on the right side of the door they had seasonal accessories including gloves. They had a nice children’s ones with rainbow and we took them. They were £1.75 so as I had only a card on me, no cash, I decided to add four scratch cards to get above £5 to don’t be charged for th card payment. 
We went back to the bus stop and we started ti scratch the cards. And Anneke won £20 on hers. 

So I promised her a magazine of her choice for £5 which I have given her. 
This little thing made our rare morning together really special and it made me smile for rest of the day. I have pictured the gloves and the card to have something to remember this by. 

And that’s the story for today. Nothing big, nothing extraordinary but yet something is want to remember. 
>
Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.

~ Humphry Davy

The Day

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There’s this song from Moby, The Day. 

It goes like this:
I try to know when to leave

She sits in the bedroom and grieves

There’s a sequence that starts all again

She can’t get up anymore with the pain
The combination of these drugs

Has left her hopeless and lost

She wants to count the ways

But she can’t count again
I will be right here

Till all the pain

Just disappears

I will always stay

Till all this light

Just kills the day
I strangle my words

Once, I tried a thousand times

Slaughtered like Gods

When the silver shines so hard
I tried to poison my life

Always dreaming on the edge of the knife

She always looked backwards

And I can sit here for even ten minutes or more
I will be right here

Till all the pain

Just disappears

I will always stay

Till all this light

Just kills the day
Oh hold on

Oh hold on

Oh hold on

Just try again, again
I will be right here

Till all the pain

Just disappears

I will always stay

Till all this light

Just kills the day
Oh hold on

Oh hold on

Oh hold on

Just try again
I remembered this song as I was trying to get an idea for today’s post. I decided to post a short text, an essay, or a poem, or just some random intellectual rant every day of this year. And I just realised how the day isn’t long enough for all the things I want to do. And it isn’t the day’s fault. Maybe I want too much from it. 
And here is the problem. I somehow came to this belief that I must spend my day doing some meaningful things and they all must be things that will get me to where I want to be be. Because otherwise what’s the point of doing anything?

If I am not doing these things, I panic. I feel sad, disappointed and generally empty. Like I wasted the day.  

Especially because whatever it is that I’m here to discover, it is my own task to figure it all out and I am still trying to understand what the hell am I supposed to do on this mission. 
I would want to say that closest to what I believe is our purpose here is to enjoy life. That wouldn’t be a problem if you truly could do what you want. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Well some say it is.
Good example is going to work, I don’t think there ever was a day when I actually wanted to go to work. At least not in the sense of truly wanting it. It somehow happened that I was raised to live with this belief that work is where the money comes from and you don’t work = you have no money. But working is essentially exchanging of one’s time doing what one “doesn’t want to do” to have money to do what one wants. And our level of satisfaction from this deal is simply a matter of how much of what we want we can afford after paying all the bills. 

Pretty sad right? 
Now back to where I started. 

I have this “ridiculous” dream of becoming an artist, an illustrator, a writer maybe and of getting to the point where that will give me enough money to do what I want (I mean more often). Because I truly wish I could make the money by doing what I enjoy doing rather then going to work. And at the moment, the only things that I really like doing and I can see myself becoming better at, with the potential of earning me some income are writing and illustrating. But it’s a long road and it still feels like a naive dream.

And I’m pretty sure that if that is what I want I must do something for it every day. Every bloody goddam day. Because if I can spend eight hours at work doing some random job, why wouldn’t I be able to dedicate some time to my own development?

Sounds cool, but I think that by the time I am able to do what will enable me to fulfil my dream I am already exhausted from doing my daily job. Then the willpower comes into play and depending on how strongly I feel motivated by my goal I can battle through the tiredness and get something done. Yet it somehow doesn’t make me happy. It gives me some sense of purpose, but from what I felt in the last few months, it didn’t give me true happiness. And that left me confused. 
Where is the balance? 

Where is the point where I need to give up on the idea when pursuing it makes me exhausted, but I still want to go after it? (No pain no gain they say, right?)

What am I missing? (Because I feel like I am missing something important here.) 
I’m not sure if any of you can give me some answer. If you have only, feel free to comment, I would appreciate that. 
Thank you.

​Struggle with being happy

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I’m sitting on the bus to work, only a few stops to go. Then a short walk through a small piece of woods and I will be at my working place. 
Sometimes my colleague asks me why don’t I get off at the earlier stop, which is closer to the work, I don’t know what to reply so I just pretend I like my routine and don’t fancy a change. 
I can’t be bothered to explain to him  that to walk 1.5 kilometres or let’s say 800 meters makes no difference. I don’t think I understand the obsession with taking the shortest route, being somewhere faster at all time. Like it’s our job to become great at coming everywhere as quick as possible, using shortest route and then be totally impressed how much time we saved for some great stuff.

I mean I get it. I do it sometimes. But if somebody asked me a question what am I planning to do do with the time I will save compared to going the longer route, I don’t think I’d know what to answer. Obviously getting home earlier is important (getting earlier this week work doesn’t seem as appealing). But if what we do with the time we gain by being super efficient at travelling, commuting is spending more time in front of TV, or killing it online, I’m not too sure whether it’s even worth it. 
I like being at home. Especially now, in winter. You spend hours and hours and a lot of money to make your house into a home so it would be pretty stupid to not want to spend your free time there. For introverts like me, staying at home with a book, or a good movie is one of the best ways of spending free time. The only drawback I see with that is that it’s not exactly healthy and we need some movement. A lot of it. And as I don’t like gyms, I decided to get my movement from walking. So I walk every time I can. I track how much I walk. I have some goals. I never had any goals before, definitely not in sport. But I guess there must be at least a little consciousness in what we do.
To live without without goal, or at least a sense of it, it’s pretty difficult. It might be OK to not have a goal for some time, but eventually you probably want to ask yourself: “So what is it that I want?” 
It’s a pretty hard question. I mean, if you want to answer it honestly. You could say “Oh, me? I just want to be happy.” Which is what I was telling myself everytime this question came up in my mind. But eventually I realised that such answer while technically correct, doesn’t satisfy. I didn’t want to admit it for a long time, but in order to o be happy, you just HAVE TO DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. So you need to ask yourself: “What makes me happy?” And after a moment of hesitation you should have your first thing that makes you happy. It might not be a big thing, it might be something as simple as having a cup of tea, or coffee with a friend. And from then, you can create your own list of things that make you happy. 

It’s not too difficult to come up with a decent list. The problem, as I see it, is with the time we have to do these things. Many of the things I like doing cannot be done while I’m at work. I can make myself happy outside of work, but I struggle to be happy at work. But maybe we don’t need to be happy all the time. Because what if what we refer to as happiness is just the awareness of the silent agreement with our deepest self and universe (God, Life) to love what we can and find love in as many things as we can. And if for whatever reason we cannot find love in certain things, just accept it. 
PS: “This post is part of my journal for this year. It’s a raw material that I might not have a chance to edit any further, so please accept its unfinished state. I decided to write more, to practice, to get to understand myself better and to be able to see my thoughts from today in let’s say a week could be useful tool for that. I have written much of this for myself, but if you found anything good in it, I am glad.”