The Chameleon in me

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It wasn’t until I stepped out of the matrix of standardised living that I realised everything is an illusion.  Despite my best efforts to remain above it all, I still want to look cool.  To look good and to invite admiration, respect and affection.  I am still defined by the ideology that I grew up to know as right – have a house, have a secure job, save for retirement, find a partner.  Find your passion.  Do stuff that will look good on facebook.  Have stuff that others will covet. 

But boredom has set in.  While playing in the illusion, I find myself not caring about outcomes.  Of being unopposed to being challenged and unperturbed by opinion.  More often than not I find myself as a chameleon, reflecting the requirements of the person in front of me and denying my true self to exist.  The matrix (or is it me?) is comforted by familiarity and abhors conflict and derisive behaviour.  By relinquishing control I’ve stumbled across a new freedom.  

There have been many catalysts & reasons to this perhaps temporary divergence from standardised living.

One –  too many people I know have died, are fighting terminal illnesses or have experienced tough times.  I understand death and hard times, but I don’t understand suffering.

Two – I’ve experienced an existential existence that feels more like home.  The matrix is not it.

Three – I can feel my heart divorcing itself from old connections, relationships and patterns.  I feel no remorse…at times I feel nothing.

Four – Life feels less gray.  Its becoming black and white and rainbows.

Five – the need to chameleon spontaneously erupts less frequently. When it does it feels fake and empty. 

I thought about the things that bring me comfort, joy and security.  The things that fill me up….they’re not particularly cool.. some are weird.  They aren’t rules, standards,  goals or a bucketlist.  They are just musings that I felt like jotting down, because sometimes I feel like I’m being pulled into a Pleasantville type of fantasy world…the type that you live on the surface.  The fantasy where you operate in a state of denial for fear of feeling the emptiness, unfulfilment and loneliness of a world without doing.  Where you can’t live with yourself stripped naked of ambition, achievement and success.  Where you can find solace and empowerment in the vulnerability of your own Soul because you realise that you are everyone.  And everyone is you.

We all seek connection.  But choose not to enter a state of intimacy.  Because we have built fear like a barracade to protect ourselves.  And in the process we create separation.  We deprive ourselves of the opportunity to experience heaven on earth because we fear love. 

Anyway…heres my jottings..little rays of sunshine that help me operate in this illusion..that fill me up..some are aspirational….

What I want today:

1. To have more stormy, rainy days filled with nothing in particular.
2.  To be independant.   And self sufficient. Always.
3.  To have a really great massage, whenever.
4.  To be fit and strong, shiny and vibrant.
5.  To eat delicious food & medicine foods my body craves.
7.  To help others but only when I feel in the mood..to teach..to give.
8.  To feel part of something great.
9.  To feel loved and cared for.  Receive infinite really really good hugs.
10.  To choose every morning what I’d like to do when I wake up.  Do I want to go to work, or go on a roadtrip in my brand new very fast (with lots of buttons) shiny car or book tickets to Bali?
11.  To be a student of the universe…doing endless retreats, workshops and creative endeavours.
13.  To blog on escapism, adventurism, crazyism, hippyism.
6.  To be crazily in love with myself and the space I’ve created.
12.  Wanderlust.  To find myself on top of mountains, in the middle of jungles and ensconced in faraway villages.
13.  To have endless hot showers and epsom salt baths.
14.  Ecstatic dance.  Groovy tunes.
15.  To build a place where people come, to be inspired, to learn, to find their tribe, to heal, grow and become.
16.  To feel freedom and excitement, thrills and adrenaline, peace and gratitude.
17.  To feel lost in space, embraced by Gaia, surrounded by mythical creatures in a fairytale storyline, cocooned in fluffy clouds and protected by the force.
18.  To minimise feelings of aloneness, lostness, confusedness or uncertainty, doubt and hopelessness.
19.  To unequivocally stand in authenticity, without excuses, masks or shame. 
20. To spend precious time with precious people.
21.  To be selfish and not feel guilty.
22.  To make peace and fully embrace in my failings, shortcomings and inadequacies

Mind pollution

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This morning I woke up thinking about work.  Every Sunday I get a familiar knot of anxiety in my tummy as I get closer to Monday.  I seem to hold this tension until I actually start working and realise its not so bad after all.  Looking back I realise I’ve experienced this my entire working career.   But in hindsight its nothing to do with work.  Work is just the catalyst and anxiety is a learned response when Sunday rolls round.

False Expectations Appearing Real

The real fear is around being seen – of being on a stage.  Fear of failure…or is it fear of success?  Fear of not being good enough.  Of being judged unworthy.  Of being seen as fake.  Of being vulnerable.  Fear of not being liked.

All unfounded of course.  Because fear is not real.  I am not in danger from any of the above.  I will not die from not being liked.

But if I give into these anxieties, fears, stress…will I LIVE fully?

I’m particularly interested in the root of this  anxiety because I still have an issue with high cortisol levels.  It could be one of those hen and egg scenarios – is there some imbalance in my body that started it OR is it my life – my mind

From a conscious theory perspective, anxiety is living in the future you see.  And anxiety is having a gap between where you are and where you want to be.   As I tender the question to myself, I agree with my higher self that yes, there is a gap.  There’s a gap in knowledge and experience.  I love my job, I love the people and love how its unfolding.  But I don’t feel like I have the necessary tools yet to do my job to the level I want to operate at.

I’ve always adopted a ‘fake it till you make it’ strategy.  As long as I have confidence and maintain authenticity in the moment, it’ll get me through any situation.  But then in creeps that seed of doubt…

I reflect on a visit to a revered medicine man I visited in Ubud with my friends Jules and Nige. When it was my turn, he went through the usual motions of checking out reflexology points in my feet, then points in my neck and head and announced, ‘theres nothing wrong with you (physically),  you just have doubt’.

I’ve always been very mind-y.  That is, I overthink to the point of not doing.  This affliction seems to commonly affect females.  (See this hilarious youtube clip on how mens and womens minds work).  How have I managed this in the past?  Usually with nutrition and exercise.  Early morning cardio works.  Eating less and eating well works.  Amazing benefits like increasing seratonin, alkalizing, oxygenating, circulation in the body ensue.  But what about the other benefits?  Well, it takes my mind off other pressing matters – work, money and all things that cause anxiety, doubt and stress.  It puts me firmly back in control. 

It wasn’t until I experienced grief that I realised that exercise and nutrition only get you so far.  I had experienced 6 months of loss of appetite and little sleep.  I was running on fumes.  I thought I was ok, until my hair started falling out..in patches.  Nothing I did physiologically, worked. 

Nothing worked until I quit my job and undertook a serious reevaluation of my life and the gaps in it. 

Nothing worked until I took time out to smell the flowers and push the reset button. 

Nothing worked until I learned the tools to live my life from a different perspective

I didn’t learn about the benefits of managing my mind until Bali.  I learned to love myself and love my life again.  Yoga, meditation, the embrace of a likeminded community.  The safety cocoon of being unashamededly authentic in who I am and what I’m feeling right now.  Nutrition and exercise aren’t the foundation.  The mind is.  It is an amazing, complicated tool.  But its not meant to work at turbo speed on aimless pontifications, fear mongering and pointless exercises.  Its a tool to be engaged when learning, doing and working.  But at other times it needs rest.  It needs time in the nothing box.

So now I return back to my Sunday morning affliction.  Here are my top tips for managing mind pollution:

1.  Write.  I journal and blog my way out of insanity. 
2.  Arm myself with tools.  I’m organised.  Prep for the week ahead.
3.  Ground.  Get into nature.  Hug a tree. Go for a bush walk.  Feel the insignificance of my problems fade as I take in the majesty of Mother earth.
4.  Breathe.  Breathe in for 4 secs, hold for 4, breathe out for 4.  Repeat.
5.  Dance, listen to music, affirm, listen to inspiring podcasts.
6.  Get perspective. Do NOTHING.  Do something I love. Have fun.  Be silly.  LAUGH.  Watch mindless comedys.  Stay in bed. Eat dessert for brekkie.
7. Treat myself.  Massage.  Facial.  Sauna.
8. Find purpose.  Bury myself in a project that I’m passionate about.  Get creative.  Draw a picture of the big picture.  Bluetack it to my mirror.
9. Yoga, meditation.
10. Connect with people.  Physically and mentally.