Sunday, 4 March 2012

Live Your Life Fully

Live life, don't just get by.

A year ago this month I had an awakening. I'd spent a miserable winter, my mind unsettled, thoughts constantly spinning, I felt I was falling apart. I broke down in March 2011, couldn't take any more stress. My sleep had been disrupted by nightmares, I woke frequently in a panic. I seriously thought I was losing my sanity.

Recently I've been feeling unsettled again. I've made some conscious decisions to change my life and more importantly, my thinking. Many people, myself especially, are content to just exist...

If you want to truly live life, to really experience it, to enjoy it to the fullest, instead of barely scraping by and only living a life of existence, then you need to find ways to break free from the mold and drink from life.

I've spent too much time dwelling on my own past, wasted years of my life probably. I've been eaten up with bitterness and anger, to a point where it was making me ill. I've learnt much this past twelve months. A great deal of what I've learnt has been painful, not only the memories that surfaced, but also the things I've learnt about myself.

I've let the past control who I am today. I have moved on from much of it now, I've learnt to lay blame firmly where it belongs and to accept that I was a victim. I was done wrong. I can't go back and change the past, can't undo damage that was done. What I can do though is to accept, to learn and to grow stronger.

I've grown stronger in many ways. I've let the anger that was festering inside me out. Lately I've learnt to forgive. I forgive myself. For years I blamed myself for not only letting myself be abused, but also for how it affected my adult life. No more. I forgive myself and it feels pretty good too.

I will never stop trying to make a difference though. I hope that my writing, my blogging and my social interactions help others as much as it has helped me. I'm no leader, I'm not a miracle worker and I'm certainly no hero. I'm a man, a man who wants to bring about change in people's perceptions and a man who wants to somehow make this world a safer place for the children of the future. I want people to learn that it's ok to talk about their past and I want the listeners to not condemn or judge the victim.

You will note that I don't forgive, or ask forgiveness for those that abuse. The bible teaches that we should forgive those that trespass against us... Child abuse and rape is not "trespass", rather it's an abuse of power and control. It's a crime. It deserves no forgiveness.

So many victims of these crimes cannot recover. Suicide rates are higher in those that have been abused or raped. The shame and pain too much to handle. I've attempted suicide in the past, I understand all too well how it feels. Thankfully I failed, but at the time I was mad that I hadn't had the courage to do a better job of it.

Too often we go through life on autopilot, going through the motions and having each day pass like the one before it. That's fine, and comfortable, until you have gone through another year without having done anything, without having really lived life.

Every suicide by a victim of abuse or rape should be classed as murder. Not self murder, but murder by the abuser or rapist. Many will disagree and it is your right to do so.

I receive occasional hate mail and rude comments. So be it, we all have the right to express an opinion. My blog and it's content are my opinion. You are not forced to read it. If you disagree with me then at least have the decency to do so openly and preferably without using gutter language. I understand why some victims would want to post anonymous comments and i haven't a problem with that, but to mail or post abusive comments anonymously only makes me think the sender is a paedophile or rapist anyway.

I'm moving on with my life. I'm moving away from the negative aspects of my past and I am going to try and be the man I should have been.

I am so grateful that people want to read my blog. It's an affirmation that I'm doing something right. Thank you.

Life is for living. Being happy is the goal. Be your own definition of happy, don't waste life trying to live up to someone else's definition.

This is a short essay based on Oscar Wilde's quotation, I hope you fine it interesting.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

Nowadays people kill themselves to eke out a living, improve their living conditions or keep their high standard of living, but they forget to live. A Scottish proverb says; "be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead." In fact, people don’t live, but they survive each day, for they are too busy, too tired, too stressed and too worried to really enjoy the pleasures of life. Everyone says; “time flies.” Thus, hours become days and days become years and years become a wasted precious life, and what for? Of course, for a better living.

It’s believed that to be successful in life and improve your conditions you have to work hard and never stop, because if you stop, another person will come and take your place.

Besides, as the present society demands a lot of effort to survive and keep a decent living, pleasures are the first thing to be put off when wanting to achieve any goal. However, if you postpone your enjoyment until you have time, money and/or proper conditions arrive that time may never come or come too late and your priceless life will be wasted.

The strains of modern life force people to live in such a hurry that they don’t even have time to enjoy the beautiful world we live in. People forget to take delight of the bonny things nature provides us. It costs no money and takes almost no time. "This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it." - Thomas Carlyle.

Being ambitious, human beings always want more than what they actually need or would really enjoy like a collector. People accumulate things for others to enjoy them, for they value their lives by the things they possess, which is a quite sad way of appreciating life since they’ll never be satisfied. “The true perfection of man lies not in what man has, but in what man is.” Oscar Wilde.

If people at bedtime review of the day ask themselves how much they delight the day, they’ll probably conclude that they miss another chance of feeling alive. Responsibilities are absolutely necessary as well as a job and material things, but life goes beyond that. How many people at their deathbed regret for not taking the opportunities they had to live, to have adventures and experiences? There is nothing better than to look back your past and be able to say; “I lived and lived very well. I made mistakes and I learned from them.”

In conclusion, our time is not eternal. Each second, minute, hour, day we waste is gone forever. To overwork for something you won’t enjoy is as silly as having the opportunity to live but to prefer to exist in order to talk about the ones who do live. Once we value more what we are than what we have, maybe our goals would change and feel what to be alive means. Thus, after feeling really alive, our life will be neither empty nor wasted but full of precious experiences.

Live Your Life

I found this list on a few sites and wanted to share it with you.

What follows is just a list of ideas, obvious ones mostly that you could have thought of yourself, but that I hope are useful reminders. We all need reminders sometimes. If you find this useful, print it out, and start using it. Today.

Love. Perhaps the most important. Fall in love, if you aren't already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. Abandon caution and let your heart be broken. Or love family members, friends, anyone -- it doesn't have to be romantic love. Love all of humanity, one person at a time.

Get outside. Don't let yourself be shut indoors. Go out when it's raining. Walk on the beach. Hike through the woods. Swim in a freezing lake. Bask in the sun. Play sports, or walk barefoot through grass. Pay close attention to nature.

Savor food. Don't just eat your food, but really enjoy it. Feel the texture, the bursts of flavors. Savor every bite. If you limit your intake of sweets, it will make the small treats you give yourself (berries or dark chocolate are my favorites) even more enjoyable. And when you do have them, really, really savor them. Slowly.

Create a morning ritual. Wake early and greet the day. Watch the sun rise. Out loud, tell yourself that you will not waste this day, which is a gift. You will be compassionate to your fellow human beings, and live every moment to its fullest. Stretch or meditate or exercise as part of your ritual. Enjoy some coffee.

Take chances. We often live our lives too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all. Quit your job and go to business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that girl/guy you've liked for a long time and ask her out. What do you have to lose?

Follow excitement. Try to find the things in life that excite you, and then go after them. Make life one exciting adventure after another (with perhaps some quiet times in between).

Find your passion. Similar to the above tip, this one asks you to find your calling. Make your living by doing the thing you love to do. First, think about what you really love to do. There may be many things. Find out how you can make a living doing it. It may be difficult, but you only live once.

Get out of your cubicle. Do you sit all day in front of computer, shuffling papers and taking phone calls and chatting on the Internet? Don't waste your days like this. Break free from the cubicle environment, and do your work on a laptop, in a coffee shop, or on a boat, or in a log cabin. This may require a change of jobs, or becoming a freelancer. It's worth it.

Turn off the TV. How many hours will we waste away in front of the boob tube? How many hours do we have to live? Do the math, then unplug the TV. Only plug it back in when you have a DVD of a movie you love. Otherwise, keep it off and find other stuff to do. Don't know what to do? Read further.

Pull away from Internet. You're reading something on the Internet right now. And, with the exception of this article, it is just more wasting away of your precious time. You cannot get these minutes back. Unplug the Internet, then get out of your office or house. Right now! And go and do something.

Travel. Sure, you want to travel some day. When you have vacation time, or when you're older. Well, what are you waiting for? Find a way to take a trip, if not this month, then sometime soon. You may need to sell your car or stop your cable bill and stop eating out to do it, but make it happen. You are too young to not see the world. If need be, find a way to make a living by freelancing, then work while you travel. Only work an hour or two a day. Don't check email but once a week. Then use the rest of the time to see the world.

Rediscover what's important. Take an hour and make a list of everything that's important to you. Add to it everything that you want to do in life. Now cut that list down to 4-5 things. Just the most important things in your life. This is your core list. This is what matters. Focus your life on these things. Make time for them.

Eliminate everything else. What's going on in your life that's not on that short list? All that stuff is wasting your time, pulling your attention from what's important. As much as possible, simplify your life by eliminating the stuff that's not on your short list, or minimizing it.

Exercise. Get off the couch and go for a walk. Eventually try running. Or do some push ups and crunches. Or swim or bike or row. Or go for a hike. Whatever you do, get active, and you'll love it. And life will be more alive.

Be positive. Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can't do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!

Open your heart. Is your heart a closed bundle of scar tissue? Learn to open it, have it ready to receive love, to give love unconditionally. If you have a problem with this, talk to someone about it. And practice makes perfect.

Kiss in the rain. Seize the moment and be romantic. Raining outside? Grab your lover and give him/her a passionate kiss. Driving home? Stop the car and pick some wildflowers. Send him/her a love note. Dress sexy for him/her.

Face your fears. What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? Whatever it is, recognize it, and face it. Do what you are most afraid of. Afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building, and look down over the edge. Only by facing our fears can we be free of them.

When you suffer, suffer. Life isn't all about fun and games. Suffering is an inevitable part of life. We lose our jobs. We lose our lovers. We lose our pets. We get physically injured or sick. A loved one becomes sick. A parent dies. Learn to feel the pain intensely, and really grieve. This is a part of life -- really feel the pain. And when you're done, move on, and find joy.

Slow down. Life moves along at such a rapid pace these days. It's not healthy, and it's not conducive to living. Practice doing everything slowly -- everything, from eating to walking to driving to working to reading. Enjoy what you do. Learn to move at a snail's pace.

Touch humanity. Get out of your house and manicured neighborhoods, and find those who live in worse conditions. Meet them, talk to them, understand them. Live among them. Be one of them. Give up your materialistic lifestyle.

Volunteer. Help at homeless soup kitchens. Learn compassion, and learn to help ease the suffering of others. Help the sick, those with disabilities, those who are dying.

Play with children. Children, more than anyone else, know how to live. They experience everything in the moment, fully. When they get hurt, they really cry. When they play, they really have fun. Learn from them, instead of thinking you know so much more than them. Play with them, and learn to be joyful like them.

Talk to old people. There is no one wiser, more experienced, more learned, than those who have lived through life. They can tell you amazing stories. Give you advice on making a marriage last or staying out of debt. Tell you about their regrets, so you can learn from them and avoid the same mistakes. They are the wisdom of our society -- take advantage of their existence while they're still around.

Learn new skills. Constantly improve yourself instead of standing still -- not because you're so imperfect now, but because it is gratifying and satisfying. You should accept yourself as you are, and learn to love who you are, but still try to improve -- if only because the process of improvement is life itself.

Find spirituality. For some, this means finding God or Jesus or Allah or Buddha. For others, this means becoming in tune with the spirits of our ancestors, or with nature. For still others, this just means an inner energy. Whatever spirituality means for you, rediscover it, and its power.

Take mini-retirements. Don't leave the joy of retirement until you are too old to enjoy it. Do it now, while you're young. It makes working that much more worth it. Find ways to take a year off every few years. Save up, sell your home, your possessions, and travel. Live simply, but live, without having to work. Enjoy life, then go back to work and save up enough money to do it again in a couple of years.

Do nothing. Despite the tip above that we should find excitement, there is value in doing nothing as well. Not doing nothing as in reading, or taking a nap, or watching TV, or meditating. Doing nothing as in sitting there, doing nothing. Just learning to be still, in silence, to hear our inner voice, to be in tune with life. Do this daily if possible.

Stop playing video games. They might be fun, but they can take up way too much time. If you spend a lot of time playing online games, or computer solitaire, or Wii or Gameboy or whatever, consider going a week without it. Then find something else to do, outside.

Watch sunsets, daily. One of the most beautiful times of day. Make it a daily ritual to find a good spot to watch the sunset, perhaps having a light dinner while you do so.

Stop reading magazines. They're basically crap. And they waste your time and money. Cancel your subscriptions and walk past them at the news stands. If you have to read something, read a trashy novel or even better, read this blog once a day and be done.

Break out from ruts. Do you do things the same way every day? Change it up. Try something new. Take a different route to work. Start your day out differently. Approach work from a new angle. Look at things from new perspectives.

Stop watching the news. It's depressing and useless. If you're a news junky, this may be difficult. I haven't watch TV news or read a newspaper regularly in about two years. It hasn't hurt me a bit. Anything important, my wife tells me about.

Laugh till you cry. Laughing is one of the best ways to live. Tell jokes and laugh your head off. Watch an awesome comedy. Learn to laugh at anything. Roll on the ground laughing. You'll love it.

Lose control. Not only control over yourself, but control over others. It's a bad habit to try to control others -- it will only lead to stress and unhappiness for yourself and those you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself. And lose control of yourself now and then too.

Cry. Men, especially, tend to hold in our tears, but crying is an amazing release. Cry at sad movies. Cry at a funeral. Cry when you are hurt, or when somebody you love is hurt. It releases these emotions and allows us to cleanse ourselves.

Make an awesome dessert. I like to make warm, soft chocolate cake. But even berries dipped in chocolate, or crepes with ice cream and fruit, or fresh apple pie, or homemade chocolate chip cookies or brownies, are great. This isn't an every day thing, but an occasional treat thing. But it's wonderful.

Try something new, every week. Ask yourself: "What new thing shall I try this week?" Then be sure to do it. You don't have to learn a new language in one week, but seek new experiences. Give it a try. You might decide you want to keep it in your life.

Be in the moment. Instead of thinking about things you need to do, or things that have happened to you, or worrying or planning or regretting, think about what you are doing, right now. What is around you? What smells and sounds and sights and feelings are you experiencing? Learn to do this as much as possible through meditation, but also through bringing your focus back to the present as much as you can in everything you do.

Work like you don't need the money.

Love like you've never been hurt.

Dance like nobody's watching.

Sing like nobody's listening.

Live like it's Heaven on Earth.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.


Intrepid Song said...

Wise insight and advice for not only survivors of child sexual abuse but also for those that have unhealed issues of any kind. Thank you for this encouraging post.

Patricia Singleton said...

I have been honored to see a small part of your growth process take place in the past year. I am glad that you are able to honor that journey in your own self.

Su SchapoSchanimo said...

Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts/insights... I came across your page while i was looking for the music Gulumcan on youtube... it's beautiful what you have put together.. I am a Christian, but Budha is also my teacher.. reading your blog makes me think that you might like Thay Thich Nat Hanh...
"happiness is in the here and the now"

Alex moner said...

A great deal of what I've learnt has been painful, not only the memories that surfaced, but also the things I've learnt about myself.Dr. OZ


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