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The Curse of Addiction

The following article is dedicated to a dear friend of mine, James Noonan. In the last eighteen months, James has transformed himself from an entity of self-destruction into an inspiring agent of change. As a result of discovering his internal strength, befriending the power of faith, and connecting with his Higher Power, James, with Monk-like spirit and Viking-like courage, has been able to liquidate his fears, worries, and self-doubt, and replace them with lasting happiness, and inner peace, as well as successfully unearthing his dharma (purpose in life)  - all the while serving as a beacon of hope to others around him; close friends, family members, and all of his brothers and sisters within the fellowship of NA (Narcotics Anonymous). 

James, today, today on this very day, is another day of celebration for you reaching yet another milestone in your recovery  -  taking one more step in the right direction of living a life free from addiction. 

"Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that insures the successful outcome of your future." - William James

Hi. My name is Chris and I am an addict.

First, I would like to begin by telling you a story, because agreeing with the words of Maya Angelou, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Yesterday afternoon, I sat through three-nail-biting-hours in fear of experiencing yet another relapse. Yesterday was a normal day for me, apart from the welsh sun making a most uncommon appearance. I woke up, prayed, brushed my teeth, took a shower, read for one-hour, meditated for one-hour, wrote for one-hour, and exercised for one-hour. My monastic morning routine, as it usually does, was going exceptionally well. In the early afternoon, upon returning home from a lovely walk in the countryside, I decided to relax on the sofa and watch a movie before cleaning the house. The movie, The Accountant starring Ben Affleck, was proving to be a wise selection. I felt happy, at peace, and complaint-free. My day was going wonderful... Until I noticed a notification spring up on my stupid smartphone. It was a woman, and she had messaged me with the sole intention of meeting her for sex. Sex... My kryptonite! My heart began to race with excitement and the butterflies in my belly were now enjoying some air-time. I quickly paused the movie (please forgive me, Mr. Affleck), sat up, and without hesitation began messaging the woman back. I knew by replying to her I would be placing myself in a vulnerable position, but when the darkness inside of you surfaces, it can be difficult to see the light. 

The woman and I continued to message back and forth for over two-hours, exchanging a multitude of explicit messages to one another as well as some other more raunchy materials which left us curling our toes in anticipation of the event that was soon to be unfolding  (in sex terms, this is referred to as “edging”) - before finally deciding on a time and place to meet. At this point, nothing else mattered; not my friends, not my family, not my work, and dare I say it, not even my beloved monk-morning routine. All essentials in my life immediately became non-essentials.

Moments before leaving my home to make the long journey to meet this woman, I found myself sat in my car posing a series of questions to the man in the mirror. 'Are you actually prepared to drive sixty-miles to meet this woman during the time where everybody is instructed to stay at home!?,' being one of them. After taking a few minutes to collect my thoughts, a saner mind soon prevailed. I opened the car door, walked back into my house, and politely began messaging the woman back explaining the reason behind my change in motive. She didn't reply. Less than ten minutes later, I had returned to my desk to finish up writing the article you are reading now. Thank goodness.

Situations like the one described above have not been of the rare nature to me in the past, but unlike the above, where I disallowed my addiction to get the better of me, I had always made the journey to meet the woman, whoever she was, wherever she lived — housing little concern for any other potential risks.

I've often thought to myself, 'How much of a man can a man be if he is constantly at the mercy of a woman's?' I'm sure you're familiar with the definition of insanity, which is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." If I was to continue playing ball with my sex addiction, the definition of insanity would loom over my head like a dark cloud for as long as I live  - and let's be honest, nobody enjoys being labelled as insane.

I know I have whaled on for far too long now, and I hope you will accept my sincere apologies for doing so, but in the wise words of Marcus Tullius Cicero, "If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it." Expression is a saviour, and this particular saviour, if used virtuously and consistently, can liberate your parents from the morbid duty of arranging your funeral before you do theirs. A little dark for a Sunday afternoon, I must admit, but I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Whether your addiction is based around drugs, alcohol, sex, or PMO (porn/masturbation/orgasm), it is important to understand that all addictions share one commonality: They each own short shelf lives. Moment-to-moment pleasure-seeking is a chore that we want  - and need  - to avoid at all costs. No if’s. No but’s. No exceptions. No excuses. What we should be striving to construct in our lives is, in the wise words of my friend, James Noonan  - to whom this article is dedicated to, 'our own private temple of serenity.’

Now, before we move on, "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23).

To my fellow addicts, similar to running a marathon or writing a novel, recovering from addiction can be a long hard slog. In the initial stages of our recovery, feelings of inadequacy, powerlessness, and hopelessness often became a common theme. Living a life free of addiction seemed impossible to us when we started out  - almost as if was too good to be true. ‘Me, clean!? Pfft. Perhaps they can beat their addiction but I certainly can’t!’ But as the hands of time continued on, the more meetings we attended, and the more people we conversed with, we soon came to realise, based on the many individuals who were now living great lives free from addiction, that conquering the "impossible" was not so impossible after all.

"In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd."  -  Miguel de Cervantes

Now, let us take a moment to brood over past times with the aim of reminding ourselves where our journey began. In doing so, it will allow us to observe how much our lives have changed from the time we were young children in comparison to where we are today.

When we were born, we did not choose to be condemned by the curse of addiction over the freedom of non-addiction. We did not cry out to God, 'Please God, inject me with the curse of addiction. I beg of you!' No, we had no case to plead - not to God or anybody else. As newborn babies, we harboured no intentions for anything, and we desired nothing more than our mother's nurturing. Beyond this, everything in our little lives was a mystery.

For some of us, our adolescent years were enveloped with tremendous pain and suffering. Our parents may have not been kind to us, we may have been raised in a dangerous neighbourhood, and we may have been forced to live in unhealthy conditions. A number of us may have become the poster-child for starvation, abuse; physical, mental, sexual, and abandonment. Heck, we may have never even met our biological parents, which meant being raised in care homes or taken under the wings of numerous foster-parents throughout our childhood. In other cases, our mother may have been a drug addict all of her life, merely getting by on government financial support, struggling to fuel her addiction let alone put food on the table for you, her child. As for our father, this could be a whole other kettle of fish altogether. Our father may have left when we were babies, and went on to start a new life elsewhere, or he may have been serving a prison sentence for slinging dope, robbery, murder  - or, he may even be dead. Who knows?

In hindsight, the world we grew up in naturally became the only world we knew - and for some of us, that meant a lifeless existence of violence, petty crime, and peddling dope in order to survive. And as time fleeted on, at a very young and fragile age, our addiction decided to step out of its shadow and make itself known  - and soon enough, by default, we became the product of our environment - leading us to follow in the footsteps of our father that we never knew.

But as I'm sure many of you will agree with, the above examples of a child's upbringing are one of many. Your childhood, very similar to my own, may have been fantastic  - something out of a fairy tale. Our parents may have been the kindest, supportive, and most loving parents in the world. We may have lived in a nice house in a safe neighbourhood, attended respecting schools, and achieved good grades. And above all, our family and friends may have been as clean as a whistle and dry as ice when it came to the consumption of drugs and alcohol. Possibly it was the same for you as it was for me, where your addiction chose not to unearth itself until the bud of infancy began to blossom into adulthood.

For years leading up to our first official encounter with addiction, we may have lived happy lives with a loving family around us, a secure and respectable job which provided a steady paycheque, owning good personal morals, enjoying a healthy social life, sticking to our daily disciplines, remaining loyal to our partner, and generally being a good law-abiding citizen. But then, all of a sudden, like an unsuspecting volcano erupting for the first time, we were introduced to something we hadn't experienced before; an alcoholic beverage, a narcotic of some sort, a sexual invitation, by someone; a friend, a family member, a work associate, or a stranger on the street. This 'something' quickly drew our attention, and for whatever reason, seemed to possess the power to cause the palms of our hands to clam, our toes to coil, and our eyes to widen in child-like excitement. This nervous excitement of the unknown presented itself in such a way where it was too appealing of an offer to decline. Consequently, our introduction was the beginning of our self-destruction.

And just like that, as our age continued to climb, our addiction grew bigger, stronger, bolder  - and we, cast under the spell of our addiction, ended up crawling closer towards the devil's door instead of stepping closer towards the Himalayas of happiness. 

"The dead drug leaves a ghost behind. At certain hours it haunts the house.” - Jean Cocteau

When we were in active addiction, we constantly sought to mirror the feeling we experienced when we first began using  - that bitter-sweet combination between the thrill of a rollercoaster ride and the rush of a high-speed car chase. That first line of cocaine, that first sip of alcohol, that first round of heated sexual intercourse with a total stranger which left us feeling like we were floating on cloud nine. But the more we chased that feeling, the further away we found ourselves from it. 

It is only when we apply the power of deliberate subtraction to our lives is when our lives begin amounting to more. Subtracting words from the manuscript of a novel often results in a more effortless read for the reader. Decluttering your wardrobe of the clothes you haven't worn in years allows more space for the clothes you most enjoy wearing. Removing our addiction from our lives helps us to lead a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. Less, then, in this sense, is not less at all; less is more, less is better.

During the times when you found yourself clasped firmly between the unforgiving vices of active addiction, using on a daily basis became as effortless as falling asleep at night after a long day's work when you were clean and sober. But what happened to our addiction when our courage and strength rose above it? The enemy backed down, did it not? When we provide the enemy with no ground to stand on, it is left with no choice but to retreat. As one of my favourite quotes reads, "Do the thing you fear," Emerson wrote, "and the death of fear is certain." Which is to say, face your fear of addiction head-on and it will soon subside. This is the key to a successful recovery.

To conclude, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27).

Thanks for reading.

To Read

I believe in reading books about people who are more intelligent, successful, and more experienced in life than I am. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, and Meditations by Marcus Aurelias to name a few. Only through this practice of reading more books about more extraordinary individuals will I be able to unearth more of the person that I was born to be.

In order to excel in life; taking on tasks that appear above your pay grade and thus accomplishing feats that are unfathomable to majority popular of mankind, “you must be willing to do the things today others won't do,” Les Brown wrote, “in order to have the things tomorrow others won't have."

It is only when you allow the feelings of self-superiority to subside is when your true self will emerge.

Thanks for reading.

The Savage or The Saint?

‘You could be good today,’ Marcus Aurelius wrote, ‘But instead you choose tomorrow.’

Picture this: You are one of the very few individuals who have been chosen to live life in human form - a rare birthing, and a magnificent blessing from Them; the Gods, and Her Majesty, Mother Nature.

The life of man owns an ocean of potential for he who not only realises the vastness of potential that shimmers before him but actualises it, too. Those of us who have been carefully selected to taste the flavours of human life are presented with two options on how to live before we begin living:

1. To become good by doing good to all of the God's children and Mother Nature’s creations

You can die happy, allowing yourself to drift into a deep eternal slumber knowing you gave goodness your best effort. You selflessly served others and demonstrated countless acts of kindness to those who needed it most in times of most need - you became a beacon of hope. Your love spread widely, equally, and unconditionally - like the wings of an infant dove taking flight for the first time - to all living things. Your energy unconsumed, your character full-blooded, and your love unbreakable despite witnessing many accounts of wickedness. What you did, you did with a wise mind and a full heart. What you did not do, you did not do for good reasons; for the benefit of mankind. Your entire life you approached all living things with patience, tolerance, warmth, and compassion. You have done yourself and others proud. Now, you can depart this life and make your way into Heaven knowing that you have lived honourably, happily, and humanly.

2. To become bad by consciously perpetrating evil upon all of the God's children and Mother Nature’s creations

Your passage into the burning gates of hell is paved before you. Your departure from this life will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy it. You will not escape it. You will shed much blood. And you will cry many tears before bleeding your way into the blazing pits of eternal hell for the sins you have committed. The most excruciating of torture instruments will pale in comparison to the pain you are soon to feel. You will beg for mercy, and will even find the nerve to ask for forgiveness before attempting to scurry your way into the darkness like a cowardly rat - but unfortunately for you, neither wishes will be heard let alone considered, for all of your final pleadings will fall on deaf ears.

Now let us take a moment to brood over the life you chose to live over the life you could have lived: You could have been the individual who possessed plenty of admirable traits; kindness, compassion, warmth, and love - but you chose otherwise. You could have provided light for those existing in the dark. You could have been great, but instead, you chose the savage over the saint. Your poor mother… How my ears bleed with tears of empathy in the echoes of your mother's cries during her labour of your birth. I pray that your mother's suffering is no more. As for you, your fate is already carved in stone. The devil impatiently awaits your arrival.

The state of your current life is a result of how you acted in your previous life, and the state of your next life will be a result of how you choose to act in this life - the quality of your lives depend on every conscious action from this moment to the next that you choose to take. Sow the seed of happiness and you will receive happiness; Sharpen the sword of evil and you will receive evil. 

Dear child, welcome to the world. You are a bundle of beautiful potential. I applaud you for making it this far. Congratulations. Now, please excuse my abruptness, young child, but before you grow any older, it is my duty to present you with two options...

Thanks for reading.

The Devil Inside

When it comes to producing art, art of any kind, there seems to be a certain level of resistance the artist feels prior to beginning their creation - a gravitational pull that steers the writer into every direction bar the one where his pen and paper lie.

This resistance is an unrelenting foe, one which possesses the power to lead even the most devoted of artists astray. This resistance will charm you into doing anything and everything bar the one thing you should most be doing. It will make household tasks such as washing the dishes, taking out the trash, and cleaning the bathroom appear glamorous; presenting each chore as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that should not be missed out on. This resistance is a master illusionist.

Some artists would justify the resistance they feel towards their work by putting it down to a prolonged bout of procrastination. Whilst other artists, ones that are far more in tune with themselves know that the daily resistance that never fails to tug on the back of their jumper harnesses a great deal more power than its parter-in-crime, procrastination. Resistance is the devil inside that never rests, never surrenders, and is forever focused on its mission.

Why do you think Leonardo da Vinci took 16 years to paint The Mona Lisa? It wasn't down to him running out of paint or being short on brushes, it was because da Vinci was a chronic procrastinator. And a result, he ended as a prisoner of his own resistance. In other words, da Vinci lost the battle against his resistance more times than he won it. With such devotion to the goddess of procrastination herself, da Vinci continually assigned himself new projects despite not completing the previous projects he started. Fortunately, before time eventually exposed him, da Vinci was able to finish painting the masterpiece that is The Mona Lisa. This is what Leonardo da Vinci wrote in his journal leading up to the final hours before his death: "To God and Man for leaving so much undone.”

As a writer, the scariest part of my day is staring at the blank page. There is so much to be frightened of - that is, of course, until I begin typing. First, come the words. Second, come the sentences. Third, come the paragraphs. And before I know it, an article is published or a book has been written. The fear of creators-block has been overcome, and the unwavering presence of resistance has now proven powerless. Following the completion of my work, I can go about my day knowing that today, this day, has not been a wordless day - it has not been a wasted day.

In a strange way, we must surrender to this invisible force of resistance before we can truly understand what it is and why it does what it does. We must watch it carefully, the same as we would watch our child when playing on the shore of the ocean’s edge at the seaside. We must first become the student of this resistance before we become the teacher of it. We must sit back and examine it, study its every thought and movement before deploying our own inner mercenary to wage war against it.

The solution, then, in not only commencing the work but also concluding it, can be comprised into two parts:

  1. To sit down in your chair and face the work

2. To remain seated in your chair until the work is complete

Whilst the above strategy may appear simple in theory, when the practical application greets us, it is far easier said than done - to which I will be the first to admit. Guilty as charged.

Okay, let’s approach this resistance from a different angle… Imagine your form of resistance wants to play catch with you. Your resistance says to you, ‘I’ll throw you the ball and you have to catch it. Okay?’ This is far from an ideal situation. Whilst playing catch seems like a harmless activity, it can leave you breathless if you're not careful. You need to thoughtfully consider your answer before replying to your resistance' offering. ‘Why so?’ Because your form of resistance is equally as qualified as a tricker as it is a specialist in distraction. Let's say you agreed to play catch with your resistance. The ball is thrown to you and you catch it - now the ball is in your hands. At this point, you are in a very vulnerable position as your resistance now has you exactly where it wants you. With no fathomable means of escape, you may feel more inclined to throw the ball back and forth with your resistance until the end of the day. This is the danger zone. But If you're willing to stand your ground and reject the offer to play catch from your resistance, then the higher chance you’ll have at winning your day. In short, if your form of resistance offers you to play ball, simply decline - and if your resistance throws the ball to you despite your decision not to play, do not by any means catch the ball

I wish you all the best with your creative endeavours.

Thanks for reading.

The Door of Light

“All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” - Blaise Pascal
 
To meditate is to dream. Meditation is a practice in which you can send yourself into the wildest corners of your imagination to really explore the depths of your mind before returning home safely, soundly, and singingly. To meditate is to adventure, explore, discover - meditation is to dream.
 
Meditation is not a practice where you should categorise your thoughts into numerous sections where you allow some thoughts freedom and enslave others - all thoughts, like all humans, are equal, therefore all thoughts should be treated equally. To mediate is to flow like the current of the ocean; openly and freely - it is a practice of currency where you allow your thoughts to drift in and out of your mind similar to the tide of the ocean.
 
The objective, then, of emptying your mind of its thoughts during mediation is not only silly, but it goes against what mediation represents - it contends the goal in which you are looking to achieve. The more energy you expend in repressing your thoughts, the more thoughts you will have, and the longer their visits will last.
 
When you are in meditation and have become lost, when you realise that you've been thinking of him or her or doing this or that or going here or there, you have succeeded in your meditation. ‘How so?’ Because you are aware that you have become lost, and now you can refocus your mind and return home. There are no boundaries to how far your imagination can travel during meditation, there are only minor suggestions, subtle subtle signs of advice from your mind's eye that lets you know that you may be closing in on travelling too far for too long of a time. But these are simply signs, not limitations. When you do, if you ever do find yourself doubting the repetitive process of getting lost and being found, take a mental step back and evaluate what is happening and how you are able to manage it. Soon, you will realise that in order to return home, you first must have realised that you were lost, otherwise you could not have returned - and now that you have realised, you can return. You see, going beyond your thoughts in meditation is not a failure, it is a success.
 
To take this one step further, let's say there was a certain criterion to how one’s mind should act during meditation, a criterion where only grave silence and statue-like stillness of the mind was permitted whilst sighting nothing but haunting darkness, ask yourself: 'Would I still meditate?' I certainly wouldn’t want to. Where is the fun in darkness? You cannot see - you are blinded by its presence. Where is the vibrancy, the joy, and the celebration in it? The light of life has been clouded by darkness - it shines no more. If there is no moonlit sky or twinkling stars to be seen, where is the pleasure in the darkness of the night?
 
Meditation, please do not show me darkness, for I will see enough of that when I take to my grave - when my beating heart is no more. For now, shower my mind with colourful blessings; show me a bright clear sky, a lushest green forest with hundreds of mighty oak trees, a beautiful sunset peaking over the horizon, and a family of light blue butterflies dancing through the air. Even greater, show me something that I have not seen before, provide my mind's eye with a totally new experience. Perform some magic for me. I command you.
 
Meditate where you wish, for however long or short you choose, whilst imagining what you can’t.
 
Thanks for reading.

Death by Materialism

Not too long ago, I was fortunate enough to bring all that I once dreamed of into my possession.

At the peak of my material greed, at twenty-four years of age, I believed to have it all: the thriving business, the swanky top-floor apartment, the expensive clothes, the luxury cars, and financial independence to the highest degree. Everything in my life seemed to be going so well. Until one evening, deep into the early hours of the morning, I was suddenly awoken by a voice - a voice that I had never heard before, a voice full of wisdom which owned soothing notes of warmth and compassion as it whispered the following words in my ear: 'That in which you seek will not be found in externals; the answer comes from within.'

During this time, I was becoming increasingly burdened by the physical possessions I had acquired over the years, and despite having more money in the bank than I knew what to do with, good health, and my freedom, there was an integral part of my existence that seemed to be missing. I was unhappy with myself as a person and had become quite depressed at the lifestyle I had built for myself - mainly due to allowing myself to become so egocentric and materialistic. So, in a cowardly attempt to curb my feelings of misery, I laced up my shoes, zipped up my jacket, grabbed my wallet and drove to the nearest town where I could, at least for a short while, fill the gaping void that lived on inside of me by, in literal terms, shopping until I dropped.

But the frustrating thing was, the more hours I worked on my business the unhappier I became. At one stage, when the flame of life burnt too brightly, I even contemplated reverting back to taking drugs to keep up with the crushing workload that continued to pile up. ‘I know I should sleep, but if I sniff a few lines of cocaine now, I will be able to stay awake and smash through this seemingly never-ending to-do list.’ As sad as it sounds, there weren’t too many days that went by where I didn’t seriously consider acting upon this self-destructive strategy in order to “keep up with things.”

And as for the monetary side of things, the more money I earned and spent, the uglier my life grew. Soon, my obsession with consumerism grew wildly out of hand, which branched out to the point where I was no longer purchasing designer clothes or expensive watches or branded kitchen appliances, I was now signing my name on the dotted line of finance agreement forms for luxury cars. ‘If the clothes and accessories haven’t provided me with the feeling I’m chasing, a car surely will,’ I thought to myself. That thought continued to gnaw away at my mind until I was eventually faced with a fresh set of problems - which arose shortly after purchasing my first car: ’If the first car didn’t quite do it, surely the second car will.’ And the vicious cycle continued, until one morning, I woke up to find three sports cars parked on my driveway, each faster and more visually appealing than the last; each more expensive than the last; each costing more than I could afford. And guess what? Each of the three cool-looking cars was owned by the master of discontentment himself: me.

On reflection, I should have been more focused on creating a better life for myself than earning a bigger income. I should have valued compassion over consumable products and I should have concentrated on my family and friends over single-serving women that I had just met on Tinder. But when you’re stuck in the world of constant hustle and bustle, money, power, and recognition, it can be a difficult place to escape from as you are blind to anything other than the world that you are trapped in.

You see, when we get too caught up in the hum-drum of life, caring only about work, financial riches, materialistic possessions, and ourselves, our life becomes lifeless. So much so that we often forget who we are and why we began this journey in the first place - and that time moves so fast that we are left in the lurch wondering what has happened and where time has gone. In the knowledge of this, it is of great importance to first understand the rule of detachment before you begin attaching yourself to certain things (and certain individuals) - in knowing full-well that the very thing you wish to acquire, once in your possession, can very quickly snowball into the one thing you wished it would never turn out to be. As the famous quote reads: "Be careful what you wish for."

Whilst I had achieved all of the personal goals I had set for myself back then, at least that of the external nature, in the process of doing so I had bypassed the most important goal in life: happiness. And as a result of my ignorance and supreme confidence in that ‘No man can ever have too many toys,’ I reached a stage of complete hopelessness in my life - I was lost without a map and harboured little faith of ever been found. It’s a strange feeling owning everything but at the same time feeling like you have nothing.

But who was to understand this experience I was going through other than myself? I mean, I never opened up to anybody about my feelings - not to my friends, my family, or even to myself. I was terrified of expressing my true emotions, and at the same time, I had become deadened by the social image I was slugging around. My friends and family were blinded by the image of success I had created for myself - they were deaf to the sound of my inner cries and oblivious to the severity of the storm that was blowing inside my mind.

And then one morning, toward the latter part of 2018, after what seemed like countless years of applying unnecessary pressure to my life, my pipes finally burst. This was the time when I said to myself that 'Enough is enough' and decided to throw in the towel on my previous life.

As cliche as this may sound, but within a few days of experiencing this sudden urgency to transform my life, I had sold and donated over ninety-percent of my personal belongings. I had also made arrangements to move out of my oversized apartment, successfully negotiated payment plans with multiple creditors I was indebted to and planned a trip to travel around America for three-months with just a backpack.

All in all, downsizing and simplifying my life has been the best decision that I have ever made. I now own less than twenty-three items to my name, and as a result, I can honestly say that I feel freer, happier, and more at peace than I ever have before. I have not looked back since.

There really is a sort of magic to living a life of less.

Thanks for reading.

Thank you, but No Thank You

A short while ago, I was contacted via email by a well-known American media company that was interested in purchasing a wide range of written articles from my blog - articles that I myself had written and published.
 
Once I had finished reading the email regarding the company's offering, I was rather taken back. I mean, here was this well-established company offering me a generous sum of money to purchase a selection of my written articles, and here I am, a twenty-eight-year-old Welshman who does not have a job and writes from his bed whilst drinking cups of tea all day long. I only viewed this offer as a little unusual because I write purely for myself, as a medium of expression - my own form of personal therapy, if you will. And for a company to show financial interest in this style of writing seemed to throw me a touch off centre, that's all.
 
After a few days of stilling my mind, sitting in quiet contemplation regarding the offer that stood before me, despite the sum of money offered proving most appealing, I wrote an email back to the company respectably declining their offer - providing them with sufficient reasoning to why this was. The company replied, and much to my disbelief presented me with a second offer asking if I would kindly consider writing new articles for their website - beginning with one publication per week. Again, I took some time to think the offer over before, for the second time, respectably declining. The company responded with a very polite and supportive emailed thanking me for my time before wishing me all the best with my future in writing.
 
Now, I know what you might be thinking, “Why on earth would you turn down a considerable sum of money for a few articles you have written?” And trust me, for a long time I would have asked myself the same question and would have called myself a fool for turning down such a generous offer. But in-between the time of receiving and declining both offers, I allowed myself some breathing time and space to think - you know, time to sleep on it before making any potentially rash decisions. I knew that all I had to do was repeatedly ask myself the same question until the truthful answer decided to unearth itself: 'What is the reason for turning down such a great opportunity?' At first, I was lost for words. I was stuck in a clarity deficit and found difficulty in answering the question open and honestly. But as the hours floated by and the days went on, I soon discovered the answer.
 
Remember, money works like the ocean; it flows with the current - money is currency. Meaning, money is always going to be available for those who wish to acquire it, whenever they feel the desire or urgency to do so. Therefore, since the currency of money will not ever cease to flow for he who is wise and diligent enough in his proceedings, it is important that you, the maker and shaper of your own destiny, do not take certain financial offerings and other opportunities lightly - especially in exchange for that in which means most to you.
 
Thanks for reading.

The Truth About Death

It appears that I have broken the cardinal rule of life: Instead of concentrating my time and energy on living, I have been concentrated on dying.

To continue thinking of and speaking of death is utter sin. Not only to your mother, your father, your family and your friends, and not only to mankind on the whole, but a sin to yourself. For how sane is the man that continues to put off life due to his constant dreaming of death? It must be questioned; you must be questioned.

I am a man alive, not a dead man. My beating heart, my busy mind, and my functioning limbs support how alive I am. Therefore, how am I able to talk about death with such conviction when I have not yet tasted death myself?

In truth, whilst my inherent nature demands a reasonable understanding surrounding the subject of death, in reality, my knowledge on the subject is far from worthy. No, I am unsure of what death is, what it looks like, what it feels like - and if you are alive, you do not either. All text which focuses on the experience of death is of the fictional nature due to the writer being alive at the time of composing. A dead man cannot write - he is dead and gone, no longer able to blink let alone hold his pen.

Life is short and full of mysteries. Nobody knows what Heaven and Hell look like, what they are, whom or what resides there - and if such places even exist. So, continuing to daydream about Heaven and Hell makes life even shorter.

We must regularly remind ourselves that at this very moment, there are thousands of people being born into the world; some strong, some weak, some healthy, some ill. Whilst it is fact that all of our days on Earth are numbered, some people will only get to experience life for a few hours, days, months, a couple of years at most - whilst others will be fortunate enough to live for seventy-years, eighty-years, ninety-years, one-hundred-years or more and will have tasted all of the flavours in which life has to offer. But even in the case of a newborn baby experiencing life for only a few short years, this is not to say that death is a tragedy - it is not. For the tragedy is in the perception one has towards death, not death itself.

Here, then, we should feel grateful for the stretch of time that we been given to live from the time of our births, and remain grateful for however long we will live up until the time of our death - keeping in remembrance of those who have been far less fortunate than ourselves.

Up until now, I have been busy dying; from this moment on, I will get busy living.

Thanks for reading.

To Be Happy

Unhappy people compare themselves to those who have more than they do in their lives, even though they themselves have plenty: more relationships, more houses, more cars, more money.

Happy people simply do not compare, instead, they open their mind's eye to the things they have in their life opposed to the things they have not: good health, a loving wife, a beautiful child, a quaint cottage in a safe and quiet village, food on the table, their ability to see, hear, taste and communicate. Happy people are content with the little things and simple pleasures in life whereas unhappy people are in a never-ending pursuit of the next thing: a bigger salary, increased social status, more power and recognition, a faster car, a larger home, a more beautiful wife, another friend, a better body.

Happy people are not in competition with anybody; they view everybody equally. Nobody is better or worse than the other; we are all as one.

Thanks for reading.

“I Love You”

‘I love you,’ in the morning. ‘I love you,’ in the afternoon. ‘I love you,’ in the evening. 'I love you.' here, 'I love you,' there.

What is the need to keep repeating these words? It seems that your love is plucked with strings of uncertainty, inauthenticity, fear - your love lacks love. How can it not? You go on repeating the words 'I love you' like a broken record, almost as if you are searching for something that cannot be found - something has to be wrong. Too much of anything is no good, and too little of anything is not much better - therefore, a balance must be struck.

The same goes for the man who is at peace with himself; for the peaceful man does not go on repeating the words ‘I am at peace.’ Only the man who is unsure of his peace keeps repeating ‘I am at peace.’ If you are at peace, simply be at peace - stay true to your peacefulness by remaining peacefully about how peaceful you are. For if you fail to do so, time will eventually expose you.

Hearing the same words time and time again, whether the words are coming from your own mouth or someone else’s, can get tiresome to listen to - and eventually, such words will begin to fall on deaf ears. As time passes, the more you verbalise your love for somebody the less meaning it has.

'But I want him to know how much I love him.' But your love for him appears to be scant of love. There is no love in your voice when you say it. There is no love in your eyes when you look at him. Your heart appears to be empty of love. Where is your love? If you love him, love him by showing him you love him - not by telling him.

Ask yourself: ‘Am I stating my love him/her as often as I do to make up for my shortage of love I have for him/her?’ Perhaps you're in denial of your love for them or are confused about what true love is? If your love is not there, the least loving words you can keep echoing is 'I love you.'

When you are next tempted to ‘I love you’ to a certain someone, pay close attention to the true reason behind why you are saying it - and if, in the purity of your love, you do decide to say it, how you say it should not be in question.

Thanks for reading.