These Times

Been a while since I ventured into this neck of the woods.

Was I suffering a bit of writers block, was I just too busy being busy…was I afraid to head back here, for fear of what I’d find, or what I’d be reminded of?

Option D: All of the above, perhaps?!

It’s just over a year since my check-in and time of intense introspection. Sho, this year has really been a difficult one for me. Arguably the toughest of my existence.

Got stripped of most things [material] and also have had a few emotional moments, to be honest.

It’s 10 days from the end of this year,  heck, it could probably be the end of the world soon too?

Who knows. Thing is, I am where I am because I’m meant to be here. There’s a path, which I may or may not have chosen, depending on how you reason, and the outcome of that is exactly where I find myself now…typing this.next.word.

How bizarre, or apt, or whatever…I’m writing this piece, listening to a Jamie Odell aka Jimpster podcast for Freerange and the track, Traumprinz – Changes [a rework of a classic Sandy Rivera joint] comes on.

The most memorable line of this track is: “Now my life is, going through some changes”

Cannot find a more fitting one-liner.

You see, right now I’m having to make a number of vital and life-changing decisions. Very difficult decisions. Decisions that are taxing on me financially, emotionally and often physically. Decisions that will cost me friends, family and [how i approach] life.

It’s that time for me.

I love this track by the Jimpster.

Jimpster – These Times

Inspires me to write…it’s actually the title too.

“…pray that you will find the reason why, that I feel these times…that I read the signs, something I recall just slips away”

So yes, you may not always agree with me or what I do or say, and that’s ok. Hopefully there’ll come a day when we can agree.

For now, let’s focus on these times.

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Take a left, right

It irks me that we don’t stand up for what is right, by being left.

Sheepishly I conform to what is said and done with the view of not offending anyone by voicing our viewpoints, despite these being factual and ethical and showing that I actually have a point of view and a belief system, rather than what is fed to me.

I particularly find this sort of behaviour in the church life. Funny how many of us are very literal about the ‘sheep and shepherd’ thinking and dare not go boo or BAA [see what I did there] when I’m uneasy about a certain statement or occurrence or both. This gives power to those [in power] and inevitable causes a load of hogwash down the line.

While we’re on the subject, why do we think that there’s a certain vocabulary connected to church? I’ve come to say that this is nonsense. How many of you know that despite us all having the same beliefs pertaining God/Jesus Christ, we aren’t therefore forced to speak the same and use the same phrases. How sheepish!

Take a minute to think how those who are new, to visiting the building we choose as a place of worship, feel when they realise that, hey, I’m just not ‘fitting’ here…the ‘in crowd’ and ‘vocabulary’ of the chosen I’m just not getting. Must be rubbish and disheartening and a good enough reason for them not to return, no.

So how about going against the grain…choosing to be true to myself and at the same time be real about being real.

Take a left, right [now]

Able to respond

Circumstances. Nothing much we can do about them, especially if we were born into them. Take for example the fact that a few of us are born coloured, born on the Cape Flats, born into a family where everything was gained by extreme hard work…maybe both parents needed to work in order just to ensure basic necessities were supplied.

Maybe you were born to a single-parent scenario or possibly no parents at all. Seriously at a disadvantage. There are other horrific circumstances I could suggest as well. Pretty much a handicap in the ‘race of life’

Does this make me though? Does this decide what I can achieve or become?

Two days ago I was fortunate to sit in on a talk [facilitated by my brother] on RESPONSIBILITY. The ability to respond…DESPITE what you’ve been dished up.

You see, society would love us to believe that we can achieve as much as our circumstance allows us to. Of course, a certain amount of realistic thinking needs to prevail. That being said, deciding and acting upon the decision, as to what you’d like to become [your goal] goes a long way further than submitting to society’s branding.

Many of us are conditioned to accept our fate and the defeatist mentality that comes along with this. Comfort zones, which are often not too comfortable, if we’re honest. Couple this with the ‘my grandparents and parents all lived this way, so surely this is my way as well’ thinking and we’re well on our way to average lives.

Its nice and easy to settle.

How about I respond and decide not to

 

Life Sucks

So I’m reading a book about the life of Lolly Jackson. Teazers boss and owner of some of the finest sports vehicles known to man, one of which is none other than the Pagani Zonda.

Now you’d think that a guy as successful…wait a minute, how do we measure success? By the [amount of] things we have…right? So a guy as successful as this should be helluva happy with life and his accomplishments. Should be pleased to look at his materials and satisfied with the life he had lived?!

I read that this wasn’t the case, in fact towards the end of his time on earth he was a very disoriented and miserable human-being.

How then did this happen? Surely, if the way we as society decide on our measurement tools for success and happiness, he would be one of the happiest humans around. Afterall, what I have decides on my degree of happiness and ultimately who I am [seen as]? Really…

IF this was really how we gained true happiness, why are we always chasing? Why are we always dissatisfied with what we have and seeking to get more and get better and get recognition for getting and having?

What a warped [mis]understanding of what happiness truly is. Its how we decide for others as to how happy or accomplished we think they are. Our perceptions based on the physical rather than the spiritual and emotional well-being of another. Quite easy then to play out a false sense of success…because i have and I wear [a fake smile], surely i have arrived.

The reality lies in the fact that when we think we’ve arrived, we then really only arrive at a place of realising that we haven’t. Confusing isn’t it. For ever we’ve been ‘schooled’ into thinking that ‘happiness is measured in possessions’ and as a result we’ve pursued this way wholeheartedly. Sadly so.

More and more I’m being schooled in the real of knowing that if I aint happy inwardly, no amount of outward fooling will change that.

So until we get that, life will suck…[if you could, I’d suggest] ask Lolly…

Forget what you know

Anonymity. The right to remain anonymous. Remaining unknown.

How easy is it for me to want recognition. Demand it. Especially when I’ve done something, which I think deserves a mention and with that have my ‘name in lights’

So when I see the 12th tradition of NA [note the word ‘see’] I think, it’s obviously because we don’t want others to know who comes to these meetings. Really?! Well the anonymity of other members is of paramount importance, however, it goes about not seeking recognition for the part we play [big or small]. How powerful is that!

Those who drafted the [steps and] traditions surely knew they had me to deal with. Someone who has these self-esteem issues, so when I eventually do something evenly remotely good, surely somebody needs to announce that I’ve been involved, surely! How about we don’t?!

The latter part of the first half of this tradition [ends by] saying “is the Spiritual foundation of all our traditions”…so there’s something ‘Higher Power’ about this, something beyond my human understanding. Something which would dictate that when I do something good without broadcasting it [no not quite the BBM type], it’s quite likely my Higher Power [God] will reward me…or not reward me. ‘Cos you see, just because I’ve done something positive it doesn’t automatically mean I get something.

Of course I could…and that’s just how Grace happens.

 Now for the 2nd part of this tradition.

Principles before Personalities. Ha! Sho, how this was written for me, even more than even the first bit.

My default action is to judge. Judge. Judge. Judge. Based on physical possessions, likes, dislikes, status…STATUS! I also base my re-action towards other humans on my judgement of them. My [false] understanding of who they may or may not be.  It’s a terrible habit. Funny then that this tradition reminds/demands that I forget what I [think I] know about another human-being and look at what principle would suggest/demand.

My understanding here is that I need to look past social-standing, possessions and/or religion. Rather, out of the comfort zone, sorta stuff eh.

What i get here is: forget about me…

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities

 

I get deep…I get deep

My name is Bradley. I am not a bad person. I have an illness. I am an addict….and today I’m feeling ____________

This little bit of wording became quite repetitive during my time in treatment. The last bit is quite important to me. Wait, actually the entire utterance is of utmost importance.

There’s a whole lot of recognition and reality in it. The three little sentences after my name underlines what I’m dealing with, then goes on to remind me that this is not a moral issue. For the longest while, and still today, society would so easily group those of us stricken with this condition/disease and thereafter possibly shun us forever.

I won’t lie, before I became aware that I fall smack-bang into the addict group, I’d easily have agreed to the treatment method above. This is how warped my brain is…and also how quickly it is for me to judge people. Put me in that situation and it’s so much ‘easier’ to plead my innocence. It’s not so easy when the glove is on the other hand, right?

The part I’d most like to look at is the very last bit…a recognition of a certain emotion/feeling I have. You know, for me, the easiest cop-out is to ignore feelings. Not recognise feelings. Block out feelings. By doing this I momentarily continue with life as if there’s nothing wrong [or right], but in doing so I build up resentments and loads of other negative emotions.

By admitting to a certain state of mind, i consciously realise that something has happened which has caused me to feel a certain way…i can then choose to trace back what had transpired to cause this and then address the issue at hand. This isn’t only when I have a negative state of mind though. Positive emotions have reason behind them too, so unpacking these are just as rewarding.

Taking stock isn’t always fun…it is always necessary though.

Today I’m feeling!

People Two People

I met a girl on Sunday. A 19year old girl…the conversation we had left an indelible mark on my life.

We spoke about human beings, our imperfection…we spoke of the misinterpretation of Christianity and the distrust and judgement that goes along with this. I share with her openly, my disease, and the un-manageability it had caused…how this has [in]directly affected my viewpoint on church and people and life. The content of our conversation was of such value, I am left feeling a sense of great respect towards this female…this woman of character. I have never before experienced such a sense of purpose and direction from a person still in their late teens.

3weeks ago I met a gentlemen. 60years old he is. Throughout our interaction over the past 21 day period, I’ve always felt a sense of maturity, intellect and gratitude from him. Last night he shared some of his experiences with a group of us. Besides his immense material wealth, he also is an extremely intelligent human-being. However, these ‘human’ measurements could not save him from the person he had become, as a result of this disease.

This got me thinking. I, being quite intelligent and quite ‘achieved’ in terms of physical possessions, have often come across as a rather pompous human-being, with a great amount of denial towards my faults and illness… Well, if he [who has achieved more than I have and more] could find himself at the cross-roads of life vs. death. If he could realise the chaos he had caused as a result of his disease. If he could become exceedingly humble and grateful for a second chance at life. Who am I?

Today’s write is about people. Over these past two days [and even before], I’ve been reminded that we meet people, not per chance.

I am grateful for the human-beings I meet who leave a positive effect on me.

I am grateful for people…two people.