Saturday, 27 October 2018

Seagulls

So much of life is about expectations and perspective...

Porto, Portugal - 22 October 2018

If I had come to the beach expecting a spiritual revelation, or an awakening of the soul, I'd be sorely disappointed. 

But if I had come to  the beach expecting to get shat on by a seagull, followed by a late afternoon nap behind a rock to keep the sand from getting in my eyes, I'd be satisfied.

Satisfaction is the result of expectations being met, and perspective is what determines our experience.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Pudding


Traveling forces one to be flexible. If you are not, you will break.

Our train got cancelled on our way to Gent from Amsterdam. The turn of events landed us in Rotterdam Centraal on a "layover" en route to Belgium.

If our train hadn't been cancelled, and if we hadn't had to twice change platforms, we wouldn't have enjoyed our moment in the sun, drinking coffee and eating a warm slice of Dutch apple pie. If we didn't just accept the circumstances and let go of the oars, so to speak, we would've been thrashing against the current, fighting the flow of events, and potentially missing out on one of Holland's finest desserts. Instead, we peacefully drifted on, munching contentedly, while observing a few such thrashers.

One of these was a lovely, blond woman who looked to be in her late 20's. She fought the current with all her might. Blush and lipstick delicately - purposefully - applied, hair coiffed just so, toffee-coloured peacoat cinched around her tiny waist, she clomp, clomp, clomped in dainty heels to the new train platform. Italian curses and manicured hands flew feverishly around her head. The way she furrowed her brow and huffed and puffed through her cute little nose, one might have mistaken her for a rhinoceros in pumps.

The proof's there in the pudding: Beauty does not beget happiness. Especially when paired with inflexibility.

"Accepting what is", however, does. I am not traveling in style. My hair is due to be washed, and the little make-up I did have on has been rubbed off absentmindedly as the day progresses. I don't mind. Like unpredictable train travel, I accept it, and move on.

While I admire those who find joy in traveling stylishly, for me it is just something else to think about. Something to distract me. The hair up-keep, the lipstick maintenance - these things would keep me from being fully immersed in the present moment.

I cast no judgement on those who look like they've stepped out of a fashion magazine, complete with a matching roller bag. By all means, carry on with your attractive ways, strut your stuff from London to Paris. The bedraggled rest of us are looking on with admiration, enjoying the view - and the pie.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Freedom within the form


How can we create a kind of structure,
a routine and a rhythm
while also embracing the freedom we long for?
Is this lack of structure
a lack of discipline?
Because we’re so used to being told where to be when, and for how long?
And this desire for freedom,
this desire to change something,
to re-invent ourselves –
is it not just a fa├žade?
A mask we wear,
covering our true desire?
Our desire for purpose?

What, then, is more important?
The form?
Or what’s within it?
Are they equal parts of the same whole?
Or are they separate things that can survive alone,
but thrive when living in symbiosis?

You can have the form.
But it can crush you.
It doesn’t mean you have the freedom within it
to explore and travel through life with joy,
knowing full well your purpose within.
And you can have the freedom,
but without the form,
you just…
drift.

Some people are okay with the latter.
They are called drifters for a reason.
Rolling stones,
gathering no moss.

There is something poetic, in here, 
somewhere.
Trapped between the prose lies a poem.
It oozes from between the letters, wanting to be seen.
Why so elusive?
As elusive as one’s purpose.
Ha!
But purpose with a capital “P” is only there if we need it to be.
If we choose it to be.

But what is purpose without structure?
What is freedom without form?
Does ‘boundaries’ have to be such a dirty word?
Or can it just be a cage without the bars?
Just a box that the wind blows through.
Lines that guide you but don’t trap you. 
Poles that protect you but don’t tame you.
No one ever said freedom came with a price.
Oh wait…
but why must that price be so goddamn high?
Why can’t it be something joyfully paid?
Let’s, each of us, ask ourselves,
what do we want?
But more importantly,
why?

Here I am, punching words into the keyboard,
letting go of the oars
in this stream of consciousness.
Drifting.
There’s no right way,
there’s no wrong answer.
There’s just energy,
contrast,
and desire.