Embrace The Storm

A seventeen year old once asked me if all problems in life spring from laziness. It took me a moment before responding, “yes, and no.”

That thought, however, did get me thinking. Firstly, different cultures breed different definitions of “hard work”. Some see working hard as a career, a financial ladder to climb. Others see it as overcoming struggles of one’s youth. Some see it as maintaining a healthy and happy home, others see it as maintaining a healthy and happy mind. Secondly, different people have varied perceptions of hard-work. To some, it’s what we put out into the world, and to others, it’s what we give to ourselves.

So is it truly laziness that springs all problems? Yes, and no.

Yes, in the sense that whatever we become negligent in, we will lose balance. Now this is not to say that we must do all things on our own — in today’s fast-paced era with rapid advances and reactions over responses, it is very draining to do all things alone. This type of “aloneness” can also lead to levels of arrogance, as evidenced by the growing narcissism within the millennial generation; not necessarily the grandiose sense of it, but the covert sense, where people don’t make an effort to relate to others yet expect others to cater to their needs.

This, my friends, is arrogance, the type that is sprung from laziness and negligence. It is an insecure arrogance, not a humble pride.

It is for this reason that we have people in our lives: to humble us. Some maintain our emotional health, some boost our physical selves, others cause us to reflect on our inner workings, and then there are those who motivate us to put it into action.

Of course, we could do all of it alone if we really put our minds to it, but it can also be a long, tedious, and extremely lonely journey. This type of “loneliness” leads to complacency. People get tired, and then take a rest. They get comfortable resting for so long and forget what motivation feels like. Climatologists would look at this “low pressure zone” and call it a “tropical depression”. Psychologists would look at it and call it a “clinical depression”.

Here’s the good news: we’re all human, we have life. I look at nature — flowers, trees, grass, oceans, skies — all life has seasons and changes. We’ve accepted that flowers bloom in spring and leaves fall in autumn, then it is pure logic that humans, too, have seasons. All life changes with nature, we are humans, we have life, we have human nature.

How does a depression blow over? Embrace the storm. Let the cyclones and typhoons blow away the pollution so that you have clear skies (clarity) and sunshine (smiles). The rain (tears) wash away the pollution (toxins) and

voila, the solution presents itself.

But you must first embrace the storm.

(Hint: the sky isn’t always up…it’s right in front of you… the globe is round… just saying…)

Mikavelli

Embracestorm

Mind Over Matter is Truly the New Matter

(*Disclaimer: This one is a bit paradoxical, on the theme of “Crossroads”)

We live in a world of information, competition, and perceived freedom.

It is true that since the perpetuation and expansion of what one generation calls the Internet, and the rising generation calls “Social Media”, information has been at our fingertips by choice.

The Internet has provided us with a platform of access to our minds. A smartphone, a laptop, a piece of almost “mundane technology,” once one of the greatest inventions of our species, now a simple representation of our minds manifested in a physical realm. The Internet is an invention, probably the only revolutionary invention (not upgrade) of the modern generations. It is also one of the first real tools that has no physical entity except for how it is expressed. The Internet, cyberspace, social media…they are intangible creations that transcribe our minds to the eyes of other readers by leaching onto physical entities such as gadgets.

The mind (Internet) over matter (devices) is the new matter: all that appears to matter is what happens in the mind

This information gives us “choices”, guidelines and “standards” of “civility”. In the last two decades, we have seen this level of “information boom” shock the planet into civilization. All that was known to us suddenly sent the world into an unspoken fear of the “perceived known”. That shock woke the world into realizing how much there is we don’t actually know. How chaotic everything can be, and also how fear drove one spectrum into civility and another into barbarianism.

Is it really a choice, though? We believe that we have the freedom to indulge such information, such knowledge, such “updates” and so forth. But how often have you clicked on a link, a post, a picture, simply because you “couldn’t resist the urge” to do so? Does this not stand to reason that your freedom has thus been overridden by the constraints of habit?

The Internet, or social media, has allowed us to develop new languages and modes of communication where we feel like “mind over matter” is truly the new matter. Being drawn into political debates about countries that have no physical bearing on oneself, empathizing with the idea of philanthropy (social justice) around the world, taking it upon one’s egotistic shoulders to “change the world”, adopting new labels and definitions simply because this “sounds a bit like what I am”.

What if…none of that matters, and all if it minds?

None of those “matters” are physical, all those thoughts are intangible. Therefore…none of it…”matterializes.

Your physical self (the matter) and your emotional+psychological+spiritual self (the mind) are merely reflections of each other. What you write online reflects what goes on in the mind, and what you put into your head, you could condition yourself to become.

So now, in 2017, it is no longer the debate about mind over matter vs matter over mind. The mind, and the matter, have now combined.

Have fun with that!

Peace and blessings,
Mikavelli

There’s a Time and Place for Everything

It’s time to state the obvious: we’re all human.

Some people are loud. Some people are quiet. Some people are energetic, others need more time to recharge. Some are cognitive, some are emotional, and others are spiritual. Some come from patriarchic cultures, others from matriarchic ones; some from expressive languages, others from passives ones.

All in all, we’re in a globalized world of international nomads migrating like there’s no tomorrow, and many of us live like each day is our last, knowing that one day we’ll be right. If that’s the case, then why, pray tell, is there so much “justification” for being human?

Every personality type in life has pros and cons; there’s no “right way” to do anything. Each person has their own individual process tailored to their personal needs, and the only difference is the outcome. Some people prefer bouncing ideas off of others by generating live feedback and open discussion. Others may prefer to work independently and figure out the puzzles in silence, then come back with a final product. Whichever your personality type, no one can “tell” you who or what you are. Only you know that; the difference is, those in your life who care about you will advise or support you in the best ways they know how.

If you know that you benefit more from working alone, go do it, just get it done well. If you know that you’d prefer bouncing ideas off of people, find people who enjoy your conversations and can challenge your thinking.

It’s not about the “definition” of being “extroverted” or “introverted”, “ESTJ” “INFP”, “ADHD”; all of these words are medical terms coined by doctors to discuss treatment for patients. The fact that even I can casually drop these words into a blog having no accredited qualifications in this department (yet) only shows how easily our generation uses these words as adjectives to describe each other. We all think that we know more than we actually do, we are more entitled than we have earned, and many have become so self-centred instead of self-reflective.

Wake up, people, we’re all human here. There’s no “right” personality or “correct” trait. Everything is what it is, and everyone is who they think they are. What if we were to put all differences aside and get to the core of everything: do what you know from experience is best for you, and if you don’t have the experience to tell you, then go and make those experiences.

Quit sheltering yourself from everything that would make you stronger just because it’s “inconvenient” to have an experience at that given time. We’re always waiting for the “right time” to do things. The “right time” to organize a store room, or the “right time” to find love, or the “right time” to move house. Yes, timing is important when there are multiple factors, but most of the time, the “right time” is simply: what needs to be done and when?

There’s a time and place for everything. Stop making excuses for yourself. If you’re inspired, express it. If you’re tired, take a rest. If you’re excited, laugh and smile. If you’re sad, cry it out. If you’re angry, vent or rant. If you’re in love, show it. If you’re at peace, remember this feeling. From honest experience, just go with it. Don’t overthink it, don’t analyze it. Just go with it. The more we hold back, the more we regret the memories we never made.

There’s a time and place for everything.

Peace,
Mikavelli

The Women in My Life

(True story, biographical.)

“How do you know you’re at peace?” I asked my mother once, in my teens. She told me “when your masculine and feminine stop fighting each other, when you stop fighting yourself, that’s when you’ll find peace.” So I asked, “which side should I be then? Which one wins?” My mother smiled and said “figure it out.”

I watched, trying ever so hard to understand how my mother could be so at peace despite everything she had been through as a mother. Then I looked at both her sisters, and realised they’re made of that same metal that makes my mother who she is. Naturally, it made sense to get to know my parents’ siblings better so that I could better understand them…

In the last two years, I’ve learned that mother’s younger sister has been doing remote work from home for almost as long as I’ve been alive! What my generation aspires to do, she’s already an expert. Last month, I discovered that mother’s older sister is one of the first women who ever wore trousers as work attire in corporate London, back in the early 80’s. When she told me this, it hadn’t even occurred to me that there was a specific “skirt / dress only” dress code.

“We were supposed to only wear skirts to work,” my aunt told me, “but skirts can get very uncomfortable, you know. So one day I put on a pair of trousers because it was more comfortable. Next thing you know, other women start doing it too. Eventually, it just became accepted in our company (Ernst and Young).”

I reflected, and pondered: it stood to reason that the strength came from my grandma. With R20 (USD 1.50) in her pocket, my grandma moved the family of ten (five went ahead, I was told, the other five came later) to the city in the 1960s during the apartheid in South Africa. As a family, they never let the Apartheid become a factor hindering them from just living their lives. When survival is your main focus, and it slowly seeps into the “norm”, you learn to embrace the better parts of life.

My grandparents always opened their homes, always welcomed those in need. Though they didn’t have much, they gave what they could: love, shelter, and a hot cup of tea. They didn’t discriminate who came through the doors. They were loving, but they were tough.

To the kids, they were very disciplined, from what I was told. Swearing warranted washing your mouths out with soap, dishes had to be cleaned immediately after dinner. Beds had to be made and tucked in completely, without an angle sticking out anywhere (although, I was recently informed that bed-making was my great grandmother’s rule). Disciplined, but always out of love. They knew that as long as the kids were disciplined enough to later be self-disciplined, then they would be able to take care of themselves.

They were right. And so it continued in the family line. I see it in my mother, I see it in how she is with our family. I know it comes from her family, that strength, that unity, that togetherness. The way she always did her best to stay strong for all of us when we were all falling apart; when we’re at our worst, she’s always the one motivating us, holding us up, comforting us and letting us know that “it’s okay not to be okay, as long as you get up again when you’re ready.”

My mother is the strongest woman I have experienced. She taught me everything I know and more, at least by providing the platforms where I, too, could become self-disciplined and self-motivated. I am where I am (literally) because yes, she birthed me, but also because she is the one woman who has always, always been there for me, through thick and thin. The one who has lifted me when I was down, but humbled me when I was arrogant. The one who can fight me when I need it, and calm me down when I diverge.

I am strong because my mother is strong. She is strong because the women in her life are strong.

So how do I know that I am at peace?

Because my masculine energy and my feminine energy are no longer at war.

I am a person, a human. A human with strength, both inner and outer; a person with emotions, both aggressive and passive. A human with weaknesses, both external and internal; a person with flaws, both on the outside and on the inside. A human with motivation, both physical and emotional; a person with compassion, both expressed and empathised. I am not perfect, but I am balanced, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.

Balanced, and equal.

Within myself.

Peace
Mikavelli

My Story: On Love and Fear

Only LOVE can overcome FEAR.
~Mikavelli~

Personal story:

As a child, I saw how fearful my peers were of studying; they preferred electronics and video games. I didn’t. I was drawn to the smell of fresh books and the unmarked innocence of new notepads. I fell in love with reading and writing, two parts of me that incidentally not many around me appreciated, nor had the patience to enjoy.

But I fell in love nonetheless, with characters, with planets, with words, with knowledge…I fell in love with the unencumbered infinity of time, space, experience. A place where there were no boundaries…

Life progressed, and innocence became a thing of the past as I slowly learned of the atrocities of which humans were capable; humans, this species I was indoctrinated to treat with respect. It was a respect I’d felt “they” hadn’t earned. Humans, the self-destructive, entitled, greedy evils destroying what was once beautiful: the planet, the lands, the seas, the people of the world…

Love had been overridden by competition, by aggression, by the anarchy that losing one’s innocence had allowed.

I learned, instead, to fight: to fight for what is right, what is true. To fight for justice. I fought for those who fought for me, and against those who detested me. I fought, until I realized that I had become exactly what I had been fighting against: FEAR. I had become… fear.

In fighting the fear, I realized that I was only fighting myself. And that the only victory was LOVE. I had to love myself. I had to overcome fear with so much love that I feared how much I could love — myself as well as others. I surrendered to my “self”, to the love that overcame fear.

The love of “self” does not mean to be in love with yourself.
It is in the wording: the love…of self…
self’s love, not self love.

So what if…just what if…we allowed someone to love us that exact same way…?

Love yourself, but let yourself be loved too.

Peace,

Mik

Weakness is not A Failure

When “weakness” is no longer deemed as failure, rather as sacrifice, then strength alone lies in the success of what is gained. ~Mikavelli~

Much like any logical flow of pros and cons, humans have a pattern of “strength” and “weakness”. But what if those “weaknesses” were not actually failures, but sacrifices that are made in order to achieve something that is for the greater good of self vs. man?

Take a human example, Einstein. Much as he was a genius with an intelligence that was through the roof, the sacrifices that he made were his ability to communicate with and be understood by people. As a child, young Albert had a speech delay that was not rectified until his later stages of childhood, leaving the boy uncommunicative, misunderstood, and alone with his thoughts. In his solitude, Einstein was given the space to develop the most advanced theories that till now still roam the planet. If anything, many of Einstein’s theories were so far ahead of time that it is more in today’s day-and-age that we understand the sacrifice he had made for us. And essentially for himself, because Einstein’s theories are his immortality.

Another prominent example is Beethoven, who is famously known for sacrificing his “hearing”. What fewer people seem to bring into discussion, however, was Beethoven’s obvious cyclothymic tendencies, where he would snap into “highs” of writing multiple symphonies simultaneously. In these phases, he would throw dinner gatherings and socialize religiously. However, it is argued that Beethoven would intentionally overwork in order to push himself into a melancholic state of mind whereby his best and most prominent works were created. In the latter stages of life when he lost his hearing, Beethoven unfortunately stooped into full-blown depression.

These are merely two of many well-known examples of Greats who have sacrificed aspects their own “humanity”, as millenials would call it. Incidentally, if the resources of our modern world were available at the time the Greats created the work that deemed their titles, then perhaps they would have been more stable, but at the sacrifice of our future. Perhaps, what made the Greats “great” is how much they sacrificed of themselves — of their time, of the effort, of their reputations, of their loved ones, and of their sanity.

What few speak of, are the people who are caught in the crossfires of what the Greats set-out to do. The failed relationships, the conflict with family, the friendships that always seemed unfinished…

It takes an inner strength to make sacrifices. A strength that comes from a drive only those who follow their passions find.

Everyone is set out to be Great in his or her own way, but we cannot assess each other by our weaknesses and sacrifices, only the strength that comes from it. We, in the modern world, are taught to “rectify” our weaknesses and conform to a standard, a norm. But sometimes, when we set our priorities straight, harmony falls into place.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction: we reap what we sow : what you give is what you get : what you sacrifice is what you gain

Everything is cyclical and everything is connected. Sometimes, the best action is inaction, and let things fall into place naturally.

If the Greats were pushed to conform by modern standards, there would be no modern standards in the first place. So do what you are compelled to do, let that drive be the motivation that opens your eyes every single morning. Be it your passion, your family, your friends, your work, your job, your religion or what not.

Be Great.

In your own way. Because ultimately, things fall into place.

Surrender to yourself.

Peace,

Mikavelli

 

Life is Like A Stream

Growing up, my mother always taught me that our “life path” is like a stream, ever flowing, moving forward. We are to follow the path wherever it leads, even if it means warding off spiders, swinging through branches, climbing over rocks, and swimming through rapids. As we grow, we gather knowledge, experience, friends, lovers, challenges, hardships and what not.

Who and what we gather are like pebbles and rocks: some have rare jewels in them, others have unique minerals. If we carry every rock with us, we will become burdened. Over time, however, I’ve learned never to disregard or throw aside the pebbles, instead, place them gently in the stream and along the path so that you may come back when the time is ready. These pebbles can filter the stream and offer clarity of thought, they can be molded into gems later on in time. But always know where your treasure lie, and follow the path. If we stay on the path, we will never lose ourselves.

If we do stray from the path, we must always know how to find our ways back. Leaving clues and signs for ourselves to explore the great wide world, still knowing how to return to the path that leads us to where we need to be. To what our brains, our minds, our bodies, and our souls fundamentally desire.

Following your “life path” means going with what you know, deep down inside you, to be true to yourself. If you feel compelled to be explore and experiment, do what will get you there. If you were meant to create and construct, build as much foundation as possible. If you were born to reflect and express, learn as much as possible, meet as many as possible.

So often we find ourselves to be

Searching for what we already have
Pretending to be who we already are
Trying to undo what’s already been done
Unbecoming whatever it was we became

What what if, just what if, we’d chosen not to change. Instead of forcing growth we could just stay the same. So much of life is letting things fall into place. What if I told you, life is not a game?

Journey on and be free, know where your roots are, know how to find your stream, know where your buried treasures lay. And do what needs to be done at whatever cost (within reason), because always, always, you can come back.

Let us be each others’ boulders, the rocks we lay by the stream.

Love and peace,

Mikavelli