Two steps forward, one step backward

All things take time. Progress and the steps that come to define it (in hindsight) are elusive in the present yet painfully obvious in reflection. And now, in this moment, I feel like I've been spinning in circles and all the while shuffling backward.

She's done very, very little to show me she wants to be in my life. All my friends are worried that I keep trying to keep her around, and think her unreliable and only going to cause me pain. I don't disagree. Why am I still here?

Would it go against my being to tell her off straight -- that shes been a shitty partner/date-ner, I need / am-looking-for better, and goodbye? And why haven't I done that yet?

Have I been so busy that I forgot about doing things thoughtfully and deliberately?

Should I try and slow down and find my center, or push harder into the things that I think will improve myself and the things I want to do with my time?

Have I let my foot off the gas as of late? I feel like I should be further along in terms of being bold-er socially & in my romantic life, but lately I havent even enjoyed being out.

Its 2 weeks till Christmas. I'll be at a very chaotic party with Jackie tonight, on a flight for a few days in NYC by Tuesday, and launching a feature at work Wednesday. I hope the following week will bring a slowdown, and, clarity.

Reflections in solitude & lessons of time

There's something magical about re-reading these posts, especially the ones I never published and forgot about. They are like little love letters to myself; a moment in time captured in prayer that it may never be lost, that the grinder of time may not wear it down, that I may not sink into the belief that my future self was always this way. They are a reminder that even as experience fades, lessons do not, and dear God look how far we've all come.

I see now, in a lot of ways I was barking up the wrong tree. For whatever reason, I always had something to prove, and I could only do better by doing. I spent so much time trying to push; and when that didnt work I thought I needed to push harder, then beat myself up about why it was so hard. In truth, it was so hard because I was pushing against the needs of my inner self; to be enough just by being, to relax sometimes, to do something restful but not productive, but mostly for my feelings to be heard. I'm better at that now.

The turning point

For all the terribleness it is, destruction does have a purpose. On the day that I pulled the plug and stepped into unadulterated chaos, I felt pure terror yes, but also a new purpose and power; I had learned a lot of lessons in the hardest way possible, but I also had the resolve that this is not the end of my experience, growth, relationships, happiness. In the quiet that followed, I withdrew, and in that new space I found to be kinder to myself, I learned a new way to relate to the world that wasn't ruled by fearful projections and manifestations of social anxiety.

The person I didn't know I needed

His name is Eric Larson, the coach/therapist that has helped me a lot in the last few years. In the crisis-i-didnt-know-was-crisis-at-the-time, he helped me find my feet and showed me how to choose which direction to point them.

He taught me to unravel the unseen web of feelings which rise and fall deep inside me, to process them, to let them be heard but not overwhelm me. By giving them voice I could let them be heard and then settle back into their homes within me. I could finally ... get a handle on life without it overwhelming me. Have the space to plan what is fulfilling for me, and build the experience and life that is a living memory of what I want to achieve.

(nb: I feel comfortable writing his name because its a sufficiently generic name and there are multiple such therapists, and I have nothing but good things to say).

Where I am now

I think its been 9 or 10 years since I first built this blog, and I feel very different. I've conquered what I only hope is the hardest moment of my life, moved countries, started to build an awesome group of people and friends, picked up a ton of new hobbies (including some athletic in nature - how unusual!), and have had the opportunity to work on amazing things with amazing people (and more to come soon :).

I'll concede theres a new girl and I'm still as much of a hopeless romantic as I've always been, but I guess some things never change XD Her name is Jackie Its early days, but I'm hopeful.

Here's to the next little while, till I next find myself in content reflection and find myself back to this site. I can't wait to see you and hear about what you've done, future self.

This feeling

Oh how I missed this feeling. I haven't felt it in a while.

The hopeful anxiety, the intensity of the moment, the future rushing forward bursting with incredible possibilities. Feeling the cold wind through your fingers as you hold them up to the world, as if you are the master of the very air. The knot in your stomach that brings you soaring to an incredible natural ecstacy, drunk indulgences of making plans.

Alas I know, this is just a moment. Sometime soon, my hopes may turn to worries, probabilities to possibilities, and my unnatural grin may fade to indifference. But hey, this it what it means to be alive.

Paradigm Shifts

This has been a draft since 2015. Time to see the light of day.

From depression and sadness comes self evaluation and the openness to change things. From this, spawns the opportunity to shift your thinking and improve yourself. I hope this post is a way for me to document these thoughts that I have, right now, to keep me moving forward.

Sometimes, I feel like what I am doing is moving backward, particularly with the development of my social self. These last few months have seen my outgoing self supplicate in congruence towards a certain special individual, unsurprisingly (in retrospect) leading to my ultimate rejection. I know full well the saying be yourself, everything else is tragedy, yet seem to have difficulty putting it into practice. No more.

Paradigm Shifts

Predictive sociality

  • I used to approach all problems with the same reasoning - understand - predict - calibrate. In other words, look ahead, reason the potential outcomes, and work my actions towards promising opportunities.

  • But, If I am honest, this approach is less than effective- even retarding, in social circumstances. In a social setting, outcomes and specifics are entirely unpredictable, and attempting to reason them sets you up with expectations which play with your head. Worse still, continually having expectations broken and being put on the spot engineers an anxiety complex, further damning hope for improvement.

  • Instead, it took a previous mentee (I) - now turned mentor - to realise that this approach is far from reality. Whilst no action should be entirely devoid of reasoning, you cannot attempt to predict social interation or outcomes. Instead smile at how unpredictable it is, throw yourself headfirst into every opportunity you get and take pride in not knowing how it will turn out. Goes well? kek. Badly? Epic banter. You cannot let yourself think about all the things that can go wrong, or you will never be surprised by all the things that will go right.

  • In terms of challenging habits, that means:

    • No more playing out conversations in my head ahead of time ... It throws you off in the moment.
    • No more fantasizing about potential outcomes ... It messes with your head when they inevitably dont occur.

Shia LaBeouf style Motivation

  • If the whole world had no fear and no anxiety, what a world it would be.
  • Finding the inner strength to do what you really want to do is still a major challenge. Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to help you across the line.
    • Technique one: Baby stepping
      • Start by taking little steps towards your ultimate goal (the one that gives you the anxiety). Remind yourself that this is just one step, still innocent, you are still in control. For example. if you wanted to get a girls number, you would start by taking your phone out of your pocket.
      • Step by step, you get closer to the goal, till there is only one thing left to do - in our example that would be to ask for the number.
      • In this moment, remind yourself of all the steps you did to get here - and that taking all those steps before, you meant to do it and they were easy, this one will be no different.
    • Technique two: Taking control of your legs
      • The instant when you are aware of an action you could take, a war - a mind war sparks inside you. On one side, your ego drives you towards what your truely want. On the other side, our emotions attempt to maintain the status quo, and generate fear and anxiety to attempt to keep you in stasis. Reader, whatever you do, it is your job to make sure the ego wins, because otherwise, you are not yourself, just another shell following the whims of an invisible force attempted to stunt your development.
      • You know what you want. You know what you feel. In this instant, you push your emotions down in a wave, gaining control of all the muscles above the wave. Push it down to your toes.
      • You know what you want. Your emotions are going to make sure it's not easy. But you are in control of your legs now, so you walk towards your decision even though your emotions make sure your not comfortable. Baby step it.

I want this to be a living document, so I expect to add to it over the coming months.

... its not quite about thinking and reasoning, but a lack thereof. It's about being able to just... let go and trust yourself. You don't feel like you need to deal with it, it just happens.

- Taylor Ian



Lets try something a little bit different

Its really hard to stay in a happy state, whilst also having the emotional / physical energy to be social, be productive, get the girl etc.

I've heard from quite a few people now an interesting concept: setting your life on an upward spiral. Great read here, a summary of a good book here, and a more systems-oriented piece here.

An upward spiral is about continuously re-enforcing patterns, thoughts and emotions which are beneficial and help us grow. Whilst being a very agreeable concept, the challenge is bringing positivity to every facet of your present living, rather than keeping a balance or simply relying on blind optimism.

How am I going to do it? I'm going to go out and spend meaningful time with friends and family. I'm going to work towards tangible Things That Matter in my spare hours (fitness, exploring the world, persuit of love & happiness) and try and exclude a lot of my hobbies which, for the time being, are simply distractions.


Burned into my memory, the sight of green eyes smiling at me in the moonlight streaming through her window. Her intoxicating smell filling my nostrils with sweetness. Her soft, tanned skin beneath my hands and face.

There is something about lying with your woman in her pyjamas that mellows the soul and puts everything into perspective. Those magical moments spent pressed up against another human being with nothing separating you. In the rising light of the morning, it is us against the world.

We talked about everything and nothing that mattered, and went from enthusiastic strangers to teary-eyed lovers saying goodbye.

Her memory continues to fill my mind. Its little things; her gorgeous Spanish accent, Affectionate phrases, along with the way she plays with my hair or touches my face.

I like to think that everything happens for a reason- every little moment or person I meet has a part to play in my journey as I play a part in theirs.

For us lonely souls, there are reminders that there is love coming but just out of arms reach. Its a teaser, a signal to not give up hope. To fight with all the strength we can muster as we ride - broken and scarred but with high spirits - through the rapids of life.

Araitz, thank you for the gifts you have given me. Thank you for your sweetness and gentle touch. Thank you for those 11 hours that were arguably the best 11 hours of my life.

Long lost nights

And an ache of lust

I can feel your touch

I will feed on us

Low tide sighs

And it's not enough

I would lace you up

I could taste your love

Echoes burn me in the night

My silence you're stealing

Since you taught me how to do it right

My heart has been bleeding

Begging to return the light (You taught me babe)

In the silence i'm kneeling (Now I crave someone)

You taught me how to do it right (Who feels the same)

My heart has been bleeding

-- Bigger than Love - Ian Bluestone

Red pill or blue pill?

Its fairly easy to idle through life. You simply live; go with the flow, and let circumstance take you in interesting directions. You end up at various places, normally out of your control (ie: At university because your parents/social-norms etc have taught you that's the next step). You let surface interactions, and routine dictate your life.

Then you tell me, are you satisfied? Where is your sense of direction?

Simple answer is no.

The problem is that we as humans naturally (and often subconsciously) build up buffers to challenging situations, rejection and awkward/unusual circumstance. This occurs both mentally - through subtle control of habit and thought - and also physically; though subconscious manipulation of circumstance - taking chances, places we go, people we interact with. To put it simply, we tend to live in our comfort zone - the blue pill.

So what does that make us? It makes us self-conscious, forcing us to conform our outward appearance and personality to align with that of which society expects. Moreover, we condition our behavior to minimise the possibility of an uncomfortable situation (by sticking to ourselves, or people we trust, highly unwilling to venture outside that safe little bubble we have created for ourselves).

So, without a personal goal to work towards or achieve, we sink into a self-reinforced monotonous routine. What's more, is that a lot of people don't even realise that its themselves that are doing it, and instead feel like their trapped inside someone else.s master plan. All in all, they are not satisfied.

There is only really one long-term solution to this kind of problem. The solution is to finally take risks; and break down the prison of a existence we have trapped ourselves in. You need to have a sense/pride of-self which is greater than the opinion of others. You need to step outside your comfort zone and take the steps towards doing what we want and being who we want to be. You need to take the red pill.

From there, you will take control of your own life.