Self Awareness

Nosepickers Galore

I started a new job and had to commute into London Bridge or Cannon Street Station every work day. At first, my attention was on the scenery and the landmarks outside the train but after a while, if you have seen one platform then you have seen them all. I soon settled into reading or messing about with my phone.

There was one major distraction. The Nosepickers . There were everywhere. Many times, I felt like shouting out and saying, “For God’s sake, wait till you get to a bathroom so you can wash your hands after or use a bloody tissue!” Instead, I just looked away in disgust trying to control the feeling of wanting to throw up a little. My mind would go a wandering. Do they then go to work or their business meeting and then shake someone’s hand? What about that bit that they just rolled up and tried to throw away discreetly? Will it then get stuck on somebody else by accident? Worse still was when I caught them rubbing it off on the edge of the seat!

ID-10091515

I am talking about what appear to be sophisticated working professionals, all groomed and looking refined. There was this “gentleman” the other day who wore a well-tailored suit, he was reading his newspaper when suddenly, out came his finger and there he was mining away for gold. On occasion, the culprits actually fool themselves into thinking that if they turn their body slightly towards the window and cover their hand over their nose, they’ve actually activated an invisible shield or privacy force field and the digging is not being witnessed by the rest of us who are in such close proximity with them. It’s mostly men that I see who are part of the nose picking crew, however, not exclusively. I was lucky enough to meet an honorary lady member. She too was well dressed and wearing exquisite rings on her finger which I was admiring until the interruption jolted me out of my reverie and I turned my attention quickly to the grey brown platform out of the window on the left of me.

I don’t get it. It never ceases to amaze me. I think it’s such a contradiction and it’s the epitome of bad manners and poor hygiene. It’s almost as if they got up in the morning, put on their costume but the show hasn’t started yet. Besides, all the people who commute with them on a daily basis haven’t paid for tickets to see it so who cares about them? The moment they walk into the office or place of work, the transformation begins and it will be lights, camera and action!

I grew up here in England and honestly, I don’t remember there ever being so much of this kind of behaviour and the weird thing is, I don’t see it on my commute locally. What’s this about then? Is it because things have changed and people have become more cut off from their surroundings? Or is it the early morning hours and people are still waking up? Perhaps it’s the comfort of routine that have put them in a trance induced state and they ‘know not what they do’. Call me old-fashioned when it’s comes to this and I’ll be happy you did. I think that the way you behave in these sorts of daily circumstances speaks volumes about the person you are. When you put your bag or feet on the seat next to you, when you push people out-of-the-way or cut in front of them, when you don’t get up for someone who needs it more than you and hell yes, when you pick that nose of yours – it is an unthinking selfish way to carry yourself and all of it tells me a lot about who you are and where you come from.

Advertisements

Write on My Balls

Blogging 101, Day Twelve: Be Inspired By the Community

I have been inspired by so many of you. ID-10043163

Thank you.

When I signed up for the course with the Blogging University, I thought to myself, “Hmm, that looks interesting. I think I’ll do that!” I am so glad that I did. 

The assignments before this one asked us to visit blogs and make a number of comments and spread the love. I had already been doing that so the likes, follows or comments were out there. It was great to see that I was on track with the action that was expected of me. Feedback.

A couple of nights ago, I received a number of follows and so very early this morning when I had some down time, I sat with my filtered coffee in hand; an Espresso roast, black no sugar and spent some time visiting and reading. Something on Joe Seeber’s website caught my eye and I lingered on one of his posts in particular, even extending my stay by watching the video of him discussing the topic and elaborating further. He talked about not putting so much emphasis on what people think about you. He put it in his own way and if you have the time, you should go visit his blog.

I completely get the point he was making about not giving a shit. I think that people can be very fickle and if I were to base my actions and ideas based on what people might think of me, then I’m headed for ‘Doomsville’. I’d be Jekyll to you and Hyde to her because let’s face it, not everybody shares the same values or sees things the same way. I welcome different ideas and opinions, it’s the flavour of life. What I don’t welcome is someone trying to force their point of view down my throat and have me accept it in order to do right by them. Stuff that!

“But Morpheus, everyone doesn’t believe you”

“My belief does not require them to”                                        

I think that building a relationship with myself is more important than any other because if I don’t have that to begin with, I won’t have the others either. I now have a strong sense of myself and because of that, I have real relationships with many people. When we have conversations with each other, there is no need for anyone to be right or wrong. It is a meeting of souls that have had a variety of experiences and we are seldom attached to any one of them. Sharing and connecting is really our primary reason for reaching out to each other. A coffee, a dinner or even a phone call. We exit the scene feeling fantastic.

“Always leave a situation better off than how you found it”

In Greece, there is a saying, perhaps more so in the modern community but having said that, everyone there gets it. Saying it to your grandmother however, would not be appropriate.

“Γραψεις στα αρχιδια μου” (Grapsis sta arxidia mou) This literally translates to “write on my balls”.

When I first learnt that saying, I had a good laugh and I thought it was perfect. It encapsulated exactly how I felt about expressing myself when it came to this type of thing. A person doesn’t agree with whom I want to marry. They can write on my balls. A store attendant thinks she is all that and a bag of chips and is treating me like she owns me. She can write on my balls. An acquaintance thinks I’m an idiot for giving up my job and moving half way across the world because I’ve got such a good thing going. He can write on my balls too. You use this phrase when people are imposing or self importantly judging. Not because a friend may like chocolate and you hate it.

We were sitting at the beach and basking in the beautiful Mediterranean sun. A woman emerged out of the water and she was wearing a bikini that had watermelons on it. In fact, the bottom part of her suit looked like a serving of a big piece of watermelon. She was on the larger side and the swimming suit didn’t flatter her body. I actually didn’t even notice her. I was sprawled over the chair and had my shades on. I only looked up because Sakis, a friend of mine said, “I am never eating watermelon again!” with such utter disgust. The woman glanced over and it looked like she had caught his comment. She looked directly at him and slapped her inner right thigh with her palm facing outward and simultaneously said loudly, “Nah!” which is the sign for…yes, you guessed it…altogether now…write on my big hairy balls! It was classic. I burst out laughing and immediately jumped out of my chair, going towards her with my hand in the air signalling for a high-five. She gave it to me. God bless her. That was the only exchange we needed. She got me and I got her. And Sakis got it nice and proper.

Source: The Matrix Reloaded 

Being Still

Blogging 101, Day Nine: Inspire Yourself

I’m still at it, working hard at being a student with the blogging university and having a blast! I am so overwhelmed by all the support and love people have in our community. It’s really all about sharing and connecting and I am standing, screaming, “Yes I get you!” or “Wow, just wow” or “Really? That’s amazing” or “Thank you for taking me there with that post”. I think if there was a webcam or some video device that showed us how we react when reading each other’s posts and blogs, some of it would blow our minds. Already the comments and interaction are a wonderful thing to have.

The exercise is about inspiring myself and using my About Me page as a tool towards creating that experience. When I read my page again, the mind is what shot out at me. After all, I have a header with a neuron firing and that only occurs when it responds to stimuli. All of this is very stimulating indeed. I believe that everything, good and bad is given birth in the mind. We are the creators of our own reality. I think to be the best human being I can possibly be, I need to have the highest relationship with myself which for me means a collaboration between my heart and my mind.

There was a time in my life where I was desperate to find that relationship but the more I craved it, the more difficult it seemed. Then one day in my search, I became so frustrated that I abandoned everything that I was doing and visited a Buddhist Temple. Just like that. The wonders of what spontaneity can do. This was a place that I use to pass on my journey in and out of a neighbourhood in my father’s hometown. I had often looked at it and wondered what it was like inside. The monks there were very open and friendly. I sat with one and we started talking. He asked me what I wanted for myself and why I seemed so perturbed? I told him that I was looking for enlightenment. He chuckled and smiled answering, “Why are you running so fast? Enlightenment is like your shadow. The faster you run, the further away it will be from you. Be calm, stand still and it will be right there with you”. I know it sounds so simple and maybe even a little cliché but the moment he said that, perhaps it was the way he did it too, something fell into place and this peace and serenity replaced the anxiety and frustration. I wanted to jump up and hug the life out of him but I knew better and just grinned from ear to ear, looking at him but saying nothing. He looked back at me with that perpetual smile and with cheekiness he told me that I was welcome which sent us both into a series of laughter. I will never forget that moment. I still remember the trees around us, some of them had signs with mantras written on them and others with phrases like “eat to live”, the lazy dogs basking in the sun, the smell of sandalwood from the incense burning and the both of us sitting there and laughing together. I had learned how to just BE. Just…like…that! My heart opened to his wisdom and my mind made it so.

The Laughing Buddha

The Laughing Buddha

That is what I am doing here with this blog. I am being me, sharing my thoughts and ideas in the form of posts with a group of people who do exactly the same thing but in their own beautiful unique way. There are no real rules, just guidance. There is no judgement, just opinion and sharing. It is an open space for us all to just be.

 

 

Little Miss Scarcity

Do you know her? She’s not part of the Mister Men or Little Miss clan I’m afraid. I loved them when I was growing up. I thought they were so cute and interesting with all their different personalities and characteristics. I never questioned their dissimilarities, They were exciting and unique. I was innocent and very accepting of the world around me. Everything was about discovery and nothing was impossible. I remember that when I was ten, I had the idea that I could be a doctor in the morning and a lawyer by night. Nobody ever told me that I couldn’t so I only ever knew that I could. Then I met reality and her very sharp teeth.

Another stage was born in my life and I only learnt about how difficult and tough things were. How I had to work really hard for whatever money that I would make. How life could be painful and full of disappointment and that’s when I learnt how strong I really was because I fought. I refused to give in and accept that kind of pessimism. My friends would tease me and call me ‘The Optimist” but they did it in jest because I think secretly they wanted some of what I was having. They didn’t want to feel as defeated and low as they sometimes did. They would occasionally ask me, “Are you high?” And I’d reply, “Yes. I’m high on life!” I became the agony aunt for many of them. I soon realised that the majority just wanted to hear themselves talk. They weren’t really looking for a solution. They just wanted to be dramatic and be the center of some attention. They continued to do the same things in their lives and feigned helplessness. I didn’t understand it and it became frustrating and energy draining. I started to become what I was surrounded with. I guess that’s why they the say, “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”.

Then something magical happen. I was made aware of two tools that would change my life forever. I learnt about perception and choice and all the power they would bring into my existence. It was liberating. I no longer had to feel angry at the traffic. I didn’t have to say yes to doing something that I didn’t want to do just because someone thought I ought to do it. I learnt how to say no and be okay about it. I didn’t have to do anything. I had a choice. I could choose and I became a phoenix, rising up from the ashes. It was as if I was given wings.

This was the part in my life where I came full circle and I realised that reality didn’t have to bite. That I had the power to create my own world and that it could be anything that I wanted it to be. I became a little of that child again and the possibility was limitless. Sure I am not the doctor by day and lawyer by night but I truly believe that it is that way because that is the way I want it to be and not because I can’t achieve that. If I wanted it, it would be. Sometimes I still get teased and I’m told, “Well, I want a Ferrari!” My answer to that kind of statement is usually, “Well obviously, you don’t want it badly enough” And then we laugh.

Perception is everything. Not to make Choice jealous but really it is. I wouldn’t have created a new relationship with choice if it weren’t for perception. To further illustrate, I want to introduce the star of this show. Little Miss Scarcity. She is a lovely girl and she has a warmth about her that no one can deny. However, she is also very afraid and insecure and because of these elements, she can be infuriating. I coined the phrase for her because I understand that her reactions are based on one main thing and that is that she feels there is just not enough. And so when someone feels that way, they become greedy or stingy and she is almost manic about it at times and over such petty things.

One evening, after a dinner she had cooked for us, her mother and I had decided to clear up and dish out desert. When I opened the freezer to get out the ice-cream, there were several tubs in there and her mother caught a glimpse of one particular flavour which took her fancy. “Oh I’ll have that one” she said excitedly. Sadly, her daughter quickly answered, “No, you can’t have that one!” Her mother looked disappointed and a little taken aback, “Why?” Her daughter replied, “Because that’s the good one” and her mother looked at me and shook her head with disbelief. I ignored the whole thing because something like that coming from her was not surprising. Fancy telling your mother that though? That saddened me. Especially because her mother is one of the most giving women I know.

Another incident was when I was cooking dinner for them. She called me up and left a message about an hour before they were meant to arrive, saying that she wouldn’t be coming because she had to finish some work that was overdue but that she would send a container for me to prepare a “doggy bag” for her. It was more like a bucket. And yes, I filled it to the brim and when my sister asked me why I had done that, why I didn’t just put in her portion and leave it at that? I smiled and calmly said that it wasn’t a big deal and that it was only food. She then told me that I shouldn’t have because she wouldn’t have done the same for me and that she was just being greedy. After all she even wanted some of the dessert they had brought along for the meal and sent specific instructions to bring some back. Her boyfriend told me that if he didn’t bring some back that he would ‘be in trouble’. I ended up giving whatever we hadn’t eaten back. I understood the frustration that my sister had felt and how ashamed she felt for Little Miss Scarcity but I told her that it didn’t matter what she would or would not do for me and that I do not do or give in accordance to what others will do for me or give back to me. The important part in all of this was that this is who I am. Never mind about her. My legacy is much more important to me. And my sister gave me a hug and was silent. I knew she understood and that she got it immediately.

I do wish that Little Miss Scarcity would get that there is enough. That you don’t have to take so quickly from your neighbour. That taking in that way will ultimately perpetuate her feeling of emptiness because I can see that she is unhappy but pushes it aside and pretends that all is well. There is obvious imbalance in her life and a lot of fear. If only she would change her perception and free herself from the prison of desperateness she has created. She is essentially a good person. Would it be naive of me to say that I actually think that essentially we all are? Flawed definitely but also good. I know that eventually life will teach her that people do not gravitate towards takers. That sharing and giving is so much more rewarding. In the mean time, I will continue to love her and if she ever asks me for my opinion, I will tell her outright what I think but until then I will send her joy and peace and be the example. One day she may be inspired and reinvent herself with a shift in her perception too. After all, it starts with just a little twist in thinking and then everything starts to unravel and life can change dramatically for the better or worse. That is part of our power and ultimately, we choose.

The Petticoat Wars

I have four siblings. One of whom is adopted. She is actually my first cousin from my Mum’s family and after her father passed away in a car crash, she came to stay with us. I remember that day quite vividly because we went to the hospital and he was the first dead body I had ever seen. It was surreal.  He just lay there, lifeless and I recall feeling scared and anxious.

Maria was about fourteen when she moved in and she was a troubled teenager. Her mother had four children, each from different men and when she was younger, she was passed from one house to another growing up. My mother who was her godmother put an end to that when we took her into our family. I was very young when she came to our home. I didn’t have a problem with it. I thought that it was all very exciting and I loved her very much. Of course I didn’t really understand the dynamics of it all. She was ten years older than me and I already had a sister who was the oldest until Maria entered into the scene. They were only a couple of years apart and so they had more in common or so we thought. The truth is my sister, Talissa, was a bookworm and was very different from Maria. She didn’t care much for attention nor was she bothered about boys at that time. It was only later that I truly understood how annoying my sister found Maria and how her becoming part of the family would have an effect on Talissa for a long time after.

I was just a kid with my own issues and growing pains. I remember how Maria would drive me insane with her antics. It was always one thing or another. Believe it or not, we use to fight about petticoats. I know it sounds pathetic but I was a bit of a control freak as a child and I always had things in order. So much around me was beyond my control so I had to have that much. I was obsessive. I remember every dinner where it was compulsory in our household to sit and eat together at precisely 8.00pm, I would take the plate off the table and go to the sink to wash it and dry it before using it. My mother would always tell me to stop being silly and that it was already clean but I had to do what I had to do and so it became a routine that soon everyone was use to. The only time I couldn’t wash my plate was when we had guests so I would usually identify where I would be sitting and do some preparation before guests arrived. Understanding this, you will realise that the idea of someone coming into my room, rummaging through my drawers and choosing an item she liked to wear without my permission was a nightmare for me. That’s when the petticoat wars began.

It was just silly squabbling over nothing really but because of her heightened sensitivity and her deep insecurities, it was impossible for her to deal with me rationally. Everything was always blown out of proportion and she was ever the victim. This in turn lead to handling her with ‘kit gloves’ which would not help her deal with her demons in the long run. We felt bad for her and we wanted her to feel welcomed so tiptoeing around Maria was something we mastered very well. It was only later on in life that things changed and that happened because nobody can tolerate having to be careful and constantly on guard with their own family. We grew up and she had to catch up or be left behind. I soon realised that although I never had any issues with acknowledging her as my sister and it was never something that I debated on, it was a point of contention for her. She had the problem with that, not us. Even though my parents had done everything to ensure that there was no division or difference in their treatment of all of us, it didn’t matter. Her issues were too deep for her to see just how good she really had it. You couldn’t win with her. It was a constant test.

She was allergic to aspirin and I recall one particular evening when she had taken a pill that contained the ingredient and her whole face looked like it had been through a boxing match. I was hiding in the corner of the room because there was so much commotion and our aunts were all around her, getting her off the bed and rushing her to the hospital and for a child, that whole scene haunted me for a while because I didn’t know what was going on. I was petrified that she was going to die and I would see her lifeless body just lying there like her father did on that operating table years before.

For Maria, anything and everything is always about her trauma and her experience. You will never have it as bad as she has had it. Although we were close as a family, these issues would constantly be apparent and more wars would ensue. She harboured a lot of resentment and jealousy towards me, thinking that I always got what I wanted and things always came easy to me. She felt that any triumph or success that I enjoyed was some sort of negative for her. As if there wasn’t enough for everyone to share. There was always some bitterness involved and I let it get to me for a long time.

Maria taught me so much. I learnt that having everyone’s approval is really overrated and that self-love and recognition is the best kind of acknowledgement I could ever attain. She also taught me so much about unconditional love because til this day, I can say that she is my sister and that I send her the best of vibes and buckets of love. I learnt tolerance and acceptance from her too. Honestly, the list goes on but for the sake of a conclusion, I would say that one of the most priceless lessons I gained from having her in my life, is that I would never compromise my authenticity for anyone ever again. I owe that to myself and to the person involved. I am who I am and if you don’t like it, in the words of my marvelous mother, “You can lump it!”