What I’ve learnt from starting to write

A little about me, General ramblings, Thoughts

‘Don’t be a writer, be writing’ — William Faulkner

I’m not a writer. I never clicked with English at school. Studying for exams felt I was forcing myself into an unnatural state of being. English Language, English Literature; it all felt alien to me. Then, 18 months ago, something changed.

2014 was an intense year. Every part of my life seemed to be crumbling to dust around me, challenging me to rebuild it if I could muster up the energy. Everything I thought I knew about love, relationships, work, friendship, happiness proved to be naïve at best, down right foolish at worst. I was using every last breath franticly treading water, trying to keep afloat in a life I no longer recognised. I remember being emotionally exhausted constantly trying to find my feet and stay still long enough to catch my breath. I was in the middle of a storm, powerless, being tossed and turned at the whim of the world. I was lost.

I struggle to this day to define and describe completely what was happening in my mind. My current understanding is that I was feeling the complete and utter anguish of trying to desperately escape the present moment I was in. I was consumed by wanting to either trying to reach back into the past to calmer, happier times or to press fast forward and trying to erase and forget everything I was feeling and skip forward to some future bliss.

I sunk heavily into numbness, apathy, the sweet murkiness of giving up. Until one day, from under a blanket cocoon I opened up a blank word document and began to type. These are some of the things I’ve learnt so far from doing so.

There is always something left to try

Even when I thought I had hit rock bottom and I had tried everything, I was wrong. You might not think it at the time, but you have infinite resources within yourself to survive and even thrive in this world. I don’t have a one size fits all plan to access these resources, but for me it tends to be a balance between more patience, so, so much more patience, finding other people’s stories so you know that you are not alone, never, ever even contemplating giving up, finding a way to release my feelings in a creative and not destructive way and re-connecting with myself. These philosophies manifest in many different ways. Sometimes I write to feel creative, meditate to re-connect with my mind and body, read/watch/talk to someone to remind myself my experiences aren’t uniquely awful. Most importantly I’m learning to just do something. Worst is always letting the thoughts consume me. Doing something, keeping moving, however tiny the act, is empowering and the first step to making change.

Writing creates a concrete expression of your experiences

For months, before I’d started to write, it felt like I had lost all control of my emotional stability and ability to make sense of the world. The fiercest joy, excitement, anger, frustration, anxiety, sadness would crash into me unexpectedly like a monster wave and I’d have no time or processes to understand it. I couldn’t explain what was happening so I couldn’t talk to anyone and just lived through it. As soon as I started to write though, it forced me to first become aware of and acknowledge what I was feeling and then find the words, metaphors, labels, descriptions to describe it. I had to crystalize my experience into coherent structures which helped me finally begin to recognise and comprehend it all, laid the foundations for me to begin to talk to those around me and recognise my experiences in the stories of others.

Writing is art, art is important

I used to really struggle with defining what art is and what it isn’t. Until I read Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, a transformative book in its entirety which defines it like this:

‘When artists work well, they connect people to themselves, and they stitch people to one another, through this shared experience of a connection that wasn’t visible before. Have you ever noticed that this looks like this? And with the same delight as we took as children in seeing a face in a cloud, grown up artists draw the lines between the bigger dots of grown up lives; sex, love, vanity, violence, illness, death’.

Writing connected me back to myself. I don’t consider myself to be a great writer yet, but I will continue to write and share what I write to attempt to connect up the big dots in my own life as well as those in the lives of those around me. As I meander through my life I’m finding the process of having an experience, being aware of the experience in the moment, fully accepting it, trying to process and understand it, translating it, communicating and sharing it and then connecting with the world through that, creates endless curiosity and brings me fulfilment that I never imagined possible.

Shane Koyczan’s spoken word explains what I mean so beautifully here (gets me in the feels every time *sob*) :

Blueprint for a Breakthrough: Shane Koyczan at TEDxYouth@SanDiego 2013

If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces’ — Shane Koyczan

The pen is mightier than the sword

Phew. I’m still a little bit in tears after watching the video above again. If you’ve skipped it go back and watch it. I insist.

Writing, I’m learning is one of the most powerful tools we have to shape and change ourselves and the world we live in. Its versatility, universality and permanence make it uniquely able to connect us to ourselves and to each other across space and time.

Ok. So now I’m coming to know that writing makes sense to me, its important and I want to continue to use it to shape and connect with the world around me throughout my life. How exactly? There are hundreds of ways, but here are some of the many ways I’ve stumbled upon and continue to experiment with daily.

  • This blog — connecting with you wonderful people out there about what I learn as I live makes me happy and it forces me to try and find what is useful and what I’m learning in every experience, positive or negative
  • Morning pages — Getting it all out first thing in the morning to allow you to get on with your day and is powerful, meditative, productive
  • Journaling — Creating pitstops to record and reflect on your experiences provide endless opportunities to re-connect with your self, see how far you’ve come, solidify memories, create your own unique story
  • Poetry — Stepping outside of your comfort zone, doing something new, connecting on a deeper level, using form and structure and musicality to have a lasting impact. A little one I wrote a year ago:

There is a little hollow, I can’t quite locate.

I stumble into it occasionally, as if it were fate.

I catch myself curious, willing myself to peer in.

Against some other judgement my reflection leering.

Equal parts curious, terrified and daring.

Eyes shut, diving in, taken under my own wing.

  • Daily affirmations, goals setting — If you write it down, you are more likely to do it. However you choose to do it, having a list of the things you want to achieve in practical steps and referring back to it regularly will bring more of what you want into your life. I’ve got various lists of all the things I want in my life on the go, one in Wunderlist, some scribbled on bits of paper on my wall, some on sticky notes on my work desktop and then I usually try to write daily to do lists that hopefully line up with the bigger goals. I notice if I don’t maintain my lists or haven’t looked at them in a while, I tend to feel a little lost and unproductive
  • 10 ideas a day — I haven’t done this one for a while, but its genuinely one of the most powerful I’ve ever tried. James Altucher asks you to make yourself come up with 10 ideas for anything you can think of every day. It has incredible potential to super charge your creativity, give you confidence in your own ideas and effectively problem solve
  • Letter writing, thank you notes — writing to others is something I’ve not done much of in my yet. That will hopefully change this year. Letters are so rare and so personally touching. There are few better ways of showing someone that you care, you’re thinking of them, that you are grateful to have them in your life. If you’d like a letter this year let me know 🙂 I’d gladly send you one!
  • Gratitude/things that make me happy lists — Another couple of lists that sit in Wunderlist and I’ve started recently. Gratitude lists of all the many, many wonderful things I am incredibly grateful for in my life. Also a list of all the things big and small that make me happy. These I find are incredible, proactive mood lifters when you’re feeling a little battered by life
  • People profiles — this one might might sound a little creepy! Something I’m experimenting with right now is having a little note on Evernote for important people in my life. In it I note down memories we’ve shared, things they like, anecdotes they’ve shared. My memory fails me often and I’m meeting a lot of new people at the moment. It feels difficult to build deep relationships with people, even those I care most about. So these little snippits have helped me enormously for gift giving, remembering important milestones and events and re-connecting with people if its been a while.

So there you have it. My initial experiences into the world of writing. I don’t know where this journey will take me, but for me writing proved to be the gateway into myself and my own creativity and I could not be more grateful to have found it. I may not be a writer, but I will always be writing.

What I learnt from a weekend home alone

A little about me, General ramblings, Thoughts

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(Pug purely because he’s adorable) This weekend just past I decided to decline all social invitations and all outside commitments and have a full weekend (Friday 6:30pm – Monday 7:30am) completely by myself. I was tempted by the immense line up at Yestival (and as a long term sufferer of FOMO, this week has been especially tough hearing about what sounded like a magical weekend), asked to see family, have friends who I’ve neglected to spend time with in weeks, but I said no. I’m not sure why exactly but a part of me was really craving some alone time.

When I do the tests they tell me I’m an extrovert, if you meet me, you’d probably guess the same, but if what determines if you are or not, is where you get your energy from, this past weekend makes me question where on the scale I fall.

I used to hate being alone. If I had to be home alone, I’d eat away the time curled up in bed numbed by various box sets which looking back doesn’t really count as time well spent.  I’m certain now, deep down I was afraid of being alone. It’s only since my first Vipassana 10 day silent meditation retreat at the beginning of this year that I realised that my own company wasn’t so bad after all, I had nothing to fear and everything to gain.

I’m going to begin by listing everything that I did this weekend.

  • Woke up and meditated for 20 mins both Saturday and Sunday
  • Did a meal plan for the coming week, created a shopping list and did my big shop
  • Got a haircut
  • Went to the gym both days for approx. 45 mins
  • Cooked 3 delicious meals from scratch; my dad’s famous spiced scrambled eggs (so simple but incredible, will happily share the recipe), an asian chicken and noodle dish and a tray of coconut oil brownies, that went down a treat at work on Monday
  • Wrote a 1500 word blog post about my recent Escape to Umbria
  • Wrote up action plans from said trip
  • Tidied my flat
  • Watched an incredible documentary on Netflix; Alive Inside, a real tear jerker I warn you now, about the power of music to transform the lives of people suffering from dementia
  • Listened to 2 Tim Ferriss podcasts (Jimmy Chin & Lisa Randall)
  • Finished reading my Rebel Book Club read of the month Wild Courage by Elle Harrison
  • Got through a quarter of the Influence by Robert Caildini audiobook (3 hours)
  • Listened through my entire weekly Spotify Discover playlist and saved my favs
  • Gave myself a facial
  • Went shopping and got myself a sizeable winter wardrobe haul and did a personal fashion show to myself when I got home to remind my self of what I bought (please tell me I’m not the only one who does this?!)
  • Watched 5 episodes of Friends (towards the end of S4.. Ross & Emily are about to get married)
  • Got a full 10 hours sleep Friday and Saturday night
  • Did my full 20,000 steps over the weekend according to my phone

I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging here, though just thinking back I’m amazed at how much I feel got done. I write the list to illustrate what I learnt:

There is so, so much time

There are 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week.

I had 61 hours alone over the weekend, of which I spent 28 sleeping.

That still left me with 33 hours of time awake to fill with whatever I wanted. 33 hours is a seriously long time, in which you can do a hell of a lot. Time is a precious, non-renewable resource that I consider to be my most valuable possession, but I don’t think I have a shortage of it. I have the same number of hours in my weekend as everyone I love or admire out in the world. So ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I’m too busy’ are just confessions of what my priorities are at any given time. This weekend I prioritised rest, fitness, life planning and admin, myself. If I look at my life as a whole right now, I can’t say that I always prioritise the things that are important to me, this weekend was an exception rather than the rule, which worries and saddens me. This I need to change. Have you thought recently about how you spend you time? And what this implies about your priorities? Intentions, maybes, somedays are imaginary. All that is real is what we do.

How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives‘ – Annie Dillard

1 hour of planning saves 10 hours of doing

I have to confess… I have no idea where the above statement came from or if its accurate, but I read it on the interwebs last week and its stuck with me. So much so that first thing Saturday morning, I wrote out my master plan for the weekend to test it.

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I’d say I stuck to about 85% of it and it astonished me. It surprised me how many times I forgot what I was planning to do and had to check back to the plan, I’m clearly a slow learner! There is definite value in writing down your plans, goals, dreams, whether that be micro daily ones or the big lifetime ones. Coincidentally, Robert Cialdini confirmed this with the research in Influence, the audiobook I’m listening to. The research says that both writing down your commitments and then going one step further and making them public make you far more likely to follow through.

The above 2 points highlight to me that clearly theres a lot to say for effective time management and goal setting. I attended a mini course on time management at Escape the City by the lovely Alejandro Kaufmann a few months ago and picked up the art of time blocking which I have to say has changed my life. Time blocking encourages you think about the important stuff you want to achieve in the coming days and block time out in advance to do it. I now try to do this each week for work, blocking huge chunks of time where I can focus on specific tasks. It reminded me of a brilliant post by Paul Graham, co-founder of Y-Combinator who writes brilliantly about the difference between the Makers Schedule and the Managers Schedule. All to often in a corporate where I find myself currently is heavily skewed towards a ‘Managers Schedule’.

Time alone is time well spent

I mentioned in my last post that you are the average of the people you surround yourself with. I strongly believe that one of those people should be yourself. I want to be mostly me, honestly. I don’t know who that is yet, and I’m sure it will evolve over time, but spending time alone is one catalyst to figuring it out. Just 2 and a half days helped me reconnect with a few things about myself.

  1. I’m deeply in love with music. On some some level I was probably aware of this already, and sometimes I think but surely everyone is right? Who doesn’t love music? But I feel like I take it to another level in my head… The documentary I watched, Alive Inside, all about the power of music resonated so deeply. Actually if you look at my Netflix wishlist, my audible wish list, my book wishlist (outside of the genre of self-development!), its full of music history, musical autobiographies. I’d say one of my favourite books ever is John Peel’s autobiography, Margrave of the Marshes. I love new music… Spotify Discover brings me endless joy and excitement at the moment. I hadn’t noticed it really before but on the tube, bus, walking down the street, I’m the one trying to keep head and feet from tapping uncontrollably to the beats pouring into my ears. Whilst cooking I had my speakers turned up high as I danced around my kitchen as I cooked. If you’ve ever seen me on a night out on the dance floor… it speaks for itself! I’m in my own little world. I’ve always been this way, thinking back, but only now I’m paying attention and connecting those dots.

2. My second love is space and time and all the wonders of the universe. Also heavily featured in the books and documentary wish lists. I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. I read Simon Singh’s Big Bang when I was 12. Cosmos: A space time odyssey is probably one of my fav TV shows ever.

3. I love to cook. For myself, for others, savoury, sweet. It excites me.

4. I love to write! The post I wrote on Saturday was the first time I felt like I’d spoken in my own voice for a really long time and here I am again.

5. I currently don’t invest my time in the above 4 things as much as I’d like.

We spend so much time doing what we should do for some goal outside of ourselves, I think we bury our natural passions and the things that excite us just because they excite us. I’m never going to be an astronaut (fingers crossed for a trip to space though!), but that doesn’t mean that following that excitement is a waste of time. I can’t play an instrument (yet), music probably won’t ever make me money, but it makes me fundamentally happier and more my whole self. Elle Luna a wildly incredible artist and author wrote a beautiful book which comes to mind whenever I think about this, The Crossroads of Should and Must. If you haven’t read her blog post, it’s an absolute must.

Time and how I’m spending it, is clearly on my mind a lot right now, reading back this post!

I’m also enjoying trying to breakdown my experiences in to what I’m learning as it’s helping me focus and have a purpose to what I’m writing. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. 🙂 Coming up in the next couple of weeks or so… I’ll be sharing what I’m learning at work in my role in corporate learning and development, at Rebel Book Club, at the first ever Escape Mondays, perhaps my experiences as a property guardian and TEDx Brixton…

@rimapatel7 on Twitter

@poppetino on Instagram

What I learnt from escaping to Umbria

A little about me, Events

Umbria

Last weekend I had a mini escape from my whirlwind world, to the idyllic Tribewanted getaway; Monestevole in Umbria, Italy. Escape the City were running a weekend long workshop and it didn’t take much convincing to book my spot. Knowing Escape it would be exactly what I needed, even though I wasn’t exactly sure what that was. Romy one of my fellow escapees writes wonderfully about some of the experiences we shared here, and I also wanted to share some of the things I learnt.

You are the average of the people you surround yourself with

Do not underestimate this one. Being surrounded by open, like-minded, inspiring people all weekend, made me feel centred and invincible, like I could take on the world and I was going to laugh until it hurt while I did it. The right people energise you, support and encourage you and make you feel like all your crazy ideas are possible. The wrong people drain you, make you doubt yourself and your ambition and stir up all of your deeply buried insecurities. Think carefully about who you choose to spend your time with and be ruthless. This reminded me of something I’d heard of from Tim Ferriss, an 80/20 emotional inventory. What are the 20% of things in your life that are causing 80% of your stress, worry or sadness? What 20% is causing 80% of your joy and excitement? Can you avoid that bad 20% and plan more of the good 20% into your life? I did this recently and its shocking to see where the bulk of my frustrations come from, and it helped me refocus my energy. (Bad mornings=bad days, so one of my goals is to wake up 1h earlier each day).

It is the little things

Umbrian life was simple. We slept, we ate, we drank, we stroked the kittens, we chatted and plotted, we laughed, and it was perfect. The big group trip of the weekend was to the local Chestnut Festival in Preggio. We ate chestnuts, drank 1 euro red wine and laughed uncontrollably at the guy with the phallic, homemade instrument. We all have a tendency to overcomplicate our lives until it becomes unclear why we’re doing what we’re doing. Happiness and contentment are always within touching distance if we stop for a second and remind ourselves whats truly important.

Frequently mentioned over the weekend was #smallsteps. Each tiny step we take in the direction we want to go in adds up to a life long journey of endless miles of memories and achievements. We all made a commitment to making a number of small and not so small steps and promised to hold each other accountable to them.

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Get some perspective

Before I left for Umbria I felt trapped inside an exhausted mind and body with no idea what I wanted or even needed. Thankfully, a wise chapter in The One Thing by Gary Keller, had reminded me to plan my rest/break/recovery time first. So back in September, I knew having just pulled off TEDx Brixton the weekend before, I’d need some space to process and rest, so I booked my spot on Escape to Umbria. Thank god I did. Inside my normal life I was feeling uninspired and stressed by work, tired and overwhelmed with TEDx finishing. From Umbria I saw that this was just the way I was feeling at a point in time. I had the space, the people and the right questions to process everything that had happened and think about what was next. I urge you to think about when you might need some space, some perspective and block that time out now. Its hard to find the time when you’re in the middle of it all. Also, know the difference between a restful break and one that leaves you more tired than when you left! (My next break will be a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat in January!)

We all need warmth and validation

Sometimes I like to think that I’m emotionally strong and stable and independent. I’m all good on my own and I’ll get on with my life just fine, with or without the support of others. Up to a point that’s true, but trust me… when you’re welcomed warmly and openly into Monestevole by Adrienne, the general manager, when you hear someone else share your story positively and impressed, when someone tells you that your ideas are interesting and that they could help you maybe, when you’re told you can do whatever makes you comfortable and don’t have to explain yourself here, when you get a fist full of personal post it notes telling you how awesome you are, that warm feeling of being accepted and validated is incredible and like no other. You can’t recreate it on your own. Lucy, one of the escapees, described it as the moment when your ‘shoulders drop‘. You relax, you open up, you stop trying so hard to do it all yourself and you let others in. There is such power in finding a place where your ‘shoulders drop’, where you are free to be vulnerable and honest and yourself, and then miraculously accepted and even liked! In our busy lives I think we forget that this is what most of us spend our whole lives in search of, a place to be our whole self and be unconditionally accepted for it.

You already know the answers

This one came up in a number of forms, through various discussions over the weekend. Over and over again when we all tried to explain what we wanted and some of our thoughts of how we were going to get it, we apologised for our vague, incoherent ramblings. And time and time again everyone else responded by noticing the remarkable coherency of our dreams and plans. It felt as though our answers were basically fully formed, but they only revealed themselves when we were asked the right questions.

Linked to this were the discussions we had over dinner about some of our experiences as Samaritans listening volunteers. The rigorous training you receive as a volunteer focuses on the art of active listening and the fundamental principle of self-determination. You’ll never understand fully another person’s situation and therefore can’t offer them any advice, only reflect back whats been said to you, to help them come to their own understanding and plan. This is an act of empowerment and it applies to all of us. We know what we have to do, sometimes we just need an encouraging sounding board and the right questions to bring it in to our consciousness.

It never stops

We all varied in ages, experiences, backgrounds, industries, passions, achievements. Yet not one person felt that they had reached a point where they had achieved everything they wanted to. We were all impressed and inspired by each others stories, what we’d all achieved so far, what our plans for world domination were for the future, but each of us down played it and felt like we had infinitely further still to go. Rightly so in many ways. As a wise lady and fellow escapee Shari, from MP Cosmetics writes, ‘Anything that does not grow is dead‘.

I’d encourage all of us to be proud of everything we’ve done to date. Own it, shout about it, sure. We’ve all come so far and achieved so much. But we can’t stop here, we’re not done yet. We have so much more to give to the world. We need to keep growing, creating, giving together until there’s nothing left to give. The more we do, the more we can and must do. This might sound competitive, ambitious, tireless and it is, but we are not competing with anyone else out there, we are only competing with ourselves, to be the fullest, truest versions of ourselves. Do it. Do it afraid, but just do it.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.Marianne Williamson

Thanks Escape the City, Monestevole, Tribewanted and the wonderful, wacky bunch that joined me in Umbria 🙂 ❤

@rimapatel7 on Twitter

@poppetino on Instagram

Interview part. 2

A little about me

The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him… The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself… All progress depends on the unreasonable man.’ – George Bernard Shaw

Hello lovely folks out there. Hope this post finds you well. I thought it was probably time for another interview with myself. Mainly for myself to take stock of where I am and how things are going, so here it goes. (Kenan and Kel flashback: Just in case you’d like to relive it. I just did.)

Me: Welcome back!

Metoo: Why thank you, its rather nice to be here, where ever we are pretending here is.

Me: Well, we could say we were anywhere right? So I’ll say we are in a tree house, in a Scandinavian Forest, at dusk.

Metoo: nice.

Me: so how are things? Whats the craic?

Metoo: you know what, mad busy. But great! I feel like I’m on an accelerated learning curve at the moment and everyday just seems to throw another great opportunity to take something from. Which is great, but I have not stopped. Saturday was the first day in about 3 months where I just stayed at home. With no plans. Did nothing. It was bizarre. I felt the need to schedule my free time… I worry myself sometimes. 

Me: you worry me too. You need to learn how to relax and appreciate the down time. Whats been keeping you busy?

Metoo: Well as I previously mentioned, I’m planning on leaving my current job in September, so I have been racing against myself to have a bunch of things to do then. I’ve also been socializing a hell of a lot. Specifically, I’ve been going to a bunch of Esc the City events, for whom I now guest blog and help host events, which has been awesome. I’ve also been looking for work that inspires me. So applied to a cool start up, looked internally where I am, for a role more suited to what I want to do (education based), chatting to all my wonderful friends about my ideas etc. Reading a shit ton. Like I can’t actually read enough right now. I’m writing this post as efficiently as possible so that I can get in a solid hour of bedtime reading.

Me: geeze. do you ever stop?! What are you reading at the mo/have you read in the last few weeks?

Metoo: Well I’m currently reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington which is amazing. Packed full of wisdom about how to redefine success (so far I have taken 3 things from the book. meditate, sleep and walk; maybe basic, but completely underestimated and wonderfully simple to incorporate in to our lives). I just finished Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull the co-creator of Pixar. Seriously, it is now my management ideal bible. If I never read another management book again it will be ok, because this defines the environment I want to work in and cultivate where ever I end up. I also finished Sane New World by Ruby Wax and the Escape Manifesto by the guys who set up Escape the City. Another 2 exceptional reads. I really need to get back into reading some fiction though. So once I’m done with Thrive and then Risk by Dan Gardner :$ I will be taking a little break from non-fiction.

Me: dare I ask whats on your reading list at the mo…?

Metoo: seriously do not. There are about 40 books on there right now and I keep adding to them. I downloaded 5 more books on to my nook over the weekend. I have a habit. I need help. Is there a self help group for obsessive readers? :S But as a little sneaky teaser (mainly because I’m lazy and may never get round to writing blog posts for them all, soz guys.) I will be reading A Moveable Feast by Earnest Hemingway, Margrave of the Marshes by John Peel, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia MarquezThe Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin and On the Shortness of Life by Seneca… after Risk… at some point. Maybe I need to take a year out of life and just read solidly.. is that a thing?

Me: erm… it is a thing. But most people will judge you and think you’re a bat shit cray my friend. Listening to you is exhausting! Does your mind ever stop?

Metoo: No. not really!

Me: hmm. what do you do to relax?

Metoo: well I started yoga this year which has been utterly trans-formative. It opened up the door to meditation and general connecting the mind and body so I really hope to continue/increase my practice A LOT. I am currently appallingly inflexible. Boo. Also I listen to a lot of music. Omg. you musttttt check out some Nils Frahm. Seriously. Stop what you are doing right now and listen to this:

Nils Frahm- Says

Me: okokok! I’m listening…..

Dam. I have no words.

Metoo: I know. I KNOW. He is playing the Barbican in the Autumn and the tickets are sold out. I am gutted. Oh one other weird thing. Or at least everyone I’ve told seems to think its weird. I’m considering/am planning on going on a 10 day silent meditation retreat later this year. Where you meditate for 10 hours a day… you don’t speak to anyone else. You aren’t even allowed to bring writing/reading materials with you.

Me: not going to lie. sounds freaking weird bud, like you’re torturing yourself. Why are you going doing this?

Metoo: well. I want to learn to meditate. Well. Intensively. The more you do it the better, you can’t over meditate. So the discipline of the center will force you to be comfortable with yourself, face the parts of yourself that you usually mask or run away from. I’m curious more than anything…

Me: ohh kayyyyyy. well you let me know how that goes won’t you!

Metoo: of course 🙂

Me: a couple of final questions my friend. 1. How are you feeling about all the imminent changes about to happen in your life? 2. Is there anything you’re going to miss about this old life?

Metoo: hmm. well 1. How I’m feeling now is approx. 70%- relief/excitement/enthusiasm and 30%- like I’m standing on the edge of cliff about to jump off, not knowing if I’m going to figure out a way to sprout wings before I hit the ground. It’s completely exhilarating and nerve wracking in equal measure, but I feel that I’m slowly getting addicted to that bizarre feeling. So much so that I try to do something that scares me each day and I deliberately do things differently just to see what happens. It’s fun. 🙂 for example I gave away an £80 ticket to Blogstock today for free to a lovely lady who I spotted on Twitter who wanted to go and could no longer afford it. Felt right. What can I say. Sure its a bit mental. But as a wise friend always reminds me; ‘It’s only money, right?’. Right. 2. I am going to sorely miss the people that have pulled me through the last few months. I am surprised each day by their kindness and wisdom and support. I give my firm something, they pick the good eggs. Other than that, honestly, no. The money, security, the kudos just doesn’t excite me. I’m worried about not having it, sure, but its not the end goal I want so it doesn’t motivate me at all. 

Me: I lied, one more question; What are you looking forward to over the next couple of months?

Metoo: Oh wow, so many things, Hanging out with my awesome comic book artist friend from the Backwards Burd guys this weekend to work on a little creative project, Transpride next weekend who another brilliant friend is co-organizing, Boomtown in a couple of weeks, working with the Escape the City team hosting and blogging. The list is endless! I’m lucky and happy and looking forward to blogging more too perhaps. Completely failing at the semi regular posts thing. You’re lucky if you get one a week out of me! I’ll try do better I promise 🙂

Me: I’ll hold you to that! As always its been grand. Oh god Nils Frahm, I think my life changed the moment I listened to that. It was tangible. WAIT can we have a picture of you? Can we oh can we?!

Metoo: and you think I’m dramatic. Erm. ok Creepy McCreeperson:

Also RIMA

Me: ahhhh. Lovely. even if I do say so myself. Till next time! 🙂

Follow Me on twitter here: @rimapatel7

Let me introduce myself

A little about me

“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.” – George Carlin

So, I feel its time to get to know me a little better. I am, as many of us claim to be, appalling at writing about myself (see unfinished CV, even though I am leaving my job in September, a story for another time). What is it that we all struggle with? I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but there is a certain pressure when we try to define and summarise ourselves down to a page, or a snappy, witty paragraph in the ‘about me’s of our blogs.

I for one get mental constipation just at the thought of it. I don’t particularly want to put myself into a self-defined box.What if I leave something out or the phrasing makes me out to be something I am not? Surely I am more than a page of self indulgent chatter, I must be more complicated!

Part of the reason I feel, is these sorts of self summaries are always for someone else, a potential employer or potential readers out there in the internet ether, so inherently susceptible to approval or rejection.  Also, what if I don’t actually know myself very well yet, what then? I can feel the anxiety bubble up already, just thinking about it.

So a slightly different approach is in order perhaps. I am going to interview myself for you all. Wait.. before you click away.. I get that it sounds a lot like I will be talking to myself, oh wait it definitely is exactly that. So click away if that’s not your bag. I tell you for why I’m doing it this way. 1. I hope I’m not alone, but often I feel very much like I am 2 people. So why not get one to interview the other? 2. When thinking about what I’d write, it seemed to flow far better than just trying to write a traditional ‘about me’. 3. It leaves it open to conduct further interviews to delve in a bit deeper. 4. I’d like to get to know myself better too! So, why not try it ey. Here goes.

Me: So who are you then?

Metoo: Hello! I’m Rima, 24 years old, soon to be ex-accountant, living in London.

Me: Ok so, pretty standard stuff. Why ex-accountant?

Metoo: Ahh its all a bit cliche to be honest with you, but I pretty much fell into this job, and now I am fully qualified, surprise surprise, It’s dawning on me that being an accountant/auditor is not really my life long ambition. I’ve tried the corporate world and you know what, its not for me. I don’t fit in here I don’t think.

Me: I hear a lot of this kind of chat from people in your position. People don’t seem to be content with the well paid, but high stress lifestyle so much anymore.

Metoo: Yea, agreed. We all wanted the money and the power and respect, and now we have a slice of it, not really sure it’s what we wanted at all!

Me: This blog seems to be a fairly new project (June 2014), what made you start?

Metoo: Well part of being in a job like mine is that you feel quite trapped by the skills you’ve acquired thus far and feel that you can’t do anything remotely different. Also, it seems to sap all creative energy and will from you so you both think you can’t be creative and also don’t feel you have the time or energy to even try. So I thought a blog would help me flex my creative muscles, and prove to myself that if I put my mind to it, I can 100% do it.

Me: Nice. But what is the point of your blog?

Metoo: What do you mean? Why do I write it? Or why do I think people should read it?

Me: both!

Metoo: Well I write it to practice writing, to record my memories and thoughts and feelings at a point in time, to share cool things that I think others may enjoy, to question my own opinions too perhaps. As for readers, I include a lot of reviews of stuff that have particularly enjoyed so hopefully others can get inspired to experience similar things! I’m a sharer! I’d like to also dissect some philosophy here too at some point. So would be cool to interact with folks.

Me: That’s a lot you want to do there bud. Anything you think will be a barrier for you getting this done?

Metoo: Erm… myself! Probably the biggest stumbling block of all. I guess until September time is a little limited. Work is a massive part of life at the mo. Honestly though, its only really me that will get in my way, if for some reason I lose the drive/motivation to keep going. Other than that full steam ahead!

Me: Well my advice would be to just do it. Start and don’t stop. What sort of things are you interested in and may write about?

Metoo: Simple enough advice to give ey! Interested in.. hmm…too many things!! By that I mean that there is a lot that excites me. Including travel, philosophy, yoga, mental health, books, art, film, music, poetry, business, sanskrit, dance, languages, people, food. Most of these I am a complete novice at, so am aiming to get a better understanding of all of them over time. I will post my bucket list up here at some point maybe. Give you a better idea.

Me: What is the dream?

Metoo: Arghh big questions dude! Well this is what I am in the progress of working out. However, I listened to some sound advice recently, to be micro ambitious. So, I think I will set myself varying small and medium sized goals regularly. At the mo, yoga, reading, travel plans, learn Spanish/German are high up the list. Also, finding a source of income for when I am unemployed in Sept!

Me: What are your greatest fears?

Metoo: oh man. really, enough with the personal questions? I guess a couple of things. 1. I am a serious people pleaser! So a fear of being disliked. I like to be liked. I’m not particularly ok with people just disliking me. I’m pretty annoyingly positive and enthusiastic sometimes and worry that people think to themselves.. ‘omg.. seriously just pipe down.. no-one cares’. 2. Being a burden on anyone else. I am fiercely independent so would hate to have to rely on anyone else. 3. Seriously FOMO. I know, I’m sorry, I said it, I had to. Its a frustratingly appropriate acronym and I hate myself for using it. I just do worry that life is so dam short, if I spend a single minute, hour, day not in the pursuit of my many, varying passions that I will miss out on the wonders that our planet has to offer. One reason I must quit the corporate milk round. That about covers the main ones.

Me: I feel that we have learned a fair about about us. A lot still to go, but a break perhaps. 20 year old us would have been astonished at how easily and quickly we just managed to bash out 1218 words.

Metoo: Yea wow. Fair play. A fan of this interview style, as crazy as it makes me seem! Until next time!

RP

@rimapatel7