It’s Grim up North

Everybody, at some point in their lives, should try and read or learn about both Ethics and Philosophy. The ability to be able to critically assess every idea you’re given is a life skill that a great many people could sorely do with attaining, especially before being given the keys to a social media account. Once you realise that ‘reality’ is only a definition and not necessarily the world around you? So much begins to alter. It’s the foundation of everything else in existence, underpinning enormous swathes of contemporary education, business and crucially entertainment. Let’s ask A Famous Actor to put both together for your mind-altering pleasure…

So, if time is a flat circle, it should not surprise those living through Covid that their lives are, amazingly, incredibly similar to those of their ancestors. But hang on, they didn’t have protest or media stars running their country… ah, but you see, they did. Just because social media has given so many a voice, doesn’t mean that this is the first time ever people have stood up for their rights and worked together. Your experiences may well be unique to you, but that does not necessarily mean those are unique in a wider context, and this is a crucial fact that it’s easy to overlook for expediency, as so many people are already doing.

All that has happened will do so again, unless history is listened to and summarily rejected/embraced, depending on which way you come into all of this. I’ve been at environmental activism since the 80s, and we’re still no further forward in some places than was the case back then. Ironically, the loss of coal as fuel was never the problem, it was how business and government sold it both as industry and a career that was. The echoes with this and finance as the same is not lost on a brain that can already see this forgotten in a decade.

It is easy to see who is learning right now: there are undoubtedly those with absolutely no interest in anything except how their lives remain the most important part of reality. It makes perfect sense, of course it does, as the fear that results when forced to consider anything outside that sanctified bubble is both feeling and action I’m very personally acquainted with. Except, as a human being, fear is part of your growth experience. It is what makes people travel across the planet, urges them to undertake superhuman acts. To overcome your circumstances, to triumph against adversity is a victory against a very human emotion.

With fear under control, literally anything is possible.

I’ve spent a lifetime reading other people’s self-help manuals, looking at how to be happy. The one trick that nobody wants to tell you is that there is no cure-all: they all just hope you’ll make them rich. Once you decouple from the idea that someone else has all the answers, that buying stuff or treating yourself is all just your brain tricking you into a cheap dopamine hit? Honestly, it all gets an awful lot easier. The true reality is balance, and making sure fear never has enough fuel to destroy your life.

If you can manage all that and still feel happy? That’s a pretty decent life, right there.

Justified and Ancient

Yesterday, with minimal fanfare, The KLF released their most famous songs onto streaming services and YouTube. No longer will I have to keep Apple Music well away from my MP3’s and, finally there are versions of classics on an OFFICIAL KLF YouTube Channel…

Of course, there’s a shedtonne of fan-based stuff all over everywhere for these boys and their output, which was the definition of Proper Bonkers back in the day. I’m not going to spoil any of it for you but seriously, go read a biography or two of their lifespan and what they’ve achieved as performance artists, because legitimately being able to burn a million quid without compunction is worth the admission price alone.

Yesterday I also started an exercise plan that will see me record something for the entire 365 days of the year. Most of this is likely to be on a static bike, but until Gyms are open in my area again (which at this rate, let’s face it, could be May) there does need to be an upper body component that’s self-generated. 30 push-ups a day is now academic in groups of 10, now I need to be able to do them without a break. That’s the next task on the list, after which we’ll add some. Right now however, I am genuinely feeling the upper body workout from yesterday, which says to me that Good Work [TM] was done overall.

Also, I have streaks going in various places. It’s time to try and be on the giant wrecking ball with a single finger aloft, as opposed to being hit by it.

We have totally got this.

Hello, Hello

This is the longest blog break here for a while. I’d like to explain why.

If all I had to do was be more organized, this would be easy. The fact remains there is a lot more to my evolutionary step this time than just writing more lists. I have a body to properly alter, rather than just the (often) token efforts that have been made thus far. Lockdown 2.0 came at a bad time for me. I refuse to lose my progress. Therefore, there’s a lot of hard work to do.

The NaNo has literally written itself. I have my next novel project organized, which is unheard of. Next week I need to look to start editing an existing work too. I’ve not done with poetry, far from it, but right now the storytelling matters more, so that is what I am focussing on. There have been domestic issues too, that have mattered more than being here or using this as routine. Right now, that is NaNo.

I won’t Shonk again this week, the audio’s now out of date, such is the speed that the world works, so we’ll sort it for next week instead. That’s a lot of the problem right now, I am not a fast mover, which is no more apparent than at present. However, with the benefit of a CRACKING night’s sleep… it is true that I need to work more physically to wear me out.

Let’s see if we can keep this up.

Shout

It is a truth personally acknowledged that peace is my ultimate aim. I fucking hate fighting with anyone, for reasons which are now clearly and inextricably linked to trauma. It’s why my pulse races in situations where other people are being unpleasant. it’s the reason certain circumstances and situations are now actively avoided. It’s also crucially why criticism used to be the hardest thing in the world to take.

Lots of things have improved in the last two years. Being able to conduct myself with calm, to be able to rationalise those situations and step back objectively from them is a massive step forward. Criticism is now sought, positively encouraged, and has becomes the means by which significant steps forward have been taken in approach. It’s why what gets written and outputted from now on will different from what has come before.

This morning, as the UK begins to move into Second Lockdown, it is really important not to go backwards in terms of momentum. Therefore, everything will be readdressed and reconsidered. Output in various places is already being streamlined. There are other issues to consider this time around too, and all of them are as important as my professional goals, if not more so. Looking after myself is a real priority.

I’m dreadful at self-care at the best of times, and this can’t continue. If it means stepping away from social media for an early night, or rearranging the order things are attacked in the day, there has to be a change from what is undoubtedly ‘normal’ behaviour. The result, it must be said, is already significant. That’s not going to be lost in panic again.

This time, we keep moving forward, and with optimism.

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Time is doing That Thing it sometimes does when the Universe knows I have a lot on and it needs to cut me a break. I know, it’s all personal perception at play but still, it makes everything far less stressful. I also didn’t blog personally for the second time this week yesterday, and I won’t tomorrow, because there are MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO.

So, if you’ll excuse me…

Feelings

It is human arrogance which has assumed, up until this point, that for a planet to be inhabitable it would first need to capable of supporting human life. This is, of course, utter bollocks and if it now transpires that life exists here, on Venus… well, that throws quite a lot of stuff into disarray. Again, we are back at the point where thinking in one, very linear way, is just asking for trouble.

It’s odd right now, watching people begin to grasp uncomfortable truths that have perhaps not previously been obvious to them. The most stark one of all is the realization that people have been used as product online for some time, and are only waking up to this as there’s nothing else to distract from reality, and an inescapable truth.

‘Directly support the Creator’ is one of those horribly glib statements that could just as easily mean ‘then Twitch don’t have to charge you for making content’. The publicity blurb for this is worryingly upbeat too: ‘Ads are an important part of Twitch – they help keep Twitch free for creators and viewers, and enable us to continue to craft new and innovative features and supply unique and engaging content for our community.’

Except, of course, that’s not a profitable business model, and this planet is all about those. Yet again, this is one group exploiting another for massive material gain. It should be making far more people uncomfortable than is currently the case, but it still doesn’t. People are happy to let this stuff wash over them. As long as they are not massively inconvenienced, what’s the problem?

Only when stuff becomes personally frustrating or annoying do we react.

This comfort v discomfort dichotomy (go look it up) is a big deal right now. I watch it play out almost daily on my timeline. Sometimes it’s about summat petty, yesterday it was about politics, sexuality, gender and public accountability. For me, I rationalise these things in two ways, with a feelings v reality death match.

It’s very simple: how I personally feel about something is stuck in a mental space alongside the truth of what is happening, and one of two things takes place. My feelings will either a) align with the reality or b) they won’t. If the former is true, everybody is on the same page and I get to have an early second cuppa. If the latter pans out, then I will be face down on the canvas with a boot on my face, and will only have myself to blame.

The truth matters now than it has ever done at any point before.

Smart is a hard task. Distinguishing what is real and what isn’t has become the schism in so much of our lives and accepting you got shit wrong… well, it’s a hard ask for many people. I’m going to have to admit I seriously misjudged some timescales this morning, in a meeting, but I will still meet a deadline. It’s okay, I’ve got myself covered.

Feelings v reality ought to be a far bigger deal than is currently the case.

Musclebound

… and you’re back in the room.

This weekend has taught me a lot about stamina: not just getting my legs to a place where I can sweat out a training programme without fear, but how things really can improve if you stop giving up. It is about pushing through the pain and discomfort, and so much else. Knowing what you can and cannot do are important benchmarks. Once marked, eating into them, subsequently improving them is less terrifying, because they’re static.

Someone I care a great deal about pointed out to me recently my propensity to try and do everything simultaneously, and how that ultimately is destructive. Yes, it absolutely is. I freely admit this, and will happily attest that having a brain that decides everything is possible when nothing is fixed is a sure fire way to hamstring yourself. It’s happened for years.

Not any more.

As it transpires, taking a day off was all that was needed to let my brain relax into new ideas. Therefore, I will start scheduling rest days for writing as well as exercise. It also helps immensely that everything that was done last week was scheduled into next week, thus freeing up a ton of space that previously did not exist. I’ve also recycled an inordinate amount of old work into new spaces.

There is also some though being given to dismissing an original plan and producing something completely left field as my inaugural self-publicised work. It is already made, which in itself saves on effort. I’m still thinking about the options available. If you’re a Patron, I’ll be talking about it more this week via your blogs, and on the IoW website.

There is suddenly a great deal of possibility in the air.

Can You Feel the Force

Every so often, something happens and you are given a unique insight into someone’s mental processes. If you’re a smart person, you’ll look long and hard at this data and learn from it. In the past week, I’ve had a couple of crucial conversations with individuals involved in various parts of my life: one personal and one professional really stand out as being indicative not how others have changed during lockdown, but how I’ve altered.

The professional one is really disappointing, but on reflection is probably no real surprise. My aspirations are vastly different to the people currently handling me, their concerns and mine not meshing at all. So, we’ll do what has been asked of me and move on. No drama, no fuss. A project that I wanted to do my own has been quietly subsumed. No matter.

The personal one I’ve seen coming for a while.

Finding people who share my passion for hobbies or pursuits has always been quite hit-and-miss. In this case, lots of people are clearly still struggling with the details of lockdown, and with the potential for it all to happen again in September, there doesn’t need to be any more stress in people’s lives than currently exists.

What going back to weightlifting has demonstrated is that control is a very big deal right now: who has it, who needs it and (most crucially) who cannot cope when it is imposed. I love getting to know new people but also know that there’s a point in every relationship where you either get closer and stay there or move apart and never return to that crossroads. I’m gonna be leaving a lot of people behind this month.

I suspect a few have already gone.

Guilt can be a strong motivator, however the damage that can cause often negates the point of effort. Right now, I need realism in my life, and lots of it, and if that means that along the way people and opportunities are missed or left to one side, it’s okay. I can’t get everybody to like me, and it’s impossible to do everything. Pick the moments, and your friends with care.

Life is moving pretty fast right now for everybody.

Sing it Back

…ooh look, it’s two days into a new month and I’ve not put my belt on yet. Dun worry, that’ll all change tomorrow. For now, it’s probably time to celebrate last month’s achievement.

elevenmonths

4611 MEP’s to beat… that’s gonna take some work. I could strap on the belt 24/7, I suppose, but that rather defeats the object of the exercise. What’s needed here is CONSISTENCY, which is really quite easy to work on. Keep the rest days, know when it’s appropriate not to push, and ensure that there’s a proper balance between cardio and strength training.

consistency_october

I always knew today would need to be an enforced rest day, and undoubtedly as we get closer to Christmas there will be other days where it is impossible to fit in the exercise required. If there’s a feeling on Tuesday morning there’s enough energy to catch up on today’s missed work I will, but it’s more likely to be a gimme. 22 days out of 31 with summat is brilliant. 

The aim is 20 days minimum on the calendar for November.

021119

With the news breaking yesterday that Google’s bought Fitbit, you’ll all soon be able to see my data, all over the interwebs without me needing to do screencaps… ^^ Until the changeover happens, I have plenty of opportunities to work on that 12k a day step total. If I wondered why I was so wiped after Wednesday night this week, I reckon almost 20k including a Blaze with hill incline runs probably had summat to do with it…

That’s tomorrow’s task too, with some heavy lifting thrown in for good measure. Why am I doing all this again…?

sacramento
However, I will be very much enjoying not having exercised today, oh yes…