some thoughts on life and happiness..

I've not posted here in a while - first I was writing some of my novel and haiku, then I was only writing haiku, and then I found myself not writing as often, and it's a slippery slope!

It's been a funny few weeks here, though of course by funny I mean far from funny. A number of events have conspired to give me a very pressing, very real, spiritual kick of awakening.

Firstly I learnt of the death of a friend and colleague, Bill, who knew of his cancer only two weeks before he passed. We'd been planning to meet for lunch for a few months, and the daily grind of work, in addition to my current lack of planning and control, had conspired to keep our conversations to brief "Hellos" as we passed each other in corridors and hallways. The lost opportunities to connect, and the sharp reminder of the transience of life, have prompted me to really re-visit my priorities, and the urgency with which I strive towards the goals I determine.

Secondly, a number of events occurred that really brought home how much I've been treading water for the past year. The combined stresses of my own poor health, my growing unease and feeling of entrapment and the ever-present concern brought on by my wife's long-term illness really came home to roost, and made me realise that the status quo is nether sustainable nor is it tolerable.

Thirdly, Iain M Banks, one of my favourite authors, and a real creative inspiration, lost his battle with cancer. This hit me pretty hard, especially coming when I was still in shock at the suddenness of Bill's passing.

Fourthly, I learnt that large numbers of my friends and colleagues might be losing their jobs, but that I have been 'slotted in place' - which means I have the twin anguish of not having the opportunity to take redundancy (which would have gone a long, long way to supporting my dealing with the second area above), and I get to watch friends lose their jobs unwillingly. 

Finally, I learnt this week that a family member might have pancreatic cancer. While this will affect their immediate family far more than I, in practical terms, it's yet another prompt that quality of life must take priority over materialism.


What does this mean, beyond the usual bouts of self-pity, and genuine emotional upset..?

I don't yet know - all I do know is that the status quo must change, and I need to find my way to a healthier and happier future. This realisation itself, I believe, I hope, is a significant first step on that journey.

Some additional steps on this journey that I've already decided on include:

- Better management of the time and energy I allow to be consumed by work. I can't afford to quit at the moment but, even more importantly, I cannot afford to allow the trap to continue to be self-reinforcing..

- Re-booting my meditation practice, and attempting to make it part of my daily routine. I've allowed this sustaining and nourishing practice to fall into disrepair, and even more so, to become a source of guilt for not making the time to fit it into my schedule...

- Writing more - this means more work on my writing projects, more haiku and more blogging. I see writing as one of the most viable avenues I can use to forge a happier future for myself - even if it doesn't provide an actual income I hope it will provide spiritual, mental and emotional succour.

- Not over-extending myself. While there are lots of other things I'd like to be doing, such as learning to design and develop mobile apps, and learning to play the piano, and to learn more languages, and to re-start my martial arts practice, and... and... I realise that right now I need deeper changes, rather than just more distractions from my current spiritual malaise...