Category Archives: Love

Play up! play up! and play the game!

The thing about trust is, despite all the bits that are grey in between, it is pretty simple. Or at least it ought to be. Like flicking a light switch on and off. Some of the grandest heartaches in life usually rear their ugly heads when trust is decimated. Magnitudes of this pain are several factors higher when trust is systematically decimated. Of course no heartache is more painful than the one that involves the ones you love.

For individuals unfortunate enough to have experienced such meticulous obliteration of trust, it is somewhat paradoxically and deliriously delightful to be able to trust again. Perchance you are a lucky one to have escaped such terrible and dreadful malaise of life; then on the flip side you most certainly are very unlucky not to know just precisely how it feels to be able to trust again. One might argue it is an irrational point of view but it is a valid of point of view nonetheless. Life is a wonderfully epic journey simply because of the experiences and emotions one encounters – bad or good. Be assured there is no other feeling better than the sense of sheer relief and utter gusto one feels when failures of the past are finally overcome and success is tasted. It is one of the most delightful and bittersweet of feelings.

The most important lesson is not to give up. Play up! play up! and play the game.

Sir Henry John Newbolt knew it and we will all do very well to remind ourselves the importance of just playing the game and not giving up… be it love, be it life, be it a simple game of Cricket…

There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night—

Ten to make and the match to win—

A bumping pitch and a blinding light,

An hour to play and the last man in.

And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,

Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,

But his captain’s hand on his shoulder smote—

“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

The sand of the desert is sodden red,—

Red with the wreck of a square that broke;—

The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead,

And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.

The river of death has brimmed its banks,

And England’s far, and Honour a name,

But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:

“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

This is the word that year by year,

While in her place the school is set,

Every one of her sons must hear,

And none that hears it dare forget.

This they all with a joyful mind

Bear through life like a torch in flame,

And falling fling to the host behind—

“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

You must choose

It is perversely amusing to watch someone, who up until now has been used to meandering through life perfecting the art of choosing from a range of options from terrible at one end to less than average at the other, to appear utterly clueless when presented with options that are both blissfully pleasant and strikingly attractive. These are uncharted territories. The selection criteria for preferring one over the other are confusing & unclear. The only aspect that is clear is each option is as good as gold and both exhibit the potential to transform into be what this person has been yarning for.

Going by previous decision making processes, it is clear to see that this person  has a tendency to choose options that require greater amount of effort and discipline. As if the twisted inner psyche somehow yields in inversely proportional levels of satisfaction to the overall effort required and likelihood of eventual success.  His/her previous such rationale defying act of indulgence (does sound like that – doesn’t?) ensued a spectacularly unfavourable outcome. What will he/she do now? What are the odds?

What do you do when heart is equally split? You can’t have both. You must choose.

If you are reading this, I’d love to hear your thoughts

Onwards and upwards

Another year comes to an end and oddly unlike previous years, I am not in a reflective mood. It is quite a tradition for many to sit back, breathe in and evaluate the year gone by and set targets and goals for the year ahead… including making a few mental notes of what worked and what didn’t.

I am not in a reflective mood today mostly due to the fact the year presented ample opportunities to do just that. Mostly I learned two things. Things that I knew already…

  • freedom
  • love

Freedom is such an important aspect. Without freedom living is as amusing as an asthmatic going on a holiday in an incessantly suffocating island in hell. In other words… rather pointless. Freedom exists in many different forms and guises. Financial freedom is one such imperative kind. It is an awful and sickening feeling to get paid at the end of the month and within the very first week face the prospect of various direct debits and standing orders reducing the wage to a bloody pittance. So personally it was finally a great relief to finally get to the other side and smell the fragrance of financial freedom; although not quite 100% but close enough. 2012 is all about being studious enough in order to finish the job once and for all.

Almost three years of utter cynicism finally came to an end during a summer holiday trip. Although I did not quite a fall in love but an incident of great significance took place. I understood that you can delay it, you can fight it off for a while but eventually love will get you. And what a wonderful feeling it was. As the curtain finally begins to fall on 2011 it feels as if it is indeed beginning to get me. Oh yes.

Adieu 2011. Hello 2012… onwards and upwards!

The other man

What is your take on deceit? It is generally accepted that deceit ought to be avoided. It mostly hurts people and brings untold misery. Dealing with deceit is at best uncomfortable. Some find it easy to move on. In others it causes instability at the very core of their humane make up.

Imagine a happy fulfilling relationship built on solid foundation lasting over thirty years until one day it comes crumbling down. The feeling of being let down is an incredibly emotionally crushing. The sheer disbelief and confusion it causes initially is perhaps the saddest part of it all. That feeling reveals all.

I watched an interesting film called The Other Man the other night. Here is the plot summary:

“In Cambridge, the software engineer Peter (Liam Neeson) and the shoe designer Lisa are successful in their careers and have been happily married for twenty-five years. They have an adult daughter, Abigail, and Lisa frequently travels to Milano to do business with the Gianni & Gianni Company. When Lisa is gone, Peter finds a message in her cellular and decides to snoop her e-mails and discovers in a secret folder named Love that she had a lover, Ralph. Peter travels to Milano and stalks Ralph; he finds that the man plays chess in a bar. Peter gets close to Ralph and discusses his relationship with Lisa without knowing that he is her husband.”

The film itself does not live up to its potential however it raises some interesting questions. Some time ago I blogged about what love is? One of the points I was trying to make in that particular article is that of consideration of an individual.

In this film Lisa simply falls in love with two men. She loves them both dearly and simply did not feel compelled to choose between them. In fact, she chose them both. Both men made her who she is. It is this particular angle that her husband eventually comes to grips with and finds it within his heart to forgive her (she had passed away by the time he stumbles upon her illicit affair with this man).

It is an interesting and rather munificent gesture. I suspect, he was able to take himself out of the equation and see it from Lisa’s perspective and as such an indication of the true nature of his appreciation of his now late wife.

This film left me, for want of a better word, totally flabbergasted. The staggering nature of this man’s forgiveness simply stupefied me. I do not subscribe to this particular altruistic angle on love. What Lisa did was deceit at its most callous. Love is not free lunch. It’s give and take. It’s about equality; it’s about treating the opposite number with dignity, respect and honesty.

It is perhaps poetic justice that she died a horrible death.

What is your take on this?

Only love

Dealing with the past can sometimes be an arduous task. It largely depends on how painful the past was. The past is not something that is fixed with an independent existence. The past is how you remember it. It is something that you construct and reproduce from a set of memories in a number of different ways. In other words the past is our historical memory of a particular period.

The best way to deal with the past is through pure acceptance. The arrow of time is constantly moving forward and henceforth there is nothing that you can do to change it. Revisiting the past must only be done with the sole intention of learning from it and moving forward. There is very little point in worrying about something that has happened and you no longer have the opportunity to influence it. However, it is crucial to realise what you can influence is the future. Indeed it is. The pain orchestrated by the divisions and conflicts of the past never die. As a consequence residual hurt and resentments are reproduced. The capacity to let go of a particular memory of the past, to forge another memory or interpretation that allows people to relinquish the quest for revenge is at the heart of what many understand by forgiveness. Unless people manage to forsake their determination to get even, there can be no new beginning, no transformation of relationship; everyone will remain imprisoned in a particular history (or mythology), recycling old crimes and hatreds – with the present dominated by a particular collective memory of the past.

Dealing with past refers to a process comparable to that of forgiveness. Forgiveness can be at the interpersonal level – forgiving identifiable perpetrators. It can also be at the more anonymous collective level of forgiving history – coming to terms with the pain of the past in such a way as to free oneself from the determining force of a particular collective memory, forming a new memory that creates the symbolic space for people to orient themselves towards a new future which allows for the possibility of reconciliation with past opponents.

 

There are three conditions that are necessary to deal with the past.

a)    peace and security
One clear and necessary precondition for people to ‘move on’ is the experience of a clear break from the painful past. A key element in this is an end to the bloodshed, violence and abuse. To begin to have hope for the future, a core constituent of any reconciliation process, people must experience a significant degree of personal and collective security. The experience of political and identity-driven violence must become a memory, rather than a lived experience in the here-and-now.

b)    justice
In addition to personal and collective peace and security, always a matter of degree, many would argue that people also need to perceive some degree and form of ‘justice’ being implemented in order to experience a break with the past and lay it to rest. At the heart of most common-sense notions of justice is the idea of ‘making things right’ through some combination of punishment of perpetrators and/or the compensation of victims.

c)    truth
In the growing body of literature relating to reconciliation in societies emerging out of violent, destructive conflict and gross human rights abuse there is regular reference to the significance of unveiling and acknowledging the truth about the criminal acts and wrongs of the past as a necessary condition for people to move on individually and collectively.

These constitutive elements or values of peace, justice and truth that help people forgive the past do not rest easily together. Too great a concern with ensuring peace and security and avoiding a resumption of violence can mean that truth and justice are forfeited. But too active a pursuit of justice in societies emerging out of division can result in a return to violent conflict and bloodshed. Moreover, if the value of truth is prioritised above all else, then this can come at the cost of justice. After all, why should perpetrators disclose the full extent of their crimes if they will thereby incriminate themselves and condemn themselves to judicial punishment?

Time heals everything (or at least it significantly takes the edge of the past). Constant thoughts of different course of actions you could have taken and all the what-ifs that come with it halt progress. Think of it this way… you make mistakes (others make mistakes)… you cannot reverse any of it… you cannot influence the other person in anyway but what you can do is to look at yourself and change yourself. If you feel that you have hurt someone in the past, don’t dwell on it. Instead accept it and say to yourself that next time you won’t do it. Positive changes are the need of the hour.

The pain that you feel from a failed relationship can only truly be substituted by another successful relationship. Don’t chase success; instead simply eliminate errors and you will find success will come your way – much the same way only love can heal you from the pain of love. Have faith! Life closes one door and leaves another door ajar – it is up to you to open it.

No way out

When should you accept defeat and settle for second best? Is that even a thought worth entertaining? Would it be the right time once you have weighed up all your options, taken into consideration the all too important matter of practicality and such like?

Frankly this is something I have never quite fathomed. Folks tell me this is a balancing act that all grown ups perform in their day to day lives. Idealistic views are just that – views. You win some and you lose some. Since you cannot control every aspect of life, often those idealistic views seem almost impossible to achieve; no matter how studiously they are pursued. What then of chasing dreams? At what point do you say this is was my best shot and it came up short. At what point does relentless quest of an idealistic view (or say a dream for that matter) become a fruitless adventure? At what point should you throw in the towel? More importantly does that make you a lesser man/woman for simply giving up?

Life isn’t perfect. I know that. You know that and I suspect pretty much everyone else knows that. What of then abandoning a quest? How do you even know you have tried every trick in the book? More importantly how do you live with this knowledge that perhaps you didn’t give it your best shot? What if you had persisted that little bit longer? What if you were prepared sweat a little more? What if you were that little bit more stubborn? Perhaps you would have extracted a satisfactory result!

It bugs me. It has bugged me all my life and it will bug me until I take in my last breath. I am a methodical person. I am organised. And I have an answer to this. It’s called prioritisation. You give weights to everything. You rank them in order of importance. You define success criteria. You think long and hard about milestones. You think of highly suitable alternatives. It has to be that way for the world is not ideal. Furthermore the journey itself is the reward. At the end, the result is a mere cherry on top. You cannot control how things turn out. However what you can control is how you approach each quest. How well you prepare yourself. Often people say genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration! And, yes… I agree. This is the case for many things in our lives.

But what then when the simple matter of the heart is involved for it isn’t as realistic as the thing in between your ears! It won’t care for highly suitable alternatives. It won’t care for the weighting and the ranking system you have devised. It understands none of that. It is stubborn! Stubborn stubborn stubborn bloody wretched thing!! Not until every single avenue has been explored, every single stone has been turned…. not until it is impossible in its absolute sense that it would dare give up.

What I am trying to say is that once you have unlocked the heart, you’re in. Make yourself a cup of tea and get comfortable for there is virtually no way out 🙂

Game set match

Have you ever wondered why would an otherwise perfect day can sometime turn out to be not quite so fulfilling? You wake up to a gloriously crispy autumnal morning. Clear skies, beautiful sunrise, misty morning, delightful sound of birds singing and then for much of the day a shade of gorgeous blue paints the sky. You accomplish what you  set out to accomplish throughout the day with aplomb. Not only that but things that you didn’t even particularly plan for just fall into place. A road that is normally full of inconsiderate pillocks turns into a joyous occasion to celebrate motoring. A Tesco queue – probably the dullest place on this earth brings a smile to your face. You open the letter box and find yourself some rather convenient and useful vouchers. Good Lord…, there is also an unexpected cheque from the tax man.  But despite all of that…  there is a nagging feeling that none of this matters. The day could be much better. Much much better… only if.. only if… No matter what you do thought of somebody totally and utterly dominates the mind and the heart.

Isn’t that a wonderful feeling? You’ve been fighting the urge, keeping yourself distant whilst building this impregnable wall that you feel will keep you cocooned. It is water tight, foolproof. You sit there thinking you’ve got it covered. But regardless of what you think this is always a false economy – for when it needs to find a way through it will and you will be hugely relieved that it always does! And thank God such is the case for otherwise this world would turn out to be a sad empty place devoid of any joy… full of discontent and bitterness. And who the hell would want to live in a world like that?

Oh yes my friend, it is game, set and match!! Indeed it is! Aren’t you just glad? Don’t you have that smile on your face? Yes, you do… that’s what I thought.