Live your truth, live your best life

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May
my eyes always see the truth.

May
my lips always speak the truth.

May
my heart always feel the truth.*

You
will live many lives in this one life. Life progresses with such
forward momentum that you cannot always fully appreciate the
significance of the moment, and of what the moments, taken together,
are building. It can work wonders to take the occasional glance back
along the path, and consider the decisions that got you here (and the
core values that informed those decisions).

Some
moments this past week have given me pause to look back. Doing so has
given me renewed hope and appetite for what lies ahead.

Two
truths, one choice

On
Wednesday (30 August 2017) of this week, while going through some
papers from our last house move three years back, I came across a
print-out of a summer 2014 blog post from Neil Morrison that helped me immensely at the time. I must confess that I’d
forgotten all about it. But rereading it, the following words speak
to me as clearly now as then:

“To
those that believe, ‘it isn’t worth it’, you are right. It isn’t
worth it.

"To
those that believe, ‘we can make it better’, you are right. We can
make it better.

"Two
truths, one choice.”

As
with so much that Neil writes, this post says everything to me, in
the simplest and most direct language. I first read these words at a
time when life felt all up in the air, when I’d made a conscious
decision to make major change. I am so glad that I took that
decision. We can always make it better. I can always make it better.
You can always make it better.

Moving forward with uncertainty is still moving forward**

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On
Tuesday of this week (29 August 2017), I headed in to London, to join
my friend Kate Griffiths-Lambeth for lunch at Leadenhall Market, then
to meet my friend Tash Stallard for a long-overdue catch-up on the
banks of the Thames.

On
my way to meet Kate, I got to revisit the paths of my workaday life
from my earliest days in London. I walked the exact same route down
Bishopsgate that 25 year old me did when he/I first moved to London.
I felt that my posture is more upright now, that I can return the world’s gaze now, that I can maybe understand my way in
the world a tiny bit more clearly. 

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But I could also remember exactly
how nervous 25 year old me felt, walking down Bishopsgate to my first
day’s work in the City of London. I had decided to change my life
completely, and worked to make it happen. The change, when it came, happened all at one. I finished
my previous job on the Friday, moved to a flatshare in London on the
Saturday, and began work in the capital on the Monday. I felt such
uncertainty as to whether the wider world into which I’d stepped
even had a place for me. 

Moving forward with uncertainty is still moving forward.

Should
I still be around in 2040, I’m sure that when older me looks back
to right now, he/I will smile with recognition at the self-doubt and
uncertainty still felt by 2017 me, and wonder why he/I worried so.

You’ve made my heart so full

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On
Monday of this week (28 August 2017), the latest episode of Twin
Peaks: The Return
brought tears to my eyes. It would be pointless to
attempt to explain all of what happened (anybody out there who likes
Twin Peaks will already know; and it would sound preposterous to
anybody who doesn’t). In short, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is
finally 100% awake again. His old self, fully back, fully
self-assured. But – brilliantly, movingly – he also fully remembers,
acknowledges and values all that has happened to him while he has
been someone else in the interim***. He tells the family into whose
world he appeared at the start of this series:

“You’ve
made my heart so full.”

I
read a perfectly pitched account of this episode on the Mubi Twin
Peaks
Recap
blog.
Its author, Keith Uhlich, argues that one compelling reading of the
bizarre, epic run of events of this series is that we’ve been gifted
“Cooper’s strange, two-and-a-half decade spiritual journey.”
I love these words:

“[Twin
Peaks creators Lynch and Frost] recognise that a return to one’s core
self is not a regression. Time still passes, and moving inward
doesn’t mean you stop moving forward. […] Live your best life and
the universe will respond in kind.”

We
might not achieve it, but we can all strive to live our best life,
and to help others to live their best life.

Decisions, fast and slow****

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I
am not always certain that my decisions are right or wrong as I make
them. But I strive always for my decisions to be informed by my
principles, the things I hold to be true.

In
this way, most decisions that we make should in theory be simple. Our
values, our truths, are already there. Applying them to our choices
ought therefore to be simple. In Hagakure, Yamamoto Tsunetomo shares
the following words on decisions:

“In
the words of the ancients, one should make his decisions within the
space of seven breaths. If discrimination is long, it will spoil.
When matters are done leisurely, seven out of ten will turn out
badly. A warrior is a person who does things quickly.”

I
love these words. But I would find it hard to live by them. Decisions
take thought and time for me.

If
any of us looks back on the chain of decisions, fast and slow, that
have brought us to this moment, most of those decisions will appear
simple, clear and (I hope) right.

At
all points in your life, your own truth is the one that should guide
you.

Live
your truth.

Live
your best life.

Footnotes

* These words are adapted from the closing moments of this lovely Yoga with Adriene video.

** Pictures in this section taken by mjcarty, and depicting Leadenhall Market and the location of my old place of work, St Helen’s Place, Bishopsgate, as they were on Tuesday 29 August 2017 (and not wholly different to how they were to younger me, give or take the odd Gherkin!).

*** Twin Peaks fans: I know I am simplifying this to a shocking degree. But is there any simple way to summarise all that’s happened? It breaks my heart not to be able to write here about the beautiful force for purest good that is Dougie Jones. I hope one day I will find the words to write about him. Dougie’s picture does at least appear at the top of this post. He is the perfect example of someone who can do nothing but live his truth, and therefore live his best life.

**** Samuraiful statuary pic via Wikimedia Commons.

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