Eckhart Troll: A ramble

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Disclaimer: this post may or may not make sense. Have spent the majority of the day outside, on what appears to be the surface of the sun. I think my brain is sun burnt. This is highly likely to be an unreadable ramble, but plough on I shall! Enjoy?

Right. So. Most of my nearest and dearest are aware that I absorb any and all kinds of media with even a mild whiff of psychology, philosophy or whispers self help, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve been bingeing on a 10 episode podcast series featuring the teachings of Eckhart Tolle this past week.

For anyone unfamiliar with this super chill German fella, he’s kind of a big deal when it comes to spirituality and mindfulness. He waxes lyrical about the benefits of living fully in the “now” and not taking your own pesky thoughts too seriously. So far, so good. I can see why people love listening to him. However, I kept finding myself getting annoyed and/or stressed at intervals whilst listening or trying to practice some of what I’d learned.

This morning, while I was holding my eyelids open and praying for coffee to appear on my bedside table, I had a bit of a moment where I realised what’s been bugging me. I’d been trying too hard to take all of it in at once, because I’d assumed that because I liked some of his ideas that all of them must be applicable to me.

Here are some of his ideas that I liked/that resonated with me:

– There’s rarely a problem in the present. However stressed, bored, lonely etc you feel right now, is there a problem right this very second? Possible, but unlikely. Unless there’s a bear in your kitchen. Is there a bear in your kitchen?!
– It’s pointless trying to reason with people or yourself when emotions are high. Better to do your best to be aware of how you’re feeling in the moment and reconsider whether action is necessary later.
– Energy can’t be created or destroyed, so in a way, we’re all part of one connected, ever present life force (yes, I know, shut up).
– When thoughts are overwhelming, you can centre yourself by concentrating on how your body feels (internally – I’m not suggesting touching yourself up on your commute). Thoughts are often only that – thoughts. You don’t have to act on or believe them all. Stop touching yourself.
– Wanting the present moment to be different is pointless and just causes more internal tension. All we ever have is now – it is what it is, so accept.

However, there are a few things I feel Tolle alludes to that don’t sit right with me:

– If you don’t buy into everything he teaches, you simply aren’t “awake” enough – don’t worry, you’re just unevolved. Come back later and try again! Ugh.
– Thoughts = bad. The more enlightened you are, the less you need to think. I’d love to find out how someone can come up with a whole spiritual theory and write multiple bestselling books without borrowing from at least some of their thoughts. Cut the poor thoughts some slack!
– If something or someone offends you or does you a disservice and it hurts, it’s just your “pain body” speaking. It has nothing to do with the other person being a bumclanger and everything to do with your sensitive ego.

I think (dammit!) I have an idea of how Eckhart Tolle would respond to my latter list – It’s just my ego talking. It wants to cling to existence and so it’s fighting to defend itself. Or he’d perhaps tell me I’d misunderstood. And maybe imaginary Eckhart is right!

While I was having this hypothetical argument with no one this morning, I twigged that the way I was thinking is one of the most interesting quirks of being human. What other creature on this planet can take a concept and both accept and reject it simultaneously without having a full melt down, or even feeling like they have to pick one side over another? For example, I really love the idea that we’re all one energy expressing itself in myriad forms. I also think that this is woo-woo bullshit. But I still sort-of believe it anyway, and that’s fine!

Humans are idea machines. We’re so lucky to live in a world blanketed by a colourful patchwork of beliefs and theories. We’re free to knit our own personal blankets of beliefs from this poorly stitched together metaphor, and we can change our minds at any time – whatever we need to cling to to get by. That’s pretty great, isn’t it?

I see no problem in reading every available “how to live your life – we swear THIS way is right right way!” book and watching ALL the Ted Talks, but I feel we (or at least I) need to remember that we can pick and choose the messages that serve us (with the caveat that we’re not harming others with said messages), rather than by living life by one doctrine, just because we like a few ideas within it.

…or do live by one doctrine if that’s what brings you peace and contentment?


See, two more opposing beliefs in my one, melted head! What you gonna do about it? =)

Did any of that make sense? Let me know and/or send help in the comments. Once you’ve wrestled the grizzly from your kitchen, that is.

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Pride Month: Shit I’m Not Proud Of

The happiest of Pride Months to you! Granted, it’s halfway through the month already, but I kept putting off writing this because:

  1. Procrastination
  2. I didn’t know whether I should remain in my lane. Still unsure.

As a cisgender (algined with the gender I was given at birth), straight, white betch, I’m painfully aware that the only priveliged-as-fuck card I don’t carry is the ‘penis’ card, and so I couldn’t decide whether Pride was a bandwagon I could hitch myself to this month without being a colossal pest.

Thankfully, I have a gay sister whose permission I’ve obtained, and she informs me that I’m allowed. I’ll ask her to write me a note… However, she would probably insist that I am still, in fact, a pest, whatever subject matter I shoehorn myself into.

Awkward jokes aside, I do feel that respect and equality should be a basic human right (because, duh), and that everyone should have the safety and freedom to be exactly who they are. It’s ridiculous that in a lot of places in 2019, this isn’t the case.

I consider myself an ally, and I believe that rule one of Ally Club is “you must go through a phase of having the musical stylings of Tegan & Sara playing on a loop at all times.”

Joking. Sort of. In my opinion, the most important thing you can do as a semi-decent human with a penchant for folksy/electronic tunes with lots of feelings in them is to always be learning. It’s okay to admit when you’ve been wrong, as long as you learn from it.

So, with cringy, twisty guts, here goes nothing!

Shit I’m not proud of this Pride Month

I used to use the word “gay” as a derogatory adjective

I’m aware that this is something that’s fallen out of fashion since the early noughties, and so it isn’t as much of an issue anymore, but I do still hear this kind of talk from time to time. Usually from the kind of person who thinks that being a total dick to someone is alright if you then refer to it as “banter” (the only word in the English language worse than “moist”. Keep your moist banter away from me, bro!).

In my teens and early twenties, anything a bit lame in my eyes (because I was the epitome of cool with my spot-infested chin and jeans that drank puddles) was “gay.” I feel especially yucky about this when I think of anyone who’s on the fence about making their sexual orientation known hearing constant reminders that an important part of them is equated with negativity like that. I never had any intention of putting down anyone who wasn’t straight, but words do matter, and their effect can be accumulative, whatever the intentions behind it.

I used to worry about certain clothes making me look “butch”

Teen Becky: “Can’t wear that, my arms look too butch.” etc. etc.

How?! And so what? I’ve never considered myself to be homophobic. I’ve always sat in the ‘you do you’ camp, and yet, as a teenager, I was terrified of people thinking I looked ‘a bit butch.’ I think this stemmed from a couple of things:

  1. Terror of being seen as ‘different’ in any kind of way. Despite the eyeliner that took up half my face and grotty, pink flares and mesh tops that I lived in, I also carried with me the desire to be invisible. Makes total sense.
  2. Growing up in 90’s diet culture. You could be a tomboy, but you had to be thin and feminine whilst doing it.

Been ‘that arsehole’ at a gay bar

I LOVE gay bars. The music, the drag queens, the sense of literal gay abandon! Everything is just better. Plus, the DJs invariably seem to have Kesha available upon request. Love, love, love them. However, when I first started frequenting them, and I cringe to recall this, I thought I was the actual shit. Look how cool I was going to gay bars, I’m so quirky!

It wasn’t until I read an interview with RuPaul (can’t find the original interview, but here is the gist) that I realised I was being a total fuckmuppet. One thing he said that stuck with me was:

“People who live in the mainstream and the status quo think that everyone else is there to serve them.”

While I was being perfectly friendly, or at least drunk Becky’s idea of friendly – buying shots for all and sundry, whether they asked for them or not, I was still unwittingly being an obnoxious div. I love that the majority of LGBTQ+ spaces are welcoming to the cis, straight masses, but it’s important to remember what these spaces represent and to maybe, y’know, dial it back a little and let someone else harangue the DJ for a bit.

I’m sure I have a lot more to learn about being a respectful member of this delightful mish-mash of humans we call society, and I’m open to admitting my clangers in judgement, or which I’m certain I’ll make more of as I go along.

I wonder what kind of embarrassing stuff I’ll be confessing to come Pride Month 2029? Perhaps writing a blog post on which I have no authority? Could well be!

What thoughts or behaviours have you learned from, or what originally well-intentioned muck-ups have you witnessed in others? I’d love to start a discussion. Let me know in the comments 🙂

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A Whole New Year

If you didn’t read the title of this post to the tune of Aladdin’s A Whole New World, you did it wrong. Go back and do it properly. I’ll wait.

Happy 2k19, mother chuckers!

The start of my year so far has been a mixed bag of the domestic and the disgusting. I suffered the most violent and delirious bout of food poisoning I’ve ever had, which prompted me to send my mother the following text betwixt chunders:

…any idea, anyone?

I then celebrated my survival of said grossness by buying a new wardrobe, which took 4 people and an entire day to erect (heh). Then, as if to spite me for allowing myself to feel like a “real adult”, my oven and grill (actual – not womb and teeth, thankfully) gave up the ghost , causing me to have a small melt down in which I announced to the other half that we were doomed and going to starve. He responded by turning the hob on and calmly making a spag bol. Turns out meals that don’t involve oven chips exist. Who’d have thought?

First world problems aside, I’m feeling optimistic about this year. No particular reason – it’s just more fun than to be pessimistic. I’ve been chewing over the idea that I should have some sort of overarching goal in my life for a while now, but I’m not a fan of the “If I don’t achieve <blank> by <date>, then I’ve failed as a human and the big teacher in the sky is going to give me an F” mentality.

However, I do like the idea of having something to at least steer in the direction of. If life is a river,then I’d rather have some vague destination to point my boat at, otherwise it all becomes a bit like the rubber dinghies in Alton Towers – while bumping aimlessly around the rapids is fun, it does give you a soggy arse and crap hair for the rest of the day. I think I’ve already lost control of this metaphor.

What I’ve opted to do instead of a New Year’s resolution is to come up with a list of things it’d be great to see happen for me this year, but that I won’t be crying into my bucket of wine about failing to do as the clock counts down to 2020 in December. I’ve also come up with a few practical things that’ll help nudge me in the right direction for each one – something to refer back to if I get the feeling life’s gone a bit rubber dinghy.

So. <<Grabs paddle>> In no particular order:

1. I’d like to build on my content writing side hustle – My absolute favourite part of my day job is getting to play with words and create content in the form of newsletters, global emails, site content and whatnot. I’ve always done the odd bit of wordsmithery on the side for various sites and publications, but I’d love to build on that. So far, I’ve not done enough research to get properly stuck into doing it more “on the reg”. To get closer to doing this, I could:

  • Have a look at “paid per job” sites like Fiverr and see if they’re an option.
  • Actually take up opportunities to go to more networking events, like this one that my friend runs.
  • Locate and speak to people who are already regularly writing content for the masses. If anyone out there in the void of the internet has any advice, please share!

2. I want to make peace with my physical appearance – I’m not talking about getting to a point where I’m doing joyful backflips every time I look in the mirror – partly because I can’t do backflips – but I’m at a place where I’m sick to death of negatively judging myself about how I look, what I weigh, how I’m eating, blah blah etc. etc. I’m able to feel great about myself and hate my body with the fire of a thousand suns, all  within the same day (afternoon, hour, few minutes), so how I feel at any given moment clearly has naff all to do with my outward appearance. Picking myself apart is draining, needlessly stressful and frankly, just bloody boring. So, how can I stop wasting my time with all of that?

  • No more diets, avoiding certain food etc. etc. Tried repeatedly. Not worth the energy. I’ve had my wish come true and looked like I’m made of elbows in the past, and shock of all shocks, it didn’t magically make me happy.
  • Keep exposing myself (heh…) to podcasts, books and influencers who actively denounce all the bullshit. I recommend this lady’s work as a starting point, as well as the Food Psych podcast.
  • Be mindful of when I’m starting to spiral into the mindset of “Must shrink self. Can’t like self. Does not compute.”

3. I’d like to grow my audience for this blog – self explanatory. As a 2019 gift to me, if you like mah werdz, it would make me very, very happy if you could share Spilled Think with anyone else you think might also like to read it. To further entice people and trap folks in my web of words so I can feast on their attention, I can:

  • Keep posting content fairly regularly-ish. No bugger’ll come look at my stuff if there’s nothing to see.
  • Find some more blogs to follow and learn from. Hi, readers! If you’re also a blogger, please pop a link to your blog in the comments for this…saves me the effort of actually trying to find you amongst the masses. Kthanks.
  • Work out how to use social media a little better to trick unwitting people into visiting this site. Mwahaha.

I have a few more things I’d like to see happen, but I won’t bore you with them all. Not sure how realistic “adopt a small pack of adorable dogs” and “win jackpot on lottery” are. Probably need to have the latter happen to do the former…

Do you have any goals or wishes for the next twelve months? Share them with me in the comments so I can steal – I mean read – them. Hope 2019’s got off to a great start for you!

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Yours gratefully, me.

Currently semi-horizontal in bed, praying for the stabbing to stop. I’m one of the ‘lucky’ women in my family who gets the odd day where, for no apparent reason, we feel like we’ve eaten a cutlery drawer load of knives and washed them down with a tall glass of drawing pins. The remedy is to writhe around like a beached sea creature and loudly announce your imminent death to all and sundry until it goes away…and then ask what we’re having for dinner.

Much as I’m sure you came here to hear tales of my digestive woes, I think I’ll write something a bit more warm and fuzzy, and a bit less yucky and stabby – it’s nearly Christmas, after all; A time for getting drunk with your family and wetting yourself with laughter while your Nan reluctantly plays (and slays at) Cards Against Humanity. It’s also a time for gratitude. So here’s some stuff I’m grateful for:

Stomach knives

I’m too highly strung for actual relaxation, so my occasional bouts of gastric fuckery allow me a guilt-free opportunity to sit in bed during daylight hours, binge watching sitcoms with a slack jaw and no bra on. I really hope the government isn’t watching us through our screens, because whoever got the job of watching me today was in for a treat.

Family

As I write this, both of my sisters and their partners are stationed down the road at my family home in readiness for Christmas celebrations, which fills me with all the happy feelings. On Boxing day (I’m spending Christmas day at t’other half’s parents’ house this year), we will bicker about our not-always meshing opinions, drunkenly accuse each other of being the most drunk, and bond over the fact that our granddad has told us all to “fuck off out of my kitchen” at least once each within the last half an hour. Genuinely cannot wait!

Frands

Friends are the family you choose to annoy intermittently with your presence, and the holiday season gives me a great excuse to make mine eat food and drink things in my company. I know your friends are probably pretty cool and all that, but mine are better. It’s just a fact.

One sweet unicorn sent me a paperback copy of Stephen King’s On Writing yesterday, which I LOVE but have never owned in a physical format (I have the eBook and audio book versions) for no reason other than she knew I’d like it.

Another is a self-employed entrepreneur/empower-er of women that has a bajillion and twelve jobs and responsibilities, but still finds the time to pencil in regular “eating sweets and talking lots” sessions for us both throughout the year.

A third keeps in touch by sending me jokes and videos that offend me to my core, but makes up for it by being one of the funniest, most genuine and ridiculous humanoids I know (the ridiculous ones are the best ones). I could go on, but all this sincerity’s repeating on me a bit. Gag

Boyfrand

Andy’s super power is being my literal opposite and somehow tolerating it. I am a ceaseless merry-go-round of emotions and neurotic movement.

Picture a beach. Andy is a chill rock pool, just being some rocks in the sun. Not making any noise, not bothering anyone, full of crabs….(heh, sorry. He doesn’t really have crabs), having a lovely time…

And here I come – the wave – hurling myself head first at him with all my being, screaming “AAAAGH, I’M A FUCKING WAVE!!”, and projecting all my insecurities onto him because he’s a rock pool, so I assume that he’s the same as me because all I can see in my panic is myself reflected back. Okay, that’s a shit analogy. Here’s an example conversation that might portray it a bit better:

Me: <<feeling anxious because personality reasons>> Hey, you okay?
Andy: Yeah, fine.
Me: Just fine? What’s wrong? You not feeling great? You don’t seem to be feeling great. Why aren’t you smiling?
Andy: No, I’m fine.
Me: I can tell you’re not.
Andy: <<Happily continues to watch TV>>
Me: You never share anything with me! <<flounces off>>

Half an hour later, after I’ve reverse flounced back into the living room.

Andy: You okay?
Me: Yep, fine.
Andy: Hungry?
Me: << Instantly perks up like nothing’s happened >>

Yep, so there we have it. I have lots and lots more to be grateful for, but I have more medicinal sitcoms to watch. It’s good for my health. Plus, I have about nine seasons left of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to catch up on.

While I’m doing that, tell me what you’re grateful for this Christmas! I’d love to know 🙂

Knowlege Gobbler: How a Personality Quiz Brought Me Back to Blogging

How do? Welcome to Spilled Think – the blog that this thirty-something, easily distracted human of the ovary-wielding variety intends to violently splatter her thoughts at. Not unlike a toddler flinging spaghetti at a wall. Or the worse metaphor about a curry and a toilet bowl I was about to use. But I’m not going to.

Sorry. I already sort-of have now, haven’t I? I hope you weren’t eating.

Until recently, I could be found at rebeccawritesandran.blogspot.com,* which initially started as a “look at me, I’m a runner now!” bragging platform, documenting of my training for my first (and last, probably) ever marathon. I had a blog. I had a niche. I was good to go. And then my hypermobile, barely-attached feet went on strike. After a couple of years of blogging under a somewhat misleading website name, I slowly felt increasingly disconnected from it, which is a shame because I love stringing words together and casting them into the many-eyed void that is the internet.

Cue four months of watching TV and uncomfortably fidgeting because “Unnnngh! I want to write something, but not on that blog. Anyway, I don’t have time. I’m so busy and important. Ooh, there’s a new Louis Theroux show out…Where have all my crisps gone?”

What pulled me out of my four-month writer’s paralysis was a quiz I stumbled across on one of the many MANY podcasts I listen to on my daily two-hour commute, called The Good Life Project. Long story short, the presenter, Jonathan Fields has spent a crazy amount of time researching what drives people in life, and he found that as a species, despite the fact that we’re all super-special individual snowflakes, our “reasons for being” can generally be narrowed down into ten categories they called Sparketypes:

sparketypes

I ‘borrowed’ this image from the Sparketype Mastery Guide I bought from The Good Life Project…nice people of  The Good Life Project, please don’t sue me, for I am poor!

Because I’m a sucker for anything that whiffs even vaguely of psychology, I was naturally drawn in. I’m one of those people who constantly agonizes about what I need to be doing with my life to be living it “properly”. Sadly, I don’t think worrying and eating cheesy snacks count as a reason d’être – if it was, I could proudly claim to be a fully self-actualised human.

At the end of the podcast episode, which was called What Should I Do With My Life? First, Do This, Fields directs the listener to a quiz that helps you work out what your main Sparketype is and which one comes as a close second. I jumped on that mofo immediately.

I filled the quiz in, thinking “la la la, I’m so creative and wordsy, I’m bound to be a maker, because I’m sooo artsy-fartsy!”

…I got Maven – driven to learn (with maker a close second, so while I might not be fully artsy-fartsy, at least I’m a bit artsy-slightly-windy). Which was a bit of a surprise. Until I realised it shouldn’t have shocked me at all. Mavens enjoy learning for its own sake, and whether they have any use for that knowledge whatsoever doesn’t matter that much.

Here’s why that answer was spot on:

  • I grew up asking so many questions, that I was once told by my mum to “Stop asking so many bloody questions, I’m trying to pee!” I had a genuine anxiety that I’d get to adulthood without knowing enough. I’m still convinced I don’t know enough.
  • I’ve always said that if I won the lottery, I’d become one of those token oldies you see hovering around university course after university course like a ghost whose unfinished business was that it never learned enough about human behaviour or obscure Welsh literary history while it was alive.
  • I devour books, audiobooks, documentaries and podcasts like my brain is a leaky bucket that needs continual topping up.
  • I am a font of useless knowledge. I couldn’t tell you how to change a bike tyre or how to do long division, but if you need to know the name and background of any member of a pop-punk band from the early noughties, or why holding a pencil between your teeth is proven to put you in a better mood, I’m your guy!

The main purpose of the quiz is to help you determine how to best spend your time, whether that’s at work or otherwise. I’m fortunate that in my job, even though it’s stressful and a bit bloody far away, I’m constantly learning new shit and having to write about said new shit on the daily (I work in internal comms for a company with many, many different departments), so if I’m a knowledge gobbler with a penchant for making stuff out of said knowledge, then that’s not a bad place for me to be.

So that left my free time to think about. My lovely, digestible podcasts, books etc. etc. fill me up, but I still feel like something’s missing. I want to be able to make something out of that information, whether it’s actually useful or not. Hmm…what could I possibly do that’ll allow me to create something from what I learn? Some kind of platform for expression perhaps, where I don’t have to commit to documenting just one area of experience/learning? Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. What a conundrum.

Div.

So, yeah, here’s my new blog! Every article I’ve read about blogging (because, duh, of course I had to read up on it before diving back in) encourages you to pick a niche and become an expert in it, but I tried that and my foot threatened to leave the leg it was attached to as a result. For the good of my sanity and body parts, I’m opting for the no-niche option. I shall be a niche-less wonder. Every day’s a new learning experience and I shan’t be caged, godammit!

Anyway, you’ve been patient in indulging me. Here is a link to the quiz, which has been spookily accurate for the people I’ve gently encouraged (harassed) to take it. And here is a link to The Good Life Project’s website, which is full of useful resources for making this our little flashes in this pan of existence a bit more fun. Enjoy!

If I’ve successfully figured out how to enable comments (fingers crossed!), let me know your results and whether they rang true for you too.

Until next time =)

 

*If you’ve come with me all the way from my Blogspot page – Hi, I love you. *Small, bashful wave.*