Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0017

The Weekly(ish) Update
21st July 2010
Issue Seventeen

The first step is hard, but not always the hardest..

I have had a busy couple of weeks since the last update. I have paid to register ‘Custom Vision’ as a company, got myself an accountant, a lawyer, spoke with two local printing companies about their process, checked out the items I need to purchase to begin to make my own picture frames, including a good electric mitre saw and the different items used to join the frames together. I have been to a ‘Be Your Own Boss’ seminar, designed and had printed some business cards, designed a flyer, and so have very much begun to set up my own business.

To pay for this, and my regular bills, I have managed to find myself a fulltime job anodising aluminium in a factory, a job that thankfully pays reasonably okay so I can again stand on my own two feet, something that over the next couple of months will allow me to further settle in to my new life here in Hamilton.

I have recently moved into the flat above the pub, somewhere I plan to stay long term and so I am now looking at ways to make living there more comfortable without spending a lot of money, I want to do things that remind me of who I am, where I have been, of my friends, family, goals, and dreams. Things that allow me to feel comfortable, small things like photos of people I care about, items from my past, and even just the option to listen to my music. I also need the normal household things as well like getting a home phone and an internet connection to access the outside world, because for the first time since leaving Australia I am again living in my own place, by myself.

Getting here hasn’t been easy. I have had to realise quickly that the things I want to do are not going to happen overnight no matter how motivated I am, because the things I want to do I have to earn, and the only way to do that is to put the time, and effort, into them so once they are achieved there is a sense of them being more than something that is easily obtainable, a sense that what I have achieved really is worth something more because of the effort required to create it. I now realise what I am doing is the biggest step of my life so far.

Part of me arrived in Hamilton thinking that I could take my idea, act upon it, and vola, my business would grow. The part I did not add into the equation was the bit where I would have to consistently act upon my idea, the part where I would have to do more than just start to do something, where I would actually have to consistently do something over a period of time, and then probably keep doing long after I began to see any results of my actions, for which ultimately there were no guarantees I would ever succeed, it is that part of me that has brought me here, and it is here that I now need to dig deeper from to do even more than I have ever done before.

Not knowing this has taken me away from spending time with my family, from doing things I have been doing to become focused on my one goal of doing everything possible to make my business a success, and I guess this is the hardest part of it all cos I feel I am not doing my part to maintain the relationships I have worked so hard to create, but I guess the positive side to that is at least I realise it, and can do more to maintain all of these relationships.

But I guess that’s the point isn’t it, I guess that’s why so many people go into business with such huge dreams discover the reality is so much different, I guess that’s why this challenge is something more than I imagined it would be, that there is another reason for me to make it work and prove to myself that everything I have spent time away from ultimately will be made better with the options I am creating for myself in the long term.

There are many things in my life that I have not done because I did not take the first step towards doing them. I think those few words only state the obvious, but there have also been many things I haven’t done where I have taken the first step, but for one reason or another not completed the original task.

I am easily distracted. I have so many ideas and things I want to do in my life running around in my head at any one moment that staying focused on any one thing is actually probably more difficult than doing the thing itself, and in my life so far this has cost me because I have literally bounced from place to place, scenario to scenario, never really being anything more than who I am within a particular moment of my life, taking what now seems like the easy way out by not growing with anyone, anywhere. Coming back to New Zealand after everything I went through changed that I think, ultimately wanting a relationship with my family first I think has changed me more than I can ever explain.

When I was a little kid I wanted to be a singer in a rock band, I wanted to play in front of thousands of people and conduct the audience with my music like I’d seen others do on T.V by getting them all to clap when I clapped etc, and I even remember being 5 or 6 years old and my adopted brother and me would set up bin lids, pots, pans, plus an array of other metal objects that remotely resembled what a young child could loosely define as instruments in the backyard, and bash them with no musical talent what so ever, over and over again, until someone complained and told us to stop.

It didn’t matter that I was no good at it, this innocent fantasy made me happy, and I’m smiling just thinking about it, but it was just a phase, a stage in my life that I eventually grew out of it after breaking a few wooden spoons that were used as drum sticks, and elastic bands that were used as guitar strings.

Over the years I went through many other stages, I still go through them now even though I think the ones I had when I was younger made me much happier because they were far less complicated, they are a part of life, a part of growing up, and a part of who I am, just like everything else I have done is, right or wrong.

A stage that I am yet to go through is becoming a parent, the part where I have to make a choice to give up a part of my life so that my child can quite simply be allowed to dream, be who ever they want to be, and be happy doing so, a choice that most parents willingly make without even realising that they have done so, and a choice that I hopefully one day get to make as a part of my life.

It’s funny, there are so many choices that we have to make in our lives each and every day, and each one of those choices leads us to somewhere else in our life. I remember reading a book many years ago about a guy who went on a journey to another country, and on this journey he discovered some old scrolls written before Jesus was a twinkle in god’s eye. The scrolls lead the fella on a journey of self discovery, which in short explained that everything living has an energy/soul/spirit, and that energy/soul/spirit reacts to how it is treated within any moment and we all have the ability to equally affect the world around us by how we interact within it.

Some people believe that talking to plants makes them happier and grow better, others would rather a relationship with a pet than a human because of how they react with each other, some see good in other people and bring out the best in all of us, and there are those who seem to always bring out the worst in us simply by being no more than who they are, but did you know that how you look at a situation can effect its outcome, regardless of your actual input into it?

Have you ever been on a bus, or somewhere there are lots of people and somehow been drawn to one person in particular, someone you do not know, someone that may or may not be attractive to you, someone who for within those few moments you can not stop thinking about? I believe most of us would have been in this situation, some of many times if it is something we realise we are doing, because we will obviously do it more often if we know we are doing it, but my point is that in this situation we are meant to (according to the scrolls) go up to that person and say hello, that the person (or thought) in that moment is our link to our next path in life, and by not talking to them, or acting upon a thought we have, we miss out on an opportunity we have to grow.

Now I know that some of you are shaking your head at me again, that’s okay, but I also know that there are a few of you out there who when you think about this it will make some sense to, and because I have tried it in my life, discovered that by doing more than simply having a thought and not acting upon it did in fact allow me to achieve things in my life that I would never have done had I not acted upon my thoughts, regardless of how strange they seemed at the time. Doing something more has made my life more complete than not doing anything at all.

The best example of this is ‘Cycle for Life’, an idea that I acted upon, something that when I first thought of the idea seemed completely unachievable so why even bother, but I did, and it was without any question in my mind the best thing I have done in my life so far.
It wasn’t easy, and the thinking about it was probably the easiest part of the whole thing, but it was worth it, and all I am saying here is that I believe it is okay to act upon our thoughts, that we each know ourselves well enough to know what is right or wrong for us within a particular moment, and by doing more than we otherwise would be doing has to result in something more happening than would otherwise happen if we chose to do nothing.

Our lives are dictated by the choices we make, by who we choose to be from the resulting actions that come from the choices we make, and regardless of who we are, where we have been, it is the choices that we make that will determine the choices we allow ourselves to have not only today, but more importantly tomorrow as well.

For those of you interested in trying a little experiment this week, try acting upon the thoughts you have that you would normally ignore, like for example you sitting next to someone somewhere and you are strangely drawn to someone a few seats away, go out of your way to simply say hello to them, see where the conversation takes you, they might recommend a movie they have seen, or song they have listened to, go see it or listen to it yourself, see where that takes you.

Please don’t do anything silly, walking up to a complete stranger and trying to kiss them because you ‘think’ it would feel nice will probably not get them same reaction as a simple “hello, how are you today?’”. Stopping someone from being where they need to be may again not receive the desired response. Do not expect talking to one person will lead you to where you will end up, they might simply distract you long enough so the person, or moment, you are meant to discover has time to get where they need to be, and don’t hide what you are doing if you are up for it, tell the person you are talking to what you are doing and the resulting conversation may surprise you even further.

If anyone wants to read the book, it is called The Celestine Prophecies (I think) and I enjoyed reading it, regardless of its slightly out there take on the way things are, its message is simple, things react to how they are reacted to, and if we react to something we will receive a reaction, to which we can again react.

I have a long way to go before my business is up and running, there are many things that I need to do for that to happen, but by continuing to work towards my goal I know that there is a greater chance that I will succeed than if I simply think about doing the things I need to do to make it work, but by thinking about the things I need to do I am giving myself more options if I act upon those thoughts.

Sometimes our thoughts are only the beginning, sometimes doing something about those thoughts is only the beginning…

…the first step is hard, but not always the hardest.

Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0016

The Weekly(ish) Update
17th June 2010
Issue Sixteen

It is still not too late to use the gifts that I have been given..

When I was younger I loved to draw incredibly detailed pictures, pictures that at the time resembled art that was simular in form to what a tattooist would use as a stencil to create their work, linking a series of complicated ideas together artistically so when you looked at a finished piece the level of detail grew, and more was discovered within the image, the longer it was looked at.

I would spend months perfecting the look of a single picture, making sure that even though the entire image consisted of a variety of smaller images linked together, that the overall look of all the separate pieces together was as pleasing to the eye as the lines and shapes within. Everything had to be just right before I was happy with it, the amount of work involved was incredible, often changing the original idea many times, moving further and further away from what was planned, before a final draft was completed.

I enjoyed the overall experience of having an idea of getting a blank piece of paper and creating something that was unique, something that defined for that moment how I felt, what I saw and who I was. I enjoyed the release of energy the overall experience gave me, and the challenge of trying to make each picture the best it could be.
I was very good at what I did, and even without any formal training, I knew that what I was doing was as good, or even better, as what anyone else could do if they tried to do a simular style drawing, because I was passionate about what I was doing, it was something I was ultimately incredibly proud of.

There were times I remember that I would draw on myself, completely covering my hand, arm, or leg in some unusual creation, or other times completely cover a pair of jeans in extremely detailed works of art. On one pair of jeans I remember I had a dragon smoking a pipe which curled up and around one leg, and from out of the smoke of the pipe a series of geckos and angels escaped across the rest of the material, completely covering every centimetre with a variety of different colours.

I would spend months working on a single ‘piece’, getting lost within its construction, rarely showing anyone else the work that I was doing until it was completed. They were me capturing moments, thoughts, or feelings, and my way of expressing the things that my imagination came up with that I could otherwise never define. They were also a way to relax, as I enjoyed creating them. Each was a part of me, some obvious, some not so obvious, and it is a shame that I no longer have any of the pictures I drew because I think it would be very interesting to see what I created again.

Something I keep forgetting to tell people about me is I am completely deaf in my left ear, and the hearing in my right ear has suffered because of this to the point where today if I am somewhere there is any noise, like even just a T.V, or other people talking, I can barely make out a conversation I am having with someone standing in front of me.

A situation that often has me misunderstanding words used, peoples intentions, and generally isolates me from many facets of what most would consider a normal life. I have to sit in a certain place in a room to actually hear people, intentionally stand in a certain place to talk to some one I want to talk to, or other times I am a lot louder in situations than most other people would normally be, and unintentionally ignore people I can not hear.

Something even fewer people know about me is ever since I can remember I have suffered from severe depression, which at times was something that isolated me completely in a variety of situations, at any time it chose to, but not something I shared with anyone. I think this is probably the first time I have openly admitted that depression is something I have suffered from and dealt with on my own, for what seems like all of my life, and it is only now that I share it because I find myself in the unique position of wanting to be completely honest about who I am, without thought of what other people may judge me as.

I sometimes think I need to harden up, to not care what anyone else thinks, other times I think I need to be nicer to people, to care more about what other people think. I have often tried to be someone I am not, to be who other people wanted me to be because I have never had the confidence to be any more than who I am, because in my mind I need to make up for not being nice to people, and when I don’t know how to do that, I do what other people want me to do.

I know I have not yet done enough with my life and want to do more. I know that the things I am doing with my life now are the things I want to be doing, the things that are important to me, and that sticking to my plan will allow me to do even more. I know there are people close to me who want more from me, who to me it seems to me that I am not yet good enough, or able to do enough for, and understand that this is how it may always be, that I can only do what it is that I can do, and that I need help to do more. That people do not realise fully my situation, how many times I have had to start my life over and over again, how much of me I no longer have with me, as I continue to search for somewhere I want to be, because for most people life has found them.

It is only people who open their eyes who can see that I have lived more in my life than most, that I have seen, been, and done things that most people will never experience simply because life would never lead them down the same path that I have travelled, that I am someone they can be proud of if they let me, that I have my own problems, goals, and hobbies which may not be the same as theirs, and in an ideal world not only the people who really care about other people would see that we all walk different paths, aiming for the same place, but everyone would understand each other for who they really are.

It is easy for me to become lost within my own headspace, and be distracted by the things that are a part of who I am. What is hard for me is to consistently concentrate on the things I know I need to do, to do things that I need to do for others to consistently see me as who I really am, because as much as I believe it is possible for me to be who I want to be, it is this that I have always struggled with in one way or another.

Setting up my own business is going to be creatively something I enjoy massively, but the management side of things will be a lot harder because it will require consistency, and that is something I have struggled with often throughout my life, but here I am and it will be from here I move forward simply because it is what I want to do…

…it is still not too late to use the gifts that I have been given.

Till soon.. Stay safe.. Be You!!!


The Weekly(ish) Update - Issue 0015

The Weekly(ish) Update
31st May 2010
Issue Fifteen

Every day is simply another step on my journey, a journey that we call ‘life’…

At the moment I am sitting by myself on a couch in the flat above my birth fathers pub in Hamilton, the same place I called home when I first came back to New Zealand after living in Australia, and I have been thinking about what makes me want to continue to do more than I have been doing, what has made me believe that my actions may make a difference in the life of someone else, when I have seemingly spent so long on my own, and why I am inspired almost every day to show those who look at me who I really am.

This week I officially moved away from Wellington, after achieving everything I set out to do there, to Hamilton, where I want to set up a small photography business of my own, and work towards the goals I continue set for myself each and every day.

Prior to leaving I was both excited about completing my bike ride, wanting to move on to my next challenge, and at the same time deflated when that bike ride, and my greatest challenge so far, had become the best experience of my life and at the same time seemingly ended without celebration, something I struggled with a little because even though I knew that was how it would end, I guess a small part of me thought it would have been nice if it had ended differently.

The overall experience taught me a lot, life goes on, and for me to continue the momentum I created I need to stick to my plan, and add to it where required. If I am to achieve all I set out to do in the future feeling bad that something didn’t happen when I knew already that it wouldn’t happen, is only inviting negative thoughts to distract from the simple fact that I completed that goal as planned, and now must move on to the next step of my life.

Good and bad things happen to everyone, some things are better, and others worse, but the reality is that we each define in our own life how much a moment means to us, and no one has the right to say that any moment in life should mean more or less to someone other than themselves, because those are the only eyes we see through each and every day.

Over the years I have met some very lucky, and very unlucky, people. I think that only a fool would say that all people deserve what they get in life, that everyone chooses their own path, because that is simply not true, and where a person is born is a good example of this, simply not knowing you have other options is another.

I know someone who through my eyes seemingly has the perfect life, he is not a superstar, he just lives in a world surrounded by good people, a loving family, a fantastic wife he has been with since I can remember, that loves him for who he is, and together they are the parents of two healthy kids, in a life that I consider ideal. He deserves this life, just as anyone else.

I also know someone who once had the potential to be one of the world’s greatest surfers who was idolised as a teenager, won everything he entered, then one day was in a car accident through no fault of his own, and spent three months in hospital. On the day of his release he walked down the steps of the hospital, looked right instead of left as he stepped on to the road, and was hit by a bus, sending him straight back into hospital. It damaged his brain so severely that he had little, and sometimes no, control over his actions, sometimes causing him to turn violent, or other times pee his pants, and so he eventually spent the rest of his life on the streets as an outcast, then in and out of a variety of institutions, from where which he eventually died alone. He is only one example of millions of people who become a product of what happens to them in life, not what they have done achieve where they are in life.

Life can not be controlled no matter how hard we try to control it, regardless of what the advertisements tell us, the best we can do with our life is simply the best we each can do within our own circumstances. Sometimes if we are lucky enough to have a hand in where it takes us, were we actually end up where we wanted to be, and then when we get where ever we are it is only luck/god/karma that keeps us a moment within any where we find ourselves before something else happens in life to decide where we are taken to next. No one controls our life, and all we can do is the best we can do.

I also believe that within our life, and in the lives of those our actions effect, both directly and indirectly, that we all individually have the ability to change life, to do more, and/or less, to alter the paths we all travel when we try to, which is why I rode my bike around New Zealand, why I want to start a business that donates directly to charity, and why I am here on the couch thinking out loud about what I think about what I need to do next to allow me to do more with the life I am given.

And yes, of course I realise that not everyone who gets these emails actually reads all of them, that even fewer understand all of them, and maybe only one, or perhaps two, are effected in some way, shape or form, by something written in each, somewhere within their content, of one of the thoughts I have sent, and yet I still send them. I still try to remind each of you that you are a part of my life, and thus a part of my journey.

This has just reminded me of something else I wanted to share. A big little friend asked me the other day what the ‘poem’ meant that is attached to the bottom of the emails I send, which I honestly cant ever recall having been asked before, which kind of surprised me a little, but at the same time made me wonder if people decide their own meaning for it, and if they do what does it mean to them?

For me the ‘poem’ is partially who I am, but mostly who I want to be. I told her the poem is about living life.. about what it is like to not being seen by others for who you really are.. and at the same time try to find someone who really wants to know you.. someone who cares.. that people come.. people go.. that you live.. you learn.. you try.. you fail.. you experience.. and you die.. that in the end the only person any of it really matters to is you.. and it is what you do about that what counts.. that the something you are looking for, and all you need, is inside you and yet you still ask yourself do you give up or keep trying? do you live or die?

I actually wrote it when I was 13 or 14 years old, but it still means the same thing today as it did then.. it says regardless of what happened, I have not given up on me (",)

This week I want to continue living my life. I really need to get a job and earn some money so I can pay a few bills, make some progress on my goals, simply continue to do more than I have been doing. I want to recommence my photography course because it was something I started that I wanted to do. I want to actually start my company by registering it, talk to someone about the best way to do this so I do it properly. I also want to create my first product that will be available for sale soon, go to the gym, continue to organise the charity auction I am doing to celebrate my bike ride, and thus get back on the bike so to speak, because by doing even just one of the things that I want to do, I am actually living the life I have been given.

…every day is simply another step on my journey, a journey that we call ‘life’.

Till Soon.. Stay Safe.. Be You.


Walk 4 Life - North Island

I don't think most stories are meant to start in the middle, but unlike most stories, this is my story. Actually, this is only part of ...