Japan: the land of the rising sun

(Disclaimer: A creative writing piece so please forgive the generalisations and mischaracterisations! Also a big thanks to my parents for making this trip possible.)

The plane took off from Tokyo and carried over the sea as cargo-ships drifted away on a black mirror. Japan lay awake; restless at night, its endless sprawl burning the clouds auburn. Peaceful, respectful and unique.

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My 2019 New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Set a Resolution, Set a Habit

When the earth (roughly) completes its rotation of sun by some arbitrary point tonight, the Western world finds an opportunity to reset. Reset the year, the clocks, the wrongs and plan for the upcoming ‘tour de sun’. We take this opportunity to pause and set New Year’s Resolutions. Alas, if only they were effective. New Year Resolutions may be fantastic for gym owners and diet-sellers, but they rarely achieve what they set out to do. This year, I have one resolution: don’t set a resolution; set a habit.

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The Existential Questions

Humans are spiritual beings and as the wonderful poet John O’Donohue wrote, “we all have an inner sense of mystery”. Such mystery is thanks to our consciousness and as we search, we are unsettled by the big questions that arise. For what is the relevance of one amongst infinity? What is the meaning of life?

Where do the Existential Questions come from?

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An Evening in Casablanca

A more creative style of writing for me, let me know what you think in comments below!

The train pulled into the station at 10:15pm. The journey had taken me through the arid Moroccan hills from the ancient ninth century medina walls of Fes to the big city lights of Casablanca. My cabin was already crowded with life when two young Moroccans arrived carrying with them a small puppy who defiantly poked her head out of their backpack. She brought an innocence to the cabin; the mood became light and smiles abounded. We began chatting, in French, and by the time we had reached Casablanca, we were ‘frères’. They insisted on walking me to my youth hostel and offered food, accommodation and company if I ever returned to Morocco. The authenticity of their offer surprised me – in the “West”, such displays of generosity were to be met with suspicion – but here it was customary.

It was 11pm now, I found my dormitory and set down my pack. Exhausted and famished. I needed food but unfortunately not any food, vegan food. Restaurants had closed for the night but the equivalent of corner shops remained open, their offering limited to cookies, dairy snacks and bread. Late-night sandwich and deep-fry shops appeared but were only serving animal flesh. A cubby-hole shack wafted smells of something sizzling but my plea of “Végétarien?” was quickly dismissed. This was not hopeful.

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Don’t Embellish your failures, Regret them

When Einstein wrote “failure is success in progress”, he was (probably) hoping to diminish the stigma around failing and emphasising that failure is inevitable and should be accepted. Today, failures are indeed accepted. We fail, embellish them with a positive spin and move on to try again: ‘Don’t dwell on and regret your failures in the past, look forward’. My blog posts have echoed this by complementing a brief recognition of my failures at self-discipline with a redeeming justification that, hey, at least I tried!

I now regret this. One’s own failures should be exposed, dwelled upon and be painful. For without the pain, we will not regret and without the regret, we will not change from the mindset that led us to fail in the first place. Continue reading Don’t Embellish your failures, Regret them

Chaining myself to reality

A year ago I decided on a new rule: no more Television, Netflix or Film and limited news. I have (imperfectly) applied it since and been delighted with the result but why? It has taken me a year to work to find it: Entertainment was my form of escapism from the real world. I mis-used some technology as an escape from my surroundings and a distraction from thinking, accepting and challenging who I was.

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