Last… Night Shift… EVER!!!

It is with joy in my heart and a skip in my slightly weary step that I announce the last ever time I will work right through the night.

night buses in Hong Kong

Night shifts suck! This probably comes as no surprise to most people. But the really sucky thing about them is how detrimental to your health they are. Staying up all night, eating when your body should be resting, not getting to see the sunlight for days on end, all of these things are bad for you. Doing them all at the same time, doubly so.

That’s why I’m well chuffed that, after last night, I never have to do them ever again. And it’s just the thought of having to go back and do more night shifts that make me even more determined to succeed in whatever I choose to do from here on in. I don’t know where my fame and fortune may lie, but I do know that whatever I do do will involve me making my own hours, enjoying what I do for a living, and never, ever, EVER having to work under someone I’m smarter than or who gets to tell me what to do just coz he owns the company (that’ll be my job from now on, hehehe ;)).

From now on I work for me, and I decide my hours, and where I work, and on what, and with who, and how much holiday I get. I’ve tried the working hard for other people thing, and I did ok at it, but it’s utterly unfulfilling. From now on I’m going for job satisfaction, and if I can make a butt load of money along the way well then so be it. 🙂

NB: My car passed it’s MOT, thank Jebus. One less thing I have to worry about.

A Spiritual Life?

There’s this idea that following a more spiritual path in life, becoming a monk or a priest or something, is somehow easier than getting married, having kids, and buying a house.

prayer flags

This came up recently in a conversation, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard the idea. In fact it’s something I used to think myself, that those who follow an alternative, more spiritual, path are somehow taking the easy option. But when I look into it further I don’t see why I thought that way.

I suppose it’s the idea that they’re giving up their free will somehow. That they’re allowing some unseen force to provide for them, making their decisions based upon ‘God’s will’ or ‘the Tao’.

But in my experience that’s not what they’re doing at all. They’re living their life according to a set of values, values that restrict their activities somehow (often making it hard to live a ‘normal’ life) and are often difficult to live up to. And the decision making is still there, more than ever in fact, as each day they have to choose to turn to the path moment by moment rather than allow themselves to drift away from it (which would be a much easier thing to do).

beginning buddhism

Yes it’s true, not having to work 60 hours a week to pay the mortgage and keep your kids in sneakers seems like a great life. But imagine giving up the security that having your own home, savings, and someone to share the burden with brings you: No back up plan, no assets you can sell, just you and the clothes on your back and the road ahead, wherever it may lead. Put like that doesn’t the spiritual life seem a little more daunting?

I know I couldn’t do it, not yet anyway. I still like the security of money in the bank. And I want to have kids some day. But I like the idea of giving up material possessions, and the worry they bring you, and instead spending my time meditating and seeking the path to enlightenment. And maybe I will some day. I just have a few things I need to do first.

And how’s this for a final thought; if following a spiritual path is so much easier how come everybody isn’t doing it? Do we choose the ‘harder’ life? And if so, why?

A General Update

It’s been a long time since I did an all round update of my pursuit for a Brand New Life. The reason for that is simple, I’ve been out doing stuff. I’ve also been avoiding going on about things too much so as to avoid a false sense of achievement, as outlined in this video (check it out, it’s only a few minutes long).

My avid readers (all 3 of you) will know what I’ve been up to – yoga retreats, green man, a gig or two – and those who can will remember that I said I would be making some changes soon, but that I was putting off any final decisions until the end of September.

Well, the end of the month is fast approaching, and it’s decision time. And what conclusions have I come to? Not as many as I should (maybe).

I know I’m going to do the Sivananda Teacher Training Course, probably in Austria in August, and I’m very tempted to do the Buddhafield Festival set-up in July, but what about between now and then?

I could stay in work, get some cash together, then quit come the summer. Or I could quit, go traveling – Australia and Canada spring to mind – and maybe do 3 months karma yoga at an ashram. Or I could do the karma yoga after the TTC (my preferred choice), but then what after?

Of course I’m just spouting hypotheticals at the moment. I’m not looking for answers from you guys. When it’s the right time the solution will present itself. The Universe has a funny way of doing that when you’re on the right path. And I do feel like I’m on the right path, even if I have to hack through a few weeds for a while.

The quandary, if there is one, is giving up the job. Not only is it the security of a regular (and pretty decent) wage, but it’s nice to be able to just go out and get whatever I want. Like getting my car fixed – £518:06 – or buying a new camera – £203:67. Even being able to go get a haircut whenever I want and not have to choose between that and train fare (believe me, there have been times…!). But when I think of the alternative, to stay ‘secure’ and never go for it, a shiver runs down my spine.

Anyway, that’s where I am at the moment. Unclear I know, but that’s the way it is unfortunately. I’ll post my decision on Friday, in the meantime here’s a few observances and updates on what’s happened this week.

A Spiritual Test

It’s one of the 5 basic precepts of Buddhism that you never lie. Now, I was in work Thursday, when I really could have done with the day off. I had lots to do, and I knew that my being in work meant nothing to anyone (the nature of the shift that day was that there was nothing for me to do). I was very tempted to call in sick.

But I couldn’t do it. To do so would be a lie, and as a friend of mine is discovering at the moment, lies only cause you trouble. And what did I get for my diligence? 11 hours of pure tedium and a journey home that took an hour and a half and was full of drunks and dodgy situations. I’d have been better off if I’d chucked a sickie (or so it seems).

I guess if you’re going to try and live a more spiritual life sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth. Or better yet, find a way to see it all as smooth, no matter what. Now there’s an idea.

Tell you what though, I’m never getting the train to work again. It’s downright dangerous!

Making Choices

Our one freedom in life is choice. In fact it’s the ultimate freedom, that’s why people try and take it away from you all the time (don’t ever take it away from yourself!).

I was going to do a meditation retreat today. 6 hours just… meditating. I want to do more meditation. I feel that’s an important part of my path. But when it came right down to it I just didn’t want to go.

I’ve been in need of a proper day off for ages. A chance to stay in, read, drink tea, watch a DVD and eat pizza, and so that’s what I did. But I couldn’t do nothing, that would have been a waste, so after organazizing (sic) my life I planted some cherry trees.

cherry, tomatoes

Ok, so they’ve got a long way to go. More just pips than trees at the moment. But one day they’ll be big, beautiful, cherry trees, and I’ll plant them along the drive down to my gorgeous house in the countryside. And every spring, when I come home, I’ll drive down an avenue of tumbling cherry blossoms, and it will make me smile.

Heck, I’m smiling already. Om everyone.

🙂