Close to heaven

He sought and prayed and was gifted
a treasure too priceless and rare.
He wrapped his arms around her body
and his heart around her soul
but his thought was too flawed and blind
to wrap the mind around his faults.

He would have died for her sake
and given up his world to join hers
but he could not see the devils
his own world brought into theirs
constantly tearing down two trees
for each flower he planted.

As loyal as she was beautiful her faith grew roots
so deep they reached down to the hell
his devils built under their feet
hidden behind his love and care
and the flowers she picked turned to cinder
and the love she grew turned to dust.

His eyes were opened and he went out
to slay every evil spirit he could find
and to burn down the dark kingdom they lived in
to the ground until there was nothing left
but his very soul and his immortal love
for the angel that fled his hell.

As lone spirit he wanders around time
pure and invisible for who he has been is gone
guided by his heart to the gates of paradise
that has been forbidden for the fallen.
But his heart knows no other place
so he lays down into memories of her
wrapping his soul around her image
and if no one comes to wake him
he will sleep close to heaven
forever.

 

sleeping wolf
The sleeping wolf by Ernest Thompson Seton

 

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Let Go

„Who are you? Where am I?“

I lift my eyes from my hands, they are covered in ashes.

„This place has many different names. Some call it chaos,the unknown or the underworld.
Most call it hell.“

„How did I get here?“

„You found it yourself. You set foot in this place.“

I push myself up from my knees. Fear emerges from within and I look around in panic.

„Where is she? What did you do to her?“

„She left. I had no part in it.“

I start calling for her.

The ground is covered in cinder and burned remains of a forest surround the place I found myself in.

I call her name over and over as tears run down my face.

„You went down a path she could not follow you on anymore.“

„But I loved her! I treated her well! Did I not??“

„I don’t know. Did you?“

I sink down on the ground and claw my hands into the ashes.

Memories flash through my mind. Memories of things I have said and done.
I remember us laughing together. Cooking and going out for food. I remember cuddling her and giving her back rubs. I remember kissing her forehead and saying that I love her.
I… remember fighting. I see tears in her eyes and pain, fear and depression – things I have said and done.

Things I’m not proud of.

„I.. don’t know..“

„You know. You’ve just seen the answer.”

I start to tremble and to realize as if scales fell off my eyes. She saw us heading here all along.

She fought and tried to get through to me but I was stuck. I was blind and focused on the wrong things. I argued with her instead of showing love and effort to fix things.
When I made her cry I was so focused on my frustration that I didn’t even call her to tell her that everything will be alright and that I am sorry.
I didn’t sit down and just listen to her words, trying to feel and to understand what is on her mind.
I didn’t take her hand and tell her that I will do anything I can to be the best I can be for her.
And she still gave me a chance after I carelessly broke her heart.

She was right all the time. She was right and I was a fool.

„Who are you, my conscience? A vision? God?“

„I am who you want me to be.“

„Then tell me what to do. Help me…”

A man steps out of the fog and stops in front of me. I don’t dare to look into his face.

„Don’t be afraid. I’m a man just like you. You were made in my image after all.“

His hand reaches down to me and I carefully look up.

He looks like me.

He has my face, my body, my eyes. But something is different. He radiates peace and serenity.

His voice is calm and his words are truth. His conscience is clean and he has no fear.

I hesitate. Then I take his hand. I feel how peace and tranquility enter my body.

„Who are you?“

„You know who I am. I’m the ideal. Potential and perfection. I’m who you could be, am I not?“

„Guide me.. Show me a way out of here.. guide me back to her… Please!“

„Do you know who you want to be? What you want to happen? Do you see yourself there?“

“I don’t know.. Yes.. Yes I do.”

“Show me.”

My breathing slows down and I close my eyes.

I’m in a small cozy living room. It’s winter and snow is falling outside while it’s slowly getting dark. I feel peace.
I see her sitting at a desk, finishing some work. Brushing her brown hair out of her face she turns around to me and asks if I am okay. She is wearing a pretty long-sleeved grey sweater with open shoulders and she looks as strong and confident as she is beautiful.
I put the book aside, say that I’m okay and reach for her. With a smile she gets up and crawls over the bed towards me before she sinks her body into my arms. Her hair smells amazing and her warmth fills me with happiness and the feeling of safety, respect and admiration. She’s strong and that’s what I want her to be.
I softly kiss her cheek as I stroke her head and whisper that I’ll always be there. That there will be no one else. There will be nothing but honesty and faithfulness.
I tell her that I’ll always be on her side and support her and listen when she’s sad.
I’ll listen and tell her that everything will be fine, we will figure things out.
That I can understand and see all the way down to her heart because that’s what means the most to me.
I’m trying to hold back my tears. She lifts her head from my chest with a smile, tells me thank you and cuddles me closer. I take her hand but I can’t feel it anymore. Slowly it starts to vanish and so does she.

Ashes.

“What are you willing to give for that?”

“I don’t understand.. I lost everything I had. What else am I supposed to give?”

“Leaving a place like this requires a sacrifice. A life for a life. A soul for a soul.”

“There is nothing I have that’s this valuable!”

The man that looks like me pulls me up from the ground and stares into my eyes.

“Are you sure? Look at you. You’re nothing but mistakes, loss and misery. You’re made of dead wood and whatever is left of you is merely clinging to life. Is this something to hold onto?”

“I am supposed to .. give myself? I am not worth this much. There will be nothing left of me.”

“Perhaps you aren’t. And there probably won’t be much left of you. But that is a good thing, isn’t it?”

“I don’t understand…”

“You understand perfectly well. You’re just afraid. You’re afraid to let go what you were and know. And that is fine. It’s scary. It hurts. But you won’t be who you can be without it. Your dream won’t be reality. She will vanish and this time, she will be gone.”

“How do I find what I am looking for? Where did she go?”

“You will know. Everything will go the way it’s supposed to go. She went a different path to find herself. To learn to love who she is. She will be strong and independent and much wiser than she has ever been. But you need to let go. You will be no match for her if you don’t. Let go of your mistakes. Let go of your memories and ideas. Let go of who her and you used to be. Set it ablaze. Let it burn until there is nothing left but ashes.”

“And then?”

“Then there will be rebirth. Then you have a chance to become who you could be, do what you should have done and maybe.. Maybe you will find what you have lost.”

The man lets go of my hand and turns his back on me.

“Don’t leave just like that! I want to follow you! How can I stop being so scared… How?”

“What is stronger. What you fear or what you love?
This is your answer.”

The man steps back into the fog and disappears.

I look down at myself. My hands are made of wood and so are my arms. They are dead and dry. My feet are nothing but dust.
My eyes wander around this strange place is but there is no fire. This hell is quiet and cold. Perhaps there is no fire in hell after all because there is no warmth.

Reaching into my pocket I find a box of matches that wasn’t there before.
It has my name scribbled on it and there is no more than one match inside.
I take a deep breath and ignite it. My hands start shaking.

A last time I whisper her name as the flames devour me.

 

cozy

 

 

 

 

Tale of winter

Your sunbeams first

touched my cursed 

land and I awoke.

 

The warm summer

rain of your love revived

the drought of my soul.

 

When you reached 

for my heart I breathed 

again and we bloomed.

 

I could start raging

fires with what your eyes

ignite in my chest.

 

But my raw

sense of life chased

your love far away.

 

Your absence rivals

Russia’s deepest winters and

my heart shall be frozen.

 

Until your touch

and your love 

and your warmth

set me free again.

 

A.H.

 

sakura

Sakura – Wendy Campbell

The dream paradox – Part 3

I’m happy that I can finally start working on part 3 of this, after some of you kept asking for it already. I spent some time with research and puzzling out different concepts and ideas in my mind and I think I’m finally starting to get a bigger picture on this.
With this part I would also like to introduce a few new things that will make it easier to understand the metaphors, that a dream can partially use to communicate with your consciousness. A big one is the idea of sacrifice that I talked about in my previous text named ‘Sacrifice’ (creative, I know). If you missed that, it’s basically the idea of delayed gratification that us humans played out for thousands of years in different shapes and concepts. We forgo something valuable in the immediate present in order to get something in return for it in the future, usually something far more valuable than what you sacrificed. Our society got so sophisticated in the idea of sacrifice that we learned how to give up spiritual and emotional values for something we could get returned later. A simple example is saving up your money for something you want to buy in the future instead of spending it on less valuable things immediately. Or even the idea of education and work. We decide to invest our time and energy for many years and stress out about grades and degrees instead of just hanging out all day doing nothing but what we enjoy and working some basic job. Because we hope, that this sacrifice will help us find a better job some day and greatly improve our quality of life.
We basically learned to sacrifice the present for the future and that’s a very powerful concept. A concept that our dreams deal with a lot.

The other thing I noticed pretty early is that a dream, as it naturally occurs, is never really obvious or clear about the message and its ultimate meaning. It rather plays inside your head, like a movie or a cut-scene in a game instead of letting you be in control – which obviously does occur in lucid dreams – but that’s another topic.
The regular dream will feed you with small portions of information that is made of short or longer movie sequences. Sometimes they even share the same narrative structure as mythological or modern stories do. This is a pretty interesting idea because this reveals that our minds fundamental structure of thinking and processing information is very similar to creating plays and fantasies in order to play them out in our heads and draw a conclusion from these. It’s the very reason why humanity as such was always drawn towards stories, fairy-tales and myths which all share the same archetypal ideas and concepts. You can find them in the bible, ancient tales or fables and also modern movies like The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Marvel-movies. We don’t think and dream in these structures because we grew up with these stories; We created these stories in books and movies because they are deeply embodied in our way of thinking and processing the world and that reflects onto what we create, how we act and also the way we dream. In other words, the movies, books and stories that we create come from within our minds. And souls and dreams are as close to the source of this, as we can get.
So, when the dream is cryptic and unclear and chaotic then it’s simply because that’s the best it can do.

Now, there is not enough psychological evidence to make this bullet-proof but the best attempts on understanding dreams made by Carl Gustav Jung and Sigmund Freud point into this direction (among others but they made the foundation); That it’s not us creating our thoughts and dreams, but that there is something that is thinking in us and the answer to where it is drawing it’s information and ideas cannot be clearly answered yet. The idea above is as far as we got and that’s just the very concept.

So, analyzing the first part of my dream, which was the plane crash, wasn’t actually that difficult. Many of you may know that traveling by plane is some of the safest ways to reach far destinations that we have and the number of accidents in commercial flights is much smaller than the number of accidents with cars, ships, bikes or basically any other commonly used means of transportation.
I have flown more than a dozen times in my life and mostly I traveled to my former fiancée from Germany to the US and back. And man, this was a hell of a trip every time.
I mean, these trips were a lot harder on her than on me when she used to visit regularly but I can’t think of anyone who would enjoy sitting in a tight seat for almost ten hours in a massive tuna-can filled with people and air so dry that you either got allergies, nosebleed or a really bad cold by the time you arrived at the destination airport. And if you were lucky enough to dodge all of these, you were at least exhausted and worn out from listening to crying kids, other people coughing and sneezing, barely sleeping with a stiff neck and having numb butt-cheeks. That would usually do the job if nothing else did.
We have done that so bloody often and still managed to hug each other with a smile and talk about all kinds of things after arriving from a 12-15h flight and even more hours of being awake before and in-between. Sometimes we even went out for dinner the very same night after taking a shower. It’s amazing how much energy love can provide. And you know what? I would still do it as many times as needed if I had the chance.

That being said, in all this time we spent in airplanes we never encountered something that was dangerous, critical or even close to an emergency. And compared to other people who fly every day we were part of just a fraction of a fraction of all flights.
Accordingly, we felt pretty damn safe going on these long trips after a while.
And when we feel safe, we usually know what to expect and our experiences helped us to learn that there is not a lot that will hurt or kill you in the process of flying somewhere. Well, in my dream I learned something different. I learned that something you felt so safe and comfortable with can suddenly drop from nowhere and go up in flames. And that this was a clear representation of the end of my relationship with her is not a far shot, considering everything I was going through emotionally in the time I had this dream.
The interesting thing was though, that there was no explanation for why the plane crashed and no introduction story at all. Not at any point did the dream inform me about who caused the catastrophe, what was the aftermath nor did it provide me with any other kind of background-information. There was just terror and fire and fear.
I found that interesting, because when I recall the day it happened, I also remember regret, blaming my mistakes and cursing myself. Neither of these feelings manifested themselves in this dream. But there were other dreams that dealt with exactly this in a particularly interesting but also in a very scary way. I will definitely talk about it in a future instance of this series.

But I managed to draw a conclusion from this after researching and thinking about it for a while. I was also able to make connections to future dreams. I realized that our dreams don’t reveal information in solid blocks or coherent ‘stories’. Our dreams reveal information in small block-like portions in the form of scenes and movies that make us go through particular emotions which we then can use to make connections to ideas, events and experiences we had when we were conscious. Well, why is that?
Recent dream-research done by neurologist revealed something very interesting. Our brains left and right hemisphere are not both equally involved into the process of dreaming as assumed so far. Studies showed that sleeping in the REM-phase – the phase, in which we have most of our dreams – causes far more cerebral activity in the right hemisphere, than in the left. This is an amazing discovery, because the right hemisphere is commonly known as the one responsible for creativity, arts and emotion while the left hemisphere is taking care of everything to do with logic, coherence, algorithmic thinking and memory. In other words, the right part of the brain represents nature, chaos and discovery while the left side of the brain is constantly busy with creating, maintaining and finding order. And that the right side of the brain shows much more activity while we dream is one of the strongest hints towards C. G. Jung’s theory, that while dreaming we encounter the unknown and the chaotic – the things we fear and avoid when we are awake. And the reason that it does that in small portions or scenes – he believes – is because that’s simply the best it can do feeding information to the  left side of the brain, without overwhelming it with information and destroying the fragile structure of order that we try to maintain in our already pretty damn complicated lives. Also he believes that the right hemisphere is just not capable of making it any more coherent or logical, given its nature and the way it’s working compared to the left hemisphere.

Even though these conclusions are still theories, they are the best theories we have from some of the brightest minds that have ever dealt with the psychology of mind and dreams. There are also other ideas from philosophy and mythology that seem to support the connection to the very same idea of the order and logos encountering the chaos and the unknown, ideas far older and deeper than science and modern psychology dares to go. At least we haven’t done that majorly in the last century, other than merely toying with it when speaking of meta-physics and quickly abandoning it before it gets too scary.
Well, sometimes scary, dark and chaotic is where we need to go, though… But more on that later.
Because now I’m tired and I can’t really focus anymore with her on my mind. 🙂
I don’t know when I will release the next part of this since I’m putting a fair bit of reading and research into this but I will definitely have one or the other text on a different topic published in-between.
Thank you for reading.

 

20170314_154855

 

 

Sacrifice

It’s a common tale that one only realizes what he had when it’s gone. It’s like your eyes start to open in the face of catastrophe. It’s ironic, incredibly painful and oddly enough, the best recipe for growth.

I remember the day when she left me behind and my whole world started falling apart. I dropped my phone and broke down on the ground, crying. After several weeks I still don’t know how to describe all the feelings that overcame me at once. It was a strange mix of insane pain, disbelief, realization and the feeling of drowning. It felt like I got impaled by a spear from behind and my eyes got opened while the ground beneath my feet vanished. It sounds extremely dramatic but I can’t find a better way to describe it.
And to this day I still don’t miss or love her any less, my regrets are not any smaller and I still have bad dreams and good dreams which both end with me waking up, drenched in sweat and catching for breath.

I used to be relatively strong, known for my rationalism and ability to stand my ground whenever required. My friends admired me for being so little affected by any conflict and how I only looked forward when something bad happened, always in search of a solution and a way out of the dark. Accordingly, it never took me long to look beyond a breakup, take anything useful from it and leave confidently, knowing that I learned something for the day when the right one comes along. This time was different.
Eventually that girl appeared and I quickly realized that I have learned nothing, that I didn’t know a lot in the first place and that there were more demons sitting in my backyard than I could have imagined.
But that wasn’t the problem that led to the right one just walking out of my life.
Our relationship started out amazingly, especially considering the distance between us. She lived in the United States and I was a German boy, in awe of the girl he just found. She was relatively short, had a perfect body, lovely lips and eyes that would melt steel beams faster than jet fuel. She was also smart, hardworking, had an amazing sense of humor and just the right taste in music. But most of all, she loved with all her heart and mind. People say love makes blind and real love turns 5000 miles into a plane ticket right into her arms.
I couldn’t have designed a better partner on a computer if I wanted to. So, we decided to stay together and try to make it work. And we did. Oh, we did…

But when I say love makes blind, I don’t mean it in a romantic way only. Relying on the power of love to fix all your problems, fill all your potholes and heal all your past wounds is perhaps the worst thing you can do when you meet the girl of your life.
Unfortunately many men only realize it when it’s too late and some even realize it much later, usually several relationships later.
Well, I wasn’t a fool. I was an idiot but I knew what I had and what I loved. And oh, did I love her… But if I loved her so much, why didn’t I pay attention to the broad hints I got along our way? Why did I argue so much instead of listening? Why did I continuously fail to deliver empathy when it was needed? Why did I make the biggest mistake of my life and let my old habits take control of me instead of working out issues together to mold our bond into something that would never break?

It’s simple. Love is not everything. And that, most men only learn by the sword. It’s the most painful lesson they might get in their life, just like realizing that their parents aren’t any smarter than they are at some point in their lives but that’s a topic for another story.
And if they are especially unlucky it leaves them with the realization of what exactly they did wrong, where and when exactly they did not pay attention and most importantly, most men will never find someone like her ever again. That is literally chaos. That is hell right here and now. You’re lost and you’re are going to stay god damn lost for a long while. And even if you recover from this, you won’t forget her. You won’t forget her smile, her voice, the way she hugged you like you’re everything there is. How her lips felt when she really felt like kissing you, how her warmth felt when you both cuddled after a long day and how you damn fool had no idea what you had.
And there you are. Alone, miserable, full of regrets and memories and pain.
So what do you do with all this? You are going to suffer. But that’s not the end of the story right here.

We all know the legend of the Phoenix. So well, that I don’t even have to tell it again. We know the story of the Hobbit, that went to slay the dragon and retrieve the treasure that the dragon protects. They are old stories, older than civilization even, in their very archetype. But they are there for a reason and people have told these stories for millennia.
The process of growth – or better, regrowth always includes something dark and challenging. It’s either described as death, a fight, exploring the unknown or even darker, as sacrifice. The idea of sacrifices is almost as old as humanity itself. You give something valuable in order to retrieve salvation or something even more valuable than what you threw into the flames. The early concepts of this were cruel and barbaric, sort of like a raw diamond. It included the sacrifice of livestock, grains and food (which was far more valuable back then) and even human life.
With the years we developed better ways to approach the concept of sacrifice and reached a point, where we are developed enough to bring sacrifices in form of emotions, dreams and time. In other words, we learned to sacrifice the present for the future.
What does this mean? It means exactly what you most likely won’t want to hear if you just ended up in the same situation, I’m in right now.
It means to let go. Let go of what you had and what you think you have. Let go of it like you’re the Phoenix that’s full of old feathers. Let go of it to burst into flames and make room for something new. And something new doesn’t only mean your life. It means yourself most of everything. By letting go you let your old self die with all the bad memories, with all the mistakes and insufficiency.
And this idea is far more sophisticated than just forgetting what you had and moving on to a different life. You don’t need to forget who you love. Or throw all your things away. This might help in some cases but it’s not the entire concept of it. It’s a rebirth in mind and simply by the destruction of what you had you already started creating something new. Simply by realizing your mistakes you started forming different personality traits that no longer define who you used to be before. It doesn’t require to let go of all the things you value. But it does require you to let go of all the dead wood that weighed you down, made you blind and ultimately caused you to make mistakes you never should have done. And you should not stop this development for any reason. No matter how scary and lonely and dark it gets. Don’t let depression take over. Don’t let alcohol solve your problems. Keep going. Pay attention to what you do, compare yourself to who you were yesterday and see if you did any better and what you can do better tomorrow. Fix the things that were broken and let your old self die to get reborn.

It sounds like some mystic idea but it is perhaps the simplest concept of human development and it happens every day in much smaller scale. You just don’t realize it because how often do you end up in hell? Even the pirates sang “Leave her Johnny” which is a metaphor that symbolizes exactly that.
And oddly enough, you will realize that it works. Life will return to you and you may get the things back that you lost along the way because you proved yourself worthy again of having them (Thor-reference, ha ha).
You might even get gifted something entirely new and much better than what you had before. And this time you are going to be honest. You are going to be faithful. You are going to listen and think like everything you are depends on it.
Either way, it’s worth it. And it’s the only chance you have to grow from what destroyed you. Because what else do you have? Stay in hell and chaos? You don’t want that and you also don’t know what the future brings.
But you god damn sure want to find out.

 

8593753_dscf1128

Birth of the Phoenix – Ferrand

longi temporis fragilitas

It’s 7pm and the sun sets the sky ablaze.
Work is past and it’s time to get home. I take my things, speak a few words to my coworkers and step out of the store. Then it gets quiet. I close my eyes – a warm breeze softly strokes my neck and I feel you.
You’re not around anymore, just a beautiful and burning memory.

A few weeks ago I awaited to leave the noise of work. I took out my phone and smiled because I could finally talk to you again. That one thing I looked forward to since the very first moment I woke up in the morning.
Now I look at my notifications and there’s no you.
Just silence.

You told me how you slept and all about your dreams. What your plans were for today. I whispered that I missed you all day. That you should eat some good breakfast and that you look great this morning. I miss that.
I miss all of it and I cannot rest.

Carefully I get on my bike and leave the parking lot. I look right and left before I cross the street so I don’t get hit by a car. You would worry to death if something happened and so I will live.
I think can live without you. I can because your spirit always stays.

I hear an airplane above and I picture myself sitting inside, on my way to fly across the big lake to see you again. It would have been one more month before I could take you in my arms again but now I won’t. There won’t be no flight. No happiness. No hugs. No cold can of Arizona and cookies.. no you.
I’m chained to the ground.

At the store I remember how we went shopping together and poked fun at each other.
You laughed, went to look at some products and my eyes followed every one of your motions with a smile that nobody else could ever conjure. To me you were a work of art I constantly needed to take pictures of and show it to god himself. He would probably tell me that he knows how his angels look like.
I took your hand and there was no prouder man than me because you were priceless.

I unlock the door and enter my room. A warm freeze hugs me welcome and I take a deep breathe before I let my body sink into the clouds of my bed. There are still pictures of us hanging everywhere, reminding me of who we were and who we could have been.
I can’t take them down because they are my walls.

I close my eyes and feel your hug. I feel your lips on mine, your soft hair between my fingers and the shape of your pretty body like an hourglass in my arms. I smell your fragrance and hear your voice. I feel your gentle hands against my chest and every single goose-bump you ever caused.
I smile and with every second I spend with you I die a little more. We stand in the doorstep and you pull me inside but fear reaches for me and I try to memorize every detail of your face.

To hell with it. I fall asleep so I can stay for a while. I appreciate every second of the vanishing pictures of you before the cold grip of life takes me from your arms again.
Before reality wakes me, the last grain of sand falls and we are no more.

 

flugzeug

A small guide to love

While I was doing research on my miniseries about dreams, I stumbled on several things I found particularly memorable and important. Things, that I didn’t necessarily notice in my past three and a half years of relationship with perhaps the most remarkable person I’ve ever known. In some way our break-up opened my eyes for them to be seen in the first place which is something that I found especially painful and ironic at the same time and damn, that caused me many sleepless nights and days full of hate an anger towards myself. In an everchanging world we need to evolve ourselves on every mental and emotional level or we simply fall behind. When we fall behind we get resentful, lonely and frustrated which ultimately leads to degeneration, more suffering and death. Which is not good. So what do we do to prevent that? We interact with each other, seek out family, friends and romantic relationships because that’s what we need. We are social animals and without positive social interaction we wither.
So, as we stumble through the world basically knowing nothing at all about ourselves, let alone other people we are still constantly forced to make decisions and interact with each other based on our perception of reality. And most of the time we are far from being ready. This is simply the way it is. What we know and are right now is all we have in this very moment. But this doesn’t mean that we cannot consider the future, plan ahead and prepare for anything we possibly can prepare for. This is, by the way, why we have a social system, rules and a hierarchy that determines our position and status in this society. And we can move around within this hierarchy and society by constantly working on how we view ourselves, others and how much we contribute to the success of our life and ultimately the success of our society as a whole. That’s because everything we do, everything, has consequences. Everything we do not do has consequences as well. And as simple as that sounds, that’s something to consider at every moment we are aware and for everything we did, do or consider doing. It has incredible impacts on how we construct our reality and the reality of others in every second of our lives. The way we act in our belief system majorly influences the belief systems of the people that interact with us daily or even randomly. But what is a belief system?

Our current state of evolution as humans leaves us with an amazing ability that no other living being on earth or in the so far known universe possesses. It is the ability of free will. This is what makes us aware beings without being slave to a genetic code that makes animals for example act and interact with not much freedom of decision (and some humans as well but that’s another topic).
But that ‘gift’ comes with a heavy responsibility and burden. There is something underlying our belief system and acting as it’s core if you will. That is what we call meaning. Something with meaning is an action or event that we personally consider as important, memorable or valuable in some way. And what is particularly remarkable about this is, that what we consider meaningful varies strongly depending on our age, our current level of social and emotional development and our place in the hierarchy of society and our values. It also heavily depends on our current emotional and psychological state. So if we are depressed our dopamine and serotonin levels are extremely low and our perception of what is meaningful gets drowned and clouded. That usually happens when our entire belief system or major parts of it get shaken or destroyed entirely. Then we usually fall into a deep hole called depression and good luck getting out of that. It’s extremely hard to say the very, very least.

So, to prevent that from happening our perception of reality heavily relies on our belief system which is driven by the meaning we give the things in there. And as amazing as we humans are, we are very different as well and that reflects into our belief system and ultimately tells what we consider meaningful. And considering we have something in our life that represents meaning to our belief system, then one might say that we would naturally do whatever we can to protect what is meaningful to us to keep our belief system intact so we don’t get anxious, depressed, resentful and die.
Well, if you paid attention so far in life you will immediately notice that this is not that simple. People do things all the time that go partially or fully against their belief system and what they consider right and meaningful. That usually happens in the face of despair, pain, mental illness or a state of erratic happiness. Which is in fact very interesting with children.
See, when children are like what, three or four, all these little shits do is run around and play and have fun when they’re not busy sleeping, eating, crapping or throwing a temper tantrum. Not a lot different than some of their their adult counterparts but anyways. When we watch parents with children sometimes then we will notice something funny. Whenever their kids are in an overly good mood or being loud while playing and having fun, they tell them to be quiet and calm down. But why do we do that? I mean, it’s great, the kid is having the time of his or her life, having fun and being happy, right? So why would we possibly want our kids to stop having fun and being happy?
Well it’s actually quite simple. First, it’s f-ing annoying after a while. But more importantly, we teach the kid an important lesson which is that we’re not always supposed to be happy and joyful. Well, why not? It feels great, right?

When were in ecstatic happiness we’re the most tempted to make stupid decisions. People make the silliest investment when they are in extreme happiness. They buy the worst stocks, food that they most likely wont eat when they calm down later and waste their money on short-term catalysts of happiness, which we would call signs of hedonistic behavior. Malls and amusement parks are entirely built on this concept. Give people as much of that happiness as possible so they keep throwing their money at the business. And if it’s so stupid, then why do we do this? It’s basically tied to our brains reward center. If we feel joy and happiness then our body produces serotonin and dopamine and that makes us feel good, causing our reward system to activate. Once this shit is going it’s very hard to make it stop. That is because it keeps asking for more dopamine and we keep giving it and spend money on stupid shit and it asks for more and more like a rat constantly ripping that cocaine lever for more of that white stuff and.. you get the picture.
Usually you can see this kind of behavior getting excessive with less cognitively developed people, animals and well, children. Many people who win the Superball or any other type of lottery tend to lose all of their millions within a surprisingly short amount of time and end up in an even lower spot in the social hierarchy than where the found themselves before winning all this money. Simply because they waste it on short term luxury goods and slip into a hedonistic lifestyle they are simply not able to sustain for a very long time. So when we feel happy and ecstatic we will most likely make stupid decisions.
And ultimately, a lot of times it will go against what we consider meaningful or right in terms of how our belief system is set up because the temporary feeling of satisfaction can easily overrule the long term necessity of supporting what we consider meaningful if you don’t have a particularly good amount of self-awareness and self-control. But this can also be caused by mental disorders, depression or despair which I probably don’t need to further explain why that is.

So, what gives most people meaning? Love would be the short and most fitting answer. Damn, this is the shit we live for. If everything is going good for us then we have a family we love, a pet we love, friends we love and even a job we genuinely enjoy doing. And who of us can say that they have all that going for them at once.
What most people have or have had though is love in terms of what we consider a romantic interest for someone that particularly fits our ideal picture of a partner. When this happens then damn.. shit hits the fan. Our mental cocaine lever gets smashed so hard that we fall into this childish state of ecstatic happiness and man, that feels great. Falling in love and being in love feels amazing. And it’s even more amazing when this feeling lasts and evolves into a deeper kind of love and genuine appreciation of the partner and if that’s mutual, then well.. that’s great and that should keep you guys going forever, right? I’m sorry to break it to you, but it doesn’t. And that’s not necessarily because our parents trained us as kids to stop having so much fun so we go back to normal and stop feeling all these great things. This actually even benefits the relationship.
It’s more that we as humans are still confronted with everything else around us and in us that has a major influence on our belief system. And once you fall in love and enter a romantic relationship this belief system generally gets very strong and protective of what gives it meaning which is the partner in that case. And most people entirely rely on this. Love will overrule everything is a pretty popular statement but from a psychological point of view that’s not entirely correct because if you only rely on that you are in for a bad surprise sooner or later.
Just being in love does not free you from paying attention to acting consciously and responsibly towards society and your partner at any time in any case. And most of you would say that this comes without saying but if you take a moment to look around or maybe even reflect your own past relationships, you will notice that it doesn’t. It absolutely doesn’t and that is the reason why most first crushes and partners break up at some point in almost every case. The feeling of love and excitement fades and all there is left is habit and responsibility and well, where is the fun in that, right?

So when we’re older and we have had our good amount of good and bad experiences we naturally become smarter and more capable of keeping apart real love from just temporary episode of loneliness and lust. We actually get pretty damn good at it. In fact so good, that we can tell apart people who just want to take advantage of us really quickly and it’s usually not that obvious and that we are able to do that is very remarkable and impressive on a neurological and psychological level.
And that is usually around the time where we meet someone we most likely will spend a fairly large part of our life if not the rest of it with. We notice traits and things we missed in our past relationships and pay attention to things we had no idea we needed and that’s where true genuine love develops. We enjoy every little thing about each other and no matter how basic and silly it is, it becomes an act of genuine joy with no cocaine or butterflies involved. Shopping together, showering, cooking, watching shows and even cleaning or doing work turns into a source of happiness and recovery and that is when you realize that it’s real. And I’m sorry to break it to you but even this won’t last if you don’t f-ing pay attention to yourself and your partner. Because that still won’t keep the monsters out. And in an astonishingly big amount of times the monsters are inside of you. They come in many shapes and colors and can stretch from boredom, loneliness, bad habits, egoism and narcissism or only behavior patterns from each of those.

And you might say that you have none of those problems which is probably fair to say, because who wants to let the monster inside your own yard. Well, the monsters find their way inside by themselves. Because even in a strong and loving relationship conflict is and will always be a natural part of cooperation. It goes hand in hand like chaos and order or nature and civilization. There is no growth without destruction. No happiness without sadness and no fun without responsibility. And many couples do not understand or realize that. Which is very sad because this leads to fights and disagreements being a major reason why many young and actually pretty good relationships break apart. Thankfully many of them find each other again when they are older and more evolved but that’s not always the case.
So very important, don’t be afraid of conflict. Stay respectful and always approach your partner listening and with the assumption, that he or she knows something that you don’t. And there is no exception for this rule. Because then you’re open for improvement and solution. And then you start to listen. And when you listen you start to learn and grow and evolve. And since you both are interacting with each other the growth goes both ways.
The other thing about telling yourself that you have no issues is, that in almost all cases, this is simply a lie. And not just any lie, a vicious one as well because you’re telling it to yourself. What happens if you lie to yourself? Well, you can see it as some kind of line or rope that goes along with you as you walk through your life. As long as you say the truth it will stay perfectly straight and not interfere with you walking. When you start lying or even hiding the truth, this rope will start getting curvy and making loops. And these loops don’t stay where they occurred, they follow you along the line wherever you go. So you start to have to watch your step so you don’t get caught in one of those loops and trip. And that’s exhausting man. It wears you out and makes you frustrated, sensitive and angry because this never leaves you alone. But why do we lie? Well naturally, most of the time for example kids lie to get out of something they know they did wrong. Some kids are actually remarkably good at this. If you work with children in your job you will notice that some very young kids even learned to set others up in order to avoid getting punished and giving the dangerous adult a victim so no more questions are being asked. Why do kids do that?

Well, if you take a regular child of like four years of age, they are firstly much smaller and a lot weaker than the adults responsible for them. So naturally, kids have a respect and a good amount of fear towards these giants that tell you what to do and get angry from time to time and sometimes even punish you. And well, this punishment is most of the times the key to why some kids learn to lie at a much younger age than others. Kids who get punished more frequently or even physically through slaps and even beating are not going to mess up less or stop acting out all by themselves. So if they mess up again their simple cognitive functions signal to them, that punishment is imminent. And that’s fear. That’s terror. So to get out of there they develop a simple strategy that gives them a free get-out-of-jail ticket every time they do it. They simply don’t say what they did and if it’s too obvious to be hidden, they tell that they didn’t do it or that someone else did it. And when that works, they learn that it works and that at a very young age. And this is why it’s extremely important to learn how to properly discipline your child in a productive and meaningful way because otherwise you’ll be creating monsters that you won’t be able to undo when they grow up and these kids will carry monsters around that will make it very hard for them to get through life because liars are not particularly popular in our society. People figure them out pretty quickly so lying is one of the worst things you can do to anyone and that counts especially for your partner. But the best part about lying is: you know when you do it. It’s not a subconscious process that you can’t get a grip of and that happens outside of your awareness. Yes, it is hard to tell the truth sometimes and many times it even brings grave consequences and that is scary. It’s fucking scary but it is the one and only right thing to do. Because whenever you say the truth, the result will be what is supposed to be, no matter what it is because you told the truth. And if you don’t? Well then things get complicated. You create something that wasn’t there to begin with. And it will open up questions. To answer these questions you will make up more lies for the lies you already told. And that will go on until finally this entire thing you built will blow up in your face. And trust me, it will. And it will tear you apart and if you haven’t experienced pain, real crippling pain to this point, then that’s the point where you will.
You can see it as a plastic ruler you hold in front of your face. The ruler represents reality, so every time you don’t tell the truth you bend reality. You bend the ruler. And the more you bend it, the more tension and stress will be put on it. And in the end it just slaps you in the face and that isn’t nice for anybody who’s involved. Mark Twain once said: If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

So tell the truth. Be faithful. Be sincere. Or at least don’t lie. Ever.

The next thing sounds rather simple and the fact of it being rather simple will cause many of you to forget or unwillingly ignore it at some point. And that’s paying attention and being supportive.

Well, you might say that you always pay attention and support your partner whenever you can. But do you really?
In order to support someone you need to always know what they are up to. And I don’t mean this in a stalking and obsessing way. (Seriously, give your partner space to breathe).

I mean it on an emotional and spiritual level. You need to ask yourself if you know all or most of the time, how he or she is feeling. If there is anything on their mind or even if they need support but didn’t dare to ask yet. And of course, it does help knowing what they work on at the moment, if they deal with some particularly difficult issue with their family or if they just had a bad dream. But always respect their privacy in this process. You eat together, cuddle and have sex but respecting privacy is a very important thing to remember.

My fiancée was actually remarkably good at this. She even noticed that I was feeling a bit stressed and off when I didn’t even realize it myself and that’s is an impressive cognitive ability to have. We have amazing abilities built in our senses to catch slightest variations in tone, mimics and even tiniest movements of someone’s eyes. It’s something you should try to pay attention to and you probably won’t ever get as good at it as her but it’s important to understand what is going on and that is something you can actively control.

So what do you do exactly when you notice that something is wrong or that you partner is approaching a rather stressful episode in life?
When you finally managed to notice that something is not okay, first thing you do is not starting to ask questions or blasting “what’s wrong???” through your phone or immediately hitting them with what you assume might be wrong. Man, if you want to fuck it up really badly you start getting pissed because you assume the your partner is pissed about something you did. And then you’re basically a moron. You don’t want to be a moron. I watched this behavior a lot of times in especially younger or less educated couples and it’s threatening and toxic. It’s the equivalent of breaching the door while someone is half naked in the bathroom crying and trying to shower. It’s not nice.

Instead what you want to do is softly knocking at the door.
You do that with small gestures of affection which are actually not too different from their good-mood-counterparts. It’s small things like carefully hugging your partner from behind and asking if they are okay. Or just giving them a soft shoulder-rub when you notice them sigh or take a short break from exhaustion. Even a cup of tea with a snack and a smile can do the trick to show that you noticed and that you care and that sometimes doesn’t even require any more words.
If you find yourself in a long distance relationship, then being close to each other and working with gestures can get really difficult. Here is the trick to find good timing and good wording to approach an issue. If you know your partner, you will know when and how to approach it because if you’ve been dating long distance chances are high, that you spent most of the time talking and getting to know each other and this is one of the most valuable things you gain from this kind of relationships. People who dated long distance for multiple years usually have a really strong connection to each other and know more about their counterpart, than some people who lived together for a decade.

So when you knock and it’s not working then you’re better off waiting until your partner brings it up him or herself. There is no point in kicking in a door when nobody wants to open it in the first place.
That’s it. That’s the knocking. When you softly knock a door and someone is home, what will happen?
Well there are two options, either someone opens the door or nobody opens the door.

And both of them can be transitioned into the reaction of your partner. Many will actually open the door and even meet you with a smile because well, you noticed or showed them a loving gesture. Then usually they might start to open up and tell you what’s wrong and maybe it’s even something to do with you that they were too afraid to bring up but now that you showed a sign of goodwill, chances are high that they will take the chance and talk to you whatever might be on their mind. Well, the second option is that they notice but choose not to talk about it still. This is where it gets a bit more complicated and this can have various psychological reasons I don’t really want to talk about right now but the very basic idea of it is, that they simply aren’t ready to talk about it yet. And that’s a lot harder to accept and respect that one might think. Because this won’t really leave you alone. It will keep grinding your gears and make you feel anxious and uncertain for as long as it takes until they decide to talk to you about it and man, that feeling is horrible. Particularly insecure and sensitive people will have this issue far more often than others because of their remarkable ability to catch reactions and emotions much better than others. That’s why they are almost always worried that something is wrong or that they did something wrong and many people find this annoying or unattractive but on a psychological and spiritual level these people are the most precious and valuable you can find because they are extremely good at working with emotion, noticing trouble and providing emotional support whenever necessary. These people are worth more than gold and if you are lucky enough to date someone like this, then you better never let them go. You better give them the constant reassurance and empathy they need and you don’t want to hurt them because of all types of personalities, these get hurt the worst.
So if you realize that you are in fact dating someone like this, reassurance and empathy plays an extremely important key role in how you approach them in your relationship. In fact, that counts for every kind of personality you might find yourself dating but it especially applies to them. And that one is as easy as it is unfortunately not obvious to many. If you notice that they did something good, you tell them. You tell them that you noticed and that you were very impressed by what they did and that you want to keep them doing that. Do you have any idea how good that feels?

Man, if you really love someone you go and do that and you pay attention to their reaction. But that doesn’t only apply for good things they did. If they are upset you show – as discussed farther above – that you notice and that you care. If they approach you about a bad dream they had or about something you did wrong, then you god damn let them know that you care and that you’re sorry and you walk them through this until they feel better. And I’m especially stressing this one because this is where most of you will get into trouble. Because you may feel the need to get defensive. When you get defensive you start to discuss the facts. When you discuss the facts you will find yourself in the opposition and this will ultimately lead to an argument. And this is pretty much the opposite of what you want to achieve when you notice your partner being in a bad place.
And this is not easy. If you are not lucky enough to be naturally good at it then you will have to work on this. You will have to work on approaching these situations and if you love and care about your partner you will realize that this is of crucial importance for how the rest of your relationship will turn out to be.

Jesus, this thing got far longer than I wanted it to be but you know what? That is okay. Because I think that there are still many more things to consider and pay attention to and something like this should be much, much longer. And there are full blown books and book series on this. But my inspiration to write this focused on the things you just read in particular, simply because I failed at many of them in my relationship even though I used to believe I was good at relationships and that caused me to needing to let someone go who was perhaps the most valuable and precious partner I ever had in my life. And man, if you are responsible for them leaving and you really loved them, then you’re in hell. And good luck getting out of there.
So the last thing I want to stress is, learn how to love. And most of you will say that they know how to love. You love their partner all the time. And this might be true on some mental level. But knowing how to love includes every situation, every time you interact with your partner or with anyone else. Every thought you have, every step you make and every decision you agree on. No matter if you are alone or together, far away from each other or living in the same room, just dating or married for twenty years. Your partner is always there. And every word you speak, every action you decide to take and every thought you have has some impact on your and therefor on their life. Everything has consequences, everything. So always listen. Stay respectful. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Pay attention. Show support. Show empathy. Apologize. Don’t start unnecessary arguments.  And if you always consider love, truth and care – no matter the outcome, it will be the right thing.
Good luck and hug your partner tight. They can leave faster than you think.

Thanks for reading.

cof