The Meaning of Life 

  The Meaning of Life. Well, the meaning of MY life, really, is simply measured in friendships. 

It doesn’t need a thousand words exquisitely arranged. Just watch the video above. 

That is all.

© Dave Luis 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

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It Wasn’t ALL Bad

It Wasn’t ALL Bad

The thing about the past is that it’s easy to see it ALL as bad, so that everything now is good, and light, and positive and progress.

It’s disingenuous to oversimplify it like that. Although there was a lot that was broken and dishonest in the past, not everything was. In fact there was a lot of good back then, too. 

A second voice from the past reached out this week, this time to thank me for teaching him business communications, a few years ago. 

He has just started a new job this week, and has been commended on his professional communications – and he took the time to thank me for what I taught him, because it has helped him in his role, and has already earned him recognition. 

Today I am grateful for his thanks, for reminding me that there are things I do well, that teach and inspire people. But mostly I am grateful that he is out there, making a name for himself and getting the recognition he deserves. 

© Dave Luis 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

Image by Mikhail Pavstyuk at Unsplash free images 

When Did We Get So Old…?

I’m scrolling through Facebook, catching up on what people got up to while I was at work. 

A photo of three men rolls up the screen. I don’t recognize any of them. 

I scroll back and look closer. Nope. Zero recognition. Two chaps who I gauge as being my age or perhaps a year or two younger. And an old fogey.

I read the names. Two unknowns. And M, who was at highschool with me. I definitely don’t recognize the younger men in the pic…but surely that old fogey’s not M, is it…?

I hit the tag button and confirm my shock. That old man – that wrinkly, balding old man in sensible clothes and respectable spectacles…is M! What the hell?!?

How the hell did this happen? This not the ravages of a wild youth. This is just the passage of time! I saw it when G posted his travel album recently – but I chalked the marked decay up to the freezing mountain air.

I see the cruel ruin and sag and erosion wearing away at my handsome, beautiful peers who shared my school years, though never so clearly as tonight, seeing M, unrecognisable under the weight of middle age. 

But I don’t look like this, surely? Like an old man, old enough to be …what? A parent? My parent? An old, domesticated fogey, lounging in his comfortable lounge in his comfortable lounger pullover and comfortable specs. 

The mirror lies to me again, telling me I’m still a spritely youth that needs a minor tone up here and there, a little bit of cardio to keep me in shape, like when I represented South Africa at the African Fencing Championships NINETEEN years ago…Christ! Has it been that long? 

I look in the mirror again. The decrepit truth leers out at me: receding hair…sagging eye bags, wrinkles and grey sprinkling my beard.

I’m old. I’m old and overweight and unfit. 

This is not what I signed up for! This is NOT how it was meant to be!

I’m not old. I’m not old. How can I be…? I don’t even know what I want to be…

…when I grow up.

© Dave Luis 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

We miss you. I miss you. I miss your hugs and your smile and the way you made the world disappear so I didn’t have to think or feel or be anything other than loved. 

But you’re gone now, and I have had to learn how to grow up and look after myself. 

That’s a difficult thing, at age 41. When you were my age now, you had been married for many years and had four kids. 

Your childhood forced you to grow up and be a responsible adult much earlier in life than you should have had to. You wanted a different life for your kids, for me. And so I got a life where I didn’t have to grow up and face adult responsibilities and the harshness of reality. 

It didn’t really work out, even with your best intentions. Even with all your best love. 

I’m fixing that, now. And I understand everything so much better. Some days are tough, and that’s when I really miss your ability to hold the world at bay. But I realise now that you can’t do that. You can’t hide from the world, from being an adult – from taking responsibility and dealing with life. Because THAT’S what makes life easier, and worth living. And I wish we had have both known that, earlier in life.

I think we both deserved that. 

Love you, mum. 

© Dave Luis 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

Thank You.

Thank You.

Yesterday I felt I was fast approaching my breaking point. I wrote it out, pouring my chaos onto the page, letting it out into the world. 

I was in two minds about publishing the piece because I want to be certain that when I write something it is about my progress, about finding a way forward. Not a whiny, self-pitying post to manipulate care and concern from my blog readers. I am always on my guard against writing posts like that. I have seen such posts pop up in my blog reader from time to time, and it always betrays the message and the writing style. I don’t feel that that is a great way to ask for help.

But I was not asking for help, see. I was confessing my mental state, because confessing it disarms it, robs it of much of its power. It is the principal way that I control my chemical cravings, when they occasionally arise. I confess these cravings to my sponsor and close friends and the intensity of the craving dissipates. It works like a charm. And that was the intention of my post, see. Self-moderation.

Life doesn’t always work out like that, and where I had written a close-ended confessional, many people read a cry for help. Comments, tweets and WhatsApp messages flooded in from around the world, offering advice, a shoulder to cry on, a walk up the mountain and invitations to lunch. 

I have learned over the last three years never to shun the offer of help when it comes. I am extremely grateful for all your messages. In that moment when I felt most alone in my personal chaos, you all reached out and made sure I was OK.

Mandy suggested grounding; that I go down to the beach and put my bare feet on the sand and just…breathed. Grumbling, I decided to go. En route I was definitely not feeling it. I parked the car and sat for a few moments before deciding that yes, fine, I would put my damned feet on the damned sand. 

It was windy on that empty beach and as I stepped off the pavement and into the sand, I let out an involuntary sigh of relief. It felt like a huge weight was suddenly was ripped out of my gut. 

I spent much longer on the beach than I intended to. I went back again yesterday afternoon. The waves and the gulls drowned out the chaos – not completely, and not for long, but just enough for the anxiety and disquiet to sublimate, and for that choking feeling to disappear. 

Yesterday was a powerful reminder why I am doing this healing journey so publicly. Because it means I am not doing it alone – and I have all of YOU helping me carry the load. 

Thank you. 

© Dave Luis 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Breaking Point

Breaking Point

Isolation. Locking myself away from the world when really all I want to do is lock myself away from myself, from the ceaseless, unrelenting awareness of being. 

My mind never stops turning over – running through conversations, events, memories, resentments, choices, decisions to be made, unfinished business, things to done, bills to be paid, money to made, emotions, reactions, sensitivities and insecurities. It NEVER ends! 

Even when I sleep, my dreams are ugly collages of life and its alternate branches. No longer can music or hypnosis apps keep out the relentless machine of consciousness. 

I am so tired. I am so tired of the inner monologue running at me with knives, and I no longer care that it might be dissolving my sanity. I am fast approaching a frenetic catatonia, as each day I lose more and more of what little serenity I had grappled for myself in the last three years. 

I cannot switch off, and this unrelenting consciousness is breaking me. Worse still, with the knowledge of sobriety that I now have, there is no salvation in the miasma of pills and powders that were such powerful disconnectors when I needed them to be. No alcoholic balm to drown in. No merciful lines to kill my heart’s frantic anguish. 

Just the silence of solitude, and deafening roar of being. 

It’s killing me.

© Dave Luis 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Why #RhodesMustFall, For Dummies

Why #RhodesMustFall, For Dummies

I haven’t weighed in on the debacle over whether or not the statue of Cecil John Rhodes must fall because, frankly, I know precious little about the history of Rhodes. Delivering opinions when you know little to nothing about a subject is something only politicians and Steve Hofmeyer do. 

That said, I do know a number of very clever people who have made it their business to research and comment on these things, so I asked Louise Ferreira, a highly respected researcher and journalist, to break it down in a nutshell for folks like me who are ignorant of the history and the current issues.

I asked Louise what Rhodes did that was so bad it’s caused this outrage, seeing as how – according to many social media “expert commentators” he was responsible for so much infrastructure the still benefits our nation today. 

Rhodes was an imperialist determined to appropriate large chunks of (particularly southern) Africa for the British Empire, with no regard for the people already occupying the land. Among other things, he played an important role in the disastrous Jameson Raid, which was one of the factors in the outbreak of the South African War (the Anglo-Boer War). It is telling that even in an era when colonialism and imperialism was widely accepted, not all of Rhodes’ contemporaries approved of his actions.”

But if we remove the statue, are we not erasing history, and the lesson? 

The ‘erasing history’ argument is disingenuous, frankly. There is a difference between acknowledging history and glorifying someone’s legacy. Statues and names infer honour. This is why streets named after Verwoerd etc have been changed; it doesn’t mean we pretend apartheid never happened.”

And there it is – the whole complex back-and-forth debate wrapped up concisely for you, so that when you express your opinion, you’ll actually know what it’s all about. 

Read Louise’s full Thought Leader article here

Ask Louise. Or follow her on Twitter: @frrlou

© Dave Luis 2015. All Rights Reserved.  

Featured image via Thought Leader