In the previous post I outlined my direction for the next phase of my life. I wrote predominately about dealing with my negativity and finding a way to be at peace with myself and my world. This post looks at the symbolism of a physical shift I made this week towards a brighter, lighter future; and stresses the need to seek out the positive, rather than allow any additional negativity into my life.
Two days ago I moved apartments. I had spent 18 months in the previous place: a studio flat on the top floor of a converted church. I lived directly under the church ceiling, which was an impressive sight (and sound – the acoustics were ideal), but the only light came through the apex of what used to be the stained-glass window. It was a dark apartment, but it offered me sanctuary during one of the saddest periods of my life.
My new place has windows everywhere. Light, everywhere. It’s in a beautiful (and gezellig) part of town, and is somewhere I intend to stay for years to come. Perhaps more significantly, the timing and nature of this move fits in perfectly with my preparations to leave my old life behind, wipe the slate as clean as I can, and proceed with a clarity of intention and a lightness of being.
Light in this case means both bright and unburdened. It also means visibility because this year has been about acknowledging myself and my achievements, becoming accountable for my life and my work, and moving more deliberately into the world, for all to see.
As with any cleansing process, however, there is maintenance work to be done. If my intention is to address my own negativity, then I must also seek to ensure that I keep further negativity at bay. Recent events and conversations have increased my understanding of what I face. In short, there are people who will blind me with their charm, their openness and their success, but who will take what I have without permission, acknowledgement, or awareness.
During my recent visit to the US, for example, I journeyed for 12 hours to surprise an old acquaintance whom I hadn’t seen for over a decade. Circumstances conspired to limit our meeting to 2½ hours, but that was sufficient for me to witness his success and listen to him talk. I said very little, and the quieter I remained, the more clearly I saw his pessimism. I left with an example – which will stay with me forever – of how simple it can be to expose people’s negativity.
Avoiding negativity is, in and of itself, negative (because that’s where our focus is), so I end with a quotation sent to me by someone very different. He is a positive person who adds value to my life. He is the friend I stayed with for that month in California, and he has inspired a number of posts on this blog. His quote comes from one of the greatest minds of recent times, it distinguishes between those who take and those who give, and was sent to me two days before I moved into my brighter, lighter apartment:
‘Try not to become a man of success. Rather, become a man of value.’ – Albert Einstein