Chasing simplicity. Thoughts on being alive.

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On living imperfectly

I like the French cafe I frequent. 

I mean, I don’t love everything about the cafe, but overall I like it. The baguettes don’t always come out toasted to the degree of my liking. I can’t use my card to pay, they recently switched to cash only.

Still, the faces are friendly, the soy lattes are great- they don’t turn sour when I let them sit for ten minutes while I devour my baguettes. The place is warm, inviting, decorated  with French knickknacks. French penmanship spells out the baguette menu.  It’s the furtherest thing from a commercial coffee chain. 

I know why they got rid of EFTPOS (cards) payments. The bank fees are insane - they are a necessary cost for the convenience of customers, as long as the sales figures justify it. Many of my favourite restaurants have closed, I do hope the French cafe stays.

I often journal in this cafe. The place offers an atmosphere laid-back enough for muscles to relax and thoughts to unravel. It is the opposite of rush when I am here, perhaps something others find in a church, or a good glass of red wine.

Reflections are great because the help me grow. I realised I am always rushing. I am constantly rehearsing how to deal with the troubles ahead. I live for the future, when I can tick items off that impossible to-do list. I plan and worry. I worry and plan. The present slips by quietly, like water running through uncupped hands.

I want TO BE HERE more. I read a book called HOW TO BE HERE, but I’ve forgotten most if not all of it. I suppose to learn certain things you gotta live, fumbling your way through the darkness and depths of your battles, and emerge with the truth etched into every fibre of your being. That truth needs to come from a place deep inside you. 

So today on my day off I’m switching off. Still doing it awkwardly, but I’m getting there. Bring on the beasts of the work week tomorrow, when I get back to work.

Goodbye, Apollo.

After I found out my friend took her own life, my world went on. I’d eat my breakfast and go to work. I’d drive with the music on. I’d slammed my brakes too hard. My clothes looked perfect. I looked normal.

Inside me, joy vanished under a thick cloud of despair.

Amanda was tough. Smart. Driven.

But why?

The days that followed the news were completely forgettable, but for the restlessness that was at the helm of my ship. The seas were calm, but the tempest inside never subsided.

I looked for an easy way out. I kept busy. I worked and worked. I shopped. I disappeared down the Facebook vortex. I emerged and shopped some more.


Ten years ago, Amanda and I took trip together down the Great Ocean Road, staying in a cheap backpackers’ full of tanned carefree-looking young people. Through our bedroom window at night the stars shone brightly against the dark sky, not a single strand of stray urban light detracting from the stars’ beauty. The waves broke constantly, soothingly. We talked for hours about our life plans. We were excited. I felt hope growing inside me, the way a little seed extending its tiny roots through the dark earth.

Amanda was training to be an anaesthetist when she took her life.

At the very same time, I was deeply bogged down in the minutiae of my life. The business. The household. Paying off debts. Being a responsible adult.

When I meditated, thoughts arrived in droves, one as unsettled as the next.

I had the sudden urge to be in nature. Weekends after weekends I walked the local trails, my hiking boots struggled for footing against the rocks. The trees were bare in winter. The mud was deep. The Australian natives were yet to bloom.  Crisp cold air filled my lungs. Sadness lingered.

Weeks later, the feeling of numbness lifted. It left behind an imprint, the way heavy furnitures mark the carpet . It begs quietly- What is the best way to live one’s life?