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How Do we Take our Lives Back?

Life can be more fun. It can be fulfilling, it can have any meaning you want it to; it can be anything you want it to. You could be the good kind of tired. It can also be a disaster, it can be so terribly boring, so utterly hopeless and pointless if you want it to. You can easily make it to a midlife crisis that ends with a rigid realization that you have wasted your life, your money and your youth on nothing. See you can have it all, you already are working towards what you want daily, whether you see it or not. I want to help you see it, because I’m practicing what I preach and because I care about the 40 year old you.

Consider this the hands-on preacher pitch, from somebody who gives a damn. Too aggressive? well, why not if you are still reading, it means something deep down in you is curious enough to save 40 year old you from despair. Or, you might actually have a sense of humor, one that gets sarcastic baits off the bat.

The Important Questions

The first and foremost set of questions to ask ourselves right now as we read are:

Do I complain? Why do I complain? Do I do it consciously? Do i feel better after I have complained to the person of my choice? Does my complaining ever lead to action? Do I feel better because complaining makes me feel like I am actually doing something about my problems?

The questions can definitely get longer and more complex, but I will release you there.

The Epidemic

Complaining and whining about our problems is a national epidemic, one that we have been conditioned to since infancy, most of us grew up to singers complaining, actors complaining, parents complaining, and politicians complaining. Few people took action, complaining led to distraction, which led to corruption. We were always one step behind. Why? You guessed it, because we were complaining.

Lebanon, yes I am looking at you. The complaining disease is so deeply rooted in our brains that we have become incapable of perceiving solutions in any other form. Complaining became a cry for help, an embodiment of helplessness, greed and self-defeatist victim hood.

But this is not about Lebanon, this is about you, and the life you deserve and how you can get it. The Lebanon example is a nod of respect to every person still managing to live in the system untainted. This is a virtual gold star I am placing on your forehead right now. I get it. The general environment is difficult, it is almost impossible, but I insist that it can be better for you at least.

How do we take our lives back?

We start with the only things we can control, our selves, our thoughts, our attitudes.

The most important habit to drop, and people are preaching this everywhere:

Train yourself to stop complaining, and start doing something, anything about your problem. This needs taking responsibility, releasing yourself from the “I cant” captivity.

Talking about a problem with an action based attitude is optimal. Try to simplify it as such:

  • What is my problem? (choose one)
  • How does it make me feel?
  • Will time take care of it? If yes, great don’t talk about it anymore and be patient.
  • If no, Can I conjure actionable steps to solve it? If yes, then do that.
  • If no, and the problem is absolutely beyond your control (few are – such as mortality) then you must practice letting go; taking the next best action plan.

Once we learn to size up our problems, we gain better perspective about how to go about something. One problem no longer takes over your life, it becomes an item on your agenda. No life is easy, even if we mistakenly perceive other people’s as walks in the park.

45 year old you will still be young enough to take on life any way it presents itself. Do not mistake age with wisdom or achievement as though growing years take care of all the hard stuff. Nothing and no body will take care of the hard stuff but you. So do yourself a favor, one that will put your entire living experience on a different track and practice RCA “Reduced Complaining Attitude” -I just made that up- for a day, a week, a month and on. See what happens. You will find that there is a lot of empty space in your conversations, ones that could be filled with jokes, activities and higher quality issues. You will find that people suddenly want to be around you more. You will find that sitting in the control deck of life is the best kept secret of every person you have ever admired. Enjoy it all, and take it in, do something about it if you can, and then let go when necessary.

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Imagine who you could develop into a year from now, 10 years from now and beyond that? Who would you surround yourself with? What would you be doing? Nothing will be the same if you take back your life.

Think about it…

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The Lebanese Game of Thrones

I recently finished watching the entire Game of Thrones series, and if you are wondering, that consists of  more than 50 hours of immersion into George R. R. Martin’s world. However, I would not let 50+ hours of my life pass by without learning something, so then it hit me. We live in conditions so similar, although visually less appealing, with characters immensely worse looking than the original cast, we are enduring a Lebanese game of thrones.

Count with me, and there is no particular order here, but these are the country’s most powerful kingdoms:

Amal, Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), Future, Lebanese Forces, Hezbollah, Kataeb, Progressive Socialist Party (PSP)

Generations have lived and died under the power of those SEVEN for decades.

throne-game-of-thrones

They want the throne, they conspire, they share the feast and poor people of the seven kingdoms are locked out of the castles and the fortunes. They roam around the realm, and allegiance is sworn just to save lives, because well you never know who might stick their sword in your back if you support the wrong king.

People live in dirt and among trash, some own slaves, while the majority are slaves. The feasts continue, and the little kings save their best tricks for the people’s most important and empowering event: National Elections.

So, what do they do?

They open their castle doors a few days before the ballots are cast and close them a few days after. People start rushing to allegiance, because their mouths are fed, and their streets are cleaned. They are conditioned so drastically over generations to wait for the crumbs, because they have lost all faith in their actual power, and forgotten that the only salvation they have left are the elections.

Except, what better drug is there than to make helpless people believe that they have a choice, when truly the kings are rigging the game?

Lebanon always belonged to one of the kings, yet since the last elections the kings decided to rule together. Let me tell you why, because they are getting old and weak. They are afraid of children, they are afraid of women, they are afraid of youth and strength, they are afraid of being over-thrown by people not even playing their old and withered game, they are afraid of the new that carries hope, acts rightfully, and gives justice where necessary. They are terrified of political dragons, flame throwers, freedom seekers, ones they thought didn’t exist, ones they thought they had crushed under the rubble of civil war.

The old kings dwell in their thrones, some in the north, others in the south and people rush about carrying their expensive stuff, and fresh haircuts waiting for the palace gates to open wide.

Except, what happens if someone comes around and tells them: you do not have to suffer anymore, you don’t have to protect your back, you no longer need your leash. You will get the life you want without falling at their feet, without fighting their wars, all you have to do is not enter that castle gate, cast a different vote!

A slave can pretend to love their chains, they can even pretend to wear them by choice. When given power with a piece of paper, what will the slave do?

In my opinion, A Game of Thrones is fiction for a reason, a slave who has been born and raised into slavery learns to serve not herself. A slave will not use the paper to free themselves, because the fear of living without chains is far greater than the fear of living with them.

So then, here is your choice: Vote wisely, or don’t vote at all; and if you do decide to fall for their tricks yet again, don’t start wailing when you get kicked out of the castle and into your reality again.

 

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Fresh Lebanese rant: the old man and my brand new bicycle

Is it really not Europe? Because when I got on this bicycle I thought I was going to Rembrandt square, how the hell did I end up in Verdun?

Oh hi, I’m sorry, does my face look poor? Oh or maybe because I’m using my legs to walk and not driving a fancy car? No? Oh this thing? Yes it’s called a bicycle, nope it has no relationship to my wealth or my social status.

Why?

Well I don’t like traffic, I don’t like to get angry for stupid reasons, only important ones. I also really like the environment, and trees and oxygen. You could say I’m a moderate person who tries to do what they could.

Where do I think I am?

Beirut, why I can swear it too.

This is not Europe?

No! Really? Don’t say that, don’t crush me like that. Pardon my French Mr. Francophone man, why are you stating the obvious and hating on this really well made, and actually quite good looking bicycle?

People especially those who bellow at the top of theirs lungs: do you think ur living in Europe? (مفكرا حالك بأوروبا) are the exact and utter reason why we have not yet evolved. They hide behind their embarrassing ideologies, they repeat non-sensical sentences, and hide behind The man, the establishment.

They think that they deter the younger generation from rising into the future by reminding us and projecting their own insecurities at us, they keep telling us just how irrelevant we are as a community let alone the deep and pathetic inferiority complex they want us to inherit. It is not my fault that you accepted your living conditions old man, so you do not get to lecture me.

So no old man, I’m not living in Europe, I’m living in Beirut, f u and all that you stand for, if riding a bicycle and all of the freedom that it entails threatens your inability to be original or crack the ceiling of fear and oppression that you operate within, i feel bad for you.

You know what, just move over, and let me pass, my friends and I will take it from here.

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Wonder disclaimer rant: The Lebanese edition

Welcome to the country of loss. We lose people, and honor here, we lose brilliant brains, and integrity. We lose sight and identify with a continuous fear of loss. We are terrified of the notion, yet we accept it taking over our lives and our country. If you were lucky enough, you know that the first thing we are taught here is how to pretend. Playing pretend is not problematic as long as you are able to identify your reality and its qualities. Pretend becomes problematic when you believe the act, your own act and everyone else’s.

Liberals

What does it mean to be a liberal here? Does it mean that you are agnostic? or does it mean that you have a less than harsh opinion about women? Does it include acceptance of sexual fluidity? or is it solely bound by your weekly practice of yoga at your local gym to blatantly identify as a seeker of inner and outer liberty and peace?

Conservatives

Are the practicing muslims the conservatives of this country? Don’t the latte drinkers, club goers, luis litton wearing gossip queens and kings not count here? Do you become a conservative person when you refuse to pull off that crop top, or body con dress? Or is it a political statement, one where you worship only one blood lord, and not the others? Are the liberals more convenient and generous in hosting leaders in their lives?

Where does money stand in this situation? Are the rich liberal or conservative? If they drive a brand new range rover, does it make them less conservative because they like cool and expensive cars?

Rant Alert

I attempt to excuse myself from this experience as often as possible. Advanced degrees in politics taught me one major lesson:

Don’t believe anyone in politics, and when you find yourself believing in them, know that whatever plan or policy they are preparing for is probably targeted at people like you. You are the audience. The labels don’t matter, those are audience selection tools. Those are summoning strategies and have been used for too long to swiftly gather the attention of “seemingly” like minded individuals.

Don’t believe them when they refer to “others”. Don’t believe them when they refer to “us”. It’s OK to live in the country of loss, just don’t believe the acts around you; but control one thing if you can: Your own reality.

The reality where you do not have good access to water and electricity, as any -liberal or conservative- does in any other state. You do not have a sustainable, consciensous plan for waste management, and soon enough this will affect you personally if it hasn’t yet. You do not have a working political system, a Democracy that has lasted since 2009 without elections. You do not have politicians or leaders looking out for your public good, depending where you stand on the spectrum, you are either a self hating Lebanese, who wishes you were French, American or anything else (western), or are living the life of a soldier ready to give your life at any given que.

It is quite dis-heartening to admit this, while I try to write stories to uplift you to your higher selves, seeking the innate good in myself and everyone else reading this. See, the essence of your goodness is there, but as long as you refuse to stop the act, there unfortunately will be little wonder for you to uncover in this world.

 

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To run from peace

I woke up one night and i decided to leave. I did not speak, i did not listen, i forced the bravery out of me and i walked out. I gave up on the causes that chained me and i let go of faith. I left peace in bed and i took off with war. I betrayed ideals and i broke out.
The road ahead of me was so long, more than i had ever imagined it to be; almost endless. I started my car and i opened my eyes. Music played louder than my thoughts, and it woke up peace. Then as i went forward i could see peace through my rear view mirror banging at the that door i locked. It didnt break my heart, that is where it belonged. Peace lied to me, it slept with me and it cradled me when war was always at my door. Peace made everything quiet, it even showed me beauty. Peace began taking me one breath at a time and i let it. War always watched and it was so shameless.
Peace was a hypocrite and a fraud. It had so much to lose, it was a coward and it convinced me never to leave its side.
Today i leave peace, i break peace and i turn my back to it. I grab war by the neck and ask it to lead me to where all the truth lay. I scream at war and demand it tells me why it wanted me. Why has it always sat at my door, why it watched, why it left traces of doubt over my porch…i had so many questions.
As i drove, war would run along wanting to show me its world. And so i drove over bodies and ideas, i saw limits and they meant nothing. War was illeterate and blind. War only acted it never looked back. I drove and the road wouldnt end. People cursed war and i was surprised. I used to think big of it, but it turned out to be a humiliating friend. I had to watch my back and twitch with fear as war introduced me to its friends. Everything was blurry and truth lay nowhere but in red puddles. That was the only color i saw and it was repulsive.
War finally asked me to get out of my car to watch it dance. I had never seen war in daylight, and so as day broke, i watched disaster and destruction prevail. Every time war swayed i saw its real colors. Under the light war was ugly, it was deformed and stained with defeat, it had no arms or legs it creeped and lurked; there was nothing alluring about it and its stench was nauseating. It asked me to join but i couldnt, because suddenly i had so much to lose. Suddenly i missed peace and its beauty. I missed peace and how it looked at me, how it sang me to sleep and faded into hope every morning.
Except war wouldnt let me go, it pulled me in and i fell as all its friends joined. I had willingly left peace for this. For that horror and pain. For the puddles of truth stained in red. I left peace and i believed war would solve all my problems; except it didnt.
I wept as the very truth i was looking for slowly seeped out of me and to my surprise it was colored red. I knew what i had lost and i longed for the first time that peace would find me.

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When they never learn.

When those who must do the fighting have the right to decide between war and peace, history will no longer be written in blood- Kant

Lebanon takes this quote and shoves it up kant’s ***.

Dear patriots, i hope the people who died today in that terrible explosion rest in peace; peace they have never known around you in this god forsaken country.

Enough said.

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Lebanese Pride

National pride. Really?!

For what? what has this blurry joke of a country ever done for you? This utterly embarrassing Lebanese story is tragically funny. The same problems over and over again, the same words vomited from the mouths of airhead politicians, somehow under some unrelenting logic always seem to get to people and fill their hollow heads with -for lack of better word- bullshit.

So this bullshit blocks blood vessels in the brains of very proud nationals who have actually believed and enjoyed their herd leaders’ vomit until they are smothered with it; one is rendered driven by bullshit, fighting for bullshit and dying for what more than bullshit. I hope i have not reached too much of an offensive description of my fellow patriots.

I do not respect anyone, i barely respect myself for being part of such disgusting excuse of a society. So i do not give excuses anymore, i am not surprised nor am i annoyed anymore. People are essentially insecure, everything is divine for them, they talk about collectivity and honor just because individually they have no worth and no significance. They grab their guns and shoot at each other when they should probably shoot themselves. And hopefully rid this world of one less waste of space.

And then again, by writing something of this such i might be saying “very bad things” about my country. But, i am not, i am saying” very bad things” about the people of this country. I am actually so amused because it is quite interesting for observational study. This existence of Prada Tribes, and self-indulgent savages who drive fancy cars and speak big words and rule entire mindless societies is worthy of noting.

Repeating words and chanting the names of those tribe leaders, dancing around tires of fire is fascinating, rather inspiring for i am discovering in-depth my contempt for this society. This immense dose of mind control and social disintegration is not going to stop, it has become so deep inside people who have nothing to lose, who have too much pride to apologize and come out clean, it has infested itself within their words and brain functions. They breathe void ideologies and have found that their guns speak for them, their manhood is defined by how much hate they can spur and how high they can squeal.

And speaking of manhood and male dominance in this refreshing society of ours, i must very sarcastically exclaim; where are all the feminists in situations like this? Why are “the men” alone burning tires and shooting guns, are women not to be included in this too?

I conclude with saying, dear patriots do not cry for our malfunctioning country, do not criticize and get disappointed. It has forever been this way, we are not respected citizens of a valued country, we are not the country of beauty and peace. We are inhabitants of a map drawn in the sand several years ago under a french mandate. So you see dear patriots, you are fighting for void causes and internationally entertained ideas. You kill so easily when you probably do not know why, and you live so easily when you do not even know why. Having no national purpose, or personal justifications lead you to become mindless, emotional, impulsive and spineless members of a God-full society which renders everything you do divine and right under the rule of God. (when your leader here can be your God too, just for mathematical justification substitution is allowed).

PS: This does not come close to offending anyone if you do not imagine the effect of raising my middle finger along with writing this piece simultaneously.