Last year I scribbled down some key insights. It felt like I’d broken through some imaginary mental barriers and the rules had changed. I had learned to define my own rules.
I stopped seeing Money and Meaning, the choice between helping myself to thrive and grow and helping others to thrive and grow ceased to become mutually exclusive. I refused to take jobs or work that only addressed one. I insisted on both. Key insights from this can be found here.
From this solid uncompromising foundation, I have found myself increasingly in a position of strength of negotiation. I don’t have to take work. It’s up to my client and collaborators to convince me. I am secure in myself and my finances. I still can’t believe I get paid to do what I do. I do what I love and what I feel is right.
I began to push these factors for a better life for me further. I spent most of the summer in a hammock reflecting on what I was doing and where I wanted to be. I relaxed and let untold years of no holiday or downtime drift away. To redefine my own joy, to find peace, to take time for coffees with friends. Develop ideas without time frames or stress. Develop projects in the gaps through conversations, finding overlapping passions.
I found that once again I was tapping into an emergent zeitgeist of Unbusyness. As I witnessed more people rejecting the stresses of start up or business cultures, or reflecting on the insanity of the bustling and hustling man, who has no time to think whether the path is right. Admittedly I witnessed and encountered many oblivious to their hustles, who wore how busy they were like a badge of honor. I began to respond to people telling me how busy they were with “Sorry to hear it”, as we shouldn’t encourage this meme to develop further than in has already.
At the same time I was too comfortable, I needed a shake, stimulation. This came in the form of my apartment. My perceived stable foundation was quaking beneath me, but it led to a healthy re-evaluation of what I considered to be a stable foundation (and if I really wanted the permanence of place I thought).
Excited and energised I left for Egypt, feeling like I was postponing a dream. Only to discover the components of the dream emerging before my eyes. I had envisaged a space to develop a nomadic community space on the river.
Within 2 weeks I was living here.
Exploring how we could create a space for Mutual Development with the local Community.
Now, there are multiple stories I could tell as to how such things Manifest. I don’t know whether this is due to an awareness of what you want, tuning your awareness to finding it, or just “magic”. The rational in me is inclined to the former, the spiritual in me the latter. Regardless, in principle knowing what you want is the first step in getting it.
I’m now working to create opportunities to return to Aswan and live well on the Bank of the Nile, for 3-4 months of Winter each year, hit me up if you want to be a part of it. Many Opportunities listed here.
I’ve spent the last 4 years experimenting with letting go of control, creating Anarchic and Enabling spaces and environments for people to explore within and discover their own capabilities. I’ve also been thinking about how we complicate our lives with Technology in order to simplify it. We are constantly designing new tools to help us better connect with other Humans.
Living in a Nubian Community has blown my mind and my assumptions about the latent capabilities of community and the abilities of networks for problem solving, sharing of information and disaster response.
Talking to one another is still the ultimate social tool and most effective way of getting shit done, and mass communication (what’s important is translated and spreads). There is no process needed, but empathy sure helps. Despite the simplicity of this operating platform I’m still continuously astonished by how many people have forgotten to engage with each other as human beings, instead adopting masks, roles and behaviors that would set them apart and create barriers in doing so.
Whilst the insight isn’t new to me, the continuous practice and observation of a lower tech/hyper-connected community constantly astonishes me. I will share further insights here in the future on this topic. Alternatively if anyone wants to interview me, on the topic it”d make it easier for me to solidify my thoughts.
On the control side, the Felucca Festival forced me to let go of the last faint urges I had to help things on their way. Without language, understanding of the island community, or the social culture we were operating in, I had to let everything flow. When goats eat your agenda, and there is no pre-existing organisational framework for events you have to break, just doing something active and positive and seeing what happens is the only way to roll.
Forgive the gooey ending, but I can’t write a review of the year without the highlight.
In case it wasn’t apparent from this….
“The most attractive thing anyone can be is themselves. You wont attract everybody, but you will attract the ones that will love you for who you are. For them you will shine, and they for you.
If instead you adjust yourself to the perceived expectations of others, together you will construct a prison of interpreted will. A prison nobody wants, but they all maintain in silence from the fear they are alone in their longing to be free.”
I fell in love.
It was quick, deep, and easy.
Up until this point I’d always been afraid of commitment, skeptical even. However I realised that it’s easy, when it feels right. When you feel comfortable with someone, at once burning and passionate, at the same time secure, safe, and connected. I’ve never been more sure or more at ease.
We spoke with candor, I let go of all analysis or strategy. I’m all in. I think it’s the only way to love.
To trust, to give all.
I proposed on top of Mount Moses on New Years Day at Dawn, I made the rings from silver band and rainbow opal (connected to another magical story from our short history), with a pair of pliers whilst visiting my family across Europe. Every day she amazes me.
I never saw myself before I met her as the commitment type, being very independent in my thoughts and quite different in my approach to life. Yet the day after we got together we were already talking marriage and I wasn’t freaking out.
This year now appears to be the year of the lovers, with friends all over the place finding the one who compliments and helps them to grow.
Socially there are many challenges to be overcome before we are married (she’s an Egyptian, and Muslim by birth although not belief), but we are meeting these with smiles and open hearts.
We will now explore together how to live well and live good, in a way that suits us. I have found another as keen as I am to prototype a better life. This relationship isn’t settling or a compromise, it’s a power up. She supports, she inspires and she is her joyful self without compromise.
Anyway, hallas. Zeinab I love you.
May you all find freedom this year, may you all find love.