Change

115969627Real life is what happens while we console ourselves with hopes and dreams. It’s a bit like staring at a glossy holiday brochure, longing to be on that distant sandy beach. But never taking the trip.

Hopes and dreams without action have an outcome of despair. Loveless relationships, unfulfilled ambitions and soulless lives will eventually leave you only with the emptiness of hope.

To change your life for the better takes action. But most of us continue exactly as we are. For some of us, it’s a fear of change. For others, it’s a fear of losing what we have. And then there is the false belief that we are powerless to change anything. So we do the same things, day in day out, hoping that life will one day get better. But it never does.

If you’ve read the true stories I write, you will know that I grew up with the constant horror of insanity, addiction, poverty and abuse. Combined, they destroyed my childhood and left me as a teenager destitute of positive emotions, utterly incapable of participating normally in the grown-up world.

As a child, I could not take control of my life because others had control. But as I grew into an adult, control passed to me and with it came a burning ambition to have something better. And I realized that if you want things to change, you have to have an element of control. It is impossible to control everything in our lives but that is not the point. With even a small amount of control, you can achieve a positive change. So long as you act. Plans and ambitions can give you a great illusion of progress. Without action, they are dreams that never come true.

I am often asked how I achieved success in my life after growing up with such a dreadful childhood. Why didn’t I simply give up and blame others? My answer is simple: I knew that life could be better. And if you are in the lowest, darkest place, there are so many levels of beauty right above you. Beauty, waiting for you to reach out and touch it.

Actually, we should all live with hopes and dreams. But to fulfill your life, you need action and action means change and for change you need some level of control. The time to start is today. Every day you can change something that improves your life, maybe in a tiny way, maybe in a huge way. Even if you are in a terrible, hopeless place right now, small improvements every day will eventually lead to a transformation.

If we don’t change, we will forever be staring at the same holiday brochure, never making the journey. Waiting for our dreams to come true. But forever trapped in a dark cellar, terrified of what is hiding in the corner.

While right above our heads­ is the light of beauty.

Escape

It is a strange thing but you cannot see darkness when you close your eyes. In fact, when you close your eyes, you are left with an after-image, a ghostly representation of what you had been looking at. In order to see darkness, you actually have to open your eyes in a dark place. I don’t mean a room that’s dimly lit, with shadows in the corners. I mean a windowless cellar that’s so dark you can only imagine the dreadful things that live in there.

You can close your eyes to things you do not want to see. But even if you want to, you can never erase the images in your head of things you wish you’d never seen. Closing your eyes or living in the dark will never change anything in this world. You will simply deny their existence.

I grew up with many horrors, being locked in a dark windowless cellar being one of them. And some of the horrors I grew up with are just too awful to write about here. But throughout my life, I have held onto something which helped me beyond anything. It is something that grew inside me as a little boy and stays with me today. It is something that literally saved my life.

It was the burning, overwhelming ambition to escape. To escape poverty. To escape abuse. To escape insanity.

Hiding or running away does not work. The horror is still there, waiting for you. And I found, that the greatest impact I could have on my future was to change the people who were in it. It didn’t mean that everyone had to change. But some people needed to go away forever and others needed to be new people, wonderful people I was yet to meet.

And even if you had a rosy, beautiful childhood, you may still have found entrapment in your grown-up world. Loveless relationships, unfulfilled dreams, a poverty of existence.

But you do not have to be trapped in the darkness. It is in the human spirit to survive but there is a whole lot more to this life than mere survival. It is your purpose in life to be fulfilled. You can only do this with your eyes wide open. Not in the dark but in the beautiful light of day.

Have an ambition to escape. Change the people in your future. Do not accept a poverty of existence. If you do not have a plan to be fulfilled, no one else will create one for you.

Or you could live, trapped forever in a windowless cellar and open your eyes to the darkness, terrified of the nameless creatures that live in the corners.

Darkness Inside Us

There is darkness inside all of us.  And the darkness came first.  It is there at the beginning and it will be there at the end. Sometimes it’s just the sight of a running tap or the worn tread on a big black tyre that triggers the light to go off and the darkness to come in.  Part of me, locked in a cellar with something in the corner that never speaks.  And it’s so dark, I don’t even know if my eyes are closed or open.  Mine are always closed.  I pull my knees up to my chin and hold on.  Hold on.  Wait for the light to come back.

My little girl brings me light. She’s only four years old and last Saturday morning she said she had something for me.  You see, she gets sad when I go away from home and going away is something I do most of the time.  In fact, I’m gone far more than I’m home.  So her teacher printed off a map of the world and my little girl colored in where I was (New York) and where she was (London).  Then she stuck gold stars on the map that went from New York to London.  She said to me, “Daddy. This is a map of the world.  You are in the orange place and I am in the red place.  Those stars show you how to get home.  That’s because I don’t want you to get lost and never find your way back to me.”

We all need someone to turn on the light. Someone to let us out of the cellar. Someone to show us the way home.

And always remember this, without the darkness, there would be no light.

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