Olive Moments

My first “Olive Moment”

My first “Olive Moment”

Roughly eighteen months ago now I had an experience and it changed me, I think it changed me forever, well, at least I really hope it has.

I was in Belgium with my friend Marc, we were visiting his father for the weekend. I go quite often with Marc to do this, it is becoming a regular thing now. In the course of the weekend we always eat well, really well, in fact… maybe too well.

On one of our many enjoyable meals out, Marc did what he always did… He offered me an olive when they were brought to the table. As always, my instinctive reaction was to say “I hate Olives”. I not say “I don’t like them”, it was “I HATE them”.

He would of course shake his head and say “How could you not like olives?”. My response would always be “I just do, I always have, ever since the first time I tried one”.

As we talked about me hating olives something dawned on me.

Yes, it is true that I don’t like olives, well at least that was true the last time I had tried one. I began to remember that time… I honestly hated the taste, I really did. The problem was that I could not remember a single time after that first experience when I tried them again.

That first experience of eating an olive I was in my late teens, I am now fifty three…

The awareness of this fact slowly descended on me as the discussion continued and I came to the realisation that for probably around thirty five years now I have simply help on to an opinion formed at a time when I was still forming as a person.

I thought to myself “This is insane”.

So I did what I had seen probably thousands of people do countless times over the previous thirty five years…

I pushed a tooth pick into a green olive and put it in my mouth, and began to chew. My Initial reaction was “Yuck”, but as the seconds went by I found the experience change into something quite good, yes good. Then after one, I tried another. Then I tried a dark olive, it was totally different, and… It was good.

That was a big moment for me. Not because of an olive, but what I realised was that I had an experience once, formed an opinion, and held on to that opinion seemingly for the rest of my time.

I thought “How stupid could I have been”. I had one experience of something and actually believed that in that one experience I had experiences everything that encompasses olives.

My profession requires me to have an opinion, and I am not shy in sharing them. I have an opinion on everything, annoyingly so I am sure for many. As the days passed after my olive experience I began to wonder how many other opinions do I have which would follow the same path?

Many it seems.

What I decided to do was to re establish my opinions on everything that I could, simply to try again anything where I had previously had a less than favourable experience.

More and more, I found that I was actually wrong in my beliefs. Initially I found this reality uncomfortable, but after a while I actually began to enjoy it. Today “I love it”…

So that explains an “Olive moment”, its not really about an olive, its about a change in me…!

Olive Moments

Psycadelic Reset

I have recently been reset. Mentally and in turn emotionally too. Just over six weeks ago I took my first step into the world of LSD. This step was not taken for the trip, although I have always been curious about the experience which LSD provides.

I have always believed that if I am to have an opinion about anything, then, I need to form my own opinion, not just wearing someone else opinion that I deem to be acceptable.

This attitude has served me well, for the most part, I have tried so many things in my past, the only exception to my rule is… Addiction, I will never, could never allow myself to enter into an experience where I feel I could lose myself to a substance.

The two notable experiences which fall into this category are cocaine and heroin. My path has crossed these many times and although I am extremely curious, the destruction that the dependency creates in most who take it was and is more than enough for me to simply never allow myself to try. The only circumstances in which I could see me curiously trying these is if at the end of my time here I have some time to prepare, then, hell yes, and I look forward to that happening.

Up to the point of my trip, I had spent over four years accumulating knowledge about psychedelics. I didn’t set out to learn about the subject, far from it. Now though I feel as though my sub-conscience created a gravity to attract what I needed, sub-consciously because at the time I would have probably resisted the reality which was forming under the surface of me.
Critical mass was reached on May 24 2018. I received a notification from youtube that Joe Rogan was going live on his podcast with a guy called Michael Pollan, he was promoting his new book…
“How to change your mind”

His name instantly rang multiple bells in my head, I didn’t know of Michael Pollan, but, it turns out that two friends had mentioned him in the weeks a leading up to the podcast. I clicked on the link and watched and I listened with an increasing sense of knowing. By the end, I remember saying…
“I’m In”.

Why? Why was I in?

Michael Pollan has described the medicinal effects of psychedelic drugs in such a calm, rational, eloquent manner. It was impossible for me not to be influenced by the information he delivered. His style and manner seemed the opposite of Joe Rogan, not that this is a bad thing in any way. I loved the two opposing styles coming together in such a calm sharing mood.

After that podcast, I just knew, I don’t know why, but I just knew that this was going to be the solution to my problem. The problem that this was to solve was… Me.

Civil war…

I took my huge trip two days before my fifty-fifth birthday. I did this because I did not want to start another year of my life with the expectation that is would be in the same vein as the previous fifty-four years. in a constant state of civil war. I know now that I have been in a constant state of war between my head and my heart. This war had caused me to be confused and scared most of my life, this I was not aware of and even if I were, I would never have allowed my self to admit that I was scared.

I was hard, strong, I can cope with anything, nothing can break me, I can tolerate more than anyone else. This had become my super-power, and, it seems I had sought opportunities to use my power, not in a conscious state but certainly I had sought opportunities in a sub-conscience state.

What I had hoped for was the fix, not the high, but the correction, the reset.

So far everything and so much more has been the outcome of my small adventure. I believe that this is only the beginning of something very special. This path, this direction, this trajectory is one of ease, one of flow.

I know I have never been this version of me before, although I am frustrated at times at the length of time it has taken to get here… I feel eternally blessed that I am here at all.

Olive Moments

I will never… I am never…!

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I will never… I am never…!

I remember starting so many statements i my life with each of those begininings.

I will NEVER do…!
I am NEVER going to do…!

Blah, blah, blah and more blah, then some more blah with cherries on top.

I know I believed wholeheartedly whatever the end of the statement was each and every time. The problem was always living up to the ‘never’. The next month, week, day, or even hour would always prove it was never a never, it was a never in only the moment it was said.

Then, the fall. Always the fall. The inevitable fall.

When you are a perfectionist, the fall is hard, so hard. When you have so little confidence to begin with coupled with so little self esteem it is excruciating.

A few years ago now I was in Prague talking about this trait of mine with a close friend ’S’,  and she said…
“Choose for today”.

I thought I understood what she meant, gave it a minute or two then predictably dismissed the idea as not for me. You see… I need huge mountains to climb. 

Years passed and although I was not aware, the ‘tectonic plates of me’ were moving, processing… Distilling.

“A splinter in my mind”, I find myself saying this a lot. What I mean is that something happens, something is said and it just sticks around, doesn’t pass in the course of time… It lingers.

In the back of my mind ‘Choose for today’ just lingered. I never thought directly about it but I knew it was always there, it never left me. It lingered for maybe three years, then, about a year ago after countless failed never’s, the clouds of disappointment parted and I was showered with enlightenment, the warm feeling of enlightenment.

I knew I understood the words that ’S’ had told me, I now realise I didn’t understand the meaning at all. The splinter was always there, gently itching away, constantly reminding me that there was something important for me to learn. I had ignored it for years so when enlightenment came… it was profound.

Each day is just a step to climbing the mountain. Point yourself at the mountain, but to get there focus on each step, each single step.

This is a part of me now, I couldn’t escape it if I tried, it just is. Setting myself up to fail is now not something I am happy to do. I am aware that it wasn’t ‘life’ being mean to me that created the countless disappointments before. It was me. Just me.

One example of how I have used this was…

A while ago I changed my diet, I didn’t go on a diet, I changed it. I knew it would be hard to do this but I have no Idea of just how hard it would be. I war on a liquid diet and created a green smoothie bar in my kitchen. For weeks this is all I ate and it worked. When I went to the store to buy the ingredients I bought a large packed of chocolate biscuits.

The reason for this was, At the outset of this diet change I purposely chose not to say the word forever. That this change would be absolute and forever. I said it would be for as long as I can with no expectation endgame.

I put all the ingredients out on the breakfast bar and placed the chocolate biscuits on the corner, right next to the fruit. The reason…

Overtime I walked past during my day, I had to reinforce my commitment not to eat the biscuits. I never said I wouldn’t eat them as I knew I would. I just said in my mind countless times a day…

“I am not eating them today, just today”.

About three months after I started I ate the biscuits. After such a long time without refined sugar I nearly vomited. I didn’t hate myself for failing, no civil war, just moved on to the next day and asked myself…

“What do I want for today?”

Thank you ’S’, it took me a while, but I get there in the end.

ps… I am not a writer, I dont profess to be. There are sometimes mistakes in my posts, this is because I wont let myself read them before I post them. If I did, I would correct the crap out of them and all original thought I feel would be lost.

So I would rather a mistake or two that edited processed perfection.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Olive Moments

Im sorry, we are all out of chai latte…!

Im sorry, we are all out of chai latte…!

Said the lovely waitress.

“Excuse me while I have a tantrum for a minute” I said, and I did.
Tantrum over and while wondering what to have instead, the lovely waitress says…

“Try an warm apple chai”.

I pull a disgusted face, you know the one, the one a four year old pulls when asked to eat brussels sprouts. Anyway, I remember she said exactly the same thing to me a month earlier the last time they ran out of chai latte. Im thinking hot chocolate as an alternative, just as I had chosen a month before but then I remembered…

Olive Moments…

Another one had just landed on my lap, another opportunity had arrived to challenge my relfex opinions so I thought… Why not… Then I said…

“Why not, ok, I will try the warm apple chai”.

My yoghurt with granola, apple and cinnamon arrived, with the warm apple chai.

I knew I liked it before I even tasted it, it smelled so good. It tasted even better, I mean it is really really good. I was so good that after i had finished I wondered if I would ever have a Chai Latte here again.

So here I am again, the day after, sitting with my yoghurt, granola, apple and cinnamon and…

my warm apple chai…


Olive Moments

The tectonic plates of me.

The tectonic plates of me.

Up until recently I lived in the north west of Ireland. I lived in Donegal town and then in two different locations close to Sligo.

The only thing that kept me there for over eight years was… The landscape, the geology. It is so close to my idea of perfect. Coming from the UK I know Devon and Cornwall really well, I like it there but I always feel an unease with the manicure hedges and gardens. The Sligo are is natural or at least it feels it is. No grooming, no trying to make it look beautiful for tourists – It already is beautiful in its natural state, unkempt and wild, I really like that, I prefer places like that.

I was always at my happiest when walking the coast line. Where I lived in Maugherow was literally magical. There were so many beautiful locations in the area where I lived, I really was so so very lucky.

One particular place in the area of Ballyconnell was my favourite. It was where I found ‘Hulk’ the baby seal that I rescued with my friend Rick. Every step you take as you walk over the ancient plates of rock towards the sea you walk over fossils, not of animals, but of plants, it really is amazing. I was told it was believed to be the site of a fossilised rainforest which over millions of years had been raised to the surface by the slow motion collision of two tectonic plates pushing against each other, one deflected up, and one down. I was standing on the up.

The north west coastline is riddled with sites like this, it is amazingly beautiful. When standing on these rocks I would become aware of the reality that the rock I am standing on it actually moving. Of course I could not detect the movement, it might move one or two centimetres a year, an irrelevant distance in the great scheme of things but… It is still moving.

What I began to realise was that I am no different to the slowly moving plates on which I was standing. A picture formed in my mind that the planet surface is covered with plates which are all constantly in motion. I began to realise that I was no different. Everything that makes me who I am is in a state of evolution. Likes, dislikes, sexuality, beliefs, literally everything that makes me who I am is in a state of movement, of evolution… Change.

My first Olive Moment was exactly this. At one point in my life I experienced eating an olive and decided I didn’t like it, then for what ever reason I did. The thing I began to think of was, when was it that the change occurred. It could have been literally the day after I tried them in my teenage years, or it could have been the day before I tried them again thirty five years after.

The point is, that a large amount of days would have passed with me living under a false impression of myself. Believing that I like or dislike olives is of course irrelevant, hardly worth the energy it takes to write this text, but what it symbolises for me is huge, as huge as when two of the earths plates cause an earthquake, it was only an olive but it was only the tip of the iceberg and it was huge.

How many other opinions have I falsely regurgitated over the course of my life in the belief that I know me. I believe now that I hardly know me, and I challenge myself to know me a little better every day, every opportunity I get to challenge myself as to who I am and what I believe.

So, thank you Tom, I will never be able to thank you enough for laying out the jigsaw pieces of who I am and giving me the platform to grow, to evolve…

ps. Tom will be explained at a later point in time.