Reading my journal, getting in touch with people, thinking about lessons learned, this is how I've spent the last weeks of 2017. Overall it was an incredible year, I got closer to my life goals, to what I love doing and how I want to spend my time. It was a year filled with life-changing books and connecting with inspiring people. I dedicated a lot of time and energy developing all sorts of skills, from longboarding, to cooking, getting back to meditating, and to fitness, becoming more patience with people (including myself), and more accepting.
Here are last year's highlights:
I kickstarted the year as the head chef of a small cafe in a boutique hotel called Ceylon Sliders, in Sri Lanka, and very determined to surf as much as I could. Talk about creating myself! In 6 months I went from engineer to chef, from mountaineer to surfer, from Scotland to Sri Lanka.
January was specially meaningful because I got to meet (and cook for) Lola Mignot, my greatest surfing inspiration. This short surf film was shot in Sri Lanka while Lola and other incredible longboarders were there promoting the beautiful swim and surf suits brand The Seea:
The months that followed my arrival to Sri Lanka were bittersweet. While my environment and lifestyle were apparently dreamy, surfing almost everyday and cooking on a tropical island, my relationship with people, with those who surrounded me, was far from pleasant. With a few exceptions obviously since I did meet incredible people who remain sweet friends. But I noticed that my behaviour, my presence was not welcomed or cherished, as it had been in past situations. This unpleasant and ambiguous feeling of being and not being at the right place was very hard to manage, leaving me feeling lonely very often. Worse: feeling like a failed human being. This state of absolute sense of failure unveiled a precious lesson: it's ok to feel a failure, it's ok that it hurts, it's ok to feel lonely, because everything in life is just temporary. And while I waited for a better side of life to come back I learned to forgive myself by myself.
My journal became my best friend in 2017. It's sad to realise this but it is so true. It was a good friend nonetheless, one that was always ready to know about what was bothering me, to embrace my nonsenses, deepest fears and joys. No judgements attached. Pure therapy.
This one comes from the best book I read in 2017, I dare to say in my whole life. Every page I turned I got goosebumps from all the revelations and connections regarding life, thinking, consciousness, knowledge, cognition, biology, evolution. I've learned that in the natural world function follows structure, that structures are emergent not designed, meaning that they were formed during the evolution of life and survived through natural selection, that a living system can only be disturbed and not controlled, that it responds to the environment autonomously, with structural changes, that the mind is not a thing but a process, that in the ancient times the words soul and breath meant the same thing in several languages and that was perceived as a moving force, the idea of knowledge and perception, which left the body at death. I could go on and on with hundreds of insights I got from reading this book and how acknowledging them changed a lot of my perception of life.
When facing an action towards me I instantly think: what's the fairest reaction I should have? Mahatma Gandhi once said something like an eye for and eye makes the whole world blind. So regardless of what came, there was a time this year when I tried to reply with goodness and/or compassion instead of what I thought to be fair. If not in action at least in thought. It gave me peace of mind and a sense of wholeness to not just see my side, my response, but going to a place of understanding the other side before reacting. A lot of misunderstanding can be spared by doing this, if only we don't see certain actions as attacks to ourselves but as uncontrolled expressions of emotional beings. Now that I'm writing this I feel guilty for not having kept this behaviour for longer and I pledge that I'll have this more present in my life.
Another life changing book I read this year about how can we change the way we make things. It's so out of the box in a way but very in tune with how nature operates: where waste equals food, efficiency is almost a nonsense concept, and growth should always be a good, healthy thing.
I started reading this book while I was still in Scotland in 2016 and finished it by the end of November last year. It's a long, deep, interesting read about how we live, consume, behave, and how that impacts our life, wellbeing, relationships and planet. The author brilliantly hits a lot of soft spots of our western society and made me so much more aware of a lot of default behaviours I used to have.