The “Endless Cycles” that entrap us, and how to rid ourselves of them.

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and I hope your all enjoying the gorgeous weather outside. I personally just woke up, which is very surprising considering I am generally the first one awake in the house (other than my other, who wakes up at 6 A.M every morning for work). Regardless, I am back. It’s been a while has it not? Close to two weeks now. As you can tell from my previous article, I was “blocked” in a sense. I was trying to write every day, however I couldn’t seem to put together a single satisfying article in my own eyes. I deleted multiple articles that were well over a thousand words, simply because I couldn’t figure out how to close them. Nonetheless, I hope I have rid myself of that “illness” for a while at least.

So what exactly am I going to be writing about today? Well, considering I seem to find myself in the same cycles that have plagued me for most of my adolescent life (I am able to identify them now however, and do not get nearly as caught up in them as I have in the past), I believe I may as well discuss why we find ourselves in these “cycles”, how our physical surrounding/individuals whom we surround ourselves with have a direct correlation with whatever “cycle” you may find yourself in and finally, what steps you can take to ensure that you break free of your own “cycle” once and for all!

A little background on myself, and the sort of captive cycle that has entranced me over half a decade now. I still remember the first time I smoked marijuana. I was thirteen, in the woods behind my parents old place in Stittsville. Out of a pop can. I had stolen some from my sister, who seemed to be enjoying the herb on a daily basis with her then boyfriend. Needless to say, I couldn’t find my way out of the woods for the next two hours, even though I had been in the woods my entire life, and knew the paths by heart. When I finally got home I was late for dinner, and my parents were frightened. After all, I had told them I was simply going for a walk around the block, which turned into me running through the woods, high off a foreign substance and absolutely horrified. Although my parents probably knew something was up that evening, they brushed it aside and we never spoke of it again. That night I pledged to myself I would never smoke ANYTHING again in my life. Boy was I ever wrong. The first time I smoked marijuana essentially set the stage for my entire High School experience. I was typically a “nerdy” young man (I played a lot of video games, read tons of fiction novels and generally isolated himself from others), however in Grade Six I started drumming in a local band “blind sight”, run by the “popular boys” at my middle school, Connor and Quinton, who would become my best friends, and still are to this day. Even if some current challenges set us apart from one another, I just want you guys to know if your reading this, I love you fuckers. Once I found out that Connor and his brothers and all the older guys smoked marijuana on a daily basis however, I found myself quickly breaking my own vows, and dabbling with vices of all sorts at a very young age. I started drinking and smoking marijuana on a daily basis by the age of fifteen with all my friends, the year I entered grade 9. My group of friends had drastically changed as well, I was no longer in contact with my friends from my youth (Kellchr, B-Beggs, Whitworth- shout out to you beauties) and I no longer associated with my friends who I had gained throughout middle school (Gr.7-9). This is when the cycle of “Lust and Addiction” entered my life. It plagued me throughout High School, and held me back more than I could possibly even fathom. I’d wake up and get high. Go to school. Get high. Get off school. Get high. Go to my part time job up the road at Sobeys, while I was high. Get off work. Generally get picked up by one of my friends, where we would proceed to get high and typically have a few drinks. On the weekend it was even worse. Years of getting belligerently intoxicated and lying to myself, “This is what kids do anyways. I’m just relaxing. No one else is doing anything, so why should I?”. My parents were furious with me, as my sister had a substance issue of her own in her youth, and thought I would have learned from her mistakes. After all, she was doing great now. Working full time while pulling off the highest GPA in her college class? The girl is honestly a bloody super hero. Then there was me. Just scraping through High School, along with many others. Quick side rant: The most flawed component of our educational system here in the West is the fact that children can literally SCRAPE BY the entire way through. There’s no true challenge ever. No creativity. Just reading and following the steps from point A-C. If you don’t follow their formula, then you’re simply “Unintelligent”. Think about it. The only thing we were ever truly graded on in High School was memorization. “Can you remember all the different formulas to solves this equation? Do you remember all the various plants of a plant? Do you remember how to properly construct an essay, Brandon? Or are you simply going to write as much as you please and then hand it in to me?”. As I scraped through High School I was stuck in an endless cycle of “self induced mental issues” and vices. After using these vices for so long, they began to greatly affect my mental state. I began to believe I was suffering from crippling ADHD, Anxiety and Depression. Soon it would force me into Isolation. Where I would spend the next few months in anti social despair, up until the point where I would give up the vices all together for a period of time and begin to pick up positive hobbies. After a while however, as always, I’d begin to believe I’d be fine if I had a single drink, maybe a few tokes off a joint. Once again the cycle would repeat itself; I’d indulge in vices once again, eventually give up my positive hobbies and once again be engulfed in my vices, surrounded by individuals who were also engulfed in vices, in physical surroundings where I’d never tread in my stable frame of mind.

So essentially now that I have vented about my own personal “cycle”, let’s define exactly what it is, how to identify when you yourself may be caught up within one, and then some positive solutions that I personally use to rid myself of negative cycles, emotions and vices. A cycle is essentially a period of time where an individual or group of individuals indulge in an activity of some sort, day after day, night after night, to the point where they identify so heavily with the cycle, that they have an incredibly difficult time breaking out of it. Some believe that they never will break out, and allow their own Ego’s to lock themselves in endless cycles until the day they die. These cycles can be positive or negative, however clearly this discussion has been focused on negative cycles. After all, if your caught up in a “cycle” of eating healthy, staying active and reading regularly, then your not really caught up in a cycle at all, considering your personally choosing to improve yourself and evolve along the path of being a Human Being. However, if you are stuck in a “cycle” of using drugs, eating unhealthy, watching mind numbing T.V and working a job that you hate, well then it’s clear that although you are personally choosing to indulge in these vices, you ultimately would rather be improving yourself, and deep down you know this is very true. You want to improve yourself, but you have allowed these vices to grow powerful and now they have a vice grip on you. Your friends are all in the same rut, living the same negative lifestyle day in and day out. Your old friends are essentially still wondering what happened to you, and if you will ever snap out of it.

So how do you identify when you are stuck in a cycle? It’s rather simple to be completely honest. Acknowledge what you do on a daily basis, find the patterns that you generally go through that sets off the cycle typically each day (Do you get home from work and crack a beer instead of hitting the gym? Do you smoke a joint rather than completing your homework?), acknowledge the triggers that generally invite you into the cycle each day (Is it when you go over to your friends house, and are instantly offered a beer? Is it when you wake up in the morning and pour a cup of coffee, only to want a cigarette or some reefer to accompany it?). For me personally, it’s always waking up in the morning. I wake early as I’ve stated earlier, and generally roll a joint to help me “clear my mind” in the morning, even though it simply clogs my mind and makes me sluggish, I lie to myself in order to make it seem like I am truly making a positive decision. However, now that I have truly identified that this morning routine is part of the endless cycle that always seems to catch me, I have simply avoided it, and what do you know, I don’t feel sluggish or drained, and my mind is more clear than I could have ever hoped it to be if I had taken my “morning medicine”. What’s part of the cycle for you? Can you identify it? Do you gossip with your friends as soon as you get to school? Do you lie constantly to those around you, simply because you don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little white lie? Do you pick up your friends after work, and instantly head to the bar for a pint?

So now that I’ve given you some strategies to identify whenever you may be caught in a “negative” cycle, it’s time for a few solutions to help you steer yourself clear from getting caught in them once again. The three techniques I personally use are calming the mind by using various forms of meditation, once calm, I sort through my thoughts and essentially “talk my ego” out of asking to be subdued by vices. Once I am sorted out, physical activity is always the first place to go for a different form of “high”. I personally love running, contact sports (kickboxing, wrestling, Muay Thai) and Yoga, which relaxes the physical and mental components of my Being once they have been exerted through intense physical activity. The final technique is simply feeding the mind. I generally read (although I don’t read nearly as much as I should these days), watch an informative documentary, write and play music or do some research on the net. So, relax the mind and convince yourself not to do the same routine you always do. Once your calm and relaxed, take your mind off the negative activity by replacing it a with a positive physical activity and then finally subdue the mind with a positive activities such as reading, or maybe a puzzle (really whatever floats your boat, we’re all individuals at the end of the day, and you’ve probably had your fill of reading after this article for the day). Also remember, your physical surrounding and the individuals you surround yourself with greatly impact if you will fall back into your cycle. If your trying to break free of your cycle, keep items that would trigger you to give in out of sight. Also, try your best to stay away from individuals who you usually associate with as part of the cycle. You don’t need to cut them out of your life entirely, but explain your situation to them, they’ll either understand or they won’t hang around you anymore, this is generally how you weed out real friends from those who simply wish to drain you of your energy.

Ah, thank you so much for reading this article, and I truly hope you enjoyed it. If you have any personal questions please feel free to email me at Brandon.andovic@hotmail.com. If you’d like to start a discussion please comment below!

I’m really looking to expand the blog, and shall be updating the blog on a daily basis once, again (apologies for the writers block the past two weeks, you know how it can be..). I have a few other projects I’m working on, my personal vlog which will most likely be based on YouTube. I’m also a Musician on the side, and have been working pretty hard to get my first E.P out. In the next month, the vlog will be up. By early August my E.P will be out. Be patient ;). Also i’m looking for more writers for Fragmented Illusions. If you like what I write about hear and you’re a capable writer, please submit me a piece of your work via Email and I’d be happy to have you on the team. Really looking for an Editor for the entire site as well, if you or anyone has editorial skills please contact me ASAP, we’ll meet and discuss the opportunity.

Have a wonderful day ladies and gents, please share with the site with your friends and family and via social media!

Namaste,

Brandon.

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