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  • Writer's pictureIrekZareba

Life Message - Part One

In the Memory of Anna Zareba

I would like to use this opportunity to express my sadness at the loss of Anna - my sister in law. She passed away by the end of December 2023, after a long 11 years battle with cancer, which attacked across different parts of the body and also varied in forms. She left a loving husband and two daughters. My deepest condolences to my brother Roman, Weronika and Magda, for being strong and supporting Anna, till her very last breath! 

On the one hand, I have an enormous respect for her bravery and resilience to pain which she had to face and lived with for so many years. In my eyes she will always be a great warrior! 

On another, I am left with that strange feeling and a question - was there something more we could do to change the course of the events?

Life - Your Responsibility

We all know where we are heading towards and of course disease greatly speeds up that process. I do not say that to scare you. I want to talk about this to ensure your life experience is the best possible under any circumstances. Accepting what is the best starting point to self-transformation. This does not mean being inert and doing nothing in face of challenge. Counter-intuitively, this surrender is a very potent strategy in order to change and enrich the course of your life. Why? Because your decisions are then not driven by fear and resistance, but by infinite wisdom from the life source within you. There are far greater chances that you will make better choices with lasting results. 

I have heard many times on many occasions from my family members and friends (even lately over the Christmas period) that we have to die on something anyway so why bother and change! Really? 

These kinds of statements tear my heart - it is like giving yourself permission to do whatever your mind is telling you to do and the right to be unconscious. 

For me, this is not a choice at all, but the quickest way to suffering and self-destruction. 

You see, paradoxically I was the one who was saying the same thing in my twenties and very close to achieving the “desired” end. I know how it feels to face death when you are far from being ready! I do not wish that experience to anybody. Not in the way I almost succeeded - through making unconscious choices which affected my mental and physical condition. 

I would not be far from true if I say you always get what you ask for…

I have shared my story many times from the time I was at Uni where self-abuse with drugs and alcohol led me to my total breakdown.

Just picture a hospital bed for a moment as your safest place on the planet. But then, you have to go to the toilet a few times daily. In your mind you perceive it as a huge challenge, like a battle for life. Every inch away from your bed becomes more and more life threatening. You feel very unsteady walking down as if the whole ground is shaking. You use the walls as support to keep you going and not to fall on the journey. Your heart beat goes up to the roof when you reach the destination - moment to celebrate and catch your breath. But then, you have to make the same return trip again. Every time you reach back to your safest place on the planet - feeling exhausted!

This was me at the age of 24. Later was not any easier at all. My mind took over! I developed anxiety and had lots of panic attacks. I was also longing for past days and referring to them as “normal” (as this was only what I knew as a way to be) and believing that all is lost now and will never do it again put me to depression. 

Above that I was told in hospital that there is nothing wrong with my body and they referred me to psychiatrists. Never went, somewhat the idea of being dependent on antidepressants for the rest of my days was not an option at all.

What I did not share were moments when I stood on the balcony or window at higher floors on a couple of occasions. I felt that intense calling from the space, a strong pull - I guess that was the “invitation” to finish my misery off right there. 

Again, never taken! 

The Path to Freedom

Instead I made a decision to make things right - to find my way out and heal naturally! As western medicine approached with its targeting mainly symptoms did not sound like a liberation to me, to seek answers to the root cause of my pain I turned to the East. Fact that I was meanwhile studying Cultural Anthropology helped a lot.

I have heard  a lot of this meditation, without knowing much about it I started regularly sitting down in the room quietly. Didn't notice much at first, but with practice I slowly began to cut through the massive noise in my head. Friend of mine from the academic year to whom I am so grateful for, Krzysztof, who was fascinated with Chinese culture, introduced me to tai chi chuan. This was a game changer which had a lasting effect till this day, alongside herbs, healthier food options and the art of cooking home to begin with. 

Feeling getting my life hunger back I stepped the game up. Moved more into the martial aspect of my training and competition. Feeling great was good feedback. I have been on something here. And I was right, there was another way. 

I did not stop there. I have become fascinated with how that body and mind works (the art of biohacking) in order to maintain greater health for a long, happier life!

Today I am here, so grateful to life for all lessons received! It is quite interesting how the mess you encounter together with how to solve it turns into a message, isn't it? 

Now as a kung fu instructor and life coach I am turning my life experience as a wake up call for others! 

Why am I saying this all?

There is a part of you which longs to be freed to its full expression! Waiting to be nurtured in order to thrive through life! Unfortunately, we have been avoiding full life experience with consequences. We have created this sudo-safety mechanism called “the head” and pretty much we spend our entire lifetime there. In fact, this is nothing but self-inflicted, mind made prison as it separates us not only from life but also from what we truly are! It is the very reason for our suffering. What I am advocating in my practice is to restore the natural order to become free from the mind bond. Instead establish the connection with our true, potent energy source within as the main driver on the highway towards fulfilling life. 

This is what I call Freedom!

Life vs Egoic Mind

Life is just is. Has ups and down curves. Obviously the mind is interested in the upper games only and hence its main goal is to do everything to control life - not such a thing!

You see, every moment, I mean every, it is just feedback - you either flow or resist! Resistance is just a signal from mind which can be translated into - I am not where I want to be/ I do not want this/ I want something else. 

As a result we get stuck for some time or maybe longer, then the mind in its unhappiness state seeks the ways aka “go unconscious” and distract itself or self-medicate with familiar easy to go “shortcuts'' for fast pleasure and avoid meeting the needs of the present moment. Besides, indulging in compulsions does not cure anything but makes things worse. This is how we become more and more ignorant to ourselves and as a result of this, to others too. This vicious circle is the doom to our true nature which suffers from not being fully expressed and as a result we become more and more closed and separated from life! Bad choices affecting our health and performance. Poor relationship with our own body reflects directly on our connection with family, friends, work colleagues etc. This is what I mean by self-destruction. 

But there is an antidote to this - to be in the flow with life. This is where resistance melts down as the mind has no power here. Present moment is your very presence, your true way of being. In fact the only “time” you can ever have experience.

Being back “online” is a real cure and the only true one!

This is where a healthy relationship with yourself begins. This is important especially in those down curves which inevitably will come. 

You stop self-sabotaging yourself, self-doubts and criticism falling away. Setbacks become nothing but feedback to learn from and adjust the course! There is a lot of peace emanating from your actions. Infinite wisdom floods in as you just have clarity over what to do! 

When you act as one with life you no longer perceive anything as ‘down’ anymore. You just meet “what is” gracefully and go with the flow with whatever life throws at you! 

I can assure you that it feels great too!

Harness Your Mind

In April 2013 during the British Open in the Chinese Martial Arts competition era I snapped the anterior cruciate ligament in my left knee. I was trying to throw my competitor with a completely unprepared position and state of mind - obviously. My foot was trapped between mats when my rival fell on me. I even heard the click. Despite this, I was still competing. Only the day after my body explained to me very clearly that something serious happened - massive knee swelling and inability to climb the stairs. 

Two operations, crutches and 6 months of daily physiotherapy and recovering home over the summer time. 

During this time there were many moments of doubts. There was no end to ongoing conversations in my head such as' I am not good enough’, ‘competition is not for me’, ‘I will never fully recover’ and ‘I am going to be weak again’. Despite them I decided to conquer those doubts and fears. 

A year later I competed at the same competition and venue to shut those voices down one for all. In 2015 I became a multi medalist of the 7th TCFE European Championship of Internal Chinese Martial Arts in Oxford. 

I am not saying this to brag to you. You do not need to train in martial arts or compete on an international level to be on the battlefield. 

We are constantly having this challenge on an everyday basis - with our own mind!

I am bold to say that this is the only thing you need to harness on the way to your ultimate unconditioned happiness and fulfilment in life! 

To do it, one needs to observe the mind. This is where your focus must be set in order to check whether the voices in your head, choices, decisions you make fall into your chosen path of your success! 

The next opportunity is not far from now - it is actually right here and right now! 

The point to remember is that this is a process, that means it never ends and will last as long as life flows within you. Fact that you tap once or twice into that powerful flow state, does not mean you got this forever now. You cannot, using a simple mind term - own it; you can only be together with it. 

It is a paradox that you cannot have what is always available - and here is where the mind has got a problem! To be one with it, you need to let go of one who wants to have it! 

Once you are in it, you just know. That is why I recommend you keep checking and ask yourself a question - am I at ease with myself right now? If not, that is the indicator that you are separated from life.

Of course I am not any different - I have that mind too! I still have moments when my mind takes over, but I am more and more aware of them now. 

When you are aware, then you have a choice to let go of resistance right there and restore the flow!

TBC :) Wonderful Discoveries!!!

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