Defining Boundaries – People Pleasing

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Knowing the Truth, you become free from men. This meaning you have become dead to the opinion of others. In the literal sense that their opinions do not hold infinite meaning to you. Some people live in constant appeasement to others. They tend to make decisions based upon what others want for them or what is perceived as the will of others. Keep reading because I am not promoting disrespect or rebellion. I am though promoting freedom, freedom from fear and freedom from those that control others without care. I am promoting you and your life and your happiness. Are you spending your days being consumed with deep concern about what others may or may not be thinking, saying or observing about you? Is this right? Is this healthy? I think not. But I also get it, I have been there and lived that way myself. Trying to please others without caring for myself, making decisions that were in the best interest of others but no consideration for myself. Sounds humble and it sounds unselfish or maybe honorable.  But what honor is there in an empty cup? If you look closely at the persons you are trying to please, maybe they are successful in your eyes or have attained some type of achievement that you wish for. If you look at them closely, you probably will notice that they value themselves. They have no problems bathing themselves in luxury or the niceties of life. Resting, taking time off. Leisure activities and fun. Yet you concern your every action with “what will THEY think?”. Why? Because they are important to you, yes. Because you somehow think if you please them, you might also meet to their level of goodness or success? Maybe. But you shouldn’t measure yourself against another man, it always leads to some type of depressed thought or overvaluation of self.  You see in their living above, they have forgot what it is to be below. They can no longer relate to your lowly station in life.  Consider their happiness too long and you will only continue the cycle of pleasing this other. Who are these people? Your spouse, your parents, your boss, your rich friend….  You must at some point see the unique value of YOU.

This ditch that I myself embarrassingly admit to have found myself face down in the dirt in the past – let’s get out. Let’s look at a healthy approach to being pleasing to others. There indeed is a path of moderation when it comes to living for others. But also lets try to avoid the other ditch of – caring nothing about others, ever, for any reason what-so-ever, period. You could easily sway this way and be in equal disappointment.

Not balance, but moderation. Balance is a myth and an eluding pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. A moderate view of men, honors all men of high and low positions. It permits a man to help and serve others but only if the price is within his budget. Otherwise while pleasing the other, he may lose the vibrancy of himself. There is a season for everything under heaven yet we need to make it to the next season. Have you tried too much to make this other one happy?

I Corinthians 9:19 “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”

For though I am free from all - Paul is saying, “I am going to tell you about how I become pleasing (serving) to others for the gospels sake”, however right up front he importantly states “I do all this while maintaining who I am, I am not bound by these people, they hold nothing on me.” See it? Have you given so much or tried to please others so tirelessly that you no longer are WHO YOU AM? Oh my.

I have become all things to all people - Paul moves himself close to the weak, the religious (I put those together because I think they are connected), the irreligious – all of them. He explains why, however the issue here is also HOW.  He did it all while being free of strings.

Have you lost yourself? Have you become a puppet on a string? Are you so living your life to please others while being honest you are unpleased? Does this make any sense to you? Would you recommend your behavior to your children? Would you recommend this behavior to a close friend? Doing things for the gospels sake is not always pleasing and I am not inferring that. However, thou shalt not be miserable and ever fearful. You know, “righteousness, peace and joy”? Yeah.

So we see ourselves doing things like:

Pleasing the Religious – these kind of folks will want to burden you with rules or laws because they believe this will add to the image or appearance of your holiness. They esteem the outside of a man as opposed to the inside. They’ll say things like “You can’t do this… or go there, or be friends with…, always limiting. Lots of JOY here. Boo.

Pleasing the Weak – these folks will want to use you and will depend on you. Because they are weak. Weak-minded, weak-willed. They need your help but don’t really understand yet how you became strong or self-sufficient. You need to help them develop their mental and spiritual faculties, just keep your boundaries so you don’t empty yourself to the point of losing who you are.

Pleasing the Irreligious – If you get caught moving close to these types the Weak & Religious Elite will surely have you excommunicated. But keep the faith, you may go places they would never or befriend someone the despise.  But He has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.  So onward.

In conclusion of sorts: We all should probably not focus on becoming a balanced person, as you will undoubtedly become unbalanced trying to be balanced. But we should seek  a middle road to take, one of tolerance of others while great care for ourselves.  To be moderate in your dealings with others by not bankrupting your soul. But of most value, esteem and appreciate the significance of the one who is reading this.

Happy New Year!

50 Things – You have to ask yourself

It’s the time of year that we reflect on the past year and also look ahead to our futures with hope. In this process we can celebrate our successes and learn from our mistakes. I typically spend a bit of quality time each December/January reviewing my personal goals, making new ones, checking off the accomplished one and laughing at some of the old ones that yet have to be fulfilled or completed.  It’s easy to overlook the power of goal setting for reasons that we all can find: missed goals, ones that we failed to fall through to completion. However there is power in crystallizing our plans/goals into writing.  How it affects our lives is not easily defined but I can think of a few benefits based upon my experiences.

50 Things To Ask Yourself - JRK Consult

When you set goals and actually write them down:

  1. It necessitates clarity of thought as you attempt to describe in words your hopes for your future.  Rather than being generic and just hoping for the best, you are writing down what you will do.  You are making a statement about your future before anyone else has the chance to challenge you.  Being clear and very specific requires extra contemplation on your part but along the way you realize the opportunities ahead as well the obstacles. Vagueness rarely brings answers. “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”  No one really wants to hit nothing. So being specific places your attention and energies towards a specific task or accomplishment.
  2. I also believe it engages our faith, it helps our faith when we ask in detail for what we want.  James said clearly, “You desire but do not have……. You do not have because you do not ask God.”  Consider your setting of goals or plans as asking God for help and you will be tempered to ask within the bounds of humility, patience and respect for others. Any of us who are honest with God won’t be setting goals for winning the lottery. But when in faith, all things become possible, so our faith is encouraged.
  3. Provides you a measurement for your progress throughout the year and also a sense of accomplishment.  I have a list called 50 Things that I have kept for upteen years. It has a list of very specific things that I want or want to do. I typically refer to this list only a couple of times a year.  But every year without exception I get to check off a few items and that is the fun part. I also then remove certain items that I can’t figure out just why I even thought about that in the first place ie. “I want to swim across the lake in early spring”.

After a few years practice at creating goals for myself, family, business, I learned more about the practical side of becoming thoughtful in my planning and deliberate in my actions. I also became a believer in the magic of the Written Word.  Magic? There is something to this that brings about results- that otherwise wouldn’t happen.

Illustration: For years I have listened to Dave Ramsey Radio talk show. One year my wife and I attended his Financial Peace University.  It changed our lives in the way we handle money so much that we made several life changes, one being never go in debt – we had lots. We fell prey to the credit card trap. It’s a great course. He also has this course entitled Entreleadership for business persons. It always sounded amazing, like dreamy, to attend this week-long event, as it was in person with Dave at some exotic location.  You spend all week learning about business, money and leadership with other business persons. The price tag is steep.  So in my mind I thought “someday that would be cool” and it never went beyond more than a thought until years later.  In 2011, I was on my annual winter camping retreat where I go out into the woods and camp solo. I do this because I have 4 kids and I rarely can find the time alone at home. If I wake up at 5am guess who wakes up at 5am? My youngest little boy hears me and wants to sit on my lap. I would never turn him away. Also who doesn’t love being alone in the woods?! I love it!  So alone on my little retreat, I was working on my 2012 Goals/50Things Spreadsheet going thru all the practical items.  But at the bottom of the list I wrote “BIG Goals” and had 4 items listed that were specific kinda and also way out there  in my mind.

BIG GOALS:

  1. Attend Dave Ramsey Entreleadership Event
  2. Become full-time consultant – I was employed at a church and also doing a little side consulting
  3. Own a commercial property
  4. Open a food store

In August of 2012 I received an email from Dave Ramsey’s organization advertising the Orlando Entreleadership Event in October of that year (2012). In a sudden burst of gumption I forwarded the email to my boss and said, “we need to go”. His reply, “How much?” I didn’t know but I knew it was a lot of $. Surprised by his quick response, I quickly contacted Dave Ramsey’s organization to find out the exact pricing and all the associated costs, etc. After receiving another quick reply from them with all the details, I forwarded it on to my bossman – expecting him to laugh and say no way Jose.  He didn’t, he said yes. And we went in October 2012 together, which turned out to be a major marked moment in my life.  At that time I was making vlog (video blog) posts and I published this video about my experience.

You say, well you asked to go, that’s why it happened.  You could have asked the year before and had the same results.  You are right, that’s possible.  But it didn’t happen that way. It didn’t happen until I asked. For whatever reason I didn’t ask before. It wasn’t until January of this year, 2013 while updating the 50 Things List for 2013 that I saw my entry from 2012 about the event. I honestly don’t recall adding that to my list and I apparently had not reviewed my list at all that year. So I was highly encouraged in the magic of this list when I fully realized what had transpired. I was practical in writing out what I wanted but I also dreamed a bit and added a few larger items.

As far as the list above #1&2 are both fulfilled. #3&4 are not but I am not complaining.

So what will your future hold?  Try it out : Here is a sheet for you to start

They traveled West – Keeping things in Context.

As a kid, I always imagined the wise men who traveled to see Jesus at the manger scene. We understand from the scriptures that they didn’t quite arrive that early. And likely it was 2-3 years after his birthday that they arrived at the house of Jesus.

Matthew 2:11 “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

East to West

The Bible states these men traveled from East to West, as they saw the star while they were in the East.  Some have thought it meant the star was in the East.  The star was in the West. The star led them West like the old song says:

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we travel afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

And we see here the wise men came FROM the east and to the west:

Matthew 2:1-2 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

And here in verse 9:

Matthew 2:9 ”When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.”

These texts seem to be contradict each other. If you just read Vs.9 you are led to think that the Star was up in the sky when looking east, as it says “which they saw IN the east”.  Although that’s not where it was. The full story includes Vs 1 – there came wise men from the east.  Using the text in Vs 1 to understand the text of Vs 2 & 9 helps us achieve accuracy when understanding the story. You can relate this in your own life, when someone share information with you about someone. You need to question, “Is this the full story?” This method of studying the scriptures is elementary and so important to embrace for those who wish to really benefit from it’s teachings.  It’s very easy, and way too common, for a person to read or hear a single text found in the scriptures and believe they have full understanding or its full meaning. However the context, when studied, often brings new light and more detail changing our original understanding of the lone verse and often changing what we think and believe to be true.

What to learn: in every story, your story, your friends story there is at least 2 sides and sometimes even more.  Before we judge another man, let’s consider his full context. When I learn about a man’s context, his story in full, I better understand his decisions and choices that he has made, the friends he keeps, the reasons he behaves so. This takes time. The easiest route so many travel is to judge someone from OUR personal context and understanding. For example, we think of someone “They must not be a real christian because they do not DO as I do.”  I am not promoting situational-ethics, but I am saying in your efforts to help others you need to UNDERSTAND the why behind their actions and that will take some time. It took years for those magi to arrive at the Light of Christ, maybe it will take some time for you as well.

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Winter is my favorite time of year.

It’s early Saturday morning, a foggy mushy snow is outside and the temperatures seem to keep rising when it’s supposed to be winter. This is not winter. Winter is snowy, freezing, quiet, clean, fresh and crisp. When I walk the back yard trail to the chicken coop to feed the hens, I walk thru muddy snow-slush. For the past few weeks I have walked through drifts of snow, I always made sure to wear my winter boots. Every morning just before sunrise or earlier, before coffee, I put on these boots, they were my dads. Then I head out to the backyard and walk the same trail to the site we have set for the hen-house aka chicken coop. It’s tucked neatly between and under two large pine trees. The branches on the trees offer extra shelter for the coop and also hides the very existence of the coop from most views. The front of the coop there is a sliding door that opens up and down when you pull a rope that rides on a pulley to an adjacent building about 25 feet away. It’s a kids fort, feed barn, very small, but large enough to house feed, bales of straw on the first floor(place for cats to nap) and a kids play fort area on the second floor. On the outside of this little barn hangs the rope which is tied down each morning and night keeping the coop door open or closed. In the early morning when I open the door the hens immediately run out of the coop. Some fly out several feet as if they are saying they need a stretch after sleeping locked up all night.  The reason we lock them up at night, by closing the door, is so that no predators can enter and eat them while they are perched up on the rafters. Also when it is much colder, like just a few days ago overnight reaching zero – 5 degrees, it prevents wind gusts and snow to enter keeping the hens warmer and dry. During the summer months we often left the coop door open all night. The security on the pen area is enough to keep away most predators. However in the winter months some unfriendly animals become a bit more determined to eat since their normal diet is hidden elsewhere in nests around the area. We treat our animals well and they provide 6 delicious eggs every day.

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Winter is probably my favorite time of year especially when we have lots of snow. Growing up in the country, out in farm fields and acres of woods, we spent our winter days walking across large open fields in the snow. Looking for those extra deep snow drifts to dig a hole and make a temporary shelter/play fort. My younger sister and I spent many hours outside in the snow far away from our house, playing, sledding, sitting and even just laying down looking at the sky. It was so quiet during the winter that your ears could almost start buzzing because of the lack of noise. There was a highway across the corn fields from our house and the county plow trucks would push-off mass amounts of snow when clearing the highway.  It was a perfect place to spend the day playing outside. With snow piles clearly over 12 feet in height, surely even more, we had such great times sliding down those hills. There were times that we wandered out to this part of the field and a snowfall would pickup and soon the visibility would vanish to the point we couldn’t see our house across the field anymore. We would stay outside as long as we could but eventually the cold got to us so we would cut across the field to go back into our warm house.  Our house had a wood burning fireplace.  With very low visibility, high winds and only the ground below us as our guide, literally.  We would march thru the snow, across the bumpy corn fields that were frozen rows of dirt, so that the ground was not level. We knew the direction to walk but many times we would finish crossing the field thinking we would arrive at the corner of our lawn but only find that we missed our property. There was another house close to ours and we often would arrive at their house instead. Fortunately it was easy from their to find our way back home.  It was just up the hill another few minutes away and into the warm house we went. I do have a slight recollection of one event where I was lost by myself trying to find the way back home. I had crossed over a few different corn fields that we didn’t typically visit- the farmer was rumored to not like little kids.

These days I find my interest in sitting outside in the cold snowy setting of my backyard or on a trail in the forest nearby. Just a few nights ago after closing up the chicken coop for the night I sat on a stump for as long as I could just listening to the quiet. It was frigid but I wasn’t cold. It was dark in the sky, the moon though was shining and I could see it clearly on and off as the clouds would pass by. The kids were inside the house getting ready for bed doing their normal routine and I was pleased to watch my house and give thanks to God for such a blessing that I have been given. Yes the quiet, isn’t as quiet as I really want because the sound of a busy highway in the background making its continual humming. And the lights of neighboring houses along with a street light in our area. These few distractions are ever present but they give ample reason for winter camping in the woods. Even as I type this I am planning for my next winter camping trip – but the weather must change and drop to somewhere below freezing and also provide an ample replacement of snow.

 

40 – Part Three

Back to my self-induced semi-Mid-life crisis of turning 40 in just a few short days. While I before have felt anxiety over it, as of late it has been something more positive.  I am awaiting an email from myself that I sent out a several years back, it’s scheduled to arrive on my 40th Birthday. I don’t recall the exact text but I know it has something about “dude if you haven’t figured things out by now…” and other kick in the pants type suggestions and goal reminders. I used a service called www.Futureme.org

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Hopefully it will be a joyous occasion. There have been a few other items on my mind about this age thing. Like such as, I have taken to building friendships with older men, like retirees. I want to learn from them. Feeling this way at 40 is disconcerting at times, while life is Beautiful, my Life/Business Coach (therapist) notes that I tend to be overly cautious in life general.  Thus producing lots of contemplative evenings and early mornings minus social skills. My social skills are best described as toothpicks, short and to the point.  It takes much effort on my part to mingle in a room of people. I prefer to be in the kitchen cooking.  So making efforts to engage with these older men as a mentor type relationship is primarily to increase my overall perspective on life. Secretly hoping to realize that I am doing very well raising my kids and loving my wife.

One of the recent exercises I was encouraged to take part in a survey of my closest friends observations of my Strengths and Weaknesses. I sent them a link to quickly let me know how much they hate me or like me. Not really, it was pretty clear just tell me my weaknesses.  After getting off the floor and wiping the tears from my eyes I have some good information to go on for my next 40 years. The strengths they listed, I don’t recall as like most people we remember the negative things. But I have them recorded, anonymously so I will revisit those too. My wife also participated in the survey and I put most of my faith in her opinion as she is the only one who is so blessed to see me in what we’ll call the myriad of dimensional disillusionmentificalicity.

In my next 40 years, that’s the point to all this.  What will it look like? Which reminds me,  I was on a conference call a few days ago with several other business owners and it was my first time on the call. The idea is to Mastermind our business challenges and wins, help each other.  It’s a closed private call and limited to just its few members. I had missed the first few calls so when I made my first appearance I hadn’t really taken the time to prepare for what was to come. I didn’t know what was to come. I dialed in the conference # and spoke my name “Jason Koscinski” Then the others who were in the room greeted me and we began. “Jason tell us your challenges”.  I was confused, “Umm, uhh, this is my first call and I don’t feel ready to speak, can I just listen?”  The strongest voice on the call, a female business owner, successful spoke up “Jason we are all here for each other, just tell us about yourself. You have nothing to worry about.”  I thought to myself, ‘Worry about, who said I was worrying? Was it that obvious that in about 15 seconds everyone on the call could tell that I was worrying or anxious?’.  I said “Sure, okay. My name is Jason Koscinski and I live in work in Michigan as a consultant…” then I kind of lose pace and forget to what say next.  I only recall saying, “I am sorry I wasn’t ready to state my elevator pitch, THIS IS MY FIRST CALL!”.  The successful lady replied “That’s okay Jason” she was trying to make me feel comfortable.  So the call went on for a bit and a few others shared their recent Wins & Losses and the others asked really good questions. All in an effort to help. Suddenly they turned back on me and asked again, “So Jason now that you are seeing how this works, why not share with us more about your business?”. I wanted to hang up. I wasn’t ready, I was tired, forgot to drink that second cup of coffee and felt like I was talking to complete strangers! I said, “Well, lately things have gone well for me. I recently started full-time as a business consultant and I don’t have any complaints.” Someone else fielded a question, “Tell us about your clients.”  From there I don’t recall exactly what was said but I know that I fumbled around and hem and hawed around the question. I am a private person ( who likes to blog?? oxymoronic) and spitting out personal details is something I don’t do well. I’d rather listen or tell something funny.  After a few more nondisclosure’s the successful lady said quite clearly  ”Jason, what do you want your life to be? What do you want it to look like?”  Here I was already thinking about my next 40 years and contemplating things like my faith, vocation and family. Then this lady, whom I never met reads right into me and asks the question.  I submitted and quietly replied, “That is a great question to which I have no immediate answer.” More than anything I simply was too bashful to answer her question, especially in an audience of what I considered strangers.

Onward, I appreciated her question and her boldness.  This was NOT the typical line of questioning in this group.  She hijacked the conversation and turned the spotlight onto me. Everyone in the call was kind and really helpful.  They added to my already realization that turning 40 for me was somehow significant. For me.

In my next 40 years, I will be different, life will be different. I will lay aside inhibitions and become freer that I have been in times past.  More later.

 

Thanks for reading, if you can relate or have comments, please share!

 

 

 

 

 

To the pure – there is good out there.

If you are having trouble with the world, the others who are not as righteous as your self, consider that you are blinded or just a bit self-righteous. The Holy Scriptures teach, “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”. So you can change your perception on this and I believe it is really about perception.  I for one have had to challenge my own perceptions at times, make changes to what I thought was right.

There is indeed much good in this world and you can find it, if you look for it.  The problem we have sometimes is that we have been unknowingly conditioned to look at things a certain way. We are geared to see the negatives, the wrongs, the injustices, etc. Others we know are geared to see the opportunities, the wins, the blessings.

You are not alone, as even the prophet Elijah experienced this kind of self-pity. Many folks are tempted to look down upon all others because “they are the only ones” who have difficulties.  This Only One syndrome is typically false and a cousin to self-pity and or pride of heart.  The prideful person thinks of them self alone and unique in the universe when the fact is that people are people.  We all have to put pants on in the morning and take them off when we crap. 

To the gentle, many will be gentle; to the kind, many will be kind. A good man will find that  there is goodness in the world; and honest man will find that there is honesty in the world; and a man of principle will find principle and integrity in the minds of others.

So consider your thoughts and if they be low and full of negativity, do what you can to change that behavior. You may soon realize that our world is filled with wonders and great people.

Birds and Bees

Talking the birds and bees with my 13 year old daughter tonight after dinner, it was a special moment that just happened. Talked about going to the movies and what boys really want to do during the movie. She asked what I would do to a boy who wanted to date her. We then talked about guns. I also shared that I am not afraid of living in jail. Made a real good connection that makes me feel good.

Also told her that all middle school and high school kids are stupid. So they need never argue with their parents. She appreciated my honesty.

19 Years Next Week

Next week it will be our 19th Wedding Anniversary and I am still not sure what I should do for her. As I am in the planning stages for our 20th Anniversary where we’ll finally go on that cruise that I promised to take her on at our 10th Anniversary and then again at our 15th.  Yes I keep trying to make that cruise happen, the closest thing we’ve done is camping with all four kids in the Upper Peninsula and canoeing out on Lake Superior.  Not really a cruise. I already have a cruise selected after reading years worth of Cruse Travel Magazine.

While I have hopes to board The National Geographic Explorer to Antarctica, but at $21K each that is just a little on the upside of my budget.  So I have my sites on a 14 Night – Royal Caribbean Cruise  “Explorer Of The Seas”.   I figure that since I have crated an account with Royal Caribbean’s website and found a sailing that looks doable and saved it to my profile that somehow that will make it happen next year.

But back to next week’s Anniversary, I am thinking go low and so next year will be fabulous regardless if we get stuck in an inside cabin on a Carnival cruise ship to Jamaica. We’ve been to Jamaica on our honeymoon.

At this point NOTHING is coming to mind.  Ugh.

White Fang – It was bewildering

Below is an excerpt from a classic book.  It is the part in the book where the young wolf-dog is getting ready to leave his nest. He faced fear but the Light drew him forward. I find the imagery of a young wolf desiring to go forward in his life and experiencing the abundance of space quite intriguing.  To me it’s a lot like life for us. We sense something more in life, we learn, we develop, the Light begins to shine, showing us the great opportunity and space available to us all to flourish, if we choose.  Yet fear is common to us all.  Fear wants you to stay in your nest, cave or pattern given you to by others.  Yet God has a larger place for you. The Holy Scriptures say, “Seek and ye shall find”.  You don’t have to seek and you don’t have to change. We are all recipients of Free Will and if fortunate in life able to exercise this to our content. I have purposed to be a full-time student, learner and ever seeking seeker. I ready daily, every day. I ask questions. Life can be dazzling and it can also be dreary at times. My thought today is that we all have basic opportunity and the closer we move towards it, opportunity expands herself – even “painfully bright”. Keep seeking, don’t allow fear to hold you back.

It was bewildering.  He was sprawling through solidity.  And ever the light grew brighter.  Fear urged him to go back, but growth drove him on.  Suddenly he found

White Fang by Jack Londonhimself at the mouth of the cave.  The wall, inside which he had thought himself, as suddenly leaped back before him to an immeasurable distance.  The light had become painfully bright.  He was dazzled by it.  Likewise he was made dizzy by this abrupt and tremendous extension of space.

White Fang by Jack London