The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Month: December 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

Pathwalking 209

The coming new year often brings with it reflections on the year that has been.

It is important to acknowledge what has been. Denying the past leads to incredibly dangerous places sometimes, so it is good to be mindful of it.

The other danger is living in the past. Because change can be so scary, there are many people who want what was. They want what they feel nostalgia for, they want that happier, more innocent time. Truth is, that time was never what we recall it as.

Life happens. The world around us changes. Some people go with it, some people resist it, some people try to make it happen. We can choose for ourselves how we want our lives to be, we have that power even when we don’t believe it.

It has now been four years since I began this project. Pathwalking has become for me a key to living the life I desire. Like any such approach there have been ups and downs, bumps along the way, successes and failures. However, since I started to live this way I have felt overall I am in a better place with my life.

There is always room for improvement. There are always new things to try and to learn and to experience. It is also possible that something tried before that did not work could be tried again, if I know what it was that did not work and have adjusted it accordingly.

For a lot of people I know this past year has been chock full of trials and tribulations. On a grand worldwide scale we have climate change and a refugee crisis and terrorists trying to overrun nations and economic woes and so on and so forth. I won’t even begin to get into the American political circus.

On a more personal level a lot of people I know have been dealing with illness, deaths of loved ones, employment and economic woes, and sometimes just issues with friends and loved ones that cause a ton of stress.

The interesting thing to consider about all of this is that it’s always this way. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have at least some knowledge of what is going on in the world today, or having matters personal that they are dealing with. No matter how you look at it, chances are the past year has been not so different from years before.

You have no idea. You don’t know what I’ve been dealing with. True. I don’t know what everyone else has on their plate, I certainly cannot see life through anyone else’s eyes but my own. What I can see, though, is what has passed by, and what I can learn from that.

I still have multiple paper journals from my past. Once in a great while I will crack one open and read what I was thinking at the time. This can be uncomfortable, because I get a look at how I was thinking and feeling back then, and some of the things I come across are disconcerting.

There are numerous journal entries about how my life was not what I wanted it to be. Dating woes and complications. Job stresses and money issues and flat-out depression. The thing about my past journal entries that I find most striking is how much I wanted to find someone to fix my problems.

Years later I developed this whole notion of Pathwalking. It has evolved as it has gone forward, which is part of the natural order of things. I have learned that certain approaches to walking this path as I would want do not work, while I have made unexpected discoveries along the way.

The core of Pathwalking, though, has never changed. Consciousness creates reality. I am the one who can determine how I feel. I am responsible for my own thoughts, my own feelings and my own actions. I have the power to make my way in this world as I would choose.

I believe that if we empower ourselves more, we empower the people around us more. The grand scale of our society is an interesting paradox. On the one hand there is a push to educate, to learn and grow and change. On the other hand there are forces at work to disempower, overrule and otherwise bend us to their will. Given that choice, I prefer to work to empower myself.

The largest takeaway from the past year for me, which is probably different than yours, has been seeing that I am capable of far more than I frequently acknowledge. I have chosen an unconventional path for my life. What I am doing may not be the “norm” and may not be measurable in a familiar sense, but it is overall making me happy. Yes of course there is room for improvement, there is space to make changes and there are things I desire to accomplish that I have not, but that is part of what makes life so worthwhile.

It is good to reflect on the year that was. Take it in, observe it, give it consideration. However, once you do that it is far more important that you move past it and consider your here-and-now, and what you want ahead. We can learn from the past, but we cannot go back to how it was. For some that’s kind of a scary notion. But that’s how the universe works. We live in a world of constant change, of evolution, and of more ability to empower our lives than we realize.

As this year closes I am enthusiastic for the potential of next year. Specifically, however, my own potential. I cannot fixate on the things I have no control over that I know are coming up, so I instead am going to work to focus on my own life, and the things over which I can and do exert control. Pathwalking will evolve, as I work on my self-discipline and create the goal log I wrote about last week. I know what paths I want to be on, and I will work to make them exceptional.

I hope that as you reflect on the year that has gone by for you that you will be able to see balance of good and bad, and that you will take what lessons you have had and empower yourself for the year that’s coming.

What was your year like? What do you want the New Year to hold for you?

 

This is the two-hundred ninth entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life.  I share this journey as part of my personal desire to make a difference in this world along the way.

Thank you for joining me.  Feel free to re-blog and share.

The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available in print and for your Kindle.

Positivity: Action for the New Year

You have the power to take action and change.

As the year draws to a close, instead of making a resolution, take an action to change your life.

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A resolution is merely a thought, and maybe an emotion. I resolve to eat healthier. I resolve to go to the gym regularly. I resolve to put more money into savings. Resolution is thought and the feeling it will bring about. Resolution is a step in the right direction, but it lacks motion, it is lacking in necessary action to make it actually happen.

Action is what we need to really change. We can think about and feel change all we want, but the ACTION is often neglected. This is why resolutions are often forgotten or otherwise don’t work as intended.

I resolve to eat healthier. Instead of making a drastic change, take a smaller action. Stop eating cookies or don’t drink soda or something small to start with. You can always build on it.

I resolve to go to the gym regularly. Rather than intend a daily trek, start small. Hit the gym twice a week, at least 20 minutes a session. You can build from there, expand upon the action and make it more.

I resolve to put more money into savings. Start with fifty cents a week. It may not seem like much, but it’s a start. You can increase it as time goes on, but so long as you have a minimum and a date to deposit to savings you have action.

We think grand, we want huge results, but even the grandest notions start small. Little attainable actions are far more powerful than grand soon-neglected resolutions. You have the power to completely control this and effect change as you best want it for yourself.

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Small, easy to maintain actions are a huge step towards building greater positivity. When the action is easy to do we feel success more readily. When we feel success we feel more positive. Positivity builds, and the more positive we feel the more we spread to those around us.

I think if we focus on attainable New Years’ Actions rather than grandiose resolutions, we can build far more positivity in our lives, and get more of what we want from the world.

Finding positivity is not hard, it just requires action. Knowing that you have the power to take an action for the new year rather than make a resolution, you can change anything. When we act on change, rather than just think and feel change, we make things happen, we build success and consequently empower ourselves. When we feel empowered, we often spread that feeling to others around us, and as such can build more positive feelings. We can use the positive feelings this generates to dissolve negative feelings. When we take away negative feelings, we open up space to let in positive feelings, and that is something we can be grateful for. Gratitude leads to happiness. Happiness is the ultimate positive attitude. Positive attitude begets positive energy, and that is always a good thing.

 

This is the one hundredth entry of my Positivity series.  It is my hope these weekly messages might help spread positive energies for everyone.  Feel free to share, re-blog and spread the positivity.

New year, new book. Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II

Seeker – The Source Chronicles Book I was published by my Argent Hedgehog Press.  I know a lot of people enjoyed the book, and have been patiently waiting for it’s sequel.

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The time has come – Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II is nearly here!  I will be publishing Finder next weekend.  You can start off your new year with a good new read.

From the back cover:

Five thousand years ago, a comet was on a collision course with t’Thera. To stop it from destroying life across the planet, all of the wizards and fully realized sorcerers and sorceresses combined their power to arrest its descent, destroying themselves in the process. With their passing, no wizards would rise again, and no sorcerer would ever claim the strength of those lost in The Falling of The Skies.

The Seeker has endured a number of trials, from which he has emerged stronger. Three years after he took part in pivotal events in the Kingdom of Sharron, he has resumed his quest to resolve the prophecy that drives him. The Seeker knows that his destiny is swiftly coming upon him.

In the nation of Vilcarr, The Seeker encounters the last Order of Sorcerers, as well as new allies and new opponents as he feels his destiny drawing him to find the long lost Source. Whatever it may be, The Seeker knows it will change not only sorcery, but the course of all the world. If Order is to overcome Chaos, The Seeker must succeed in his quest and become the Finder of the Source.

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Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II will be available on January 2, 2016. Keep watching for more information!

 

Thank you for all of your support!

Pathwalking 208

Discipline for me does not come easily.

I have always had issues with self discipline. Whether it is my diet, my writing and editing time or anything else requiring focus and attention – I have regularly found it challenging to hold to what needs to happen to get where I want to go.

This week I will share with you my plans, and work out with you what actions I need to take in order to create the discipline I need to make them reality. I want to begin the coming New Year with more specific focus and specific goals in addition to my broader goals.

This week marks four years since I began Pathwalking. I believe that during these four years I have made some pretty cool discoveries about myself and whom I wish to be. I hope that as you have been along with me for this ride that you have also made strides in choosing the destiny you are after.

This began as part of my first New Years’ Actions. Rather than create an easy to neglect resolution I prefer to take an action to effect any change with the coming New Year.

Most of my actions over the years have been broad and generalized. It’s a lot easier to hold to something that is vague enough to be open to interpretation. This does not in any way lessen my achievements, but it does reflect upon sensitivities so that I more easily hit the target and accomplish what I want.

This year I am going to take actions that require more discipline to be achieved. These are going to require me to take more direct and specific actions than I have done in the past.

One of the most cliché New Year’s Resolutions people make is to lose weight. Whether it is our health or our vanity that drives us, people want to be in better shape. Nothing wrong with this goal, but more often than not it is approached too broadly, with no plan and no action in place to effect the outcome.

Those of you who know me in real life know I am not a thin man. For the sake of my health and wellbeing I want to get into better shape. Because consciousness creates reality, the first step here is approach. My thought is I want to be healthier, and be in better physical shape. This is not about losing weight, because when that is what you focus on you will be in a constant state of needing to achieve this.

Yes, I know that it might seem hokey, but the truth of this is that this sentiment is very real. I am always in this cycle because I am always in this particular mindset. If I focus on needing to lose weight, I get exactly that – I always need to lose weight. So change of thought – focus on being healthier and in good shape.

Isn’t this just a resolution in disguise? It could be – if I were not attaching very specific actions to this. The first is emotional – I need to feel what it will be like to be in better shape. Buying clothes in smaller sizes, no joint pain in my knees from excess weight, feeling comfortable in my own skin instead of bloated or sluggish.

The second is the specific actions to make this goal attainable. I will stop eating certain foods with the frequency I eat them now. I will think before I eat, and work on more control of my portions. I will get to the gym a minimum of two days a week, and I will fence once or twice a week.

This is where discipline comes in. If I do not discipline myself to do this, I won’t accomplish it. I have to focus on the combination of thought, feeling and action and REALLY pay attention to it all. This is the part that has so frequently escaped me.

What will I do differently this time to maintain my discipline? I have given this a lot of thought, and the conclusion I have reached is this – I need to keep some sort of a daily journal. I need to actively note what I am eating, I need to actively note my gym time and other activities. I must focus my thought, my feelings and my actions and document them.

Ask anyone who knows me – I am terrible at making lists, at writing down what I need to do, at tracking diet and exercise. Why? I have not disciplined myself to do so.

I may ask for your help in this matter. How? By accepting that I will add a new bit to this weekly post. By making myself accountable to YOU, and not just myself, I think I might have the impetus to maintain self-discipline. Pathwalking in its creation got me journaling, without fail, weekly for four years. I think that right there may be the proof that I can take action and achieve goals.

Starting with my first post in 2016 I will be sharing weekly the status of my new goal log. That’s what I will call it.

I do have one more personal action I am taking with the new year. I will write or edit at least five days a week. Not counting Pathwalking or Positivity. I have novels underway, and novels to be edited, and that requires discipline too. This will also be a part of the new goal log.

I do not believe I am striving for unattainable actions. I think the goals I am setting before myself are completely doable. Further, by making myself accountable, mostly to myself but also you, I believe I have the impetus to self-discipline and succeed even greater than I have before.

Thank you for continuing to be my companion as I walk these paths before me. It is my hope that my sharing of my own trials and my own successes and failures will help to show you that you are not alone in desiring to be the master of your own destiny, and that there are always options available to you.

What do you do to keep yourself on track with your own plans?

 

This is the two-hundred eighth entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life.  I share this journey as part of my personal desire to make a difference in this world along the way.

Thank you for joining me.  Feel free to re-blog and share.

The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available in print and for your Kindle.

Positivity: You Are Amazing

Who you are is pretty amazing.

It does not matter what job you have or what categories you place yourself into – you are amazing.

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Geek, jock, nerd, Gen-Xer, Millenial, man, woman, gay, straight, bi, trans, black, white, tall, short, fat, thin, American, Asian, Christian, Muslim…doesn’t matter, you are amazing.

We live on a planet with a rich diversity of ideas, of cultures, of traditions. We can communicate instantly across the globe with little or no effort. We can experience one another’s differences of opinion and idea and we can learn from one another too.

We get too focused on the negatives of our differences. The extremes, the minority that want to stir trouble and cause us to fear the differences between us. From utterly intangible differences like religion and nationality to the tangibles like skin color and gender a tiny group of very loud people want to divide us. Split us. They want to use the fear and anger over slights and differences to gain power and control that is utterly artificial.

When we begin to see how amazing each and every one of us is, no matter our perceived differences, we can build great things. We can create a world that can be full of hope and opportunity and peace.

The holiday season is an ultimate paradox. Greed and consumerism on one hand, peace love and joy on the other. Show love and affection for everyone around you, but buy all the toys! You have to spend the money to buy the joy, they try to tell us. I disagree.

There is no price in recognizing how amazing everyone is. But the value is incalculable. When we start to see what makes us each unique but similar we should celebrate that and learn from one another.

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Fear destroys. The loud minority loves to use fear because it gathers followers who might otherwise be more rational and thoughtful if their base concerns were not being played.

Who we are, each and every one of us, is something to take heart with. Shaming and tearing down generates only negativity. We need to build more positivity in this world and recognize the exceptional aspects of our diversity. Who you are is pretty amazing, and so are those around you, near and far.

Finding positivity is not hard, it just requires action. Knowing that who you are is an amazing person, you can also begin to look for and see the amazing in everyone else out there. When we acknowledge that we are all equal in our capacity to be amazing we empower ourselves. When we feel empowered, we often spread that feeling to others around us, and as such can build more positive feelings. We can use the positive feelings this generates to dissolve negative feelings. When we take away negative feelings, we open up space to let in positive feelings, and that is something we can be grateful for. Gratitude leads to happiness. Happiness is the ultimate positive attitude. Positive attitude begets positive energy, and that is always a good thing.

 

 

This is the ninety-ninth entry of my Positivity series.  It is my hope these weekly messages might help spread positive energies for everyone.  Feel free to share, re-blog and spread the positivity.

Pathwalking 207

Discipline for some does not come easily.

I have always had issues with disciplining myself. Whether it was my diet, my writing and editing time or anything else requiring focus and attention – I have regularly found it challenging to hold to what needs to happen to get where I want to go.

I have made a lot of effort in this department to address this problem. Acknowledging my lack of discipline is the first step, but admittedly there have been times I have not gotten beyond that.

Every year I talk about my dislike of New Years’ Resolutions. Resolve is all well and good, but it’s a somewhat weak and uncommitted act. I can resolve to do any number of things, but resolve is not action, it is idea. Action makes things happen.

Over the past several years now I have in place of resolutions taken actions. This is in fact why Pathwalking exists. My New Year’s Action back in 2011 was to start blogging more regularly, and from this emerged Pathwalking. Through regular blogging I was able to discipline myself to hold to the actions I started.

This is where I have found my discipline and stuck to my plan. As such, I began to work on choosing my own destiny. Yes there have been fits and starts and other issues along the way, but in the nearly four years I have been taking actions, instead of making resolutions, and blogging about my journey along my chosen paths, I believe my life has been far better.

At the end of 2012 I continued this practice, and the actions I chose were nearly identical to those I chose the year before. Where is it written that actions need to be different? Re-enforcement of actions can go a long ways towards getting you where you want to go.

Once again I think I have held to this discipline. I am not taking actions that are particular, they are frankly pretty broad. But I think when we force ourselves to act against our nature, as I think is the case of many a New Year’s Resolution, we are far less likely to succeed. I think that’s why selecting actions that are in no way insurmountable are a good idea.

I have continued taking steps to hold to my New Years’ Actions. From my desire to be more positive I created the Positivity post to this blog. Every week for nearly two years now I have been finding and discussing something to be positive about. Every Monday I look to this notion, and I believe that talking about and spreading positives helps to generate more in this world.

When it comes to the blogging I have found somewhere my discipline fully succeeds. This is the two hundred and seventh post in the Pathwalking series. Two hundred and seven weeks I have been holding to this discipline and Wednesday morning Pathwalking happens. There are weeks that this is easier to write than others. Sometimes these are created days and weeks in advance, and sometimes immediately before I post. Yet for almost four years I have held to this.

The point is while discipline comes hard to me, I can do it. Like anything that I wish to manifest it is a matter of thought, a matter of feeling, but most importantly it is a matter of action.

Discipline is another word for action. I can come up with any number of ideas. I can dream up all sorts of things I want to improve my life. I can feel these things out, I can work on the emotions necessary in their creation. But if I do not act, they will not come about. Action is discipline.

This is where I think resolutions fall short. Resolution is thought, and maybe the attachment of emotion. But it lacks the action needed to really bring about whatever change is sought.

I have taken New Years Actions that were somewhat vague. Granted the actions that resulted from them, such as this and Positivity were discipline on my part. There are other things I want to achieve that are less vague and more real which require more discipline, and thus more actions to achieve.

I can, as I have sought over the years, work on actions for expressing more gratitude, being more positive, finding ways to feel good instead of bad. The tougher actions are the more specific ones.

I want to get into better shape. Isn’t that one of the most cliché of the New Year’s Resolutions? What actions, what disciplines are needed to achieve this? Diet and exercise of course are the answer. It is here where my discipline truly does not come easily.

How do I better discipline myself to create and take necessary actions? That’s the question I am posing to myself. I have several goals that require actions, and I want to work on them and not just pay them lip service.

As the year comes to a close I want to work on bettering my discipline. Since I am arguing that discipline is an alternative to action, then I need to focus on what actions I need to take this year in order to get where I want to go.

Next week I will share with you my plans, and work out with you what actions I need to take in order to create the discipline I need to make them reality. I want to begin the coming New Year with more specific focus and specific goals in addition to my broader goals.

What do you do to find your discipline?

 

This is the two-hundred seventh entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life.  I share this journey as part of my personal desire to make a difference in this world along the way.

Thank you for joining me.  Feel free to re-blog and share.

The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available in print and for your Kindle.

Positivity: Anticipation

Anticipation can be exciting.

I am, for those of you who don’t know me, a huge fan of the Star Wars universe. This week Episode VII will be released. I cannot begin to express just how excited I am to be seeing this movie in a few days!

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The anticipation is nearly tangible. I feel positive, I feel excited, I feel a sense of joy akin to some of my best childhood memories.

No matter what the thing that causes this kind of anticipation, this is a huge positive. I love this feeling, it brings up nostalgia and excitement and numerous other positive emotions.

Anticipation for something that excites you is an amazing feeling. It is hugely positive, and there is nothing bad about having more to feel positive about in your life.

Yes, I recognize I may be disappointed. Let’s face it – the prequels were largely pretty unfortunate. I don’t care about this, however, because the sensation I am experiencing in my anticipation for this is hugely worthwhile, and I am happy to relish in how this makes me feel.

I know that sometimes anticipation is not a good thing. There is a negative type of anticipation too, the kind that makes you feel anxious, nervous, unhappy. But there are two sides to the coin that is anticipation, and I want to focus on the positive side and that particular set of sensations.

We can choose our emotions. We often forget this, we find ourselves neglecting this, but it is true none-the-less. When there is something that makes us feel good, why not give it more energy, more focus and attention? I don’t know about you, but I far prefer to feel good and positive than to feel bad and negative.

There are a finite number of things that make me feel this kind of anticipation. I don’t care that the reason is a possibly stupid movie which might be imperfect – I want to focus on the feeling I am feeling. I am excited, I am feeling joyous and happy. These are feelings I want more of, so I see no harm in diving deeper into them.

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There are too many things that make us feel trepidation, that make us concerned and anxious and unhappy. This type of anticipation is something that can create more positivity in our world, and I know I prefer that feeling to its opposites.

Finding positivity is not hard, it just requires action. Knowing that anticipation can generate all kinds of positive feelings, we should embrace it when we experience this. When we acknowledge the feelings of excitement and joy this sort of anticipation brings to life, we empower ourselves. When we feel empowered, we often spread that feeling to others around us, and as such can build more positive feelings. We can use the positive feelings this generates to dissolve negative feelings. When we take away negative feelings, we open up space to let in positive feelings, and that is something we can be grateful for. Gratitude leads to happiness. Happiness is the ultimate positive attitude. Positive attitude begets positive energy, and that is always a good thing.

 

This is the ninety-eighth entry of my Positivity series.  It is my hope these weekly messages might help spread positive energies for everyone.  Feel free to share, re-blog and spread the positivity.

Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II – Coming soon!

Despite my best efforts, the release of Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II has been slightly delayed.

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There is a very good reason for this delay. My editor took longer than expected with his edits, and I have to go through them before I release my work into the wild. My goal is to offer a quality product to you, my dear readers.

I don’t want to under or over-estimate how much time I will need, but I do hope I might put Finder out before the end of the year.

In the meantime – this being the holiday season and all – you might want to acquire a copy of Seeker: The Source Chronicles Book I for the reader(s) in your life.

 

Not to leave you with nothing – I am offering here a special sneak preview of Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II. If you ccroll down – you can enjoy Chapter 1!

 

Stay tuned for the completed novel soon!

 

THANK YOU!!

 

 

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Spoilers ahead – Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II Chapter 1!

 

 

 

Have you finished Seeker?

 

 

 

 

Ok, you have been duly warned.

 

 

Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II

Chapter 1

“Is there something I can do for you, m’lord?” he asked calmly, turning in his chair.

He had become acutely aware of the presence of the men from a few tables over, standing behind him now.

The burly man in the lead was huge, all chest and shoulders, over six feet tall. He had a round face, and nearly no hair atop his head. He looked hardened, was covered in grey dust from stonecutting, and wore a stupid grin on his lips. He was obviously drunk as he laughed raucously, and his friends joined him.

They took a step closer.

He continued to sit where he was, making no move at all.

“You’re a stranger to these parts, eh, friend?” asked the burly man, his speech only slightly slurred.

“That would be true enough. Just passing through.”

The man gestured to the sword belted at his side. “That’s a fancy piece of steel yer wearing, friend. Worth a pretty penny, eh?”

“It was a gift,” he remarked in an offhanded manner.

The big man laughed, and his friends joined him again. It was a wicked laugh, meant to cause discomfort.

“A fine ‘gift’ it is, friend,” remarked the burly man. “You a fighter of some sort? One of those pansy swordsmen? I bet you never knew a lick of hard work in yer life, huh?”

He reached for his tankard, affecting a complete lack of concern. “I’ve done my share of laborious work, m’lord. As pleasant as this conversation has been, why don’t you return to the table with your friends, and I’ll buy you all another round?”

With unexpected speed, the burly man knocked the tankard out of his hand. The stranger stood up quickly, turning and facing the much larger man.

“That was unnecessary, m’lord,” he stated calmly.

“And just what do you care to do about it, little man?” asked his assailant, squaring his shoulders.

He didn’t miss the man’s attempt to intimidate him.

“Burke, leave off!” interjected a woman’s voice.

Burke and his friends turned to look, as did he.

She reminded him immediately of one of his closest friends, with her bearing and commanding voice. Her hair was curly ringlets, dark brown, and pulled back into a thick pony tail that hung just below her shoulder blades. Her eyes were brown as well, and the skirt she wore was divided for riding.

He immediately thought her a bit out of place here.

“Stay out of this, Shiara, it doesn’t concern you,” remarked Burke.

She took a step forward. “I do not think you want Valdan banning you from the tavern once more, do you? Additionally, I’m sure Master Arnock does not want to hear about this sort of belligerence again, either.”

Burke growled, “If you weren’t a woman, I’d show you what for!”

“Go ahead, Burke. Care to beat me like you beat your wife, before she left?”

As Burke made to advanced on her, the stranger quickly put himself between them.

“It’s not very nice to assail a lady, m’lord Burke,” he said calmly, putting some menace in his tone.

Glancing back over his shoulder, the stranger noted that she had been preparing to grab a dagger from her belt. “Besides, I don’t think you want her gutting you in front of your friends.”

Burke glared at him. “You think I should be afraid of a woman? Do you plan to be her protector?”

The stranger turned his head and looked at the woman called Shiara, her arms crossed, head tilted just slightly to the left, looking between them. “I do not believe that any woman should be spoken to in that manner, m’lord. You should probably go now.”

“Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is, stranger?”

“Do you have some sort of wager in mind?” he asked, his tone even.

Burke chuckled evilly. “No wager. Fight me.”

“You don’t approve of swords,” he remarked.

The burly man threw back his head and laughed. “Real weapons, friend. Staffs.”

“I have a walking stick I suppose will do,” the stranger said, putting a note of discomfort into his voice.

Burke gestured with his head. “Outside. Now.”

“Alright, then. If that’s the way you want it.”

Burke laughed drunkenly once again and called to his friends, who went out the door with him.

The woman, Shiara, approached the stranger. “My lord, I do not think you know what you are in for. Burke has been regional quarterstaff champion in the New Year’s Planting Games for ten years. And he is a real killer.”

He looked to her, and noted her sincere concern. “I’ll have to be careful, then.”

Lord Valdan, a short, thin man with a well trimmed beard and brown hair was the owner of the King’s Highway Tavern and Alehouse. Lord Valdan wore a scowl on his face as he passed the six foot long walking staff to the stranger.

The stranger went out the door, Shiara at his side.

It was early in the spring, a few weeks into the new year. The grass around the tavern and the rolling fields was a light green, and coming back to life. The scant trees that were visible from time to time along the roadside were just beginning to return to bloom.

Burke and his friends waited. Burke’s staff was eight feet long, as opposed to his six footer.

Burke spun his quarterstaff lazily, as the stranger leaned upon his own walking stick affecting discomfort.

“You’re up for a beating, I hope,” remarked Burke. His friends burst into laughter.

The stranger made a show of removing his scabbard and blade, and offered them to Shiara. “My lady, if you would do me the honor of holding onto my sword?”

She accepted, but wore a concerned look. “Careful, my lord. He is very drunk. He is vicious when he is drunk.”

The stranger nodded his head in response, and stepped over towards his opponent, taking up what appeared to be an unpracticed stance.

The patrons and staff of the tavern joined them, watching uneasily. Burke was laughing as though he had not a care in the world, spinning his staff, making ready to assail his opponent.

“Are you prepared to fight, stranger?” the burly man asked, mocking.

“Aye,” he replied uneasily, making it clear that he was uncomfortable.

Burke put on a serious look, and took up a stance.

It was then that the stranger decided it was time to stop playing, and altered his own stance, obviously appearing far more competent and confident.

Burke didn’t miss this, and looked uneasy, but advanced with a growl, swinging.

The stranger ducked, and in a blur of motion, butted the end of his staff into the larger man’s gut.

As Burke grunted, the stranger smacked him in the side of the head with first one end of the staff, then came around and hit the other side. Finally, he spun his staff, butting it with deliberate force into Burke’s nose.

The big man’s eyes teared, rolled up into his head, and like a mighty tree he collapsed backwards onto the ground.

The stranger spun his staff easily, then paused in a ready stance, making certain the man did not stand again.

The patrons and the employees of the tavern cheered as he planted an end of his pole into the ground, and eyed Burke’s friends.

“Anyone else?” he asked.

Burke’s companions grunted, grumbling and shifting uneasily in his gaze.

“Why don’t you take your friend here, and give him a hand? He’s going to be very sore when he comes to, his nose is certainly broken, and the hangover he will awaken with will be rather awful.”

They advanced to pick up Burke, and as they reached him, the stranger took a step closer, thumping his staff on the ground to get their attention again.

“Tell your friend he should stop assailing travelers. You never know just what you’re up against…appearances can be deceiving.”

They nodded their heads and lifted Burke, carrying him to a cart beside the tavern. The burly man was already moaning as he was jostled.

The stranger watched them go, then went over to Shiara.

She still looked surprised, as he grinned at her. “Could I have my sword back, please, my lady?”

She nodded her head, handing back his weapon to him.

“My lord, I think you taught him a much-needed lesson in humility Burke will not soon forget. You were magnificent.”

“Thank you, my lady.”

She bowed her head formally to him. “So, stranger, you’ve had quite the afternoon. You have defended my honor, but I did not catch your name.”

He bowed slightly at his waist to her, as he’d been shown. For some reason, he decided to be formal. “I am Lord Cam Murtallan, my lady. And you are?”

“Lady Shiara Bornull.”

Cam took her hand, and gently kissed it.

“A pleasure to meet you, my lady,” he said.

She smiled again, blushing slightly. Cam was pleased to note he had indeed learned a thing or two over the past several years living and working among nobles.

“I think I should like to finish my meal,” he continued. “Would you care to join me?”

“I’d be delighted,” she replied.

Remembering the manners he had been taught, Cam offered her his arm, which she took. Together, they walked back into the tavern.

“My Lord Cam, my apologies,” stated Lord Valdan, bowing his head ashamedly. “I am so sorry you had to do that. I do not approve of those ruffians behavior, and I never know from day to day…”

“It’s alright, my lord,” replied Cam, interrupting him. “The exercise has only reinvigorated my appetite. Please, bring Lady Shiara here whatever she would like, and I’ll complete my meal. Hopefully, Burke and his friends have learned a lesson, and will be less trouble during their next visit.”

Lord Valdan uttered his thanks, and took Cam’s staff. Valdan nodded his head towards Shiara before departing. Cam noted the intense respect the innkeeper had for the lady as he led her back to his table.

They talked for hours, after Irvarra, the serving girl, brought Cam a new hot plate of food, a look of awe never leaving her face. Clearly, no one had been capable of putting the bully in his place until now.

The conversation was very simple, as Cam told of the political happenings on the next continent, often omitting details that were too personal, or that he was directly involved in.

Shiara was telling him about the local Duchy, and the political system of the nation of Vilcarr.

“The Duke, hereabouts, is inactive. He and his family were exiled here, after he plotted along with his son and another Duke to embezzle moneys from the royal treasury of King Arion,” she paused and took a drink of the ale she had before her. “As punishment, he was spared his life, but banished to the countryside.”

Her narrative took on another tone. “It was a stupid plot, that would never have worked, and he was a part of it based on bad advice from another Duke, who was executed for his part in the plan. No titles were stripped, but the Duke’s family could only tithe what they needed to survive.”

“Interesting,” remarked Cam, not missing the grief in her tone. He decided to broaden the scope of the topic. “A lot of intrigue in the court of King Arion?”

She shrugged. “From what I hear, no more than in any other royal presence, and all that was over ten years ago. Nowadays, he’s got far better control. He’d only been on the throne a few years at that time. He has made a lot of changes from the rule of his predecessor, his uncle.”

Cam nodded his head, making mental notes. He looked out the nearest window, and observed that night had come as they’d supped. “It’s getting late. I should offer to arrange to put you up here for the night, or at least escort you home.”

She grimaced a moment, but it turned into a grateful smile swiftly. “My home is not too far. I would be delighted to have an escort. That’s very gentlemanly of you to offer.”

Cam laughed, his mind flashing back only a few years. He gestured the tavern keeper over.

“I’d like to settle my bill, Lord Valdan.”

The innkeeper looked at Shiara a moment, and waved Cam off. “No, my lord, ‘tis on the house. You did me a service today by dealing with Burke and his companions. It’s the least I can do.”

Cam nodded his head gratefully. “I could not let a lady be so insulted, but I thank you Lord Valdan.” He placed down several silver pieces. “For your excellent service, and that of Irvarra.”

Lord Valdan bowed to Cam, then to Shiara. Cam retrieved his staff, and followed Shiara out.

They went towards the hitching post, and she unhitched a strong looking stallion. The night air was crisp, but not chill. The stars shone brightly.

“Where is your mount, Lord Cam?”

“I have none,” he replied. “I am in no hurry, and prefer my own feet.”

“Truly? Well, I do not think Fleetfoot here will mind if we walk,” Shiara concluded, gesturing to her horse.

“Very well,” replied Cam.

They set off down the road, Cam’s staff over his shoulder. The moons were giving off enough light to make visible the road immediately before them. They were silent, for a while. Cam cleared his throat.

“So. You’ve been exiled out here ten years, eh?”

She stopped abruptly, and turned. “What makes you think I am related to the Duke?”

Cam grinned slyly. “My Lady, one of my closest friends is a Queen. You carry yourself in a way that screams nobility. Am I mistaken?”

She sighed, then laughed lightly. “No. I should not have thought I would be able to keep it from you. Besides, you would have become suspicious when we reached the estate.”

“Too late to pass yourself off as a mere servant,” Cam concurred.

“Without a doubt,” remarked Shiara crisply.

“The Inn is a part of your Duchy, then?”

Shiara sighed. “Aye. Lord Valdan is a good man. Probably our finest tenant, really. He owns the inn, we own the land. His rent is terribly low. Part of the King’s orders, along with our exile.”

“Your father was exiled…but what about you?”

She sighed again, and Cam found the tone almost musical. “My father wanted his family together. So we were sent with him. The King was sympathetic to him, because I was twelve, my brother seventeen. My mother had died a year earlier, which devastated my father. Certainly the main reason he took such bad advice. She handled the finances – she was the brains of the family. My brother…well, he is another story.”

She shook her head, silent a moment longer. “My father died two years ago. He drank himself to death. My brother, by default, became the acting Duke. But he had fallen in with a crooked merchant, made some ludicrous and repugnant choices, and has been on the run ever since. So I remain here, managing my family affairs.”

Shiara looked at Cam. “So, you know who I am. You mentioned the political situation in Sharron and Medaelia, your association with the royalty there, but not your part in it. I know you have held back. So, tell me, how did you get involved in it all?”

Cam paused, collecting his thoughts. Perhaps the most valuable lesson he’d learned over the past several years was discretion. “It’s…complicated. I need to go back a ways to explain.”

Cam began his narrative. “When I was a boy, I watched the Medaelians invade Anaria. My father was killed in his field, my mother raped and beaten. We went to the capital in search of her family, but they, too, had been killed in the invasion. My mother died soon after, and I grew up alone on the streets of Aldara. There I learned to fight with a staff, to survive.”

Shiara chimed in. “Explains why Burke did not fare well against you. He had no chance.”

Cam grinned slyly. “I wasn’t worried, no.”

“So, you grew up an orphan in a war-torn land? How did you get out?”

Cam paused a moment. “I…became fascinated with tales of ancient cities, from before the Falling. I learned to read, and studied all kinds of books. I traveled all over the continent, for years, looking for artifacts and treasures. I made a mistake when I reached Sharron, and was imprisoned for it.”

“What kind of mistake?” Shiara asked.

“That is a lengthy story, for another time.” He let that hang a moment, then continued. “Meanwhile, Princess Lyrra-Sharron, over a misunderstanding, was leading a rebellion against her father. She and her rebels, to make a statement King Varlock-Sharron could not ignore, saved me from the noose. I joined them, for a time, recovering my strength until I figured out the truth of the misunderstanding…and sought out the King.”

“After he had sentenced you to death? That is bold. If not somewhat foolish,” remarked Shiara.

Cam laughed. “Aye. But the civil war would’ve let Wilnar-Medira tear Sharron apart. I wasn’t going to let that happen again. Not after what he did to my country.”

Cam paused, then continued. “I managed to convince Varlock-Sharron that he could end Lyrra-Sharron’s rebellion without further bloodshed. I went with the King to confront the princess…as it turned out, he was able to turn her from her course, and send her to Penkira, to deal with Wilnar-Medira personally.”

“As reward for my actions in ending the rebellion without bloodshed, I was raised to the nobility of both Sharron and Medaelia. I served as an advisor to both monarchs…until they felt the need to send me here, as an ambassador. Besides, I discovered things in their libraries that have led me to believe I may find some artifacts here.”

Shiara made an indelicate sound. “Doubtful, Lord Cam. When Pallantir overtook the Nortamian continent, he looted it most thoroughly, creating quite the private collection, rumored to be somewhere on the Estarian continent…if the scholars of Afpar’s universities are to be believed. There is little here, I suspect, for you to find.”

Cam nodded his head. “Perhaps. But much was lost after The Falling. Time will tell.”

They were silent a while, as they walked over a low hill, and began to approach a large and impressive estate before them.

The architecture was slightly different from what Cam was used to in Gara-Sharron, Penkira, and the towns and villages of Medaelia and Sharron. An estate such as this would normally be two or three stories tall, and almost certainly fenced in. By-and-large, it would also be constructed of wood and stone.

Shiara’s mansion had no fence, except near the stables, and was only a single story, though it covered a large expanse of land. Cam was also not used to seeing so much brick and stone, and so little wood in the construction. He still found it to be an impressive building.

They walked to the stables, where Shiara gave her horse to a handler waiting there. They continued together to the doors at the side of the home, where light poured out.

“Well, then, my lady, I have brought you home safely,” remarked Cam. He found he was feeling strangely unsure of himself.

“Indeed, Lord Cam.” She paused a moment, before continuing. “I do hope you will not take this the wrong way, but would you accept my hospitality, and spend the night here? There are plenty of spare bedrooms, and I can have the servants prepare one forthwith.”

Cam looked up at the stars. It would be a cold night, and they had traveled nearly a mile off the main road. Still, he was feeling awkward, but did his best not to let that show. “I would be glad to accept, my lady. In fact, I’d be a cad to refuse such an offer.”

She smiled, and gestured for Cam to follow her in.

Cam decided he had made his first friend in this foreign land. His personal mission would continue once his business with the King was complete.

*****

In a cave lit by an eerie blue light, they sat.

They were gathered in a circle, all wearing dark cloaks with hoods drawn up. Before them, a giant shimmering blue orb gave off a ghostly glow.

The twelve looked into the orb. Each had given of their power to create it. Each saw something different within the shimmering glow.

Sorcerers. Allowed to practice openly, they gathered together here, to share what knowledge they had, and to observe what they could. They lived apart from the rest of mankind. They lived, to their minds, above the rest.

Every one of these twelve felt a disturbance. Something was not right. Things across the world seemed amiss. Something unexplainable was afoot.

It all began over three years ago, when they sensed a shift in the energies that drove their powers.

Something of great consequence was at hand. Something was about to shake the very foundations of the world. And the sense of this was only growing stronger by the day.

The number assembled did not matter. Sometimes more, sometimes less, they came here. They would come to ponder, to observe, together, apart from those beneath them, who could not nor would not understand, the world around them.

They watched now, knowing something was happening. What it was, and how it would affect them, they could not be sure. But no one doubted that life on t’Thera was about to change.

 

Pathwalking 206

Sometimes you might be wrong.

Every choice we make will produce an effect of some sort. While we desire a good effect or a successful outcome – from time to time we won’t get it.

This is a perfectly normal and ok thing. Everybody makes mistakes. The key is what do you do with your mistakes?

Some people plod through. They continue along that path, despite its obvious problems. Tenacity can be a good thing, but it can also be problematic when you produce the same result over and over – and it is not the result you desire.

Some people get angry. They cast aspersions, start to place blame and look all around them for the faults and outside mechanisms that caused this to not work. They often continue blazing that trail, despite their being wrong.

Some people get depressed. They mope about, they blame themselves for their failings, and they become daunted and lost. They have no idea what to do, how to do it, and they feel bad. They get stuck believing that their being wrong is just a sign of their inabilities.

Some people recognize they were wrong. They realize that the path they were on is faulty, and they seek a means to correct and change it. They work in whatever way they can to find a new and more functional path, and strive to learn from that which they were wrong about.

I know which of these options I prefer. I also know which I have done and am inclined to do, and what is important is upon recognizing this correcting the thoughts, feelings and actions surrounding whatever it was I was wrong about.

It is unfortunately a very easy thing to be wrong and to fall into one of the traps.

What traps? The first is seeking the outside influences that made me wrong. The things beyond my control that caused me to be wrong.

The second is simply sticking to the thing I was wrong about, without an analysis of it. I hold onto this thing, whether its material or immaterial, and keep on pushing at it without trying to figure out why it is wrong and if it is something I should leave behind or move away from.

This brings me to the concept of wrong. Wrong says that I am mistaken, incorrect, and this might be about an opinion I hold, it might be an ability I think I possess, it might be a path I think I should be walking. Wrong takes a number of forms and can hold a number of meanings, and they are mostly different from person to person.

One of the most important things about the idea of wrong is that far more often than not it is a personal matter. While we often apply it to outside things, we frequently don’t recognize that it’s a perceptional matter.

Wrong is often paired with right. This can work, but a lot of the times this actually clouds the idea. These notions are not simply black and white, either/or. They are complex, and they are nuanced, and the balance of the scale is not necessarily these notions on opposite sides.

The thing about being wrong, whatever it is I am wrong about, is that it can be changed. It can be fixed, it can be altered. I can do something with it, I am not necessarily stuck with the wrong forever.

First there are the simple wrongs that are easily corrected. I chose the wrong jacket. Ok, then change jackets. I chose the wrong size coffee. Ok, get a different sized drink. I chose the wrong paint color. Repainting is a thing.

Next there are the wrongs that carry more weight and may require more effort to change. I chose the wrong path. Ok, I can analyze what was wrong with my path and move on. I chose the wrong career. Ok, I can examine this for content, figure out how to fix it and choose anew. I chose the wrong relationship. What’s wrong with it? Can it be fixed, or is it best to call it a day and to move on?

The most complicated matters of being wrong are the most personal. Opinions. Beliefs. Knowledge. When we learn we are wrong about a thing of this nature it can be particularly difficult to not berate ourselves, or to angrily or stubbornly defend our positions. Friendships shatter from these wrongs. Groups dig in and shout from the rooftops from this. Wars are waged over these matters of wrong.

Because wrong is so personal, and because it is so inevitable, how we handle it goes a long ways towards finding, choosing and walking our paths. When we recognize that sometimes we might be wrong, we can be more accepting of this and work more positively on necessary alterations.

We all make mistakes. We are not always perfect, we are not always right. And that is ok. Welcome to the human condition. Rather than allow yourself to be angry or depressed or any other negative emotion when you find you are wrong about whatever it is you are wrong about – learn from it. Accept it. Then let it go, and move forward.

You are not alone when it comes to being wrong sometimes. Knowing this, you can always find support to help deal with the matter, and then change it.

What do you do when you find you are wrong about something?

 

This is the two-hundred sixth entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life.  I share this journey as part of my personal desire to make a difference in this world along the way.

Thank you for joining me.  Feel free to re-blog and share.

The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available in print and for your Kindle.

Positivity: Little Things

Little things matter.

When the big picture is scary and undesirable, it is easy to neglect the small stuff, the little things in life that make it what it is.

Some of these things are tangible, some are not. The importance of them is of a magnitude we easily forget and do not recognize the significance of.

Why do little things matter? Because the big things do not evolve out of a vacuum. They begin as little things and grow.

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What are the little things? They are wide and varied, but the little things are thoughts, emotions and actions on a personal scale.

Do you smile or frown at other people? Do you go along with gossip or form your own opinion? Do you allow anger at the big things to permeate your thoughts during the day? Do you say thank you to the teller at the bank? Are you rude or pleasant to strangers?

These are little things. They seem inconsequential, and in the grand scheme of things unimportant. But that is not true. They are of immense consequence, and they are very important. If consciousness creates reality, then a small spark leads to a big bang.

We often look at these huge issues and feel helpless. I am nobody, I can do nothing to fix this. That’s not entirely true. We can help, but we have to take it from our own relatively small corner of the world. The little things have to change in order to change the big things.

The little things start with each and every one of us, and how we approach the world around us. If you start your day defeated and distraught, odds are it’s not going to get better. There is nothing from without that will help how life feels within.

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We have direct control over how we allow ourselves to feel. We have the ability to control how we act around others. If we choose negative things, and allow negativity to dominate the little things, we generate more. If, however, we choose positive things and allow positivity to dominate the little things we generate more. I know which I prefer to have more of in my life.

The little things matter. Consider that in your interactions with other people, and your own thoughts and feelings. Smile more. Express kindness. Show love. Be inspiring.

Finding positivity is not hard, it just requires action. Knowing that the big things are made of little things, we can be mindful of the little things, tangible and intangible that are in our lives. When we acknowledge the importance of the little things and be aware of and take control of them, we empower ourselves. When we feel empowered, we often spread that feeling to others around us, and as such can build more positive feelings. We can use the positive feelings this generates to dissolve negative feelings. When we take away negative feelings, we open up space to let in positive feelings, and that is something we can be grateful for. Gratitude leads to happiness. Happiness is the ultimate positive attitude. Positive attitude begets positive energy, and that is always a good thing.

 

This is the ninety-seventh entry of my Positivity series.  It is my hope these weekly messages might help spread positive energies for everyone.  Feel free to share, re-blog and spread the positivity.

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