The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Month: November 2016 (Page 1 of 2)

Pathwalking 257

It’s unhealthy to ignore the outside world completely.

We need to be aware of what is happening in the world.  While there is something to be said for the bliss of ignorance, knowledge IS power.

The problem is, it can be very hard to stay focused when you are inundated with a barrage of upsetting information.  How do you find and maintain a happy medium between knowing what’s going on, and being completely drowned in data?

The mistake I keep making is digging into stories, reading into Facebook and G+ posts, and really getting into the in-depth bits and pieces of certain news and reports that makes me feel sad or angry.  It seems like the world is overflowing in haters, greedy pigs, delusional sociopath narcissists, gullible fools and fear.  The word threat, whether to liberty, freedom, ideals or life itself is thrown out like an indefinite article.  And people are eating it up, sharing and complaining and preparing to stand against, and in some cases for, possible forthcoming injustices.

Consciousness creates reality.  I say this over and over again, in part simply to remind myself.  If we want to spend our lives in a struggle against opposing forces, this is how we create that.  Every time we take up a position of opposition, we are actually giving MORE energy to the things we DO NOT WANT.  Trouble is, the Universe only understands desires and passions, and does not differentiate between want and do not want.

We cannot leave these threats unanswered.  Maybe so, but can we stop standing against these things, and stand FOR their opposites?  Can we choose to throw our support to good things rather than our opposition to bad?  If we keep our focus on the things we do not want, the things are getting the focus, and low-and-behold, we keep getting more of them.

I created Pathwalking with the intent of seeking out and making my own way in this universe.  I prefer to make my own choices, to forge my own way in the world, and to seek things that make me feel good about my life.  In the current climate of the world-at-large, this is proving particularly difficult, in part because I want to still make my own way, but I also want to be ready to help my friends, my loved ones and the ideals I care about in whatever way I can.

I believe, and frequently state, that we are able to control how we feel.  While I know this to be true, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  When you are constantly blanketed in negativity, awash in the tide of fear and hate and anger and frustration and perceived insanities, controlling how YOU feel becomes particularly challenging.

Then, just to add insult to injury, it’s possible to feel guilty about this.  About what, you may ask?  About wanting to feel good, about taking care of yourself first, before you reach out to take care of others.  It is NOT selfish to care for yourself, in fact without self-care, we have nothing to give anyone else.  But particularly in the face of overwhelming concerns for the greater good and outside matters, it is hard to not feel self-care is actually selfish.  There are great big problems in the world, and if I do not address them I might as well just be contributing to them.

But the thing is, if you do not save anything for yourself, you have nothing really to give.  A car with no gas in the tank is still a car, but you’re not going to get anywhere without fuel.  You can be of no good to anyone else if you are of no good to yourself.

The question becomes, how do we take care of ourselves without being enveloped by the negativity and bad news in the world, while still remaining informed and prepared?  Truth be told, I really don’t know.  This has become a daily struggle for me, and then coupling it with a bit of seasonal depression it becomes that much tougher.  But here are the things I am employing at the moment:

Avoid digging too deeply into news.  There really is no need to read every in-depth article.  Now if it’s a topic I want to be knowledgeable about, that’s one thing, but if it’s just reading deeper into an already aggravating story, why bother?

Pause, meditate, breathe.  Just the other day I left work, and went to a nearby park.  I stood beside the river, listening to it run over the rocks, for just a little while, and that made me feel better.  We have to breathe, we have to pause, and when we can meditation calms the mind and enlivens the spirit.

Feel gratitude.  Even in the face of so many disheartening things, I have much to be grateful for.  From often overlooked things like breathing, hearing, seeing and smelling to possessions to people in our lives. FEELING grateful reminds us of the good things we all still have in our lives, right here, right now.

Get offline.  Step away from TV, radio and other media outlets.  It’s important to take time, every day, to get away from it all.  Doesn’t matter if you are alone or with friends, you need to have time to just be.  And not to be thinking about today’s world crisis.

It is important to stay informed, but equally important to not get drowned in negative information.  If we each strengthen our own resolve and come from places of our own good, we can do far more for the world at large.  I know this is not easy, but every day is new…and we deserve to not live them in misery, or fear, or any other negative emotions.

What keeps you in balance?

 

GOAL LOG – Week 47:

Diet:  Wrestling this back under my control this last week.  Getting better about tracking again.

Exercise: Two days at the gym last week.  Yeah, need to get back onto this bandwagon for multiple reasons.

Writing:  The three blogs got written.

Meditation:  I meditated two days last week, for 6 and 9 minutes or so, respectively.

Gratitude: I wrote three to six things I was grateful for every day last week.

 

This is the two-hundred fifty-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 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 here.

If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.

Positivity: We Are

Sometimes the most positive thing to face is that we are here.

We are alive.  We are breathing.  We have endless possibilities ahead of us for the day.

In the face of a whole lot of insanity from outside influences, the holiday season, or you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder; finding and maintaining positivity can be a particularly challenging idea.

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It may seem trite, but just being alive is a huge plus.  You are breathing.  You have the ability to read this post from your computer or phone or tablet.  You can make choices for your life, for your present and your future.  You are.

Just being, at times, is a total win.  You do not need a grand and glorious thing, you don’t need anything more substantial than acknowledging you just are.

You matter to me.  I may or may not know you, but I think it’s important that you know you DO matter to me.  Yeah, I write these for myself, but I share them because I think it’s hugely important to acknowledge that we are not alone.  We all are struggling, we are all making efforts to live the best lives we can, and we all are in this together, even when we disagree.

Today may be great, or it may be awful.  You may be coming off a weekend of extreme awesomeness or total and complete suckiness.  You may simply be going with whatever the universe gives you, day in, day out.  Whatever the case, you ARE, and that is hugely positive.  So things may be imperfect, and the outside world might look like an incredible dumpster fire – but we are able to find the good in the world, to be positive about the fact that we matter, and we can overcome anything.

We are here.  Whether people agree or disagree with our viewpoints, whatever our circumstances, we are here.  That means there is possibility, opportunity, and potential.  It may not feel like it, and you may be struggling to do all kinds of things….but you ARE.  That’s so amazingly positive that we can take tremendous comfort in acknowledging this.  Be grateful you have your life, and all sorts of options.

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I know there are many things that can be depressing going on out there. But we can change our focus away from that.  We are here.  That is spectacularly positive.

Finding positivity is not hard, it just requires action.  Knowing that there is massive positivity in simply being here, this is something we can work with every day.  When we are grateful for being, and we find the positive in our very existence, 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 one hundred forty-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.

In relation to Positivity, check out my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.

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Crossing the Bridges: Affirmations and Mantras

Last week I came up with a new mantra for my life and my goals:

The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.  I gain more than I lose when I act upon my dreams.  Fear is the mind killer, and I am not afraid.  Do or do not.  Remember that there is no spoon.

I have managed to memorize this, but truthfully it’s a tad long.

I believe that I have mentioned previously that I have hired a coach to work with me on figuring out how to move forward with my various goals and aspirations.  I like my job and my coworkers, but I really want my writing to be a greater source of income.  SO, as such we have been working on my approach to life and how I am handling certain things.

One thing she pointed out to me is that the above is not a mantra.  Why, I questioned?  She explained to me the meaning of mantra.

From the Sanskrit: the root, man, means “to think”, while the suffix, tra, which is designated as tools or instruments; ergo, mantra comes out to mean “instrument of thought”.  Mind you, there isn’t really a literal translation for mantra, but the concept is that it provides a focal point for the mind.

This is why om, when meditating, is a mantra.  You focus on the one point of thought to help connect you to source energy, and as such to clear the noise and chatter and achieve a greater sense of mindfulness.

Last week I delved into my fears.  Not just the things that I am fearful of, but really the root of my fears.  Why am I afraid of these things?  What consequences am I concerned with?  The conclusion I reached was that I am most afraid of suffering.  Suffering would be feeling disconnected, depressed, miserable, and a wide range of negative emotions.

My coach pointed out that what I had called my mantra was really more of an affirmation.  A lot of people look at affirmations as hooky-spooky new-age mumbo-jumbo BS.  Ok, I can see that take, but on the other side of the coin what harm is there in considering them?  Why not affirm positive ideas about the self to help get where you want to go in life?

One of the biggest issues I face is a lack of clarity.  I have this vague idea of just what I want to do, but at the same time I have a myriad of notions about what shape that should take.  Further, I was struggling for some time with this notion that I am not one, but two or three different writers, and how on earth do I rectify that?

One of the reasons I created this particular blog post was to address the various mixed aspects of my life.  Professional, personal, recreational, and all the different places my life goes.  I have a good job that occupies most of my weekdays, I write the blogs and works of fiction, I have the SCA and jobs I do in the medieval society, not to mention social time with friends and loved ones.  Bridging the gap between the three variations of my writing, however, has been a particular matter I have found needs more definition.

Fiction, self-help/philosophy, business/professional.  These are the three categories I write in.  My first love is fiction, since I began writing sci-fi and fantasy back when I was 9 years old.  Now I have been blogging self-help, holistic ideas and philosophy for nearly 5 years.  Writing professionally, whether it’s press releases, general informational materials, SEO, website content or what-have-you also is fulfilling.  Yet tying all of these together, and really getting at the heart of my love of the written word has still been challenging.

Working with my coach this week, however, we hit upon it.  She and I broke down just what it is I want as I strive to promote myself and my work further.  In doing so, I now have the idea of how I can combine all of my writing into a singular notion I can work with to take things where I want to go.

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Why do I want to write?  Because ideas, worlds, characters and a lot of what I think are cool ideas are in my head, and I need to get them out there.  Why do I want to share what I write?  Why is it important to me to make a living as a writer and eventually a speaker?  Because I want my ideas, whether fiction or non-fiction, to provide inspiration.  I want people reading my work, be it philosophical or fantastical or professional, to be inspired.  It doesn’t matter if they feel creative inspiration or self-awareness inspiration or professional inspiration, I want them to be inspired.  I want to empower the imagination, and I want to have a positive impact on people.

And that was the missing key.  What do I want from my writing, and why do I want to share it with the world?  Because I want to help people feel empowered, inspired, open to greater creativity and awareness and their own empowerment.  Even my works of fiction feature characters who are striving to improve their lives or find their paths or work out their own destinies.

All of my writing has the same end goal.  Thus, my new mantra has been born:

I am a successful writer who empowers people to be inspired.

At the end of the day, this is where I want to see my life be.  It is a statement made completely in the here-and-now, because living in the past or living for the future usually causes you to be stuck in the middle of nowhere.  I have made that mistake many times, and I am working with new tools to be stronger, happier, and maybe even wiser.

The challenge now is to live my mantra.  I need to absorb this notion completely into my being, and work with it to get where I want to go.

Life is a constant work-in-progress.  There is something new to be learned, new experiences to be had every single day.  I am psyched to see what all I can do with this.

Thank you for crossing the bridges between my worlds with me!

 

This is the ninth entry of my personal journey, the Crossing the Bridges series.  My collectively published writing can be found here.

Pathwalking 256

I will do what I have to do when and if the time comes.

In the meantime, I cannot live my life anticipating possibilities.  In especial, focusing on worst-case scenarios.  There’s a terrible idea – get fixated on awful, no good, scary things, and consciousness creates reality.

We are now living in particularly uncertain times.  We are witnessing an unprecedented situation in America due to our President-elect’s vast unpredictability, and his particularly vulgar, hate-spewing supporters (I am being specific here in regards to the KKK, neo-Nazis, various white-supremacists and other hate groups openly celebrating and feeling empowered).     There is an unbelievable amount of fear, concern, and hopelessness because no one knows if they’ll be interred, deported, lose their health benefits, retirement benefits, state aid, or be a victim of a hate crime.

A part of me feels guilty in continuing along my own path.  Shouldn’t I do something more?   Isn’t there something I can do to help people in this situation?  Is it totally selfish of me to continue as I’ve been?  Is it not more important that I seek to do something that will benefit others more than myself?

Well, the answer is yes and no.  Put simply, I cannot do anyone else any good if I am running on empty.  If I am not empowering myself how on earth can I empower or help anyone else?

These forces are all about disempowering us.  They want control, for themselves and a select few.  They want us fearful, powerless, and cowed.  They prefer us worried because in worrying we are more prone to chew on our fingernails and fret over what happens next rather than to take action of any kind.

Pathwalking is empowering myself.  I am making the necessary effort to expand my life and achieve my goals, the main one being to help inspire and empower others.

So while I may be feeling somewhat selfish in working on my own empowerment, I also recognize that if I do not empower myself, I can do very little for anyone else.  Coming from a place of strength and hope and positivity will produce vastly better results than coming from a place of weakness and fear and negativity.

Still difficult not to feel guilty about keeping focus on myself.  But this is not selfishness nor narcissism, this is working on my own self-love and self-respect, so that I can share that with others.

Despite all this uncertainty, for the most part life is unchanged.  In the world of social media and instantaneous information we are completely overwhelmed with a constant stream of negative information.  This terrible thing that awful business those atrocious people and so forth.  In the immediate here-and-now I still have to live today, and go to work and take various actions for my life experience.

There are actions we can take now.  We can express that we will be beacons of hope and light standing out from the darkness and despair.  We can call our Congresspeople and remind them that we are who they actually are supposed to be working for, and that we would really prefer they help us.  We can stand together, ignoring race and gender and sexual orientation and religion and skin color, and show them we will not be intimidated.  We can write blogs about finding our own empowerment, and show them we will not be victims.

I think to some degree our present matters are due to people living in the past, real or imagined, fearful of the future, uncomfortable with progress they think is leaving them behind.  But each and every one of us can be accountable for our own thoughts and feelings and actions, and we can choose to work in the here-and-now to empower ourselves, do what we can and be prepared without being intimidated.

I am grateful for my life.  I have fantastic friends and loves, a roof over my head, technology at my fingertips, abundance and stability.  If and when these things are threatened I will take action, but right here, right now, they just are.  Rather than allow myself to be swept up in the tide of negativity with my own negativity, I need to be empowered so that I can share that with you and everyone.

Empowerment of the self is in no way selfish, it is akin to weightlifting at the gym.  When you are empowered, you are stronger spiritually, and when your spirit is strong you can do more for yourself, and for those around you.  As such I can and must continue to walk my paths, because anything else would be denying my empowerment…and that’s precisely what they want.

It is not selfish to live in the now, and to be focused on things that will empower.  I encourage you to remain vigilant, but don’t get so caught up in the dark possibilities that you help collectively manifest them.  The anti should be met with the pro, negativity with positivity, hatred with love, disempowerment with empowerment.

Stay strong.  Stay grateful for what you have, but don’t deny what you are working towards for fear of uncertainty.  The future is not yet written, and we cannot live in it or be fearful of it.  We need to be stronger than that, we need to be empowered and to know that we can still choose our own way.

Here and now be prepared, but be present.  My paths are many, and in empowering myself to walk them so are the possibilities.

What are you doing for your own empowerment?

 

GOAL LOG – Week 46:

Diet:  I’ve gone a bit off the rails.  I am eating too much and more poorly.  Need to reign this back in.

Exercise: Fencing happened once last week, and I spent more-or-less a whole day on my feet as well.

Writing:  The three blogs got written.

Meditation:  I meditated only on 1 day last week, for 9 minutes.

Gratitude: I wrote five or six things I was grateful for two days last week.

I am striving to get back on this.

 

This is the two-hundred fifty-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 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 here.

If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.

Positivity: Hope for The Future

Like a lot of people I know, I have many concerns about the future.

Long buried ugliness has boiled back to the surface.  After decades of progress in equality and fairness no matter your race, creed or color…the lunatic fringe is feeling re-empowered to attempt to be dominant once again.

They may have gained a voice in politics and will work to alter public policy…but we can make all of their efforts a struggle.  They are NOT in the majority, I believe that the sane and rational are.  We need to stand up to this madness and remind the misdirected that progress is a good thing, and we are not a monochromatic nation.

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The thing is, maintaining positivity in the face of so much outright hate, incivility, rudeness and atrocious acts becoming common is a major challenge.  Watching the hateful and spiteful being given positions of authority is upsetting, maddening, and depressing.  It’s all too easy to lose hope, to hunker down and prepare for the worst, and to be afraid for the future.

But that’s exactly what they want.  If we give in to the sadness and sink into the fear, they have already won.  We don’t need the threat of foreign terrorists when our own leadership seeks to rule through fear.  They are working to build their power – either by riling up their base by playing on their fears of change, or by causing progressive thinkers to fear for the future of equality and stepping backwards.

It is imperative that we remain vigilant, and that we do whatever we can legally do to keep the worst case scenarios from becoming reality.  The thing is, we cannot do that by empowering them…we need to change our focus, and work instead on hope.

We need to act FOR the things we want, not AGAINST what we do not want.  We cannot put all of our attention on our worst nightmares, because doing that empowers them, and that is exactly what we wish to avoid.  We need to find hope where we can, to find positive actions that can be taken in order to resist the fear, and we need to work as hard as we can to make things better.

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I don’t know what form this will take.  I just know that if we meet hate with hate, anger with anger, negativity with negativity…we just foment more of it.  If we want something greater than that, if we want to keep from totally falling into the abyss of the hatemongers, we need to find positive actions of resistance, and give more reasoned reason for people to join in.

I have hope.  The future is not yet written.  Let’s strive to write a good one.

Finding positivity is not hard, it just requires action.  Knowing that the future has not occurred, we can strive to find positivity to work on building a better one.  When we work with hope instead of fear, 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 one hundred forty-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.

In relation to Positivity, check out my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.

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Crossing the Bridges: Fighting my Fear

What am I so afraid of?

This is the question that has haunted me for most of my life.  Unlike many of my fellow Americans who can point to this thing or that which they live in fear of, I fear a number of intangibles.

Since this is my more personal blog posting, let me get personal here.  I have been in and out of therapy for most of my life.  My parents divorced when I was 5, and this caused me to have any number of issues for which I have sought therapy over the last three decades.  I suffer from depression, and I currently use meditation and exercise to manage it, but have used medication and psychotherapy in the past.

Please note – I do NOT blame my parents for my issues.  Since I, and I alone am responsible for how I feel, it is up to me to cope with and work on what this amounts to.  I have numerous tools to employ for this purpose, so it’s up to me to employ them.

The result is that I identified some time ago that one of the great motivators and demotivators of my life has been fear.  Fear of totally intangible things, most specifically failure, success, acceptance and abandonment.

I have addressed fear a lot in my other blog posts, because fear is a tool frequently employed to control people.  Fear of semi-tangible things, like death, terrorism, taxes, eternal damnation and financial ruin have become the weapons of our societal leaders, whether government, corporate or religious, and that’s above and beyond individual matters.

Fear is an instinct.  Way, way back when we were living off the land as hunter/gatherers, fear was what kept us alive.  You didn’t face off against a nine-foot tall bear or a pack of wolves or a pride of lions.  But when we started to settle into communities and created cities and the like, we somehow transferred our fears to less tangible, more squirrelly matters.  Suddenly we became afraid for our security not from animal predators, but from those we deemed more powerful than us, many of whom we gave control of our wellbeing over to, whether real or perceived.  Or our fear was given over to abstract ideas whose meaning differs from person to person.

I have come to believe that, by-and-large, we are a disempowered people.  We live in a society that casts blame rather than takes accountability, constantly looks outside of ourselves for validation, and gives away control to others for our care and wellbeing.  We let society tell us that we need to lose weight, make more money, and live up to expected norms rather than seeking and doing things that make us individually happy and bring us joy.  We struggle to fit in, and then continue to question why we are struggling.

For the last five years I have worked to be empowered, and shared my process.  While a great many things have changed for me in that time, there is still more I want to do.  But I find no matter how much I fight it, I still struggle with the same point.  Fear.  Fear continues to slow my growth, and keeps me from breaking my bad habits and going where I really want to in this life.

What am I so afraid of?  Logically, I KNOW that failure, success, acceptance and abandonment are abstract concepts.  I KNOW that I alone can take control of my feelings, and find ways to obliterate my fear.  I KNOW that I can manifest the things I want, because I have done it before.  So what do I remain afraid of, so that I only ever seem to be able to get so far, and no further?

Realistically, it all comes down to the same thing.  Suffering.  I am afraid that I will be miserable, and I will suffer.  If I fail, I could be miserable in my failure, and I will suffer.  If I succeed, I could alienate loved ones with my success, and I will suffer.  If I show that I am not who people think I am, then I will cease to be accepted, and I will be miserable and suffer alone.  If I am abandoned by all of my readers, my friends and loved ones, I will suffer in misery.  All point to the same outcome – I am afraid of suffering.

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Of course, I also know that the fear of suffering is in all probability worse than the suffering itself could be.  Paulo Coelho, in The Alchemist, says, “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

We have all experienced this.  I have been worried that something was going to be awful, and I got all worked up about what was going to happen, and I had trouble eating and sleeping and concentrating.  Then, when the thing I feared actually happened, it paled in comparison to what I had worked it up to be in my head.  The fear of suffering was far, far worse than the suffering.

So this is what I need to work on.  I need to stop being afraid that if I fail, succeed, lose acceptance or get abandoned I will suffer terribly.  I need to let go of this fear, find a means to replace it, and to take bold, inspired actions to make my dreams my realities.

I already have the tools.  Meditation and exercise, writing and reading.  I need to use the tools more thoroughly, act more intentionally and not just resist the fear, but overcome it.  I need to come up with a mantra that will overwhelm my fear, and assist me in living this life as I most want to.

I have my usual quotes.  The Litany Against Fear from Dune, multiple Yodaisms, Buddhist sayings, and a few others.  But it’s time to blend them into a mantra I FEEL and memorize, and repeat over and over.

The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. I gain more than I lose when I act upon my dreams.  Fear is the mind killer, and I am not afraid.  Do or Do Not.  Remember that there is no spoon. 

Let’s see what I can do with this.  Thank you for crossing the bridges between my worlds with me!

 

This is the eighth entry of my personal journey, the Crossing the Bridges series.  My collectively published writing can be found here.

Pathwalking 255

What do you do when you reach a dead end on the path you’re traversing?

This doesn’t happen too often, but from time to time you may find that the path you are on has not only forked, but actually ended unexpectedly.

Why?  How does a chosen path simply come to an end?  The universe works in mysterious ways.  You get laid off from the job where you were seeking that promotion; or you wreck your knee and need to get surgery; or your house burns down; or some other, utterly unpredictable matter occurs and the path you were on becomes moot.

So what do you do?  What keeps you from giving up on trying to walk your chosen path and just giving in and letting life live you?

Perseverance is needed.  I have stated before that we have more than one path in this life.  Further, we are often on multiple paths at the same time.  Just because a chosen path has become a dead end doesn’t mean we should give up on Pathwalking.  It just means that we need to rethink our position and consider where to go from there.

Maybe the path you have chosen is too specific.  For example, that promotion at your job.  Yes, it may come with a big raise and more vacation time and other perks, but what if instead of focusing on that promotion you focused on the bigger picture.  A better job with more money and other perks.  When you limit the vision to narrow focus, like a promotion at your current job, instead of opening the way to wider possibility, you might inadvertently set yourself up to hit that dead end.

Change is scary.  Small changes are less scary, but still disconcerting.  We as a species are huge fans of comfort.  Soft clothes, warm rooms, the touch of loved ones, the old familiar things.  This is part of why we sometimes get caught up in a fervor for the past, in especial when we remember it as more perfect than it was, or even idealize it as something that we don’t realize never existed.

Thus when we reach a dead end, it’s tempting to retrace our steps.  The thing is, we need to always keep moving forward.  You can’t undo what is done, you can’t rebuild what has transpired in the past, you have to focus on the now and keep moving forward.

This is another reason why we might encounter a dead end:  We get so narrowly focused on the end result that we miss signs in the here and now.  This is almost literally ignoring the “detour” and “road closed ahead” signs along the path, until you reach that dead end and wonder how and why you got there.  If you had been more aware of your surroundings and the here-and-now, you may have been prepared to change your path, or to plan alternatives.

Rather than turn around and retrace our steps, it is best if we reach that dead end to pause.  Get clear on where you are, right at the moment of reaching that end.  Look for the positive in why this path is closed to you.  Figuratively, maybe there was a cliff because the bridge you intended to cross is out, and you might have walked right over the edge were it not a dead end.

Literally, maybe the company you have been working for is doing some less-than-legal things, and getting promoted and remaining there means you may have gone down with the ship when they were investigated by a federal agency.  Maybe damaging your knee now prevented you from a far more serious and irreparable injury.  Maybe the house may have burned to the ground in the middle of the night, with you and your family within it.

It is often hard to see the good in these situations, in especial when you were anticipating the win that was the end of the path.  Why did this happen to me?  How did I miss it?  You begin the rounds of remorse, self-recrimination, self-pity, and other negative feelings that of course don’t serve you.

It is very tempting to go back, retrace your steps, and try to figure out what went wrong.  I acknowledge that it’s healthy to analyze the how of your situation, but often we wind up backtracking, and possibly trying the same thing again, but from a slightly different angle.

If you find yourself at a dead end, you need to get as totally into the present as you can.  Focus on the here and now, focus on your breathing and your thoughts and feelings, and consider what you want.  Why did you choose this path?  What was the goal?  Was the goal too narrow?  Did you focus so tightly that you missed the signs?  What are your options?  What new paths can you choose to explore?

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that this is easier said than done.  We want to know and understand the how and the why of our dead-ended path.  This is not necessarily a bad thing to explore, but you need to avoid getting caught up in it to the exclusion of seeking and starting along a new path.

Last, but not least, let’s talk about the outside influences and the matters beyond our control.  We really only have control of our own individual lives.  I alone am accountable for my actions, my thoughts, and my feelings.  Though at times outside influences can “make” us do and feel and think things, we still choose to allow that.  The truth is that when all is said and done, this is wholly ours, and ours alone.

The dead end may be the result of an outside matter beyond my own control, but I, and I alone, can think about it, understand my feelings in regards to my situation, and take action to move beyond it.

There are ALWAYS paths available to us.  Sometimes they come easily, and sometimes they require more thought and exploration.  But we are never without options.

What will you do if your path comes to a dead end?

 

GOAL LOG – Week 45:

The goal log has not been maintained over the last week and a half or so.  I am remedying this currently.  Stay tuned.

 

This is the two-hundred fifty-fifth 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 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 here.

If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.

Positivity: Compassion Overcomes Fear

Compassion overcomes fear.

Following the results of last week’s election, a lot of people have become fearful for the future.  It is certainly understandable why, given the overall uncertainty and emboldened hate groups.

But it has also shown how compassionate, loving and dependable people can be.

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I have witnessed numerous people pledge to stand by those who most feel under threat.  I have seen countless examples of people offering to stand up and keep friends and loved ones safe and secure.

In the face of so much negativity, this is a much-needed dose of positivity.

Compassion for those who are afraid and reassurance that they will never be alone is massive positivity.  This is more powerful than the hate it stands against, and it is stronger than the fear both being used and felt by too many.

If we let the fear overwhelm us, we will find it impossible to overcome.  We need to support one another.  We need to be compassionate towards those who feel threatened and to work together with one another.  Working together will show those peddling hate and extremism and bigotry and racism and all this vast negativity that they will NOT disempower us.

Together, we are stronger than any group of small minded individuals, yearning for a world that never actually existed at all.  We are a nation of incredible diversity, be it in skin colors, points of origin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or what-have-you.

Those who have sought to divide and conquer cannot stand up to a united front.  When we are compassionate towards one another, when we work together through any differences we have, we can create positivity that will overcome the negativity, and we will have nothing to fear.

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Fear is only as powerful as we let it be.  Compassion is greater, stronger than fear.  Let’s use our compassion for one another and let that be the strength to build positivity to strive to make the world a better place, and keep the light shining to stave off the darkness.

Compassion is a force of positivity, and far more powerful than fear.

Finding positivity is not hard, it just requires action.  Knowing that our compassion for one another is more powerful than the hate people have for those who are different, we can work together to overcome the fear they monger.  When we come together, and compassionately work with one another to overcome that fear, we empower each other and 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 one hundred forty-sixth 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.

In relation to Positivity, check out my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.

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Crossing the Bridges: Planning and Doing

Sometimes I am far better at the planning than I am at the actual doing.

“Don’t plan the plan if you can’t follow through.”  – Dr. Horrible.

The thing about plans is that they are nothing but words.  Without action they are nothing but ideas.  I can plan until I am blue in the face, but unless I take action I have nothing but ideas here.

This is why I began to take New Year’s Actions, rather than resolutions.  What began as a once-weekly blog is almost five years old, and has been joined by two cousins.  I may not be writing as much fiction as I’d like to be, but I AM writing at least thrice a week.

Recently I began getting coaching.  My coach helps provide me with someone to check-in with, as well as some much needed direction and advice.  We’ve been discussing one of the means by which I can promote my writing, and increase sales – presentations.

I want to go to local small bookstores and libraries and maybe even coffee shops and bring a bunch of books to sell.  I want to talk about the craft, my journey, my fiction and non-fiction works alike, read some of what I have created, and then sign and sell books.  I don’t expect a huge boost in sales right away, but this will get me out there, get my name and my works out there, and start building things up.

Once I came to the notion that I am a writer, and that it doesn’t matter if I am writing non-fiction, fiction, copywriting, business writing or what-have-you, I established it was time to stop over-complicating things, call myself a writer, and move forward.

Ok, great, I have a better notion of who I am and how I wish to present.  I began to research and came up with a list of libraries, bookstores and coffee shops to reach out to and see if I can get in the door.

But rather than begin reaching out to anyone, I started to consider other plans.  How many places should I reach out to?  How many places do I want to hit before the end of the year?  How many copies of my books will I need?  Which books do I want to have with me to sign and sell?  What do I read from?  What about business cards?  Should I get an easel and create a posterboard to have as my background?

I have totally and completely gotten ahead of myself with all the planning.  Yes, most of these things need to be taken into consideration, but first I should maybe actually reach out to these venues and see how many are willing and able to accommodate me.

That, right there, is the elephant in the room.  I want to start putting all these bits and pieces together,  I want to plot these parts out and know what and how this will work…and I have yet to start the process of reaching out to the prospective venues.

How many can I get into before the end of the year?  Well, if I reach out to zero venues, I will successfully get myself into zero venues.  Success!

Or…maybe not.  Last I checked, zero plus zero equals zero.  Having nowhere to go to read and sign and sell books means I will not do any readings nor signings nor generate any sales.  Which means I don’t use this means to build up my presence and sales.

Action is required.  Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try.”  Substitute “try” with “plan”, and this is where I need to act.

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Why the inaction?  Good old fear, most probably.  Fear of failure, coupled with fear of success.  Fear of rejection.  An unreasonable fear of being told I am no good and my efforts at being a writer are wholly pointless.

What to do?  Action.  Enough with the planning, I need to get with the doing.

During my most recent coaching session, before we were done I had composed an e mail to the first library I want to present at.  Before the end of the day, they were the first I reached out to.

Further planning can come when I have an idea of what venues will have me, when they will have me, and so on.  I can put the rest of this together when I have somewhere to be, planning for it now is totally putting the cart before the horse.

I won’t deny that sometimes you need to have a plan before you can act.  For me it’s about finding the balance between planning, overplanning, action and inaction.  If I want to take my writing to the next level, I have to take the necessary actions to make it so.

Manifesting dreams into realities requires the right blend of thought, feeling and action.  Planning is thinking.  I can take that to feeling what it will be like to be there at that bookstore or library, reading to an appreciative audience, answering questions, then signing books.  But to make it happen I need to take action, and that means communicating with the venues.

Planning is complete.  I have thought it through.  I have been feeling it over.  Action starts now.

Thank you for crossing the bridges between my worlds with me!

 

This is the seventh entry of my personal journey, the Crossing the Bridges series.  My collectively published writing can be found here.

Thoughts on the results of this election

What happens next?

Accept what has happened, go passive and wait to see what happens next?  No.  It is because we have been too passive that the bigots, the racists, misogynists and homophobes now feel empowered.  Every time they march, we need to counter-march.  Every time they spew hate, we need to spew reason and love.  Because we were passive they think they now have a voice.  We can no longer be passive, we need to take the fight right to them, and get in their faces just as much as they have gotten in ours.

There are people we cannot reach.  They will shout down all reason, spouting platitudes from a lack of research and knowledge.  But further isolating them and allowing them to shout unanswered will not do anything.  They think that by repeatedly spouting their hate and their closed-mindedness we’ll roll over for them…but no, we need to calmly reply until they go hoarse and cannot speak but listen.  We need to show them that hate is not greater than reason.

Assume the worst?  No.  Look, Trump used deplorable means to win, but now that he has it IS possible he will not be the worst.  I am not saying we can be passive here, either…and we need to REALLY keep our eye on Congress…but before we climb into our bunkers and prepare for the end, let’s work to change the conversation.

We have TWO YEARS to change Congress.  THEY are the lawmakers.  They are the ones who will take away the hard-earned rights of the people we love, the health insurance we desperately need, and harm the environment in the name of the almighty dollar.  We need to find people NOW we can put out there, who can raise the funds needed to compete and who actually represent change.  We need to start that ball rolling IMMEDIATELY if we want to take back control from these spineless politicians who care for nothing but their power.

Be active, not passive, in your actions.  I know this could get risky, the armed and ignorant may get violent, but we need to stand up to the bullies and show them THEY are the minority, and they may be loud, but they are few, and they cannot disempower us.

I am a white cis male (and being Jewish in this situation seems not to make me part of the targeted).  I will stand with and for ALL of my friends, no matter skin color, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc.  I will stand by your side and support you in whatever ways I can.

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