Unofficial Guest Post (or perhaps a Guest Link?)

I woke up late today and I was going to hammer down a post before it got any later.

But then Chuck Wendig over at Terribleminds.com answered a question I asked him via Tumblr and really it’s better than anything I can come up with today.

So get over there for your daily dose of blog wisdom if you haven’t already.

 

Chuck Wendig Exhorts You To Care Less.

 

Can’t really put it any better than that.

Advertisements

Short Break

Goodbye, Puerto Rico

 

 

I’m moving to Georgia on Tuesday and I have lots of stuff to do, so I’ll be on a short break till July 22nd while I finish last minute touches here and get situated over there.

Today I had planned a post about What Avatar The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra Taught Me about  storytelling, but it was long and messy and I want to do it right, but ran out of time.

So instead I share you other blogs and articles that are awesome!

 

This article shows how its actually true that being in the moment and enjoying the journey is much beneficial than focusing on the destination:  How Goals and Good Intentions Can Hold Us Back

Everything at Terribleminds.com is just pure awesomeness and today it’s interview day with Lisa Cron, author for Wired For Story which teaches storytelling using science! Lisa Cron: The Terribleminds Interview

Also, everything at The Art of Non-Conformity is great too. Here’s a blog post about taking responsibility for making decisions about your life. This blog and his books started me on my path of really taking my life into my own hands: How to Make Decisions

 

There. Go. Read. Play.

See you next week!

One More Reminder

 

As I grew up, a big problem I faced (though didn’t realize till much later) was that almost all my goals weren’t mine. They were my mother’s. I just wanted to do whatever she wanted me to do. True, I had hobbies, but I didn’t even consider them as a career option till my mother mentioned it, and even then I still ended up enlisted in the Air Force.

But still, I was lucky.

I always knew I wanted to tell stories and more specifically, make or write movies. I loved them and wanted to be part of that world, even if I ignored and neglected that desire.

For others, it’s not that easy. I had friends who had no clue what they wanted to do or be. Even my brother still doesn’t know what he wants to do for a living and has little to no hobbies.

It has become a challenge for some people to discern what their true personal desires are and what their family or society desire for them.

When choosing a goal to accomplish, a new life to create, it’s always better to listen to the gut rather than the brain.

How does it make you feel rather than what is the more logical choice. Because even if a choice may give you money and safety and security, it won’t matter if you’re not happy and worried that you will lose said money and safety and security, or if you even don’t want it anymore because you’re so miserable with the way things are.

Balance is always the aim, but if I had choose between being rich, unhappy and frustrated, and being penniless, happy and fulfilled, I’d chose happiness.

But I suppose people are rarely happy and fulfilled while being penniless. So indeed, balance is the goal.

This isn’t really anything new. We’ve all seen the desktop wallpapers, the bookmarks, the motivational posters, etc. But how many actually follow the advice? Who actually dares to live a life of non-conformity and passion rather than a life of safety and comfort zones?

Not many.

Maybe it just takes one more time. One more message. One more reminder to live your life on your own terms, and never give in to fear. That you can. That it’s possible, despite how scary that seems.

It’s good practice to discover and follow your dreams.

Never believe or act otherwise.

What’s your dream? What are you doing today that will take you closer to its fulfillment?

 

Bridges

 

And we’re back.

So we got Awareness, We got Faith or Confidence, We got our goal. We’re affirming and visualizing and taking action.

So where’s our stuff?

You know how a very popular metaphor for life is that it’s a journey? I think that is a very accurate metaphor.

When it comes to having a goal and setting out to achieve it, it’s very much like a journey from here to there. It’s easy to assume that with all the stuff I’ve been talking, this means a quicker if not instantaneous arrival at our destination.

But that’s not how a journey works. In order to get here from there, you have to actually travel there.

You may start on foot. But then on your way you find a faster mode of transportation, like a bicycle, a horse, a car or even a spaceship. These are opportunities. They can carry you on your way faster.

But while opportunities can take you to your goal faster, obstacles can slow you down.

But obstacles or setbacks shouldn’t be seen as negative.

I see them as Bridges. Some bridges are safe, tall and made out of stone (like going to college), and some are narrow and rickety and dangerous (like starting a risky business venture).

Some bridges you can see in the distance, like on a map of life, and you can choose from several options which to cross. But as you get on your way and reach the unmapped parts of life, new unexpected bridges turn up on the path. These can be extremely scary and challenging bridges.

Some bridges will have brick walls set right in the middle that you have to somehow climb over or blast your way through in order to continue.

Other bridges may break as you’re halfway across and plunge you into unknown and scary territory.

But I don’t see bridges (obstacles) as bad.

Think of Lord of the Rings. Would it have been any fun at all if the road to Mordor was a walk in a park? If Gandalf somehow knew a teleportation spell that took them directly to Mount Doom in a second? Would that had been a very good movie?

Would you really appreciate a goal if it just fell in your lap? If you just instantaneously teleported to the other side?

Bridges (or mountains or whatever metaphor speaks to you) are what make the Journey (Life) worth it. This is the fun stuff. The being alive part. This is where you live, where you use and enjoy your mind and body. Where you think and feel and act and appreciate.

This is where I used to get stuck. I make goals, affirm them and look at the bridges from afar.

I never dared to walk across them.

Not anymore.

What bridges do you need to cross to get to where you want to go? Are you avoiding them or boldly walking forward?

 

Faith and Confidence

 

Okay, so we got action and awareness. What now?

Then it’s pretty much like it says in The Secret and every book and article out there about the law of attraction.

It’s affirmations and visualization time!

But wait, didn’t I say those didn’t work?

Don’t twist my words, imaginary-skeptic-I-invented-in-my-head. Affirmations and visualizations are useful tools in creating faith, which is what I want to talk about today.

Faith…is a tricky word and a tricky subject.

Religion seems to have gotten a copyright on the term. Most likely, you hear the word faith and you think of religion. You think of God. And if you’re a skeptic or a nonchristian like me, you might think “bullshit.”

When I was young, I hated the idea of faith because to me it sounded like blindly following something without asking important questions or simply not expecting the question to be answered and be okay with that.

I was not okay with that.

I used to akin faith with stupidity and ignorance and a way religion manipulates people to stick with them even when they made no sense and provided no real benefit for the believer.

What’s sad is that definition is still kinda true, even though there are other, better definitions for the word.

But since there’s so much baggage, it’ll probably be easier to explain my definition of faith by changing the word entirely.

When I think of or use the word Faith, I really mean Confidence.

Having faith is the same as having confidence that whatever it is you want to happen, will happen as long as you take action.

This is key in creating the life you want and where affirmations and visualization come in.

Affirmations, if you didn’t know, are basically short, positive statements of something you want as if you already have it.

“I am a success.”

“I am wealthy.”

And so forth. Visualizations are basically mentally creating a picture or movie of what that would look like if it were true.

You would daydream, see how life would be like if you were wealthy, or were in a great romantic relationship, etc.

Now, of course we’ve all done this. I was an expert daydreamer growing up because I hated my life. I used my imagination as a means of escape. So why didn’t I have a better life if I was visualizing so much?

Well for one, not all that I imagined were puppies and kittens and flowers and hearts.

Second, I knew it was all in my head. It was imaginary. I had no confidence that any of this was going to happen. It was just a fantasy.

The trick is to use affirmations and visualizations to convince yourself that “Yes, this is not only possible, but it’s waiting for me. It’s an inevitability.”

After a while, you’re suddenly gifted with this superhuman level of confidence (faith) that all you need to do is make a plan and take action — any action — and the path will appear and everything will work out.

This is how faith works.

Your brain will not see any other option and if you’re confident enough (have enough faith), you won’t stop if there is a setback or an obstacle in the way. Your brain will just look for a way over the roadblock or search for a new path…as long as you keep faith that you are who you say you are in your affirmations and beliefs.

But the most beautiful part of faith is that it takes fear away. And fear is the #1 reason people don’t achieve their dreams. They don’t even go for it. I know I didn’t.

Fear is the opposite of Faith. Fear holds you back, faith propels you forward.

Yet writing affirmations isn’t enough if you don’t believe it. Most likely you have negative thoughts that pop up when you write an affirmation that neutralizes the effect of the positive statement.

Best course of action to do when this happens is, not resist and just plow on ahead, but actually write out the negative thought. Make it conscious. Get awareness.

A negative thought is really just a negative affirmation. The trick is to change the thought to something more resourceful and affirmations are a tool to do that.

What I’m explaining here — faith and confidence — is something we do ALL THE TIME.

This is how we live our lives.

The only real difference between someone who’s happy and someone who is unhappy is where their confidence lies.

A happy person is someone who has confidence that they are a resourceful, wonderful person and are or will be fulfilled in every aspect of their life or something of the like.

An unhappy person is someone who has confidence that they are a horrible person or everyone around them are horrible and their lives are horrible and nothing will ever go right or something of the like.

Conscious living is about becoming aware of this, stop living on autopilot, and take the wheel.

Another thing to remember is that…while it’s true that the environment you live in will affect you, it’s up to you in what way it will affect you.

I know a good argument someone can make about all this is: “How can I believe I’m wealthy when there is literally nothing in my bank account? You can see the ZERO with your physical eyes. How can you ignore that plain obvious fact?”

My only counter argument  would be…you don’t ignore it, but you don’t let it make you feel less wealthy.

I have an affirmation. “I am living a life of luxury.”

I literally have nothing in my bank account.

And yet, I actually feel like I am living a life of luxury.

Well, for one, I actually am.

I live in a first world country. I have a pack of 24 bottles of water in my fridge (which only cost me $3). My thirst is quenched in minutes. I have beautiful cut flowers sitting on my table ($5) . I live on a beautiful tropical island (for all its flaws, Puerto Rico is gorgeous). What is the difference between what I’m experiencing right now than what I would experience if I had a million dollars and was staying at a 4-star hotel?

Not much.

When compared to people living in Africa or on the streets, I have it MADE.

I feel more wealthy now than I did when I ACTUALLY HAD MONEY.

But the best part isn’t even the physical objects I possess, but rather my potential.

I am confident I have the skills needed to create actual monetary wealth and if I don’t, I am confident have the intelligence and resources to get the skills needed. If I don’t have money for college, I’ll learn online for free. Don’t have internet? I’ll walk to the library. Don’t have a library? I’ll just figure it out on my own and learn as I do it.

(Luckily, my dream isn’t to become a doctor or a lawyer, but if it was, my approach would be different and I’d still probably be able to do it).

As long as I keep moving forward, take action and remain confident, I’m pretty sure it’ll work out. There’s no reason it shouldn’t.

If I can do this, if I can get this level of confidence, anyone can…which is the point of these posts.

Anyone can do what I am writing here.

I am living proof.

(And for the record, I do believe in God, but have a different definition than what is commonly known. But I also believe that having faith in a higher power is beneficial as long as you realize that higher power is working with and through you and not separately).

Awareness

Day 2 of Spiritual Week (That’s what I’ve just decided to call these).

When I first started this path, I fell for the magic trap I explained in yesterday’s post. I took The Secret literally because I was desperate and willing to try anything. So I tried everything The Secret said, but like I said before, the documentary was lacking crucial info.

Years later, when I figured out that this wasn’t magic and I actually had to change my behavior as I also changed my thoughts, my life still hadn’t changed very much. In fact, real change didn’t really set in till earlier this year.

So why did it take so long?

One word. Awareness.

Since I watched The Secret, I looked up each spiritual teacher in the movie who really spoke to me. One of them was Bill Harris, who created Centerpointe and their main product, Holosync.

Like i said, back then I was desperate. I bought Holosync without really understanding what it was. Bill Harris promised that this product would get rid of my depression, anxiety and make me smarter. It wasn’t all baseless. He had an encyclopedia explaining the science behind the technology. But I didn’t bother to read any of it. On complete faith, I bought this rather expensive at the time product with faith that it’ll work.

Luckily, it did. But how?

In a nutshell, Holosync is a series of CDs you listen to that puts your brain into a state of deep meditation. The difference between Holosync and traditional meditation is that the music does all the work for you. Also, Bill Harris claims it produces faster results and greater benefits.

Since I never had the patience to even try traditional meditation, I’ll never know. But I’m happy with my results.

So what does this have to do with awareness?

Meditation gives you awareness. Holosync gave me awareness.

What do I mean by awareness and why it’s so important?

Well, what does the term conscious living mean? It means living consciously. Almost everyone is living unconsciously. People everywhere have thoughts that are completely automatic. Some have thoughts without even realizing they’re thinking.

Thinking has become like breathing — automatic and unconscious.

Awareness is exactly that. Being aware of your thoughts, of your feelings, of your behavior as you think the thoughts, have the feeling and do the behavior.

Just watch what you do as you’re doing it. Half the time (or more) most people aren’t even aware of what they are doing till after the fact. By doing all of this unconsciously, it seems out of your control. And that leads to anxiety and depression when the thoughts you have and the things you do have a negative impact on your life.

If you believe you can’t change, you’re doomed. There are no options. It seems hopeless.

But by being aware that you can change your thoughts and behavior and thus your life, there is hope.

What’s even better is that simple awareness can be enough. Simply being aware of how a thought can make you feel and how an action can create discord in your life can be enough for you to simply stop thinking that way and create another belief, or drop the behavior and act differently.

Once you realize you’re not your thoughts and your behavior is completely under your control, you’re free.

But it’s an experience, not knowledge. Someone can tell you the theory, but unless you actually look and see the truth, you won’t see any change.

So even though I knew the theory behind conscious living, I still couldn’t put it into practice because I was still thinking and behaving unconsciously.

But after six years of Holosync, I can watch my thoughts as I have them and think better ones. I can see the direct and immediate affect of those thoughts on my emotions and body. I can even catch myself practicing a bad habit and simply stop.

I once struggled to keep my house clean. Now it’s a piece of cake. It’s truly amazing.

I recommend Holosync for everyone. If I were ruler of the world, I’d make it mandatory. I’d broadcast it on nightly radio or tv. I’d put it in schools. Though the technology is based on science, the results seem like pure magic.

And if not Holosync, then meditate and if that’s too difficult, then practice the art of watching your thoughts and actions without judgment, like noticing the wonder of nature without condemnation or pride.

It just is.

And that is awareness.

Has anyone else have experience with meditation? Have you noticed how your thoughts go on autopilot?

 

 

It’s Magic! (Not Really)

Today is my first day without my job. It’s weird, cause it shouldn’t be a big deal. But it is. Despite the fact it was less than 30 hours a week, I felt trapped. Now suddenly without it, I feel incredibly free to do absolutely whatever it is I really want to do. I know this is mostly psychological phenomenon. It’s all in my head. But I may as well use it regardless.

I want to talk about the reason The Law of Attraction gets such a bad rap.

The reason is rather obvious. It’s too good to be true, it’s magical thinking and magic doesn’t really exist, etc.

The documentary The Secret really made this easy the moment they showed a segment where you see an Asian kid (supposedly Aladdin) rubbing a lamp, which summons a large genie that appears in the sky, and having this genie say “Your wish is my command” and use this as a metaphor for The Law of Attraction.

 

 

While cool and entertaining, it’s a very poor metaphor.

If I were to create a better metaphor for the idea of the law of attraction and conscious living and “ask and you will receive” mentality and all of that, it’d be more like…

You are the genie.

Whoa, hooold on. That sounds even worse.

But wait. I’m not done.

You are the genie living in a world that you created with billion other genies, which you share this world with. Now I’m not talking about the trees and grass and the sky, and the actual physical world. But we did create the human experience we know today. We created the concept of money, of success, of marriage, and etc and the means to get these things.

I think a lot of people forget this. I know I forgot or rather didn’t realize this obvious fact when I was growing up.

Now what conscious living and the law of attraction and everything else means is that you can become in sync with this world that came from us.

You see people do this all the time. The successful ones, the happy people living their lives as they see fit. Sure they have setbacks and obstacles and not everything turns out exactly the way they wanted it to, but the general idea: wealth, security and joy they experience on a daily basis, regardless of the details, and they’re the ones who made it happen.

It’s not wishful thinking. But it’s not will power either.

It’s the combination and harmony of mind, body and environment..

These three things working together to create and attract the opportunities and basically the life you want. Everyone in the world is doing this right now, but for the most part unconsciously. The whole idea of conscious living is to live consciously, to see how you create your life and to actually create it in the way you want it to be rather than randomly.

Life doesn’t have to be completely random.

And it doesn’t have to be completely impossible to achieve this sort of harmonious living.

Actually the key is simple. The key is awareness.

But lets get back on topic.

The most important part is that it’s not magic and it’s not just writing affirmation in a journal and daydreaming about the success you wish to have as if you already have it.

Those are just tools to get your mind in the right place.

This is crucial, but it doesn’t work by itself. Nothing will happen if you actually don’t move your body and get out in the world and create.

We’re genies that grant our own wishes using our feet and hands and mouths.

This is very obvious. But then what stops us? The mind part. The supposedly magic part of The Secret. It’s the hardest part and probably the reason that movie focused so much on it. Because the body will refuse to do anything if the mind is against it.

But if you get the mind in the right place. And then the body to act….

It will be like magic.

The Truth Shouldn’t Be A Secret (and it isn’t).

 

 

Six years ago, lonely and depressed, I saw The Secret.

For those who don’t know, it was a documentary and book about the Law of Attraction, which basically means you create your daily experience in the world with your thoughts. It was rather popular…and notorious.

People either hated it with a passion or loved it with a passion. Both are exaggerations.

The Secret changed my life. I am very grateful for it.

But it’s full of flaws. The biggest one is that it lacks crucial information on actually effectively doing what the movie is saying you can do. I have a suspicion that the great majority who watched the movie and tried to use the information without actually reading further into the concept got very little results if any at all.

But the movie is great because it filled me with thoughts I never had before. Does this work? Is this true? Is this possible?

My biggest motivation was the fact it claimed I could be anything I wanted to be regardless of my situation, which fit perfectly with my childhood belief I mentioned yesterday.

So I went to work. I read books, I watched movies, I bought Holosync and began meditating every day.

Some things stuck, other things I dropped — Abraham Hicks’ books for one, I feel they focus way too much on visualization and not enough on action.

I learned a great deal and spent a whole lot of money.

I read Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch and for the first time in my life I had a definition for God I could actually believe in.

I thought I reached a plateau in my study (pfft!) until I listened to The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and was blown away again.

But there was a problem with all this stuff.

Despite the fact it’s all saying the exact same thing in just a different way, it’s hard for the mind to grasp. It’s very easy to over think it. They over complicate the truth, which should be a simple and obvious thing.

It’s explained either too scientifically (What The Bleep Do We Know?!), too spiritually (Conversations with God), or too shallowly (The Secret).

This is all fine if you like that sort of thing. I love all of the above. But I noticed there’s a lot of extra stuff that isn’t needed. A lot of stuff that just gets in the way to the point of it all — getting the most out of life.

So when you scrap off all the excess stuff, all the useless details and just get straight to the core truth that ALL of these points of views share, what do we get?

You’re about to find out.

I know this is originally a blog about writing and storytelling, and there will still be posts on that.

Think of this as a special 2 week event with perhaps the occasional extra unrelated post.

But first, I’m curious. To my extremely amazing readers out there, what experience do you have with this sort of thing? Are you skeptical, a believer or at least open to the idea?

In other words, do you actually want to hear me talk about this for two weeks straight or not?

I’ll leave you now with a full list of all the stuff I read/watched over the course of the last six years, which more or less, say the exact same thing down in this core. I apologize. This list is TINY compared to what’s out there.

The Secret
What The Bleep Do We Know?!
The Prospering Power of Love by Catherine Ponder
Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch
Communion with God by Neale Donald Walsch
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks
Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks
The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman (I actually only saw the movie, but I’ll get around to the book).
Personal Power 2 by Tony Robbins (this is actually a 30 day audio success program which I highly recommend).
.

New Horizons

 

I’m writing as I sit waiting to board my flight to Tampa to later board a flight to Georgia, where I’m to meet relatives for the first time.

I’m a bit nervous and excited at the same time.

It reminds me of when I have the first inspiring idea of an unfolding story that I knew had the potential to be great. I’m excited because I love the story and the characters and can’t wait to delve deeper in this world. But I’m also nervous that I’m not up to the challenge. I’m nervous that it’s not as good as I think it is.

In other words, I’m afraid of failure.

I’ve been told by others (and most likely gave this advice myself) that you need to embrace failure. Without the risk of failure, you really can’t achieve anything. I wouldn’t be where I am, heading off to meet my wonderful family I didn’t know existed.

But embracing failure it like saying embracing pain and though this is still good advice, it’s kind of hard to swallow.

It would be much easier to understand if we take failure out of the picture all together.

When I feel nervous and, instead of reacting to the emotion, I watch myself be nervous and be in the present moment, my mind becomes quiet. There are no thoughts or opinions going on in my head about my nervousness or what I was doing. I was just simply aware without thought what I was doing.

When I do that, my nervousness disappears because the idea of failure never happens. I’ve taken failure out of the equation all together.

I wonder if the distinction between writers who write and those procrastinate is simply that writers who are prolific are able to work without thinking or rather nothing outside the action of creating a story and all its elements. They are present when they work and that is why time flies without them noticing because there aren’t in time; they’re in the present moment that is never ending.

I have had those moments, but it’s not something I thought I could do on command. Now I’m wondering if I can.

So, my new writing goals are going to be a little different this year. Instead of setting a goal as “500 words a day” or “finish the first draft of Beasts”,  I will focus more on my state of mind, on “being” rather than “doing.”

My new goal will be to be as present minded as possible when I write.

My state of mind will be my primary goal. The writing will be my secondary goal.

Let’s see what happens.

It’s not just for writing either. I will be present minded whenever I remember to do so. For this trip to Georgia, I have no real idea what to expect. I’m not even thinking about it. I’m now in this moment, taking it as it comes and completely open to whatever happens.

I feel like I’m approaching a brand new horizon I never knew existed and don’t even know what it will offer. It’s kind of exciting.

What about you? Any new goals this year? Any epiphanies?

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑