One More Reminder

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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?

 

Excerpt Day: BEASTS

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These last few days I been advocating the need for action towards ones goals. One of the reasons I disappeared for three months is because I wanted to finish a chapter for my YA novel and post that as the next post. That never happened cause I never finished it. But I didn’t want to post something else because I was starting to feel like I was all bark, no bite.

I didn’t just want to talk about what I loved to do or wanted to do.

I actually wanted to do it.

I still haven’t finished that chapter, but it’s nearly done. I have a few things in the works.

A nonfiction book based on everything I talked about last week. My YA Shapeshifter novel. And Savior, my superhero noir story that may become a comic.

So today is excerpt day. Proof to myself that I am doing the work and following the dream, not just talking a great deal.

Funny enough, it’s been nearly a year since I’ve shared an excerpt of a WIP.

Perhaps July is just the month of sharing.

Enjoy.

 

 

~~~~

Chapter One

Stars twinkled above Nicolai when he opened his eyes and he was struck with a painful longing for the Antarctic sky. The image of a dark carpet of colorful light stretched across the heavens was clear as day in his mind. Then it was gone, back into the abyss with the rest of his lost memories.

So desperate to cling to his forgotten past, Nicolai remained on his back for several more minutes, trying to reimagine the picture. But it was useless. It may as well been a dream for all he knew.

With a heavy sigh, he sat up in the darkness. Sniffing the air, he figured he was sitting in a dank alleyway and that a cat passed by recently and marked his territory on the dumpster he’d been sleeping against.

“Yuck!”

Nicolai climbed to his feet, rubbing his face and grabbing his green knapsack.  Plunging his hand inside, he pulled out a water bottle and dumped the small amount of liquid inside on his face. That woke him up—though he hadn’t been tired to begin with. He couldn’t remember where he was or how he got there. He stood in the darkness for a moment, straining his memory. The last thing he could remember was reaching the Capitol on foot around midday, but that could have been days ago.

He glanced at the sky. It was late. Probably midnight judging by the moon and past curfew. At the far end of the alley, he could make out the faint glow of streetlights. On the other side of the dumpster was a solid brick wall. Great place for a nap…if you can call “randomly blacking out” a nap. He wanted to at least stay off the streets when night fell. Find an abandoned building or something. The last thing he needed was to run into the cops first day in the Capitol. The street would leave him expose. Catching sight of a fire escape just above him, he repacked his water bottle and reached for the ladder.

“Good evening.”

Nicolai froze. He sniffed again. Cat pee – a great cover for an actual cat. His eyes followed the voice and fell on a male figure crouched on the top of the brick wall. The stranger grinned widely, like a Cheshire cat, the moonlight reflecting off a row of sharpened white teeth and large amber eyes with almond shaped pupils.  Nicolai estimated him to be at least a few centuries old.

An Alpha.

“I take it you’re new around here, eh?” The Alpha cocked his head to the side, like a cat eyeing a mouse. “Shall I welcome you to the neighborhood?”

Nicolai didn’t move, but tensed his muscles, ready to bolt.  He inhaled deeply. Was this one alone? No. Alpha’s didn’t hunt alone. Where was his pack? And what species was he? Definitely not a house cat.

“What is it? Cat got your tongue?” The Alpha laughed, revealing even more of his sharp teeth. “Oh, not yet, I hope. That’s the most succulent part.”

Nicolai turned his gaze to the tops of the buildings. At least six stood on the edge of the roofs on either side. All male, blond and muscular. One silently jumped down to a fire escape a few floors above him to watch, hands gripping the railing as if to jump.

The Alpha’s amber eyes narrowed as his Cheshire grin changed – less amused, more sinister.

“You’re not welcome here.”

“I’m not hurting anyone.” Nicolai slid one foot back, trying to make the movement as unnoticeable as possible.

The Alpha wrinkled his nose, the grin vanished and his entire face plunged into shadow. “Your stench is hurting my nostrils.”

Sweat slid down the back of Nicolai’s neck. He moved his foot further, watching the approaching cat above him out of the corner of his eye. “Sorry. Can’t really do anything about that.”

“Oh but you can.” The Alpha’s teeth flashed again. “You can die.”

His amber eyes flicked up to the others. Nicolai grabbed the corner of the dumpster.

“Get him!”

The cat above him leaped onto the dumpster’s lid, his boots leaving a dent. Nicolai wrenched the dumpster forward the moment he landed and the entire thing came crashing down. The cat stumbled and smashed face first into the opposite building. The Alpha jumped from the wall, snarling, his clawed hands reaching for Nicolai’s neck.

He ducked to the floor and the Alpha flew over him. The other five cats were scrambling down the buildings. Nicolai quickly jumped onto the dumpster and over the brick wall.

The snarls behind him grew louder, feral and inhuman. Nicolai could guess what was happening, but he wasn’t about to wait and find out. There was no way he could outrun real cats unless he put some serious distance between them, so he ran.

Bridges

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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?

 

What The Job I Hated Has Taught Me…

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A change of pace today, but still somewhat related.

I wanted to write this post months ago, but I was afraid of someone from work reading it and criticizing me. So instead, I waited until I quit and wasn’t working there anymore.

I guess the time has come.

***

My job was not at all glorious in any sense of the word. I worked in fast food and let me tell you something…

If you need a job, fast food will always have an opening…because working in fast food is hell on Earth. Everyone quits the moment they get the chance. Or at least the smart ones do.

The job demands that you work very hard for the absolute minimum the company is willing to pay you, with barely any recognition of your hard work, and be scolded for what you did wrong, even when whatever it is you did wrong was completely unavoidable because either what they asked you to do was impossible to begin with or you didn’t even know the proper way of doing it because no one taught you how, but somehow you were supposed to know anyways.

There’s no training in fast food. At least, not at my job.

You learn as you go. Kind of like life.

Usually when I do these posts, I make a list of all the things something has taught me. But this time, I only have one important thing my job has taught me.

Something that really opened my eyes.

When I first started working there, I didn’t like it very much. I was slow and made lots of embarrassing mistakes.

But the thing I hated the most was working the drive thru.

There are more or less three steps to working the drive thru.

Take the order, prepare the order, charge the customer, serve the order, repeat.

Now, on a good day, you have one person charging the customer and serving the order, and another taking and preparing the order.

But that’s during the day. At night, it’s usually just one person. Just one. Who has to take the order. Prepare the order. Charge the customer. And serve the order.

It wouldn’t even be that difficult if preparing the order didn’t involve traveling from one side of the kitchen to the other.

Oh and by the way, you’re timed.

I hated it. When I first started working, I dreaded the days when I was assigned the drive thru.

I  believed it was impossible. That what they wanted me to do was impossible for any human to do and the people who devised this were sadistic sons of bitches who enjoyed torturing desperate, broke people who’d do anything to pay their bills.

But the reason I hated it wasn’t because it was impossible, it was because I sucked at it.

I was horrible. And I hated being bad at anything. I was/am a perfectionist after all.

But time passed and even though I wanted to quit, I knew I couldn’t. Or at least I convinced myself I couldn’t.

So I stopped thinking how impossible the job was or how sadistic the bosses were, and actually tried to figure out how to do better.

It got easier.

The first time I did an entire night shift by myself without needing help felt great. Accomplished even.

I was making progress.

At the time when I quit, it was my favorite position. It was easy. It was to the point I sometimes enjoyed doing it by myself more than being helped (once I got a rhythm, other people just ruined my flow).

The lesson here?

No matter how hard or impossible learning a new skill seems to be, never quit. The initial discomfort and hate will pass and soon it’ll be effortless.

This applies to EVERYTHING.

I should have noticed this sooner. Years ago,  before the Air Force, I couldn’t run a single lap without stopping. It felt like dying. When I graduated boot camp, I could easily run a mile (the threat of repeating boot camp was a great motivator to stick with it).

I rarely noticed this in other parts of my life because since I wasn’t being paid and hadn’t signed a contract, I often quit before I got past the OMG I HATE THIS period, thinking it was a sign that this wasn’t for me.

I quit drawing. I quit the violin. I quit filmmaking (and I didn’t even try, the mere idea made me extremely uncomfortable).

I wonder what would have happened if I stuck with it even during that “I suck at this!” phase and kept going like I did with my job?

What will happen now as I stick with writing, get back to art, and try my hand at filmmaking regardless of my discomfort?

What would happen if we applied the same level of discipline and integrity to the things we feel we have no choice about to the the things we actually want to do?

Lets find out, shall we?

 

(Points to anyone who notice how my thoughts/thinking created my reality in my drive thru hell scenario. I highlighted some clues in case you missed it).

Faith and Confidence

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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

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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)

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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).

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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).
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Leap of Faith

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When I was little, my mother used to tell me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. I took it deeply to heart.

Years later, I remember having an argument with her and while I don’t remember the specifics, I do remember me bringing up how she used to say that to me and her reply was, “I wish I never said that.”

It didn’t matter. It was too late. The idea that I could do anything I wanted was engrained in me. But her words of regret for saying those words also stayed with me. I had a lot of problems. I wanted to spend my entire life telling stories. I specifically wanted to be a filmmaker, but didn’t have the support or confidence to go to film school.

I stubbornly refused to become anything else, but at the same time…I doubted.

As the years went by, I began to settle. I decided to be a novelist. I went to school for communications with the idea of getting a job in the movie industry as something else and work my way up. But unfortunately, I had no interest in classes that had nothing to do with storytelling. I could pass them with flying colors if I cared enough to do the work, but I didn’t. It caused a whole lot of anxiety.

I held back. I was too afraid to truly go for it. I kept putting off my creative writing because I was terrified of being proven wrong: that I can’t do it, that I can’t be whatever I wanted. By putting it off, I spared myself that horrifying realization. It was a way to protect my ego, my identity.

Fast forward to today, five years of college later. I dropped out and been working part time in fast food for nearly 2 years.

In my attempt to protect my secret belief, my secret wish that I could be whatever I wanted, I ended up living a lie. I haven’t actually done what I truly wanted to do in years. What was going? How did I fail to notice I was ruining my own life? Because I didn’t want to notice. It was too painful. My fear became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Not anymore.

Yesterday, I handed in my resignation letter. July 3rd I will no longer be working in a job I hate. I’ll be truly on my own for financial support for the first time in my life.

I’m going to do what I always wanted to do.

I’m going to write a book.

In three weeks, on July 3rd, I’m going to put it up for sale on this website.

What will it be about?

It’ll be nonfiction. Every post over the course of these three weeks—including today’s—will be a piece of that answer.

This book, despite not being a work of fiction, is another dream of mine. Something I wanted to do, but thought I had to wait till I was old and gray and retired before having the credentials to write such a book. But I think I’ll do it now and see what happens

It’s time to finally face my fears and answer my doubts.

Can I really be anything I wanted?

Can I really be a writer?

 

 

 

 

 

(Yes, you can. So go for it).

MOCKINGJAY : I Was Wrong

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I just finished reading Mockingjay, the last book of The Hunger Games Trilogy.

I am truly and utterly embarrassed by my last post regarding the first book.

Catching Fire, Book 2, fixed everything I felt wrong with the first.

And Mockingjay brought me to my knees.

I wonder if I should just delete the post, but maybe it’s good to have a reminder you don’t know everything.

How do I write this post… How do I put into words what I’m feeling regarding Mockingjay?

I literally JUST finished reading it. So this intense, incredible, overwhelming feeling may just be temporary. A part of me really hopes it isn’t. I hope that I don’t one day look back on this post and also feel humiliated by it.

Right now, I feel like there was me before I read Mockingjay, and then me after I read Mockingjay.

Like this novel has changed me forever.

That’s kind of embarrassing by itself. I mean I’m sure there are other books just as powerful, more so, classical works, literary works, grown up books that are more suited for the position of “the book that changed my life forever.”

But while I’m feeling what I’m feeling, I’m just gonna share it with anyone who comes across this blog, this post because I can. Because I need to get this off my chest.

For one, I was arrogant…and very stupid. Or maybe not?

As I was reading Catching Fire, I spoke with a friend who wouldn’t read Hunger Games because he feels it’s rubbish. That there are better books out there on the subject that these books address and all sorts  of other judgments. I kept thinking about it, and I actually thought he had a point.

I actually started to think that yeah, this wasn’t quality writing. It was candy. And in a sense it sort of really was. It was junk food. Genre fiction, sometimes…well okay, often is junk food. Not really healthy for you, won’t make you smarter or whatever, but simply entertains and helps you escape from reality.

The Hunger Games Trilogy had this feeling. The romance, the angst, the drama, etc. There are scenes, images that tug at a reader’s heart, in this case, especially at a female reader’s heart and I felt the writer used those types of scenes a lot beyond realism. I had come to the conclusion that The Hunger Games was like Twilight for the tomgirls.

Twilight for those who despised Twilight.

And maybe, I wonder, if that’s what the writer had intended. Lure me into thinking it going to be like every other book I ever read then do something I couldn’t ever have foreseen, especially since I was expecting something else entirely.

I couldn’t stop reading. I was in total addict mode. Totally relapsed. Why?

Well, the fact almost every chapter ended with a jaw dropping cliffhanger really helped. But there was something else.

I couldn’t predict what was going to happen next. Even when I try to guess, I was always wrong.

Every single time. Wrong, wrong, WRONG.

I tried to fit the story into a formula I was used to. Into a plot pattern I thought I knew.

But each book is so different from the last. Katniss is so different, changes so much in each consecutive book.

Then Mockingjay.

Fucking Mockingjay.

It started to get dark. Really dark. Soon, I was starting to get scared. A part of me was terrified what would happen next. I never had that feeling before when reading. I was crying more than once. Beloved characters died. Ambitious yet noble missions failed. My hands started to literally shake near the end. I could barely turn the pages.

Remember when I talked about pushing it? I complained that The Hunger Games didn’t push it enough? Well, this book pushes it. It pushes it right off the page. The place it takes the stories…I was utterly unprepared for and overwhelmed.

At the end, I was bawling. If anyone heard me, they would have thought I was insane.

Every cliché, unrealistic, plot development I thought would take place never did.

I find myself comparing it to other stories.

For me personally, it was an ending not many people like. It was an ending that probably reflects real life more accurately.

I don’t even have words to explain what this book did…in my eyes anyways.

In most fantasy/sci-fi YA, you have heroes and heroines. They have destinies. They have goals and missions. They have enemies. Evil personified. And usually, almost always, the heroes rise up and kill the wizard or dictator or whatever the main antagonist is no matter how old the protagonist is.

And then they live happily ever after.

Not in Mockingjay.

No. Katniss is helpless. Because seventeen year olds can only do so much. Even when they’re turned into a symbol for a revolution. Even when she’s the protagonist and the plot revolves around her. Even when she tries so hard, sacrifices so much…still, she was still at the mercy of people with more power, more control.  Because she was just one person. One young and unfortunate person.

And that’s reality.

….I think I understand why I feel so strongly about this book.

It has to do with the death of my mother.

This is one of the few times I read something, especially in YA fantasy/scifi fiction, that captured grieving of a loved one perfectly.

Captured death’s reality.

When mom died, I felt like my life was over. But time keeps moving forward. And there’s a part of me that feels like this shouldn’t be. I have to continue, because I don’t have a choice. The sun keeps setting and rising. The earth keeps turning. Human life continues around me.

Mockingkay’s ending chapters captured this beautifully. So real, so utterly beautifully, to the point I feel like…it helped me.

Sure, I was convinced I accepted the fact life continued with or without me and I moved on, but I haven’t really. Not really. I just shut out the world. Let the world keep going around me, while I lived in my own little reality I was in complete control over.

But the ending of Mockingjay…showed me a different way. A better way.

There are other things about it that blew me away. It showed the reality of violence, the truth that a world where life is sacrificed for the better good is not a world worth living in, no matter the reason.

Again this is hard to explain and I’m realizing this post is already so long, so unclear and so unfocused. I’m not making much sense.

It’s better if you just read the books yourselves and hopefully you’ll understand better what I’m talking about.

I’ll just end this as quickly as possible now.

Before I said my passion rekindled.

Now I say my passion has become a bonfire.

There are books I read, movies I watched, where afterwards, I knew for sure this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to create something that had this impact on another person. A story that moved a person to the extent I was moved.

But Mockingjay is a whole new level of inspiration.

I never knew you could…explore such themes in YA fantasy/sci-fi before. Not like this. And now I’m certain without a single doubt in my mind that this is what I want to do.

I want to do what this book has done.

My stories aren’t going to be cliché, shallow, superficial candy that just entertains and allows a person to escape.

Well, okay I do want to entertain and transport people to fictional worlds otherwise they’ll never stay (probably the biggest reason why mainstream and genre fiction is more popular than literary fiction). But I want to do that and change them. I want them to break down in tears and help them heal.

To give hope. But real hope, not illusion. Not a happily ever after fantasy. Hope that can be carried with them into the real world. Even if it’s YA fantasy/sci-fi. Even if it’s in the least likely of genres.

If I haven’t permanently changed as a person because of Mockingjay, I know for one I definitely changed as a writer.

And that’s pretty much what I wanted to say.

~~~

I also want to say or rather beg that everyone boycott watching The Hunger Games movie.

I want it to fail. To fail horribly.

So they don’t even think of making a Mockingjay movie.

Cause they’ll do it all wrong, just as they did The Hunger Games all wrong (look at the trailer after reading the book and you know they did it all wrong).

Some books shouldn’t be made into movies.

This is one of them.

But I’m weak and I’ll watch it anyways….cause maybe, just maybe they did get at least SOMETHING right.