How I Write a Love Story: Part 1

 

affection afterglow backlit blur
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Ted stood, for what felt like the hundredth time this week, alone on the same sidewalk overlooking the pier. How did this keep happening? Was all he could think. He was a good guy, somewhat attractive. He had a good job was consistent and secure. He even read all the books on how to find the “One.” Why then was he failing so miserably? The flowers in his hand drooped as his head hung in despair. “Well, thats it I guess, Love wasn’t meant for you, Ted.” He said lifting the bouquet of roses and threw them as hard as he could into the water. The roses broke apart and showered the sea below in a dance of red and green on the ocean of blue and white.

“Nice arm man, you play ball?” A woman’s voice said from behind Ted.

“Huh?” Ted said turning around to a blonde woman wearing a black pea coat and looking cold, her cheeks were rosy from the wind, and her eyes were squinted with severe discomfort.

“Huh?” She said back mocking Ted. “Do you play ball? You know baseball, football? Things with balls?” She said laughing at the last part.
“Oh, ha. No, I uh… There was a spider on those roses, and it freaked me out, so I chucked em.” Ted said, blood rushing to his face, utterly embarrassed by his ridiculous answer.
“Spiders can be scary; you should have let it bite you, what if it gave you superpowers like Spiderman?” She said smiling.
“I guess we will never know,” Ted said with a shrug. Wondering who the hell this woman was.
“Yeah, unless we see a shark swinging from buildings and shooting webs out of its fins.” She said looking very serious.

“Ha, yeah that would be strange. I am sorry, do I know you?” Ted asked walking closer to the mysterious women. It was a fiercly cold night, and the wind had picked up biting Ted’s neck as he pulled his collar tighter around his face.

“No… No, I don’t think so? I was just out enjoying the weather and saw you heroically defeat a spider and thought I would commend you for it.” She said smiling through the cold, teeth chattering a bit.
“Well, I am Ted. Thanks for the kind words. Honestly, though there was no spider, I got stood up again. These damn online dating sites are a crap shoot.” Ted said sticking out his gloved hand.
“Hey, Ted! Marissa, nice to meet you. Sorry, you got stood up. Probably not the best idea to set up a date with someone in January in New York on a pier. Maybe the weather was a factor? Marissa said shaking Ted’s hand.

“Well, you are out here in January. Maybe you’re crazy!” He said, realizing to late she had said nothing about him being crazy and maybe sounded a bit to harsh.  He was just having a hard time accepting that his love life was broken beyond repair.
“Ha Ha, oh Ted. Maybe I am crazy, maybe the only reason I am out here is that I have been stalking you for months now on social media and waiting for the right moment to strike.” Marissa said, eyes wild.

“Wow, ok lady look I am going to get out of here. Have a nice night.” Ted was freaked out now. This is what women where like now, crazy stalkers. No wonder he had a hard time finding the right one.
“Oh Ted, take it easy,” she said laughing still. “No one is stalking you. It is called a joke.” Marissa said smiling brightly. Her eyes lit up sparkling blue, and she had a beautiful smile that could have been seen from across the street.
“Oh… yeah, sorry.”  Ted gave a pathetic chuckle.  “My head isn’t in the best place right now. This isn’t the first time I have been stood up. It’s happened three times this week.” Ted was looking down at his feet embarrassed.
“Not bad man, I am impressed. You know the greatest home run hitters in history struck out more than they hit home runs. They just never stopped swinging. I guess you do play ball. You wanna go get some coffee; you can tell me why you deserve love more than everyone else.” Marissa said reaching out to Ted, inviting him to come along.
“What, I don’t think I deserve it more than anyone else. I just know that I deserve it.” Ted looked offended.
“Well then keep swinging big guy. Come on let’s get out of this cold I need some thing hot and stiff in my life, and I might not be talking about a drink?” Marissa laughed and winked at Ted, who was unable to keep the smile off his face this time.
“Fine,” Ted said.
“Alright, that a boy! So how long you been playing ball?” She asked.
“You mean baseball or dating?” Ted asked confused, as the two walked off together arm in arm.


The How

So with any story, we need a setup, and we have started with a fair one. The main character has just thrown in the towel on dating or in this case the roses. And believes that Love is all but lost to him, or it must not be in his cards, because he has everything that could make a person Lovable, right?

Enter in the love interest, at the depth of Ted’s hopelessness. Seemingly out of nowhere. This technique is used often in writing love stories.  Show the Setup, which includes a letdown, followed immediately by a chance encounter.
The question of what Marissa was doing out on the pier that night is something we will find out as the story progresses along.

Notes

Today I learned to start with the setup, by asking these questions.

  • Who is my main character?
    What has happened that makes him believe he is hopeless to find love?
    What qualities does he possess?
  • Who is the love interest?

I have answered these questions at the beginning of my love story above. The main character is Ted, an attractive hard working, good guy that has taken shot after shot at finding the women of his dreams.  Marissa is the love interest, even though Ted doesn’t know it yet, and maybe Marissa doesn’t either. That is all stuff we will find out.

Mission

My goal is to write a short love story about Ted and Marissa. While also explaining how I am doing what I am doing along the way. If you enjoyed the story so far check back into tomorrow where I will continue the Love story of Ted and the mysterious Marissa.

I am on a mission to grow my ability as a writer and Love stories are something I have never really done.  But I know that the only way to get better at something is to practice it.  I am doing this as an excercise to stretch myself and if anything I do is helpful to anyone else than it will be a bonus.

I hope you all enjoy this.  Please feel free to leave comments or ask any questions you may have or critiques.  I am on a journey of self discovery and I am finding I have to lose myself to truly be found.  Happy writing.

 

 

Getting Uncomfortable

snow covered mountain range
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Deep in the heart of a great mountain, where the heat and pressure were incomprehensible, sat two pieces of coal staring into the heat.

“God, it is so boring down here.” Said Bob, the first piece of coal.

“Yeah, not much to do but wait to be found and be burned alive to cook someone’s steak.” Said Bill, the second piece of coal.
“Hey did you hear about Larry, he became a diamond,” Bob said to Bill
“Larry Coal is now Larry Diamond. You have to be joking; he was the laziest no good piece of coal I ever met.” Said Bill in disbelief.

“Yeah, apparently he sat there in the heart of the mountain and let the fire and pressure change him. Sad really, he just couldn’t accept himself.” Said Bob.
“Man, can you imagine being that pathetic?” Said Bill.
“Quiet, here he comes. Hey Larry, looking good man. You get a haircut?” Bob said, to Larry.

“Haha, no way Bob, Bill, is that you? What’s it been like 400 years or something, man you guys haven’t changed a bit.” Larry said with a laugh.
“Yeah we know, thanks for noticing. You look a bit different though.” Bill said.
“I know, it’s great right. I just got sick of sitting around waiting to be used for someone’s fuel one day and decided to make the change. Now look at me I am the hardest most valuable substance on earth.”

“Yeah, that’s great man, seriously happy for you to bad everyone can’t become a diamond,” Bob said, sounding irritated.
“No, Bob that’s not true, you can too. I promise I thought the same thing until I realized that all the guys that were becoming diamonds were doing it by moving towards the heat and pressure and not away from it.” Larry said excitedly.
“Yeah, those guys are crazy and sorry for saying Larry, but you must be too, putting yourself through that hell it’s not natural,” Bill said.

“Look guys; I can’t tell you if it’s natural or not I can only tell you it was worth the pain. Plus, what else did I have to do, sit around and watch tv and wait to die? No thank you, I am immortal now, I am going to be in Hollywood soon on some women’s finger.
“Ok, Ok, Larry enough of this crap, Bob and I are happy right where we are. In fact, we need to get back to what we were doing, so If you don’t mind, please leave.” Bill said, sounding very upset, Bob looked put off.

“Yeah, sure guys. Just remember if you are ready to change just head straight into the Discomfort. Ok, good luck guys.” With that Larry was off.
“Can you believe the nerve of that guy, questioning us saying his way of living is better, what a jerk!” Bill said,
“Just forget about him Bill, come on let’s see what’s on TV.”

Reality Break:

The past couple of days I have been struggiling to find the right words, the right actions. I was afraid of running out of stories to tell, which is strange since I am in the process of writing three freaking books. Still, the fear persisted, and I didn’t know what to do.

Then I realized, that the thoughts, feelings, and emotions, that help me create stories never run low. What happens is my ability to express, what I am feeling and thinking, is not there yet. Which is ok, I am growing. But I forget that growth takes a level of being uncomfortable. If I am unwilling to become uncomfortable anymore or try anything new, then I will not be able to continue expressing the thoughts and feelings in my life.

I must stretch past what feels comfortable every day to realize the diamond lying inside. If I want to grow, I must move towards the discomfort and surrender to it completely. Allowing the pain to transform me into the truest most authentic version of myself.

It is like this with many things in life. If I want to run a Marathon, I can not simply get up and do it. I have to learn how to run one step first, then another, then a mile. Learn the discomfort in a mile and know that I can get stronger and better and maybe run two miles learning over and over again day after day the discomfort of each new step forward. Learning the discomfort involved in every second of my growth to a new life, a new version of my self, is necessary if I am to get to a new level.

But I must be willing to step into the discomfort, to move towards it with courage and boldness. Allowing the discomfort to shape me and mold me. It is the fire and pressure that refines me to a new level of living — the fire that burns away the old me to give life to the new more valuable version of me.

I have to accept that living in comfort is not the goal. I remember living a comfortable life, and it was full of misery. The only true joy I have ever found has come from the growth of pushing into the heart of the mountain and being changed by it.

When I can live each day moving a step at a time, into the discomfort of a better, more fulfilling and valuable life, that is when I am truly living, and not waiting to die.

Have a great day. I hope everyone moves towards a better version of themselves today, one step at a time.

If you enjoyed this story, please feel free to like, share and comment.  What are you doing to grow? Are you moving towards your discomfort?

A Giant Called Humble

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One day as the sun rose to light up the little fishing village, where every sort of person worked and lived with their families and friends. A giant approached. The people in the village immediately panicked throwing down their work and running to hide. Shaking and trembling the village waited, hoping that the giant would see that no one was home and just keep walking. The rumble of heavy steps shook the scared people to there core; one woman was huddled in her home wrapping her three children in a protective hug. When with fear and alarm, she realized one was missing, and it was her littlest one to boot. In a flash of panic the woman stood. Running from her home to the street where her daughter had been playing only moments ago.

The quaking of the earth grew, and the village grew dark in the shadow of the giant now directly upon the town. The woman noticed her daughter standing down the lane at the edge of the village looking up to the approaching Giant. “Daughter, run!!!” The woman yelled dreadfully, as she was frozen with fear, for she knew the Giant would see her daughter and eat her up as an appetizer, only making him hungry for more.
“Please, Giant do not eat my daughter take me instead, and leave this village,” the woman begged, still standing at her door.

The little girl turned to the sound of her mother’s terrified scream and said. “Mommy, why are you so afraid, this man is hungry and needs our help? “No! She yelled that is not a man daughter, it is a giant.” “No mommy, you are seeing what you want to see and looking through fear, he is just a man. You do not need to be afraid.” The woman was stunned, her eyes had deceived her. She had been so focused on the giant shadow; she did not see the starving man who had cast it as a spell. She felt foolish and ashamed. But she was not the only one, for only the little girl who was born without sight could see the truth in the poor man’s plight.

I am entering into an exciting phase of my life. I have found something that I am genuinely passionate about doing every day, and sometimes all day. And my old habits of running on self-propulsion and self will are trying with all their might to sneak back into my everyday life.

I would like to say that I am enjoying the success of this phase of my life, but the truth is I struggle every day to enjoy it. I always want more. I want more inspiration, more readers, more book sales, more money, more friends, more validation, more persuasion, and more success.

I crave it like a stampeding giant. “Feed me,” it calls reaching out for more from the back of my mind. Until I lose my sight and am only able to see the shadow, I have cast. No longer able to recognize the man I am, for the man I want to become.

It is part of my journey and my process, to practice humility on some level every day. Humility to me is when the idea of who I am matches the reality of who I am. When I am in that place, I feel settled and am able to be fed by the people in the village. When I lose that and go stomping through my life as the giant shadow, the man I am begins to starve allowing my shadow to scare off the people I love and the phase that I am so obviously blessed to be in.

I am writing this because I struggle every day with the feeling of being Rightsized and knowing just where I am, is where I am supposed to be on my journey. Which if you told me six months ago, that I would have published two books, one making it to number 1 on Amazon’s best sellers and in the process of writing two others, I would have laughed in your face.

Yet, I forget myself and see the shadow of the giant I desperately think I want to be. I know that if I spend my life chasing that giant, I will become the man who starves to death, instead of the man who is fed and loved just as he is.

Have a great day.

If you enjoyed this or any of my other posts, feel free to like, comment and share.  My Giant is hungry, Haha

Decisions Not Conditions: The Promise of The Light

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I woke in the darkness of the place. Stale and stinking of rot and death. Standing my feet found damp, wet earth that just the night before had been a warm bed of grass. How did I get here? My eyes began to adjust to the nightmarish landscape that grew up around me as I slept.

My world had turned, and I was now in the Muck and the Mire. Fear began to set in as a voice sounded from the darkness. “This is where you belong; your journey is a fool’s errand. You will die in this place.” The rattle of a cold breath escaped my lungs.

I remembered I had gotten so far yesterday and had done so much good. I did not lie down in this horrid place, how then did I wake to such misery? Had I been foolish, as the voice implied and all I had done was walk into the place where I was to die?

No, that couldn’t be right.

Looking around and taking in the horror of the place I steadied my nerves and resolved my spirit. I was on a journey, and this Hell was not to be my home. I may not have gone to sleep here, but I find myself here all the same.
Focusing, now and dispelling the devilish voice from my mind, I gathered my things and began to walk.

Although there was no light to be found in the depths of the darkness, I remembered the light of yesterday. I focused on the light that I could sense out there beyond my fear and the condition of the space around me. I cleared my inner vision and walked towards the promise of the light.

Reality Break:

I freaking love writing fiction, because here is what really happened. I woke up this morning and got on my knees to pray, something I do every morning. And the prayer was sweet and heartfelt and thankful for such an incredible day yesterday. I wrote more yesterday than any other single day I have been alive, and it all felt inspired, to me. As I stood my eyes began to adjust to the darkness and little dark shapes on the floor began to materialize next to my closet.

My dog had obviously not felt well in the middle of the night, and somehow, I was not woken by her while she made a stinking mess in my room. Ha.

I like the first story better though it is more colorful and holds more meaning to me than. My girlfriend and I cleaned up the poop, and I went about my day.

And actually, the further part of the story is I took my dog out for a walk immediately after cleaning up her mess and stepped in some other dogs crap. LOL.

Because here is the reality, right. Some mornings or days no matter how great the day before was or even the moment before was, I can find my self in the Muck and The Mire before I even know it. And it is a scary place to navigate for sure. Just like the voice in the story, that voice will come telling me this is where I belonged all along.

Yesterday my dad received a copy of my very first novel: Trent Foster & The Council of 10. After sending me a text, saying he had gotten it and that it looked great, he called me 20 minutes later. Approximately six pages in,  he wanted to tell me all the errors he had found. Which by the way were not really errors so much as he might have a reading comprehension problem.  But even if they were errors on my part, because I know I have along way to go when it comes to writing, the fear his doubt in his son brought was staggering to me.  I said, hey just read the story and tell me what you think, I will talk with my editor about the errors.

Anyway, the point was yesterday was a day of inspired writing for me one in which I felt like words were pouring out of me from a higher source. Yet, the voices still came, saying. “You are no good. You can not do this. You are full of errors and mistakes, and everyone will laugh at you, and you will die a sad, horrible death.”

That voice can sometimes be made up in my head and other times can come from real people that I love. But I remember the light for which I write; I remember the feeling of being inspired.

Because whether others are inspired by what I write is not really up to me. I can do my best to transcribe the feelings and emotions to the best of my abilities, but if it doesn’t stick for you then maybe it isn’t for you.  And maybe I need to continue to get better, which I assure you, I do.

All I know to do is to continue to improve on what I do and not stop because my conditions become scary and difficult to navigate. I decide to move forward and improve. It is not my Conditions that define the kind of life I will lead.

This morning, when my conditions are telling me that I am in the Muck and The Mire. I must be willing to make the Decision to push on anyway remembering the promise of the light.

Thanks for reading.  Tell me what inspires you?  What keeps you pushing forward?

Have a great day.  Please feel free to share, like, and comment.  As iron sharpens Iron one writer can help another to improve.

 

Catching the Wind: How I Rediscover My Flow, and you can too.

flock of birds flying above the mountain during sunset
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I was stuck, the mud was caked around my shoes, and I couldn’t go any farther. The day had been an exercise of exhausting my will to the point of wanting to give up. And I had just written something I thought so beautiful and profound about dancing to the grave. I love that idea still and believe it to be true, but yesterday was not a day in which I was dancing effortlessly. I was shimmying and shaking alright, but to try and get my self unstuck from the scrap heap I found myself in mentally and emotionally.

Then as I was walking back into my home after doing my things, and I was Struck. Struck, by birds. Not actual birds, but the idea of birds and I did not know why. I just had the thought I wanted to write about birds, as a disclaimer I am not overly fond of birds or even have any real curiosity for them, but alas there I was in my apartment wanting to write about birds. So I grabbed my notepad and a pen and here is what I wrote.

“There were more birds in the sky, at least more than I was used to seeing. How come they look so different today? There isn’t anything strange about a flock of birds, right? I tilted my head looking up and sideways. Do they always fly straight up like that?”

Then the urge to write another word about birds left me as quickly as it had come and I thought. What the hell was that? Am I going to write the sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds?
Birds 2: Going up! Coming to a theater near you this summer.

I didn’t know what to do with it, so, I left it. I had to meet a friend about another writing project anyway, which I was excited about because the book I am currently working on is leaving me with a sense of staleness. Which brings me to my point and how I rediscovered flow.

It didn’t truly sink in until this morning after I began my exercise and meditation what the whole Bird concept was about. But as I woke up this morning in the same rut that I had gone to sleep in, it hit me. Birds don’t fly up! “Well duh Matt, everyone knows that,” you might be saying. But I had to think about it. Why don’t birds fly straight up to where they are going? Well its obvious right, to fly, lift is required, and a bird flying straight up lacks a necessary ingredient to flying, Lift.

Follow me for a second. When a bird leaves the ground, it’s nest, the top of your head or where ever it is; it flies out first. It must first catch the wind if you get my drift. Ha Ha. If it tried shooting straight up, it would find itself plummeting right back down on top of your head. It requires the resistance produced by currents of air directly opposing it to climb higher. The flow of air must first hit it before being lifted and then moved by it.

“Eurica! My God Matt you have done it, you figured out flight!” I also figured out I am the same as a bird. That in the seeking of wanting to take off in my writing career I decided to go straight up, and while I lifted my big bird butt a few feet off the ground, I lacked a necessary ingredient to take off truly.

Discovering the Flow:

When I write what I love and the things that are coming to me naturally through my own curiosity I jump back into the flow, I rediscover the streams of air that at first feel like resistance to the direction that I want to go. Only to find that they are ideas, concepts, images, that are asking to take me higher and it is up to me to either CATCH THE WIND or be knocked out of the sky by it. But I do have that choice, and the beautiful thing is I have discovered ways of getting in the flow or realizing I don’t have to go straight up. It doesn’t have to be so hard, and in fact, it shouldn’t be so hard. Yesterday it was so hard because I was running on self-propulsion. This morning it is easy as I write this its like it is being dictated to me, and all I have to do is spread my wings and allow the flow of air to lift me higher as I ride that beautiful gust of inspiration even higher.

So, Here are some simple practices you can add into your day to help you recognize the flow of air hitting you in the beak.

1. Set your intentions for the day:
I do this through prayer and daily goal setting. I have a certain amount of work I want to get done each day, and I outline that clearly for myself. I pray to be open, and willing to anything that will guide me in the direction I need to go.
2. Listen, be aware of your surroundings and be in the moment:
I do this through meditation. I sit quietly with my self, eyes closed focusing on my breath for at least 20 minutes every morning. This allows me to not react to crazy thoughts that explode in my mind to get me to move. It is incredible how much more calm and aware I become when I do not react to every crazy thought that passes through my mind.
3. Exercise:
I like to exercise, it has been a Godsend for me. But anything to get your blood flowing will work. Whatever you want to do, do it but make sure you move. Blood flow is necessary for healthy brain function.
4. Be of Service to someone else:
This is how I get out of my head and into the world around me. And I promise you that voice that says. “This person has nothing to offer me, look at them, they are falling apart at the seams”. Is the same voice trying to keep you from going higher? It is pure arrogance on my part to believe that I know how God or Birds are going to show up in my life. Be Open.
5. Read, listen, or watch something that moves you:
I do this every morning when I work out. I listen to motivational, inspirational speakers. It opens me up to new ways of thinking about my current situation and dang it; it makes me feel good. And guess what when I feel good, I usually do good.
6. It isn’t the end of the world:
I get caught up in this one a lot. Then I pull myself back and say, “Matt, remember you can try again tomorrow or an hour or even 10 minutes from now.” Take a deep breath and try again, as long as I am breathing, it ain’t over. And finally,
7. Remember WHY you are doing this in the first place:
I lose sight of my WHY a lot. I started writing because I loved how it made me feel. I wrote two books in two months because I was lost in this flow of love for the story I was telling. As soon as I stopped focusing on Why I was doing it and began to focus on where it was taking me and the success available, I dropped like a bird flying straight up. By remembering WHY I am writing I am allowing my self to be in the flow because the flow is the Journey, man, it is the reason, it is the purpose and the only purpose for me being here. For me to dress it up as anything besides experiencing all the zigs and zags life throws at me, is to deny the reason I am here.

Enjoy your Journey on the way up.

I want to hear from you.  How do you find flow in your day?

Thanks for reading.  Don’t forget to like, share, and comment.

Who Am I

 

person on a bridge near a lake
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A thrum of energy resonated through me, as time seemed to pause.  A drop of water from the leaking faucet hung in the air for a moment before crashing into the metallic basin, with a thunderous crash.  Stirring me from the thought that had me frozen.  “Who am I?”

What a question.  I have spent my entire life pondering, somedays I increase my ponder level to a million though, and seemingly stop time.  Today is one of those days.  Let’s dig in shall we.

“Am I my past?”  Well, one would surmise that, yes, yes I am my past because everything in my past has made me the man sitting here at the kitchen table writing this blog right now.  However, that would mean that I am only possible of doing the things that my past has shown I am capable of doing, which is to say destroy my life with bad choices and alcohol.  Well I know for a fact I am not that person anymore, I haven’t been for almost six months now, what a miracle.

“So, I am not my past, fine.  Am I the man I want to be?”  Great question, thank you for asking.  Sure I could say, well yeah I am the man I want to be.  I am sober, I’m writing every day, I have published two books in two months.  I have accomplished a lot.  I have friends who I care about and my relationships with my family are growing better each day.  Not bad, I could be happy saying I am that guy.  But, “Is that who I am?”  NO, it’s not.

“Well geez, Matt, who are you then?   Are you the future you?”  HA, I say.  What a silly question, of course, I am not the future me, that me only exists in my imagination.  He has lived a life of a million stories, loved and laughed until he was incapable of doing either another moment more, yet still somehow found the endurance to love more and to laugh more.  No, I am not that man.

“It would seem you are confused then Matt, you have no real Idea of who you are.”  Ha, I say again to you.  For I am all these men, I am built of my past experiences but not limited by them.  I am proud of my current accomplishments but not satisfied with them.  And I am excited for the next moment that is sure to come and fill me with all the joy it could ever muster, as soon as I am done with this moment.

I am as religion teaches, and the program, a Trinity of things.  I am only truly who I am when I am mindful of the 3 in 1.

“Wow, that is very interesting.  I have never thought of it in that way.  You must be very proud of yourself.”  Haha, I am and you should be too because you are the “past me” asking the “present me” about the “future me”  and we are all here to answer the call.

Now I ask you, Who Are You?

Sharing is caring. If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your friends.  Have a great day.

Do The Thing: A Dance to the Grave

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A man lay, with shallow breath and half-closed eyes on the hospital bed. His well-worn face marked with the lines of untold numbers of smiles and laughter. He was 93 years old and had been taken off any sort of assisted life support two days ago. He had asked the medical staff to do it. Said he would breathe just fine on his own. And he knew his grandson was coming today. He had been waiting for weeks to see him.
“Hi grandpa, how are you feeling?” the young man said quietly entering the room.
Opening his eyes slowly and turning his head to the sound the old man began to smile.
“I feel better than ever.” The old man said with a laugh waving his grandson over to have a seat next to him.
“I am glad you could make it down to see me. I will probably be gone after today.” The old man said grabbing his grandson’s hand.
“Grandpa, don’t talk like that. You are going to be fine.”
“I know I will be fine, it doesn’t change the fact that I am dying.”
“Aren’t you scared.” The grandson asked he was well groomed in his mid-thirties, wearing a long sleeve button up shirt and tie as if he had just left work.
“I am terrified.” The old man said with a laugh.
“Why are you laughing, Grandpa?”
“Because I have been terrified my whole life. Yet I have lived a wonderful life. I don’t think dying will have changed that.”
“Aren’t you afraid to not be around anymore?”
“Grandson, I want you to understand something, I learned a long time ago, not a single one of us are getting out of life alive,” he said laughing still.
“I don’t understand.”
“Listen carefully, what I am about to tell you changed my life. The richest place on earth is not the banks with gold or diamond minds. The richest place on earth is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard ideas and inventions, stories, books, and movies that were never made lay buried. Never to see the light of life. I have told all my stories, I have written all my books. I stood in front of giants and didn’t back down, I told the women I loved, I love her every day. I laughed and cried to the fullest of my capabilities. I did what I love even when I was exhausted and thought I couldn’t go on. I looked at the fear staring me in my face and ran through it. Because life will always be full of things we want to do, and fear will keep many from ever doing it. But all of the greatest victories and rewards in life lie on the other side of Fear. I am afraid of dying, but it is something I will go through the same way I did in life, dancing and laughing. Some people dance to the grave, while others are dragged kicking and screaming. Either way, it is where we are all headed. So, Grandson if you have not done the thing you want because of Fear. I implore you to move forward and do it anyway. Do not come to the grave, heavy with the burden of an unlived life. Come to it free and weightless, with the knowledge that there was not one more thing you could have done.

I am tired today, the sort of tired that comes along with doing something new and challenging in life. Like starting a new excercise program or building any new habit. There are going to be days like today where I just don’t feel like doing the thing. Even if it is the thing I most want to do. I realize this is a form of fear for me. I see my energy level and say, “I can’t produce anything of value when I am tired like I am now.” The fact is it is this fear that has caused me to quit things my entire life or to use substances to block out that tired feeling and make me believe I was super human. Well, I am proud to say I am far from Super Human. I am learning that Being Bold and doing what I want not only takes courage to walk through fear but it takes a certain amount of humility to remember that I am allowed to be weak and vulnerable. Everything I write and say will not be a master piece, to be held in the highest regards and to immortalize me as a great. The fact is I come to each day now with the realization that I am going to die, like it or not. And that realization allows me to do what I love even when I am tired and feel like I can’t go on. Because I just love doing this, I love to write even the most ridiculous of stories. Actually the more ridiculous the better. And I know that if I didn’t do what I loved today, because of fear that the product was not worthy of my greatness then I would regret not doin it.  I am done living a life of regret.

It is a choice that we make each morning to live or to die. To dance to the grave or be dragged to it. I will dance today, looking silly and tired but I will dance because I am headed there any way I might as well enjoy myself along the way.

I hope for anyone struggling to get moving today or to just get started on the thing that you have been terrified to start, that you just take a leap of faith and move one foot in the direction you want to go. What is the worst that could happen, you die? Oh, right we are all going to do that anyway. Good luck.

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An Original: Back to Basics

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There once was a portrait of a man. Painted by an Artist with an uncommon hand. For the Artist had dreams, he had hopes and love. Pouring into his painting all the above. Crafting a face with a heart full of Grace. Eyes full of purpose and a soul for the chase. He stood back from his work with admiration and pride. “This is it!” He exclaimed starting to cry. For he knew it was time for his painting to go, to make a name for himself his painting must grow. It was the Artist hope to be known by all, to be loved and adored for his work on the wall. But for this to happen the portrait must shine, it must be as it is, in all of its time. Standing up straight, not looking around, the portrait must place its feet on the ground. The world would learn who the Artist was when looking at the man in the portrait he loved.

But the portrait forgot the care that was gave to crafting itself and all of its ways. Looking around as it hung on the wall, seeing the colors of others made the portrait feel small. Forgetting the Artist the portrait felt shame, it felt guilt and despair and even his name. No longer even sure of who he was, the portrait began to catch on the buzz. Changing his shape and dusting his coat, the portrait no longer resembled what the Artist wanted most. No longer original, the man blended in, with all of the paintings for this was his sin.
Created to shine with purpose and grace the portrait was lost, now in a dark place. The portrait felt sick alone in the dark, just trying to fit in but he had lost his spark. The Artist had seen what his painting had become, reaching to it with a hand from above. The portrait of the man asked with a groan, why did you make me feel so alone. The Artist replied, “I made you with love, losing your way was not from above. Stop looking around and pick yourself up, you were created for a purpose not out of luck. Your purpose is to shine with all of your flaws, and show the world just how amazing you are. I don’t make junk not starting with you I created all of these paintings and not but a few. Truly see they are amazing, that they are special an unique an original for sure if only they would seek. Look deep into yourself in the place that I made, remember your name and from whence you came.

I need you to shine, just as you are. So straighten yourself up and focus on me, I created a portrait for all to see. Not to hide in the dark, scared and alone, when you focus on me you will remember your name. Becoming the portrait I know you can be, I made you that way, now shine for me.” The painting felt strange he felt hopeful and alive the darkness had burst open now seeing the sky. The light was pouring in all of this time his eyes had been closed not wanting to find. The thing that made him special, unique and a gift, the painting understood his place in all of it. The portrait remembered just who he was, created for a purpose by the Artist above.

Continue reading “An Original: Back to Basics”

Surrender to Start

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The sound of air exploded out of me, as I went flying towards the pavement landing with a sickening crack as my skull met the ground. My breathing was distinctly labored, every breath was my last. Each bone in my body was radiating pain, and my skin was on fire. I had never died before, but this seemed to be what it would feel like. My heart thundered in my ears like a war drum beating ferociously, trying with all it had to keep me alive. The air had such a staleness to it as if I were already in the grave, and this, the dying part was merely a formality. A powerful voice sounded from above me. My eyes were swollen shut, so I couldn’t make out who it was, and the ringing in my ears made the voice echo with more tonality.
“Have you had enough?” It asked.
My voice was ragged like pieces of old rusted metal had been scrapped across my vocal cords, “No, I need you still,” I said.
“I have already taken everything from you and brought you to the brink of death. You will die if you continue on with me.” The voice said, almost sad for me. But it couldn’t be sad; it wasn’t a living thing.
“Then I will die, I don’t know how to live without you.” My ropes end had been reached; there was nothing left for me.
The thing began to move in swiftly on me, for Its final blow, the killing blow. When suddenly another voice sounded as if it were over top of me, shielding me protectively like a mother protecting her young.
“He is done!” The voice yelled at the thing. “You will leave here now!” The protective voice screamed at the thing, and before I knew what happened, it was gone.

I woke up in my bed the bruises and breaks from the night before left me barely able to move. My body would recover, it was my mind that troubled me, as the thoughts raced about the night before fear began to set in. “How was I going to live without Alcohol?”

Surrender was the only way. I was unable to surrender on my own that night. I would have allowed Alcohol to kill me, in truth I went to bed many nights with the hope that I had drank enough to do just that. Only to wake up the next morning disappointed. It was not me that saved myself that night, It was my higher power, who I call God. And it was not the first time God intervened on my behalf. It is only by God’s grace that I am alive today, and at a point in my life where I can now choose to surrender my life every day to God.
The first step teaches me to surrender first to Alcohol, realizing it is my greatest enemy. Once I can surrender and accept that alcohol or my own will can no longer run my life, but that it has to be run by something more significant than me, can I move forward with my life. Truly alive.

The New year always brings with it a litany of resolutions for who we are going to be this year. Promises to ourselves that this year will be different. “I will do things differently, I swear.” A promise I made so many times.  I no longer am worried about what I will be like in a year. Instead, I am focusing on who I am and where I am right now in this moment. I am willing to surrender this moment to get to the next. Realizing that by surrendering each present moment to the past, I am planting seeds for future growth. By holding on to the seeds, I have assured myself an empty future.

I ask myself today, what am I putting into this present moment that will lead to future growth? When I know my starting spot, I can learn what I need to do each step of the way for a better life. Planting seeds full of life, love and laughter along the way. Surrendering in each moment so that I can start a new one. Because every moment I have ever lived in has not been perfect, but it has been full of every single thing I need at that moment to be complete.

I will Surrender each moment with the firm belief that I did all I could in it, and continue to thank God for the grace that continues to bring me through.

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2019 Predictions: 100% Accuracy

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A great ball of fire will rip through the sky heating the planet, before sending it into complete darkness. The Moon will glow full and blood red before disappearing for some time. The Oceans will recede, and there will be great migrations of wildlife across the globe. The Earth will be rocketed through space, nearly being destroyed by fields of Asteroids. Millions of people will die, and millions more will be born. All of humanity will look to the sky at some point asking, “why am I here?” There will be global political turmoil, splitting families and friends. Gyms will see a 40% increase in business only to be hit by a 20% decrease two months later. The world economy will be in question and fear of global destruction will be on the minds of many. People will laugh and dance, love and live. While others cry and suffer, beg and plead for salvation. The air will become dense and hard to breathe at some point in the year sending millions of people indoors, while others will be made to run around and play games in the dense atmosphere. There will be a significant food shortage as many around the world starve to death, while others enjoy an overabundance of resources. The majority of the money in the world will be in the pockets of the same 1% as it was last year.
And finally, everyone who made a resolution to lose 15lbs at the beginning of the year will have put that same 15lbs back on by the end of the year.

Here is the Truth, things have been pretty much the same for the majority of recorded human history, a little over 6,000 years. Things are not suddenly going to change. The sun will still rise and set around the same time it usually does. The tides will go in and out.  Animals will go to their favorite summer vacation spots in the winter. Half the world will have too much, while the other half doesn’t have enough. Everyone will still want to know what the hell they are doing here.

It is not a big mystery to figure out what is going to happen. The trick is not getting caught up in fear of what might happen, because six thousand years of recorded history have shown me that everything will be just about the way it has always been. The question is, “what am I to do about it if I want a better year than the one I previously had?” In that the answer is simple, it is not always easy and definitely not always fun. But the truth of the matter is the only thing I can do about the future of the world is change who I am becoming. I can work on myself.

Jim Rohn said “Self-development is the key to success, don’t chase after success. Success is looking for a nice place to stay.”

I must become the man who embodies success and victory. I must become more today than I was yesterday, and I do that by working a spiritual program of recovery. The 12 steps are my foundation to becoming a man that does not do one good thing, I am becoming the man that is successful and inspired, and everything I produce is successful and inspired.
The world is not going to change; it is what it is. It always has been and as far as I can tell always will be. It is up to me to be different if I want something more for my life. By becoming different (Better) I can accept life on life’s terms because I am no longer a victim of life, I am not worried about the things out of my control. I see what I have control over, and I improve those things with a relentless mindset. I go after my dreams full of fear but more full of faith. I humble myself with the fact that I may fail and realize that failure is and has always been a part of the human condition and I am as human as the next man. The beautiful thing is that I realize that today, but only as a product of working the 12 steps every day in all my affairs. Life has become simpler because it isn’t too big anymore, I can’t keep the sun from rising or setting, but I can get up with it and make the most of the time I have in front of me. By doing all I can in my present moment I am carving out the future version of my self, one glorious step at a time.

Have a great day.  And if you enjoy what you read here, please feel free to share. If it helped you, it may help someone else.