Repetition and Routine- Bringers of Negativity- How We Turn it Around

Coming Up:

  • Repetition and Routine as the hidden handicappers of embracing life
  • How routine and repetition impacted me recently
  • Considerations for how they can impact you and what you can do

 

Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop, or so they say. I am not here to debate the merits of that statement, although it would be interesting. There are things else in the world outside of idle hands that are some of the largest proponents of woe and misery today- repetition and routine.

Coming from a family that leans heavy towards the obsessive compulsive mindset, routine and repetition are our closest neighbors, we wave hello to them every morning and invite them over for Sunday brunch. Branching out further, expanding the scope to society as a whole (at least the American society I am familiar with), it can be easily seen that routine and repetition have not just pervaded our lives, but have infected it, captured it, tortured it and ground us down. The worst part about all of it is that routine and repetition are so sneaky, so conniving that they have brainwashed us into believing that they are needed, a simple fact of life, just how things are. They do not have to be.

Variety is truly the spice of life (to be cliché).

My journey over the past few months has been eye opening. I have learned more about myself than anticipated (and I expected a lot). My view of the world has changed drastically. It is not just about career change (that is part of it); my world in the past few months has been riddled with unexpected loss, undo stressors, uncomfortable situations that have forced me to confront deep seeded notions of who I am, what I believe in, and how I impact the people around me. The road has taken many twists and turns as of late, and along the way I have brushed against some thorny undergrowth on my way to truth.

One component of that journey has been my realization regarding the toxic nature of engraining oneself in routine and repetition. This dangerous duo can manifest in countless forms: taking relationships for granted, bad dietary and or fitness habits, accepting sub-par working conditions, avoiding dangerous health symptoms, being oblivious to others’ desperate outreach, and perhaps most tragically, a general and overall apathy for life and missing out on the possibility of the true wonder and amazement that can come with each day.

Life is overwhelming for all of us in some way or another, to varying extents. Routine and repetition are what some may call tools, others will call crutches, there to help us avoid having to see each day as a unique life experience, equal parts exciting and terrifying. In general, we are not equipped, nor do we have the energy (unfortunately) to approach each day as a new adventure, open our minds up to the possibilities, see every item, even those most commonplace fresh and rediscover life with each moment. As a society we have set up our lives in a way that will not allow for this type of fresh-eyed childlike approach. I will acknowledge that there are benefits to routine and repetition in certain niches and situations, but as a whole, when taken to the extremes that we have become accustomed to, they deprive us of a baseline satisfaction and appreciation for life and learning.

In my most recent revelation, I discovered that routine and repetition were impacting my daily life in serious and negative ways. I found myself doing what was comfortable, not challenging myself, taking relationships for granted, accepting life situations that were a hindrance and contributors to negative mental states simply because they were convenient and easy. I was slipping and forgetting how to see each day as an adventure, open my eyes and see the wonder and excitement that encapsulates existence. It takes energy, often times a lot to approach each day anew; it is easier to do what is known, what is comfortable, what is right in front of us, even if it hurts us.

For myself, I have found that it takes daily intention, constant recalibration to avoid the duo of repetition and routine. It has only been a few days since my revelatory refocus, but it has been a godsend. As an artist and a creative mind, I am always thinking abstract in so many mediums; sad to say that the basic premise of living each day had started to be excluded from that list. No more. I am dedicated to allowing routine and repetition to have their proper places in small doses for select situations, while recommitting to opening my eyes and challenging the status quo of what makes up a day.

Consider for yourself, what do I do each day that falls into a routine and repetition cycle?

What things are appropriate to have routine and repetition for? Which life segments are hurt or not allowed to flourish by routine and repetition?

Once you have established your starter list, it is time to commit and take action. The action will be different for each of us. It may be that we need to avoid certain situations, approach people differently, take a risk on something that scares us (the unknown), or we may need to have tough conversations and cut out items that we once believed were vital in our life. Whatever the case, the overarching message is of a fresh approach and a moment by moment appreciation for life. It does not matter if it applies to your career, your family, or you as an individual, the message remains the same.

Looking back, I want to (need to be able to) say that I saw the wonders of life; I embraced the day, the choices, the options, and the great unknown.

Looking Back:

  • Routine and repetition pervade our lives, often times in negative ways
  • By taking some time to reflect and open ourselves up to new approaches, we can combat these negative impacts

 

Scott Norek

Blogger and Freelance Writer at scottnorek.com http://bit.ly/1KOSW02

Why “Live Every Day as if it is Your Last” is Bad Advice

Upcoming…

  • A critical review of a popular saying
  • I imagine my chaotic twenty-four hours
  • Lessons learned on how we can apply the saying without causing societal breakdown

“Live every day as if it is your last.” This well-known life advice has been stated, restated, and over-saturated throughout the years from everyone and everything from friends, family, strangers, Hallmark cards, motivational posters, to internet images. We have heard it so many times and on the surface it seems like great advice, a push motivation to help the individual see the fragility in life and seek out full-life optimization in each moment of each day. We do need to appreciate the day, enjoy the moments that present themselves, and go for what we want now, instead of assuming we will have time later on. Still, this phrase is bad advice. You should not live every day as if it is your last, for the good of you and the good of mankind. If each of us were one hundred percent honest with ourselves, fantasized out what we would do with our last twenty-four hours in this life and did that EXACT scenario every single day, chaos would ensue and society would breakdown.

Consider that faced with our own twenty-four hour mortality, the majority of people would forgo obligations in exchange for a last few precious hours with family, make reckless impulsive decisions, play out situations that they would never do in real-life because of the repercussions that would follow the next day, and in general burn out their twenty-four hours in a chaotic, emotional mess of glory.

I imagine nobody reporting to work, offices empty, commerce at a standstill. The impulsive individuals causing chaos by indulging in all forms of sin, debauchery, excess, and violations of social norms and laws, followed by countless relationships (family, friend, partner, colleague) destroyed by the silver forked tongue of people who have nothing to lose and no repercussions by speaking their mind with no filter- the immediate stalling and caving of society, all within twenty-four hours.

What would I do with my last twenty-four hours? First and foremost, I would spend all of my time with my family, my wife, son, brother, mom, dad, etc. I would forgo all obligations such as chores, work, and social obligations. My family and I would get outside, experience nature, do as we pleased, and not be bothered by what others are doing or may think. Honestly, I would probably also take in a few indulgences and risking endeavors.

Now imagine my scenario above, add in your own scenario, and multiply that by the choices and actions of every single person on the planet- pure chaos, hell on earth.

So why does this popular phrase hold so much weight and end up being uttered daily with the best of intentions? First, we want to believe that we can be free, do as we please, and experience life unfettered. Second, while the literal interpretation is flawed, the intention is a valuable message.

The message is simple, live life in the present. Do not wait for life to align perfectly for your dreams and desires, you need to do it now, whatever that “it” is. Many spiritual practices share a central theme of be present in the moment. That is what this phrase is getting at. We can learn a lot from that perspective.

In the end, be aware of what you desire in life, find ways every day to pursue those desires, and be grateful and present in each moment.

Let Go of Perfection and Embrace Reality

I can be very hard on myself and I know I am not alone. So often we are force fed the notion of perfection, the ridiculously unobtainable ideal that will always elude us and leave us in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction, an unneeded striving for something bigger, better, faster, more attractive, more expensive. There is nothing wrong with goals, ambitions, dreams and desires- we need that- a motivation to keep moving forward, to better ourselves. Speaking in generalities (of course), we all do this to some extent, some more than others.

Think about it. What do you beat yourself up about? Run one more mile next time, score ten points higher on the next test, wow your coworkers in the next company meeting? Or maybe you just consider it challenging yourself. Perhaps you tell yourself you will pick the perfect partner next relationship, lose five more pounds, write a better story.

In the proper setting these can all be great motivating goals and aspirations. But in the (all too common) incorrect setting, they become negatives, undo stressors, reminders that we have fallen just short, and still have longer ways to go.

So how can the same item be both a negative and a positive? Perspective. Our perspective is key. I struggle with this daily, but being able to be happy with ourselves, appreciate and celebrate our wins (no matter how small), see the big picture, and simply be in the present moment, are the groundwork for happiness and satisfaction in life.

By way of example, my wife (somewhat) recently completed a graduate degree program. One of the first things a close relative asked her moments after graduation was “congratulations, what is next? When will you get that doctoral degree?” Think about it…

My wife had literally just completed the symbolic celebration of the culmination of years of study and work walking in her graduation ceremony, and what she is immediately met with is a thin veil of congratulations, saturated with a polluted mindset bent on the continual “one-up”, keeping up with the Joneses, stuck in a cycle of perpetual reinforcement of the notion that we need something bigger, better, shinier. Ridiculous, yet it pervades all around us. Luckily she is well aware of this, we have talked at length. But, had she not been, she would become victim to the “do better” cycle.

What I have come to realize for myself is it is not just a factor in our career world, nor only in our personal life ,this mentality seeps into nearly every nuance of existence- but it does not have to. You are good enough. You have accomplished a lot. You need to celebrate who you are and what you have done.

Perfection is a myth, a fairytale the ill-intentioned sells us to further their agenda, and what the well-intentioned convince themselves in a faulty mindset. Fault and imperfections are reality and should be embraced. We learn through experience, through our mistakes and life lessons.

In summary:

  • Perfection is a myth– This applies to all aspects of life both personal and professional
  • Reality is beautifully and perfectly flawed– We learn the most from our trials and tribulations, building character through embracing and even loving flaws
  • Accepting imperfections in others is a talent– and key component of interconnectedness and understanding in life
  • The difference between positive goals and a flawed approach is perspective

The next time your coworker, direct report, partner, child, whomever, falls short and exposes themselves for anything but a perfect ideal, take a moment, experience the situation, and take a critical eye to what can be learned from the situation. Focus on showing a level of compassion, understanding and connectedness. You may be surprised at what happens next.

What would a benefit be to you and your world from accepting imperfection?

These are the thoughts of one person, a person who is perfectly flawed, like us all.

Who Do You Want to Be? (You Already Are That) Now How to Show the World

It is when we have embraced our true-self in all aspects of life that we are at our optimal.

Self-reflection and a razor sharp critique of myself have been reoccurring elements over the past few months for me. Ever since being released from a corporate job I held for just a tad over a decade, I have done a lot of soul searching. To be transparent, self-reflection and the search for the ever elusive true happiness have always been cornerstones of my persona. Since my childhood days I have written. The writing has always been introspective and contemplative on not just myself, but on society and life as a whole. So when it came time for me to confront a major career change, fresh on the heels of the birth of my firstborn and several other key milestones in life, I truly was at a crossroads. But unlike many who approach a crossroads, I did not enter the lonely intersection with apprehension, fear, anxiety, or wondering who I was (or who I was to become). For me, the crossroads were bright, warm, inviting, and what was once a soft almost silent ambient sound that beckoned me towards my truth, was now an in your face message screaming at me- no more hiding softly just below the ever-present buzz of daily life, never being noticed- this sound was piercing, loud, intentional , and real. My life was calling and it was up to me to answer. And I have.

I am a writer. A little bit left of center writer, but a writer nonetheless. The fact that I had spent a decade in a corporate world said nothing about this. That was the path I had chosen coming just out of college (get that career job Scott…get that house…make sure it has a white picket fence…). I learned a lot, met great people, was able to provide comfortably for myself and my family, and it is that path through corporate America that led me exactly to where I am today- happy and excited to be heading down a new twist in the path- happily running past my crossroads, blazing towards what is next.

Cliché to say, but I would not change a thing about that portion of my path; for to change any component of the path may have altered my experiences in a way that would take away from what I have come to hold most dear- and that was/is my truth. So many have commented to me recently “oh, so you are a writer now”, or “you are getting into writing now”. That, along with my own intensive self-reflection got me thinking, who do I want to be?

I very quickly realized that I did not need to be asking myself that question; it is easy to go there given my circumstances, but it was a faulty query at its base-level. Losing a job does not negate or change who you are. Yes, you may go a new route (like me), acquire new skills, rethink many aspects of your life, but you are still you…always have been…always will be. I do not mean to insinuate that we can only be one thing, or that we are limited in what we can do in life. There are no limits, and many truths about ourselves will only be revealed throughout our time in this life as we navigate and are exposed to different factors. But it is there. What I call our true-selves, is at the very basis of our makeup. Understanding who I am and what that means for myself at this point in time is freeing. To understand one’s truth is next to the sublime.

Who we are, our true, vulnerable, naked self is rarely (unfortunately) exactly (or even close) to the person we are perceived as in everyday life by the masses, as well as by some of the people closest to us. The simple living, neo-hippie, free-flowing writer/artist masked by what others blindly (by no fault of their own) see as a standard run of the mill suburbanite father, husband and corporate worker bee.

Let the wild truth within run free, unfettered by expectations and safe choices- embrace your truth and the mask will fall away until the world sees you as you have always known you are and have been.

Freedom and peace with our lives is a paramount pursuit. That pursuit is within and not dependent upon others.

Coming out of the introspective, deep, philosophical leanings of realizing out truths have always been with us, there is a different level of being, a (albeit more superficial) benefit to helping others to see our truth.

So how can we help others, even the casual observer, see our truth deep down to our core? How do we materialize into the world the miraculous bits and pieces that make up our truest fibers?

Here is what has worked for me (perhaps it has or will work for you)…

  1. Pursue Your Dreams
    1. You have to make it happen. I have always been a writer, wrote when I could, and knew that I would love to pursue it professionally one day; but it was not until I took legitimate steps to make this a reality and see just how far down the rabbit hole I could go (still a long ways to go) that the gap between my inner-identity and the outer-self began to be bridged and meld together in a noticeable way. You need to take actionable steps out in the world to help people see your truth.
  2. Embrace Your Truth- hide nothing
    1. As with much advice, it is always easier said than done, but being as open and transparent as possible (be an open book) with whom you are, what you want, and what you will be doing is freeing and eye opening. It only took one or two soul opening conversations with my family about being a writer and how I feel when I embrace that piece of me for those around me to get it. After that, I found people’s support and curiosity inspirational.
  3. Stay Strong- do not fade away, justify, or feel the need to rationalize
    1. Many will not understand, especially when we are challenging the norm. You will be met with resistance, some so intense it may make you doubt yourself- do not let it. This is your truth and your truth alone- own it. Strength and confidence in who we are will attract others and can turn nonbelievers into devote followers.
  4. Be Obsessive
    1. This is all about who you are as deep as possible, it is about losing the mask, shedding the expectations laid by others for a magnificent blindingly bright light of your truth- be obsessive. Dive in with everything you have, trusting yourself implicitly. If there is anything worth doing full-bore, it is this.

These are snippets, short capsules meant to detail what I (as one individual) have done for myself. The focus has been on career change, but is applicable across the spectrum of life, whether it be a similar career shift, a new religious or political leaning, sharing an alternative lifestyle with the world, or declaring your allegiance for a formerly embarrassing television show. The point is, whatever your situation, own it.

I encourage you to leave your own thoughts. Share your truth. Best wishes on your own unique adventure.

Scott Norek

Blogger and Freelance Writer at scottnorek.com http://bit.ly/1KOSW02

Writers Today vs. Writers of Old (Part 1)

Upcoming…

  • Writer of today compared to that of yesteryear
  • Traits of the historical writer
  • Quips on modern society
  • A promise for more to come

 

Being a writer- prior to twenty years ago (give or take), it meant basically the same thing throughout the ages, creative spirit holed away somewhere, isolated, banging out page after page on a typewriter. I imagine Jack Kerouac sitting at an old wooden desk, not old in that classy antique sort of way, but old in that just plain old, beat-up, and forgotten by time sort of way, the luster gone, wood splitting and rough, the legs uneven and wobbly, the surface barely suitable for a family to eat at, years of abuse- but perfect for the true writer, for the artist who cares not for the luxuries or even sometimes the bare necessities in life, but rather is so laser focused on their craft that they will sit in a skid row motel, at an abused desk, eyes blurry from countless hours of straight typing, just being what they are. I pick Kerouac as he is an inspiration for me, a lighthouse that has guided me in my writing; but while the scenario may change from skid row motel, it is the same for the writers of history and legend- simplicity in their craft.

Artist, paper, pencil/pen/quill (you get it), typewriter, and whatever ambience/setting they need, mixed in with a little inspiration (the indulgences), and you have the skeleton of a writer’s life. Sprinkle in some poverty, heartache, struggles, pains, misery, with a sense of adventure, excitement, inspiration, and you have the perfect storm for so many of the writers that have etched their names in history’s library.

What is it all? Simple- it was simple. Life was simple, if not a challenge for the writer. The term starving artist is there for a reason. What made the memorable ones memorable and countless more that time has forgotten is singular focus- Writing. They wrote because that is who they were, and they shut out much of the rest of the world (unless it suited them to engage with the world for their writing).

So what is the writer’s life like today? There is no way to marginalize all the unique personalities and life paths that the pantheon of today’s writers have, yet I will (forgive). Today’s writer still has all the characteristics I described earlier, the simple mad crazy driven desire to do their art, a willingness at times to forgo anything else, and the need for the right setting, but with all of that (which was enough and often too much for writers of yesteryear) they have modern (last twenty years) society. The internet, social networking, self-publishing, celebrity obsession, technology entwined into EVERY component of life, and looking out- a world that would seem like science fiction and make a good many of the writers of yesterday shed a tear for humanity.

How pure and how true it must have been to have been the writers of a long gone era, just to write and experience life. Thoreau never had to worry about how many Twitter followers he had, whether he should self-publish or not; he never overthought about a photo he was taking and what filter to use before it went up on Instagram. Critique today comes from the anonymous, the obscure, the virtual masses so quick to destroy your passions with hateful words spewed out over a laptop’s keyboard.

There is a lot of greatness, exposure, possibilities and new mediums that come with this modern age (more for another post), I acknowledge that- but for today, for right now, I am on the idea of the writer’s life as it exist in its simplest form- one individual- writing. Modern benefits aside, one cannot deny that the scope of the writer, the need to stay connected, and the overexposure at times, has taken away from much of the simplicity that has always been at the core of being a writer.

Leather bound journal and pencil have been replaced by laptop, tablet, smart phone, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc…and for many, that is pure bliss, exactly what they want, what they need. But there are throwbacks out there. The writers who prefer to stay low-tech, carry paper and pen as they stomp throughout the world in search of their next inspiration- Thoreau at Walden pond, Kerouac at Big Sur. It is for those that I write.

As I said, there is much more to be said for the modern era of writing, and I will, just not right now. For now, I am going to pack up the computer, turn off the music, not obsess over Twitter or Facebook- for now I am going to disconnect and go out into the world. I encourage you to do the same.

 

Looking Back…

  • I generalize and romanticize the writer, but it was different, simpler before
  • The modern day writer must be plugged into social networking, the media, the age of technology
  • While this is a godsend for many modern writers today, there are throwback writers (old-school)

Author’s note…

  • This topic could be written about for hours and days, endless in its length of discussion. This is a snippet, a quick thought burst from one modern day writer.

I will do a companion (part 2) piece that highlights the benefits of the modern era. Stay tuned…

Ten Week Reflection on My Path

Upcoming…

  • Self-reflection on the first steps in my new life path
  • How it has impacted me and the people around me
  • A tidbit or two on what we can all do to find truth

 

It has been exactly ten weeks today since I stepped out of the office of my corporate compliance position I had held for the last ten years for the last time. As of that day, I no longer was required (are we ever really required- we make choices even if we do not think they are choices) to come into the office, complete my corporate duties, and contribute to a for-profit publicly traded company, that today seems a distant memory and eons away from who I am right now, in this moment. Sure, the departure from corporate life was not on my own accord, my hand forced via riff, but it was welcomed, it was needed.

It has always been in me, writer, artist, and I have always known that a corporate life, while rich with many material benefits and comforts, was not me, not deep down to my truth. It is possible (and probable) that there is a corporate career out there that would align directly with my true-self, my core beliefs and passions. I will not deny that. What I will say is that I am and have always been a writer, artist, and a seeker of adventure and truth. The world is a wonderful mysterious place and it calls to me, beckoning me to explore it, experience it, and to understand (try to) its infinite mysteries and truths.

This is where I need to be, this is what my path needs to be, a primary focus on life, experiences, and a continued searching of truth and beauty. I was not doing that from my desk in a corporate office, focusing on regulatory compliance.

I feel more alive today and more satisfied in each day than I have in a very long time. Many would look at my situation and see an unfortunate individual laid off from a (seemingly and was for ten years) stable, very well paying corporate position, which provided an excess of financial and material comfort, evidence of career progression, success and promise for the future. These people would see all that and conclude that it was a tragedy, a worrisome situation, one difficult to recover from, and wonder, “what will he do next?” “How will he match that success in the job market today?” and I get it…I do. I understand that mindset.

It is a mindset I have had to battle and explain away to so many of my closest friends and family members. As a husband and father to a one year old son, the traditional standard of success, comfort and safety are hard societal tags to shake.

But there is a different type of success, a different standard for life, a more fulfilling and true ideal to strive for. That is what I am going for now. The path to live it my everyday as my true-self, to pursue my passions, my dreams, the components that I most closely identify with at the core of my being. My wife Laura and I have always fancied ourselves a little bit different, slightly left of the mainstream, neo-hippie types caught up in a corporate suburbanite world. In between morning commutes to the office and painstaking repetitive maintenance of our suburban sprawl, I dreamt of escape, of running away, leaving it all behind, going simple, primitive, free and living away, secluded, perhaps a remote rustic cabin tucked deeply into a woody pine, the fresh mountain air in the morning, the simple and true reality sounds of birds, insects, a babbling brook…and us, just the family and peace.

So now and for the last ten weeks, I found myself able to escape, able to explore this path. With the support of my wife and a desire to take this leap, I have experienced a lot.

It is no easy task to go from amateur (still am), casual writer in my free time, writing pieces only for myself, or at least only seen by myself, the hidden work of an artist at heart and mind for the entirety of my life (as far as I can recall), to choosing to leap into the public eye and make my works, my emotions, my truths, and my very being available for public consumption. Our emotions, identifiers, and stories are very personal to all of us…imagine taking your journal, spilling your desires, fears, insecurities, struggles and accomplishments out into the world. This is what I am doing, this is what I have chosen to do…and I love every second of it.

I miss no part of my former corporate career. I miss several people, but nothing else. That is not to imply I am not grateful for the opportunity, the company, the experience, or the path it took me on for the last ten years. That part of my life brought me many great memories and provided in a particular way for me and my family. It also led me to where I am today, sitting here, literally recounting my past years in a creative writing form that has always been primary to my true-self. I am not ungrateful, but I also do not miss any part of it and do not desire to return down that path. That path is done; it is no longer part of my current or future story (as far as my limited perspective can see).

What I have today is brilliant, special, engaging, and beautiful. I have a purpose and a path that makes me feel alive and deeply satisfied in a life fulfilling way. I am a writer.

In ten weeks on this new path, I have learned many things:

  1. It is difficult and can seem impossible at times, but being true to yourself as deeply and honestly as possible is liberating. There is nothing like it.
  2. You must first discover what being true to yourself really means. We may think we know, have convinced ourselves we know what we desire, what we need, but it may be a wall, a facade, a compromise we have made in life to deal with and accept our circumstances. Take time, find solitude for however long you need, listen to yourself and discover the silent voice within that whispers to your soul. Hear what it has to say.
  3. Following a path that veers any degree from what you have done in the past, what is expected of you, and or is unconventional for whatever slice of society you are a part of will be misunderstood and met with a great degree of confusion. Be true, honest, open and frank with those that you feel need to, or you care to explain yourself to. Even if your decision is not for them and they do not understand, if you are being true to your core, they will understand and feel that. People will respond to your vibrations you set out, as long as they are pure and true.
  4. We can all do it; we all need to do it. We can find ourselves and make it work in our life. It will not happen overnight, it takes time. Finding truth starts with desire and unbreakable determination. Never lose sight, even when times may be their darkest.

It has already been, but also has only been ten weeks since I have pushed down this new path. I still have so much to learn, so much to experience.

I welcome comments (comment link at bottom of each blog post- may show as “no comments”). Let me know a way you have followed your path that others can learn from.

There will be more recaps to come, for now, adventure on my fellow life travelers. Find your peace.

Scott’s Excellent Adventure

Upcoming…

  • Making the most of the day
  • Slowing down life enough to have a moment
  • Adventure in many forms
  • Finding joy in the everyday

 

Author’s Note…

  • I talked with my wife on this topic last night and today it is my blog

Adventure. This topic was front and center primary in a late night talk between Laura and I last night. I have been finding myself pontificating so much during the day, having so much I want to let loose and riff on with Laura, by the time she comes home, settled in, we have taken care of our son and put him down to sleep for the evening, and finally have a moment to just talk, I am a damn ready to burst in my mind, having played out parts of the conversation (stop Scott- be in the moment) and I could go a million miles an hour- speedy word genius of forgone (Neal Cassady) staggering down the winding road, jumping from topic to topic. The ever elusive and mad ramblings of a man possessed. I have trouble holding it all in recently- a whirling dervish of mad riffs, long winded expulsions and stream after stream of intricately laced story. On this night we traded off points on adventure- having both realized that we are in good spirits individually and as a couple as of late, we dissected that fact. Discussed the whys, the hours, the experiences, and the outcomes. A sense of adventure and of experience, searching each out and devouring them whole in each day was our primary takeaway. We all need adventure, as often and as madly as possible. I had almost forgotten (and am sure many others have) how to do this on a day to day basis, how to find time, even if just a moment to be wowed by the day, to be amazed by life. My former professional life in corporate compliance did nothing to facilitate this, and in many ways was crippling. I realize I am in a special kind of situation being able to be a stay at home parent and aspiring writer that facilitates these ambitions. But we can all do it. We have to be able to…

(I took a rather lengthy pause here to stop writing, hear the music, and absorb the nature that I had immersed myself in.)

Adventure will mean something different to everyone, but the primordial need and the baseline effect are generally the same. Life is made up of moments, and within each moment that we bridge we choose to either be present or mindlessly follow suit- we can either seek out truth and connectedness with the world around us, or we can continue on mindless, numb, oblivious to the preciousness. This is what was happening to me- too caught up in the grind, the routine, the have-to-dos, I had forgotten how to enjoy, how to be simple. Recently we have been seizing this though- two individuals both in desperate need of release- finding that groove, peeling back the veil just a bit to step into the shallow waters of tranquility and the liquid essence of adventure. Truth seekers.

Everyone is different (already said) and everyone’s level of awareness is also. Life can be a slow twisting knot, becoming ever more tight as each day passes by, until there is no more slack left and you are trapped in a life and in a way of living, approaching each day that is a far cry from your true aligned self. Take a moment, discover something new in your everyday routine. Notice the person you have never noticed before, see the beauty in the flower garden you blindly pass every day, read a new book, hear a new song, build a campfire, tell someone you love them, sit in the grass (and do nothing else besides sit), take a new lover, say yes to that party invitation, take that solitary walk at night, play ball with your dog, live, adventure, experience- fully, deeply, madly, passionately, and as frequently as possible. For it all comes to an end- times change- moments are lost- people exit your world- life continues on. Finite yet endless. Each day does not need to be a wild madcap adventure burning down the city- all you need are moments, experiences to feel the touch- the touch of glory- of truth. Peace. I am trying more and more to do this every day. I feel beyond being right, it is almost a cliché prerequisite for the writer/artist.

Devour life.

For me, most recently, it has been putting my words out in the world in a very public way, meeting new people at a wedding, playing in the pool in my backyard with my son, taking a walk on my own, taking a risk pursuing a desire, and taking a moment to take pride in my wife’s accomplishments and praise her for it. All different, all experiences, all micro adventures in their own right. All took me out of the daily routine, tested my boundaries, showed me something new and reminded me about adventure in life (that is life).

 

Looking Back…

  • Adventure and excitement in life can be found every day
  • It just takes us a conscious effort to find it

The New Blog Site and Me

Upcoming…

  • I explore my mind-state on the night of my blog go-live
  • Glimpse into why I write

 

On the eve of the go-live for my blog site, I sit with mixed feelings- excitement, apprehension, joy, wonder, unease, apprehension (wrote that twice- mean something?), but mostly, I am on edge in the greatest way possible. I have always been a writer and artist, since I can remember as a child. I remember creating my own versions of the story of the Alamo and of the cinematic Aliens series; both done in word and picture. I believe I still even have the Alamo story. Writing for me has always been a release, an escape, a way to try to not only understand the world, but especially myself- what makes me tick, why I feel the way I do, why I am the way I am. Who I am…

Writing and all other forms of art have always been amateur for me, something I just did for pleasure, in my spare time. Thing is, there was always spare time, ample amounts, when I was younger; but as the years went on and I sank further and further into the typical American suburban life, that time for art, that time for writing seemed to all but disappear outside of neatly pocketed manic bursts. It is in those moments that I would feverishly write as much as I could, until my arm cramped and hand felt numb. The pulsating agony and joy of a blur of spontaneous writing.  In a way, it is what I have always done, but it took discovering my now Holy Grail author Jack Kerouac, to discover and find acceptance in this method. Jack called it spontaneous prose, and he was the unwilling master and ambassador. A style of writing that says that first thought is best thought- no need to rewrite- no need to ponder- no editing, going back, scratch that, use this instead- total trust in one’s instincts and inner voice. Autonomous writing in a way.  To use a contemporary example, it is akin to the hip-hop artist of today who do not write their lyrics down, they just rap from their mind and one-take it in the studio. But my muse is Kerouac, (again) unwilling leader and ambassador of the Beat generation, a group hell bent on freedom of expression, adventure, and a willingness to go for it in writing, life and in every sense. This is what I try to also do. This will come through as very diverse, sometimes chaotic, occasionally brilliant, and followed by a few misses, in my work. I am not about polished, I am not about the boundaries, the rules, the expectations, and trying to ensure my work fits a mainstream idea.

My work is simply me, through and through. This means it will not be for everyone. For some will not get it and dismiss is; while others will see truth, similarity to themselves and understand why I do this. I am very open, frank and introspective in my works.  Acting as my harshest critic and as my biggest advocate, I wind and snake my way through life via written word- each moment captured for record, understanding, retrospection, and discovery. The ever illusive search for the eternal truth, the ultimate reality hidden just beneath our noses, just existing in godly glory just beyond our eyes.

As I said, I have always written and considered myself at my core and artist; but this has not been able to play itself out in what is commonly referred to as my professional life, my career. That is until now. No, I am not a published author, nor a blogger who has so many followers, so many visits that a generate money. I do not have a job in the writing industry; in fact I do not have a conventional job at this moment. That is the short version of a long story behind this new career path. I have spent the past ten years at the same corporate entity, in various roles, most recently as a corporate compliance Director- about as far away as possible from being an artist/writer. Those ten years culminated in me being one of many rifted in a massive company-wide layoff.

That is the catalyst for this, the chance to find a new direction, to retake hold of my life, to make myself happy, find true joy and purpose in what I do. My chance to write.

In some way, everything I will post on the blog will be about my new path. Some more obvious than others- yet all being true glimpses into my mind, my life, my view of the world- for better or worse.

What do I hope readers get out of my work? Who knows…how can I truly answer that without sounding cliché? I would be lying if I said I did not care if anyone enjoyed it, found meaning, found some level of truth. And in another sense, I am doing this as my own therapy- my own truth being peeled back from my innermost psyche and jettisoned into the world.

I have put a lot of work into getting this blog page up and running, and the initial spattering of posts are not a representation of my favorite work, best work, worst work, or anything down the middle; they are simply some of my most recent work. Like I said, I have been writing all my life and have the vast majority of those works hand written locked safe away. How would one who has been on this earth the better half of thirty years as myself go about handpicking his best or favorite works at this juncture? An exercise in futility. I will go back. I will resurrect some of the works from the vault.

For now, take a look into me through my written word at this juncture in time. As I continue to post more for the world, hopefully the intricacies of my world and my mind will become living entities out there, and I will find truth, meaning and oneness with my true-self and the ultimate reality.

Ready for the journey?

 

Looking Back…

  • I am a writer, always have been
  • I am taking a leap to see how far down the rabbit hole I can go

The Intent Observer

FullSizeRender_1Upcoming…

  • Afternoon drinking
  • Observing society
  • Kerouac and Van Gogh

 

The afternoon is winding down, the air has turned from a crisp morning dew to a breathy cool breeze. The sun doing its best to stay present and accounted for amongst a stream of wispy clouds. The veranda outside of the Schaumburg Beer Market is simple, classic, and perfect for a mid-afternoon drink and write. The metal grated table and chairs increase the feeling of openness to the elements, as well as a free flow of life. The wind swirls around, clouds creep by, and I feverishly write. I have grown to love these types of locations, an outdoor seating area nested within a crowded city- evokes imagery of traveling on vacation, the unknown adventure of the living pulse of a city happening all around you- and a nod to the past writers and artists, all of which I have to believe spent countless hours and days in locales just like this- out, in the thick of life, observing, interacting, and watching the intricate dance of people going about their day, each a different story to tell-and there the artist sits- a part of it all- yet strategically removed enough to be detailed observer- Jack Kerouac at the Skid Row diner. Me, in the Schaumburg afternoon, outside patio of the Beer Market. Visions of Van Gogh sitting at a similar table outside of a (now) historic European village comes to mind. Though admittingly the scene here for me is much more subdued and commercialized (it is Schaumburg) than Vincent’s image I conjure, madman painter, inebriated on various drink and substance, genius mind swirling with beauty and inspiration. The conservative well-to-do parade down the cobblestone street, umbrellas, top hats- while he sits stoic, creating, living, taking it all in. For me it is office workers zipping by in their cars, the young family heading over to their fast-food chain of choice. Inspiring locales are still very much alive, they just take more work to find them today in the modern era. I need to find the inspiration around me- remind myself of the beauty that exists within each day.

 

Looking Back…

  • The artist needs to be a part of society, yet remain invisible

Inspiration and A Hard Day’s Work

FullSizeRender (2)

Upcoming…

  • Inspiration and Mood Setting
  • Outdoors
  • Suburban Ideals
  • Good Ol’ Fashioned Hard Day’s Work
  • Going With the Day

Author’s Note…

  • This is a short piece that I am including to display the nature of my day-to-day life as a suburbanite, parent and partner. You will also get a glimpse (very small scale) of my drive to seek adventure and go for the unknown in each day.

Instincts and going for it. It has worked so far this morning and afternoon (also the day of Ryland’s 11th month). After an inspired writing session fueled by Grapefruit Sculpin and ambiance and by incense and psychedelic music, I rushed outdoors just having dodged the rain to start to unbury my backyard from the overly earthy attack of overgrown shrubbery and weeds- in a place like Bartlett Illinois, we must be seen as having the scarlet letter for how we maintain- or in this case do not maintain our yard. Two (now three)out there neo-hippieesque souls swimming an endless sea of cookie cutter, drones of well to-do cogs in the suburban idealism wheel- we need to get out- get back to the land and live in the mountains. We are out of place here and it goes well beyond our unkempt yard, peeling house paint, untrained dogs, lack of interest in playing the “hey how are you doing neighbor”, it is partially these things, but more- deeper- it is our outlook, our beliefs, our passions, our goals, our dreams…and our disgust for all things expected and cookie cutter. Having cleared my yard the best I can in an hour or so time frame I return indoors, shirt sweated, mud streaks cast about shoes and socks drenched with stagnant remnants of the day’s monsoons we have gotten. It is in this moment I feel a sense of pride. First for having accomplished a chore, it was overdue, but there is also something primordial, earthy, basic, savage, and manly about working in the yard, using tools, sweating, lifting stone. I am man in this moment. A quick shower washes away the glory and I am back down to modern era, the alpha brute stomping through the mud washed away swirling down the shower drain. I call my dad to see if he wants to grab lunch. The plans seem initially foiled by the fact that my dad is amidst a chain of to-dos hoping from place to place and is catching lunch nearly a half hour away from me. We end the conversation as we will meet up some time soon, but then I think, hell, why not now? I text my dad that I will be driving out to him to meet for lunch. The long and short of it is a great adventure of time with my dad, including some great finds for Ryland at a local thrift store and some more than decent food. Post lunch I head out looking for my next stop to write, and here we are, beer in hand.

 

Looking Back…

  • The mood and atmosphere is critical to the creative day
  • So is the willingness to break routine and go for it