Archive for Society

Winter Remembrance

The winter rushes in like drops of sweat on a furled brow. The winds cut through the town as razors through air. Windblown mind freezes of collective shivering mind states. When you look back, everything happens so quickly, it is the nature of being. Still, I continue to be amazed by this. The train rolls on and I recount my autumnal now winter remembrance- trying desperately to slow it down, to capture the moments, get it all back (what?), and in the process I remain blind to the truth, an erroneous life mindset of false separations and inconsequential barriers and holdings. The truth swirls all around and within, yet we remain concrete in our views and separation. So many emotions and thoughts, they weigh me down, although I strive to float free. You cannot help but reminisce- it is natural (un?) to want to remember, glorify, romanticize it all, and find special purpose and meaning. The rat scurries past the back alley skid row whino at dawn- what beauty is in recounting that?

The baby is born, the first blooms of spring push through, breaking the earth’s barrier- a child becomes and adult, a hill becomes a mountain- a geriatric ancient wise sad soul is taken into the void, a mighty oak crumbles and becomes one with the earth (again)- between all these expected times of life, there is an infinite stream of bliss and sadness- the truly triumphant, followed by the most wrenching pain and misery- a chaotic beautiful masterpiece that will crush even the brightest soul if we are not careful. I am guilty the same as anyone, I hold too tight and crave too much meaning, allow and falsely create too much control. We wouldn’t be the storytellers, the people that we are, if we did not recount and hold tight to the bosom. It is inherent, yet untrue- realizations of wiping the slate clean, only to realize the slate was never full, and the slate was never a slate- mind weary wanderings.

Things are different now- perhaps they always have been. Looking out over the moving car, only to realize that it is all separation and isolation. Sometimes I look back with fondness, happiness and joy, but more often it is with regret, dissatisfaction, sadness, and an overall blunting of life. Why? Even in this moment of writing flow escape, I stop, tap the pen, pondering the reason- the weight bears down on my chest- the weight of eons of existence and action (no action) to forgo this contemplation is to forgo my truth- no matter how flawed. I turn the page and it is blank, for a moment I want to stop, leave it in its (im)perfect Buddha mind-state and call it my greatest work- instead I scribble this all over it and continue on with my meandering ways.

Taking it all back, what is my remembrance?

It is her- it is mainly her. It is all of them, but above all others, it is her. It is the great times from youth through adulthood that I vividly recall. I remember that which I do not remember. It is feelings, emotions, connections- it is hurt and pain, it is days with my brother and dad sinking model ships at Bode Lake. It is seeing my son’s face for the first time and praying for his safe arrival. It is all that has come, but especially that which has yet to occur. I remember past, present and future. It is that nagging hope and at the same time fear that when I look back on my life as a body of work the story will be incomplete, unrealized. It is hoping to have one moment of pure writerness adventure seeking joy spontaneity. The lone observer immersed in the most interesting of settings, recording it all with hyper-focus. It is the smallest of and the grandest of moments- the moments I did not even realize were moments.

What is my remembrance? Perhaps most importantly, it is my mortal struggle to understand change’s truth- the ever evolving force that binds it all together. Change in its purest most understood form can be a catalyst to set one free, release from mortal confusion and blindness. We hold tight that which we hold dearest, convince ourselves that it can last forever, or at the least never change until it is gone. This is flawed. Family, relationships, careers, possessions- we cling to these and spend energy and waste moments trying to dictate something that we have no control over. To have complete control in life is to let go of and realize you in fact have no control- the illusion of a life in balance. I am reminded often about change’s power and will, including the these first winter moments, where the landscape has changed seemingly in the blink of an eye, into a world almost forgotten. This is my winter remembrance.

Duality

Upcoming…

  • A return to the wild free-flow of spontaneous prose
  • Train life
  • Duality
  • Letting go and not being limited by structure, proper form, or standard rules

 

The first winter storm has come and gone. Here I sit, motionless, yet continually in motion- the duality of life. The train roars on down the line- steel, wood, and ice collide in a swarmingly dark lovely cold attack windblown beautiful mind story. Here I sit. Rows of individuals, all faced forward, quiet, still, stoic- missing out on the connectedness of life. Here I sit.

The next stop has arrived- a flood, a momentary bustle of beehive kinetic flickering dance light excitement. It quickly dies down- the cold rows of warriors reminiscent of my time in China with Terra Cotta- resumes. Here I remain, in the back of the car so that I can observe, discover what the first minutes of dusk have to offer.

Outwardly I sip on a multi-layered flavored coffee in a throw-away Styrofoam cup. Internally I envision and long for a dented, cracked, faded, blue stainless steel with the little white flecks camping mug- the type you would carry with you on all of your travels and keep for decades. This is my duality- a modern worker with the spirit of a lonesome dharma bum traveler.

A few snow-capped trees pass by and I am reminded that the holidays are quickly approaching- that insane lovely time of chaos and peace- this is my family’s duality. Slyly I catch a peak of a fellow passenger’s laptop, discover what she is doing with her ride, this is what the train is in the morning- individual bubbles being gently penetrated by the next onlooker for a sense of connection and oneness. The young man (how old have I become) in front of me reeks of too much cologne- his attempt to be noticed, to scream out in a world that has trapped him in- this is peoples’ duality.

Pausing to reflect on my works, I realize that they are always there- even when you are not writing, you are writing. We roll on. It all happens so quickly, one moment you believe it will never come, and the next moment you are looking back to see what has happened- this is time’s duality.

Outside the moving looking glass inspired (uninspired) window, countless tracks litter the snow- quiet the bringer of truth and exposure, the snow tells a tale of who or what has been where- a tale that we cannot escape. The train rolls on and here I sit. Just as quickly as the snow appears and marks our tracks it will disappear and leave only a faint trace- this is the snow’s duality.

The snow is life.

Wild and frantic, the car bounces over the tracks, not a smooth gentle lover, but rather a rough around the edges sort. Here I sit. Here we all sit. This is life’s commonality.

 

Looking Back…

  • Writing can be free, uninhibited and wild
  • The Yin and Yang of life is everywhere

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.

Inspiration and A Hard Day’s Work

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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

My True Path

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Upcoming…

  • Life Change
  • True-Self
  • American Dream
  • Your Own Path

Author’s Note…

  • I wrote this piece just a couple of months ago when I had just started considering that I would make a push for writing. It is very self-reflective, somber at points, yet hopeful and aspirational. In that moment, it was being as real as I could with myself on where I was at. I hope in reading this, you take something away for your own life and your own path.

 

I have come to terms recently that I am a disappointment to myself in life, sounds very harsh I know, and your first instinct is probably to say “oh no Scott…don’t talk like that…it’s not true…your great…look at all that you have…look at all that you have accomplished…” But it is true, I am a disappointment to myself. But, if you were thinking what I assume you would have said, you are also right. I do have a great life and so much to be happy and grateful for. I have my health, great family, friends, an amazing wife and son, I had a great paying job (one benefit), and more material possessions, beyond more than anyone truly needs. I have all these things and I have happiness in my life with my wife Laura, my son, and in an overall general sense- I am happy- but in another, primordial, base-level, cerebral, true-self sense, I am miserable, I am lost in my current path, and have great regret, disappointment and depression with myself. I have an immeasurable hole in my being for not having fully realized my true-self, my true-form as a writer, an artist. I could blame a lot of people and a lot of things, but fuck that, take a stand you sniveling sniff, it is on you (me)- I did this- I allowed this to happen- I bypassed a path as an artist, and went the expected route, the preferred way, the safe path, the “successful” mode of living- aren’t you all so proud of me? Outwardly making a nice tidy in-the-box living and life- nice house, good neighborhood, comfy high-paying corporate job- all I needed was the white picket fence. Smile Scott, smile for them, they all need to fakely believe you are happy, you have made it, look at you go.

We trade in our true-selfs for an existence of conformity and quiet despair. Very few finding themselves and even fewer having found themselves and then making it their truth, their daily existence.

The mainstream American society does not promote truth-seekers, the American dream is a facade, a sham, dreamt up by charlatans and spoon fed down our throats- the American dream means fitting a mold, sacrificing freedom, expression, individuality and truth-seeking in order to fall in line, get the job, get the house, get the family, get the happiness?

{insert hardcore public backlash here}

Before I am labeled a commie, or a blasphemous hater of all things good, pure and right in the world, I should say that I believe there is a true American dream, one hidden to the everyday eye, not known, not seen by any beyond a select few- There is an American (really a life) dream…it is at the core of us all and what I believe the American dream was meant to be before it was manipulated, perversely raped, and tossed aside to rot and transform into the ugly creation it is today. The seers of history knew it, a way to find happiness, to find truth, to find a pure path meant for each of us. It includes nothing of the American dream spoken about today- it is uttered throughout the ages by mystics, shamans and prophets. It is on the cuff of adventure seekers and spiritual lighthouses, a clear devotion and unapologetic pursuit of their (our) truth, a life uncompromised by anything and focused on pursuit of life. It is different for each of us, but the modal delivery remains unchanged at its core- pure unmolested unapologetic devotion to the path.

I know this.

I need this.

I am this.

I am.

I.

.

Looking Back…

  • There is a path for each of us
  • That path may be difficult at times
  • Each of our paths share a commonality at their true core