Science

the war of art - part 2

 

The Resistance is powerful and it stops us from being creators.  It distracts or seduces us from being the masters of our destiny.

Rational Thoughts, and our Family and Friends are the other contributing factors that burden our struggle.

What are rational thoughts?

Rational Thoughts are intimately connected to our ego.  They are rational and that is the problem.  In order to create something great, we need inspiration and it does not come from within.  The Greeks and Romans believed in the Muse who would whisper things unseen into the poet's ears.  Living a good life is human domain.  Creating Art is divine.  Just listen to any exceptional singer songwriter like Neil Young or Bob Dylan, and the process is almost identical.  They never take any credit for creating the music.  They all say the same thing.  They were only the vehicle that let the songs out.

Genius doesn't live on the inside.  She is found on the higher plain and it is our responsibility to look for her.

What about our Family and Friends?  Surely they would not resist us?

It is clear that our family and friends loved us.  They love as for who we are, but they want to keep us the same.  It starts when we are babies.  Our mothers don't want us to grow up.  We are so cute that they wish we could stay like that forever.  It would cripple us and destroy us if we did.  

Family and friends don't like change.  It is sudden, and feels uncomfortable.  It awakens the resistance hiding inside of their being.  That sudden fear and anxiety will not be beneficial to our dreams and ventures.

Steven Pressfield is in no way suggesting that our personal relationships with those we love are not important or central to our lives.  He is talking about their usefulness to us as artists.  My boss will never consult my wife or children, so why should we consult them either?  Only you can draw the non-existent map and reach your unrealized potential.  

Our family and friends do not understand the artist that is trying to awaken inside us.  We are truly unborn to even ourselves.  Our only option is to face our destiny and assume our rightful part of the sculptor.  We need to take charge and chisel out our own new life.  

We are not responsible for the marble.  God is.  It is clear that we are the only ones capable of executing masterful strokes with immaculate precision.  We alone can shape ourselves into who we wish to become.

No one can lift wights for you.  No one can stop you from lighting up your next cigarette or pillaging your children's Halloween candy.  Nobody will pick up a pen for you.  No one will tell you what you should photograph next.

Read The War of Art.  

Prepare for battle.

The world needs new warriors!

 


the war of art - part 1

 

I have recently discovered Steven Pressfield.

His book, The War of Art, is brilliant and cuts to the heart of the matter.  Becoming an entrepreneur or an artist will not be easy and the book doesn't present any quick formulas, nor any magical mantras.  It does have brilliant insights though and I am beginning to appreciate the effort and dedication it takes to overcome the force of resistance.  I highly recommend you get a hold of a copy today.  Don't resist.

This is part one of two.

It's not easy to start a new business, write a novel, or become a new father for that matter.  Steven Pressfield calls the powerful force that rises against us when we attempt to realize our dreams - the Resistance.  We resist many things.  We resist our great ideas and we hide from our higher nature.  Every human mind is full of infinite dreams and an inexhaustible number of innovative ideas, but they are often strangled, buried and left unrealized.  Sonny summarizes this beautifully when he tells Calegoro, in The Bronx Tale that, "the saddest thing in life is wasted talent".

Let's not waste our talents

But how?

The War of Art illustrates that we must first understand the forces that work against us.  Prescott gives an example of three (Resistance.  Rational Thought.  Family and Friends).

Today, I want to briefly explore Resistance.  Tomorrow, we'll touch on our Rational Thoughts, Family plus our Family and Friends.

Here are the most common examples of the Resistance.

 

fear

self-doubt

procrastination

addiction

distraction

timidness

narcissism

self-loathing

perfectionism

 

Read the list again.  Read it slowly.  Which force are you wrestling with the most?

My struggle is right now is with Self-Doubt.

Self-Doubt is that intimidating voice in my head which forcefully demands to know who I think I am?  The voice which demands to know who I am to try to do anything? 

What do you know?  What have you accomplished?  What makes you think that you have anything to share?  No one cares.  No one will see.  No one will hear or listen.  You're a hack.  A timid copycat.  A plagiarist at best, and probably not a well edited one at that.

Self-Doubt has stopped me for years, but in truth it probably has probably harmed me for decades.  Nobody likes to be yelled at, especially when you recognize the voice because it comes from within.  The Trojan horse has crippling consequences.  

Time is our friend though, and a great healer.  With time, all the painful sentiments can grow a little less crippling, a little more worn, and a whole lot more predictable.  Time makes self-doubt a little less pronounced and muted.  As we grow older we slowly run out of options.  There are only so many tomorrows. 

The time to do something is now.  The resistance will never change.  It is always rested, relentless and tireless.  There is much more at stake today, then yesterday.  There are little eyes watching my every move, listening to everything I say, trying to learn how to properly navigate this world of ours.  If I fail, I will fail them also..

I'm conquering self-doubt by digging ditches.  I start at 4am and I dig.  I dig until I can't dig any more.

At night, before bed, I reflect in my journal and allow myself a moment to marvel at what was accomplished.  (The little things add up over time). 

The next day, I dig again.

 


my mid-life crisis

 

I think it's time to speak about my mid-life crisis.

Let me first clarify before you jump to the wrong conclusions that I have not lost my mind.

I have not lost my identity, nor have I lost my self confidence.  My mind is not overwhelmed with melancholic thoughts, and I am not anxious or filled with deep regret.  I don't want to get younger, or grow my hair.  I have not purchased a new shiny sports car, nor do I have any desire for a sordid love affair.

I am happily married and immensely grateful for my beautiful family.  I can also confidently say that I am content with my profession. 

Our family debt is slowly getting smaller.  My health is good.  These are the prime years of my life, and in just twelve more years, I get to retire, and French kiss my pension with open arms. 

All that is left, it seems, is to preorder a good pair of dentures, invest in a modest rental property in sunny Florida, buy a mahogany rocking chair, and pick a good stain for the pine box I'll be buried in.  Maybe a nice Hawaiian shirt wouldn't hurt either.

I have everything I think I need, and yet I find myself at the crossroads of my life, and in a state of crisis.

I've been here before, but not quite like this.  

Not all crossroads are wrought with pain and agony.  Quite the opposite. 

There is a relentless little voice inside my head and it speaks in an inaudible whisper.  I hear it with my soul and it calls me to greatness.  It calls me to heights I never dreamed possible.  To be honest, I want to ignore this little voice because it entices me to the edge of the Abyss.  An Abyss that is dark and cold.  Ready to collapse upon itself at any moment.  When I think of the artists I admire, I see people who were predestined and somehow chosen for their mission.  I don't feel chosen.  I don't feel predestined.

Artists are human caricatures.  They are people who seem so distant and far away.  They seem to live scripted lives.  They are gods and goddesses among us.  Individuals who start revolutions,  brand movements, and destroy to make new.  Their lives are those of legend, the anointed ones, the chosen people.  

There is nothing about me that seems remotely chosen, yet here I sit and wonder who I am not to believe and try? 

That is my crisis.  

I am living inside a moment that is without a doubt calling me to greatness.  I feel pushed and compelled to take swift and decisive action.  I can no longer stand by and wait.  

Part of me is very numb with fear.  Not the fear of failure, but the fear of success.  If I am right, then I have misread the meaning of my life, or perhaps wasn't quite ready to see it before.  I fear that over time, perhaps today or maybe tomorrow, I will have to say goodbye to some of my friends and acquaintances, or rather, they will secretly say goodby to me.  I am undergoing a Kafkaesque metamorphosis and facing my trial.  I am Joseph K.  It feels like I have awakened in the Tower and Babel and I no longer speak the same language.  I think and feel estranged and distant. 

I have decided not to be afraid of the Abyss and to walk with fear and trembling, down a road I do not know or see.  I'm not sure if I am more afraid of the unknown path, or making the return.  If I don't succeed, I will have to crawl back into my old stretched skin, and I'm afraid to imagine how dark and empty it will feel.  Heraclitus was right.  We cannot step into the same river twice, because it is not the same river, and I am not the same man. 

Life perpetually moves forward.  No exceptions.  It is only our mind that is stubborn and braces itself to live in the past.

The word crisis has several meanings. 

It is possessed by the three weird sisters: chaos, anxiety, and uncertainty.  This is why the moment of crisis never feels right.  How can it?  There is nowhere to run.  There is nowhere to hide.  No safety nets.  No underground bunker.  Panic sets in and fear is never far behind, yet despite all of our natural instincts, the only way through, is to stand still, motionless, and watch the storm pass us by.  It always passes by.  Only those that go through the storm are greeted by the new sun.  Only those who are courageous to leap, experience weightlessness, and emerge transformed.

There is a fourth often forgotten sister.  The one we never speak of or ever write about.  She, like Cinderella, is made to sweep our house and be enslaved to others.  Her name is Catharsis and she embodies an opportunity and a chance for growth and change.  

Catharsis is the process of releasing.  A point of purity.  A moment of cleansing.

No, I have not joined a cult.  I'm not a big fan of the secret whispers, the midnight meetings or the sweaty handshakes.  I also think I didn't follow the application process correctly.  If there is one thing I know about cults, it's that they are efficient.  The office was closed, so I might have to wait 'til Monday.  They just hate it when you call them outside of regular business hours.

What does this all mean you ask?  

I don't know.

These are the only words swirling around in my brain and it is all I have in order to try to make sense of where I am and where I want to go.

I have been a photographer for almost ten years, but never took it seriously.  I was lucky to have inherited that passion from my father.  I have never written with meaning and purpose either, at least not until I started these little musings of mine.  I believe I also inherited my love of writing from my father.  

My mother on the other hand game me my soul; the heart to love the broken and forsaken.  I have never met a more beautiful and kindhearted woman in my life.  I had the privilege of meeting one once, and so I married her.

Two men stared out their prison bars.  One saw stars, the other saw mud.

I am standing in a pool of mud, still behind bars, but what is different about me today is that I can see the stars.  

They are beautiful.  They are majestic and they cannot be counted.  

It is not only the sun that happens to shine bright.  She has a seemingly infinite number of brothers and sisters.  Our ancestors spent their life contemplating and rejoicing over those little points of light.  So far away; yet so real and visible.  We don't look at the stars anymore, we only watch them on Oscars night or the Grammys, on our precious little glowing screens.  

I plan to continue writing.  I plan on creating breathtaking photographs.

There is no more dreaming.  No more standing still.

It is time to do the work.

 


monatizing your dream is the only way out

 

Being an entrepreneur is the best way out of this mess. 

The unreflected life is not worth living, Socrates once remarked, but I have recently learned that without an opportunity to earn that living, there is little chance for reflection. 

Being a part of a family has been the single most meaningful experience I have ever accidentally stumbled upon.  But that is not the only plane of existence, we are complex and multi-dimensional beings.  In order to maintain a happy life, we must live and grow in all of our dimensions.  It would be foolish to put our dreams on hold.  This sacrifice is foolish.  The people in our life are the reason why the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, but they don't want our sacrifice. They want love.

Capitalism is an unforgiving machine.  It is beast with no conscience that beats us down with debt and cleans our wounds with credit so we are well enough to face another day.  Capitalism is a beast we cannot tame. 

However, David did slay Goliath.  There is a way out of this madness.  There is a means to win.  That way is through our dreams, but only if we can turn them into something tangible.  

It is not the money or success that matters, but the process.  The money may never come, and every thing you touch may shatter at the slightest touch.  Oscar Schindler failed at every business he ever started, before and after the holocaust, but he was the only entrepreneur, broken as he was, to dream and make a difference.  Ask the families of those he saved and you will understand.

We are on a similar path.  We both have families or someone close to us that we care about,and somewhere along the way we went to school and bought into the illusion that a profession, or a decent job, is what will give us what we need.  With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, we could be anything we wanted to be.

That is a lie.  The world reinvents itself.  Jobs disappear.

We don't choose our life.  We only choose how we live it. 

Like you, I went to school.  I worked hard.  I graduated with a double honours degree thanks to government assistance loans, but as lucky as I felt at the time, I always knew deep down that it was not enough.  I just could not articulate it.  Today, I am bold and arrogant enough to believe that I was born for more.

We all have dreams, or at least I think we do.  Some may be broken and a little dusty, but I sincerely believe we all have them.  Young and old; able and unable, conscious or unconscious.  

Dreams are important, but the steps we take towards them is what makes all the difference.  This is what people mean when they say that life is a journey and not a destination.  It is an old and moldy metaphor but it  tries to point us in the right direction.

We must dream.  We must work towards that dream.  We must monetize it. 

Remember, money is not the root of all evil.  It is the love of money that lies at the root of the problem. 

We are meant to love people and use things, but there is nothing wrong with money. It has its own energy, and the hands that held it tells a story.  If more kindhearted people controlled the world's wealth, we would have a more peaceful planet.  The more you and I can stuff in our little pockets and share with others, the less there is  in a bank vault, doing absolutely nothing for anyone.

We must pursue our dream.  We have a purpose.  We must fall again in love with that dream.

Unfortunately, love alone will make our dream stagnant.  It must be monetized.

Don't quit your job and don't ever abandon your family or friends.  Perhaps go easy on the gossip instead, or chicken wings, reality shows, or football games, if you need to find some extra time.

Don't ever quit.  Work instead, with whatever limited time you have left in your day, and become an entrepreneur. 

Begin today, and take another step.  The world won't notice, but you and I will know that it has made all the difference.

 

 

 


see everything, overlook much, correct a little

 

You must leap.  

You have no choice but to leap.

I am sorry to tell you, but there is simply no other way.  Some things don't change without diving off a cliff.

If you smoke for example, I don't deny your painful addiction, or that the cancer sticks you devour were designed to create a life long supply of repeat customers.  There is no reason to pretend however, that we both don't know how it will end.  It is time to quit.  There is no reason to bullshit anyone.  I am your perfect unadulterated nobody, and I realize that I'm not minding my own business, but there is no denying your early and painful death.

One day, in the not so distant future, on a foggy Wednesday, you will be laying restless or exhausted in an uncomfortable hospital bed, gasping for air.  That in itself is not enough to give you the courage you need so you can finally leap.  You have seen the uncomfortable moment of epiphany play in your mind on several occasion before, time and time again, although you probably have to push it away.  If you give it time to live and grow however, you will be able to see all the people that will come to say goodbye. 

It's Wednesday.  Do you see them?  Can you smell their perfume and cologne? Can you hear them whisper?  Can you see how quickly and uncomfortably they wipe away their tears?  Do you see their little, stealing glances?

Your little daughter, or granddaughter; she will certainly be there.  She is tall now, smart as a whip, and full of dreams; a bundle of life brimming with unlimited possibility.  She will undoubtedly have tears in her eyes and an inexhaustible pain in her heart; hoping, praying, for a little more time.  She will be desperately hoping for the break of day, for a chance to spend another morning in your presence.  She wants more time, because words are never enough.  There are never enough memories, never enough time, and she needs you to know how much she loves you.  She wants to know how much you love her.  All she wants, is a few more seconds, some more stolen moments, a chance to hold your withered hand.  She doesn't want to you go.

You do see how this ends, don't you?

There is no time.  You must leap.

 

Thankfully, we don't live our whole life on a cliff and I'm grateful that we don't leap too often.  There is so much that we get right about living.  There is much to be proud of.  There is so much that gives us hope and consolation. 

It is important to reflect daily, and be indebted the choices and experiences that have shaped us.  We must continue moving forward.  Standing still, brings us closer to the next cliff. 

This is the formula I discovered and use, when I'm on solid ground, and I don't have to leap.

 

see everything  -  overlook a great deal  -  correct a little

 

see everything

It is never a good thing to be stupid because ignorance takes very little time and effort.  That is a lie.  I think it takes more effort to become an imbecile.  There is a definite shortage of idiot, and only the very brave heed the call.  Wisdom on the other hand demands a tremendous cost and requires an exhaustive effort. 

It is important to see everything. 

You have to hear the compliments.  You have to hear the criticisms.  You have to feel the pain and joy, feel the lows and the highs.  We have to know what the elected or appointed leaders of our countries are doing, and we must be aware what our friends and neighbours are grumbling about. 

See everything.  Ignorance is not blissful.  It will sing you a lullaby and imprison your soul.

 

overlook a great deal

I know we don't want to, but we have to look away. 

We cannot save the dogs or kittens in the animal shelters that have been betrayed by their owners.  We have to look away as they are killed today.  We cannot help the woman who will be struck across her face.  We cannot heal the swollen eye that was numbed with a violent fist.  We cannot hug a child enough, who is being teased so much, that he is making plans to hang himself.  There is no way to connect with the young woman who feels so fat and ugly, that she makes cuts on her wrists in a futile attempt to feel human.  She just wants the thoughts in her head, which swarm like black flies, relentless and unforgiving, to disperse if only for a brief moment.

We have to overlook a great deal.  We have to overlook much.

We cannot shoulder the burden of everything without collapsing under its weight.

 

correct a little

We must know.  We must overlook much, but we cannot stand and wish it away. 

We cannot stand and be numb.

It is not enough to say 'I'll pray for you' or 'I'm sorry for your loss'.  How are thoughts and prayers going to reach me and help me anyway?  It is a nice sentiment, but sentiments die a very quit death. 

Make the effort, come over and bring me a beer.  Sit and listen for a while without judgement, and perhaps, for a tiny little moment, your presence might be able to make a small difference.

We must correct just a little.

We much change a little bit.

A little.  Not a lot. 

We must move under the cover of darkness.

We must execute our actions in minutes, not days...

 

Read for only twenty minutes a day.  Pray or meditate for five.

Complain less by ignoring those that gossip, but only on Tuesday evenings.

Don't quit television, but watch it with a renewed purpose.  Pick shows you like and watch them.  Ignore the shows that you have no interest in, but you watch because they are on, and in a perverse way, you think you are actually accomplishing or learning something.

Write in a journal for 10 minutes, and in point form.

Don't join a gym, but walk your dog for 10 extra minutes. 

But I don't have one, then why not rescue one? 

Don't write a 120,000 word novel in one month.  Write it, 120 words at a time, but write every day.  In less than three years, you will publish it and be the novelist you've always dreamed about.

Don't become an artist, experiment.

Don't become a master, live the life of a student.

Don't quit. 

 

Try.

Try a little.

 


family day

 

Today is Family Day and I am very grateful for this opportunity to spend time with our little critters. When I was growing up, we did not have Family Day, we had something better, it was called Sunday.

This is not meant as an opportunity to debate and yell at each other over the importance or the futility of going to church.  Put on your big girl pants, and your big boy shirt, and make up your own mind.  Lead your own life. 

Sunday, once had a great importance, in a social context.  I think as a society, we lost something when we allowed commerce unlimited access to our lives, and I think we are paying a heavy price.

There was a time, not that long ago, when no one went to work on Sunday.  Ok, maybe not everyone.  Some work had to get done.  Farmers had to farm.  Soldiers had to soldier on.  Doctors had to heal.  But generally, the vast majority of businesses were closed, except for a few restaurants, coffee houses, and a few movie theatres.

What was the cost to society? 

Shop owners did not earn their keep that day, but it would be somewhat erroneous to assume that the money did not have the opportunity to flow into their pockets during the other six days of the week. 

What was the benefit?

Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, had nowhere to go.  They could all stay home.  The had the freedom to irritate each other for a full, uninterrupted day.  There was no need to sell another big gulp, make more French fries, or wonder aimlessly through a mall looking to buy something, anything.

What is the cost today? 

We work all year long, through all the seasons, except for a short, mandated vacation.  It’s different of course if you are lucky enough to grind out a higher education degree, and secure yourself a professional post.  If you’re a teacher or an accountant this doesn’t apply to you, but you should at least be able to see the value of having a Sunday to yourself.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone had that opportunity?

For most people, the reality is painful.  Work is hard and it is only a job.  Sit here, move this, reorganize that, restock this, and swipe that.

I’m no economist, and often wonder who the hell I am to speak on any subject for that matter, but it seems to me, some of the angst we face today is self-made. 

What would happen if we allowed people the opportunity to reconnect with their family on at least one day of the week and not just a special occasion?  What if that time was always dependable and expected?

Do we really need an oil change on Sunday?  Can we not make our own coffee? (I can see some angry snarls now).  Can we not buy a bag of Ruffles from Walmart on Saturday, instead of Sunday? 

Maybe we should sober up Sunday instead of buying another six pack.

I’m not advocating a national movement to halt work on Sunday.  I am just wondering if we are better for it.  Maybe some brighter minds can examine or hypothesize if this unbridled commercial society we have created is making us any happier.

Happy Family Day!

That is if you are lucky enough not to go to work.

 


don't wait 'til monday

 

When were you born?  The date probably springs up without effort.  1972. 08. 12.  But what about the day?  What day of the week was yours? 

A lot of us remember the year, the month, the day, and some special souls even remember the time, but do you know if it was a Monday?

What is so special about Monday anyway? It's a fresh start, you say.  A good way to wipe the slate clean and start again, you say.  Who still uses slates? (but I digress).

Check your calendar.  If you are looking for the first day of the week to begin, you'll be disappointed.  You will discover that Monday is in fact the second day of the week.  Right or wrong, a matter of deep faith or trivia, our society runs on a Christian calendar.  We are living in the two thousandth and seventeenth year of the birth of Jesus, and Sunday is the first day of the week, because it commemorates the resurrection. 

So why are you waiting for the second day of the week, a day you won't remember because it is not as important as the day you were born?

Silence.

I ask myself the same question when I am faced with making a change.  

We don't have 24 hours.  The earth's rotation does not cooperate with our mandate.  We don't have 365 days.  Once again, the gravitational pull of the sun has her own ideas.  A broken clock is right twice a day.  Our lives however, are lived in perpetual uncertainty.

Let's agree that there is no perfect time.  There is only time.

The time is now. 

Your time is Wednesday.  

Decide.  Leap.  Begin.

 


missed opportunities and highway signs

 

Southern Ontario was struck with fifteen centimeters of snow yesterday, and I had the opportunity to struggle through it on my way to attend a fundraiser.  I live outside the city of Toronto and it took close to three hours to make the journey.

It is amazing how many death scenarios ran through my mind before I left.  They never materialized though, and my brief anxiety was unfounded. 

As I approached the heart of the city I saw an electronic MTO message that read, check your tire pressure.  It brought a sly smile to my face and I pondered the obscurity of its content.  Everyone was tense.  We were doing our best to drive with care and caution (some more than others), but what was I to do with this ill timed prompt?  Surely, this was a missed opportunity.

On my way home, I decided to take Highway 407, and paid my toll for a little safety and convenience.  I encountered another message.  This one instructed me to leave some room and not to follow too closely.  A much better message that contained advice that I could actually use, but one that is repeated too often.  Another missed opportunity.

Where were all the human beings working at the MTO or 407 traffic centres that day?  Yesterday would have been the perfect day not to follow the generic guidelines of a typical Sunday, but instead an opportunityto connect with travelers.  Would it have been so difficult to put up a message that said we are with you, people love you, and depend on you, drive accordingly.  Or something to that effect?

I realize that no sheepish employee would have the courage to risk their financial security and write this message or any other like it. It would have been a bold move that would have required supervisory approval, and this permission would have been either too slow or not come at all. Why try.  It is better not to take that risk.  Gasp, what if someone complained? 

Just follow the company policy.  Put up the next slide, grab a smoke break, and life continues to hum at its petty pace, grinding along, one day to the next.  Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

I woke up with this little nagging thought on my mind. 

How many opportunities do I walk by?  How many doors do I fail to open.  How many times am I distracted by meaningless tasks and never listen.  How often do I stop myself from sharing something meaningful that might actually make a difference in someone's life. 

How do I stop living on the surface of existence?  I wish to risk my comfort by creating the next opportunity to dive deep, and be brave enough to go off script and post my own sign.

 


self doubt and that moment when your feelings shit all over your lustrous dreams

 

I quit.

It seems I say this a little less frequently these days, growing old has some benefit, but when self doubt forces itself into my subconsciousness, like it is today, I can feel those two words bubble back of my throat, bringing me to tears.  In the past, on days like today, I would pack up all of my photography equipment, put it by the front door, and inform my wife that its over, everything is for sale.

Thankfully, I'm cheap and no one is gullible enough to pay full value when they sense desperation, which is kind of beneficial, since I always change my mind, and often.

Why can I never see self doubt coming?  I think I'm pretty bright and sensitive to everything around me but I am always surprised to stand in the eye of the storm.  I can never see the storm clouds coming.  They come quick.  They come announced.  There is no chance to rely on the Weather Network.

I am beginning to see an emerging pattern though.  It is as though my personal universe wants to correct itself.  

I've had some incredible conversations with some amazing people this week and I believe that for the first time in a long time, I am making some traction in my entrepreneurial dreams.

This seems then to be the time when self doubt and self loathing becomes unbearably fierce.  

I see all the mistakes.  I see all my regrets and failures.  I see all the people who did me wrong.  I can hear everyone laughing.  I can feel their stares.  I can see total failure gathering around the next corner.  It is all so vivid.  It feels so personal and real.

Today, my feelings are shitting all over my shiny dreams.  

I have read recently that it is futile to try and conquer self doubt.  I just need to say thank you and continue living.  

Tomorrow is another day and I am going to give the reinforcing army some time to arrive.

I will hold the battleground.

 


13

 

This is my 13th post and gasp, it is written on a Friday.

Stay calm.  Run to your happy place.  Shut the blinds.  Find cover.  The world will be fine.

We profess ourselves to be a society of progress and science but we live contradictory lives of superstition.

I dare you to find a tall building with a thirteenth floor.  I am sure there are some, but they are impossible to find.  Given the choice, no one wants to live in them, and what would you do with whole empty floor?  Amazingly, the building that bravely identifies the thirteenth floor stands as gracefully as those who cower away.  The lives of the people inside is the same.

I often poke fun of people who take up residence on the fourteenth floor, because as sure as a rat has an ass, the fourteenth floor IS the thirteenth floor.  You just have to count up.

13.

666

The number of the beast.

Bad things come in threes.  Knock on wood.  God help you if you just spilled some salt. 

You must hurry.  Evil has been summoned.  Contact is imminent.  The forces of darkness are gathering, ready to unleash their rage and fury on your life.

For my parents when the Nazi army invaded Poland in 1939, things did not come in threes.  It came in thousands and it came fast and often.  When the war ended, the British empire abandoned us and all Ally soldiers returned home to their families, yet Joseph Stalin and his minions continued being the harbinger of bad things.

On April 7th, 1994, when the Rwandan genocide of over 850,000 people began, while the world watched a white bronco being chased through the highways and bi-ways of Los Angeles, evil came in waves.  It didn't come in threes.  It came, wiped its ugly brow, and it came again and again.  Over and over and over.

Ask a soldier or anyone for that matter, who has served in any capacity, in any war, on any side, how often their thoughts return to those missions?  Ask them when it will stop?  Don't dare to say that good things will come to them in threes. 

Superstition.

It is a subtle evil of our time because it transforms us into slaves of fate, instead of being the rightful masters of our time.

I really don't care if you bless yourself, avoid black cats, or knock yourself on your forehead because you cannot find any wooden furniture.  You probably look silly and cute.

What I care about is that you and I never lose sight of the fact that life is meant to be lived.  Lived well.  It is meant to be filled with meaning and purpose.

We are free. 

We are not predetermined.

Do something today.

Reap the benefits of your actions sometime tomorrow.

Continue telling people on the fourteenth floor that they are on the thirteenth floor.