Practicing What You Preach

I am a big proponent of loving people. In my experience (and a lot of data backs it up elsewhere, too) you can have a much more positive effect on people by caring about them and showing them kindness than any alternative. Growing up, my mother often guided me with the proverb of “You get more with honey than you do with vinegar.” I’ve tried many methods for dealing with people, and time has shown me love is the way to go. This is, of course, difficult. Especially when the people in question act like jerks.

I recently found myself in a situation where I was trying to explain this idea of loving to promote change and help, rather than just being angry and yelling at them. I was trying to be kind while someone else was being less than such. I actually found myself slowly pulled towards their mean tactics over the very ideas I was trying to impart.

I’m thankful that I had a chance to at least see this happening. I was able to change my attitude and attempt to return to practicing what I was preaching. After all, if I thought love was the answer, but was then not USING that answer in my life, how much could I claim to truly believe it?

I’m hopeful that my attempts to be kind helped the people I was speaking to. Even if they didn’t, though, I’m convinced it did me far better to act that way than hold onto bitterness and try to “win” some meaningless argument. And at the end of the day, the only person you get to have control over is yourself. I’m glad I made the right call.

It really pays to take a look at your life and consider if the way you act is the way you truly want to act. Also, while you’re at it, if how you’re acting is the way you suggest others act. Remember even though others can pull at you and try to get you to join them in their way, only you can make the final call for you. After you say your piece they may still disagree. If you do your best but then walk away, it may seem like they “win” the argument. That’s okay, you’ll leave feeling far better because you did the right thing. Your actions reflected the way you chose to live.

 

Vacation Time!

I have decided to take a vacation. Not from my life or work or even this blog (for this post marks the return from hiatus!) but a vacation from being sick.

This is, of course, very odd. After all, you mostly don’t get to decide if your body is unwell. However I was put on a new medication for two weeks, and then the doctor and I will reevaluate the situation. For those two weeks, I have no better option than to take the medicine and wait. I cannot speed the remedy along (if it works at all). I am doing what I think is the best thing possible, and it will take 14 days to see if there are results.

So, for those two weeks, I’m going to take a break from feeling sick and just enjoy life. Or perhaps better put, from feeling bad about being sick. My stomach may bother me from time to time (or even a large part of the day), but that’s okay. I can’t do anything more than what I’m doing now, so I’m going to choose to feel good about it rather than worry or fret. I often say life’s too short for a lot of that sort of noise, so I’m going to live that out and take a vacation from feeling bad about my current illness. I’m tired of not living my life because of nagging health issues.

We will see how it goes, but I’m optimistic. And frankly, you’re more likely to see improvement in your health if you’re optimistic than otherwise. Which means this is far better for me than what I’ve been doing the past two months that I’ve not felt 100%!

Next Monday, the regular updates return. I’m already writing for then, full of enthusiasm. Amazing what an attitude change can do!

 

Hiatus

I feel bad having to do another break in the blog after the summer dizzy issues kept me away, but it looks like my health is struggling again and a hiatus would be wise. Not sure what the root of the problem is at the moment, and been to the doctor many times in the past few weeks. For some reason I’m having trouble breathing, and my heart keeps racing at random times. We’ll keep poking around to hopefully find out what’s wrong and take care of it!

Thanks for the patience, and hope to write again soon.

-JK

 

Not Fun To Hear

This past weekend I found myself in a terribly unhappy mood. I’m sure you’ve been there before. This journey of life has us all go through the dark valleys at one time or another.

During that time, I saw very clearly that I needed to change my mindset in order to escape it. I needed to focus on the good things, or at least consider that the bad was not that bad at all. I’m thankful I was able to see it that clearly, due to advanced training.

Still, all the training in the world does nothing if you’re unwilling to take action.

No one wants to hear this when they’re sad or depressed. In fact, it’s usually the least helpful thing you can say to remind someone in that state that they have to want to change things if things are going to get better. In the pit, it’s hard to see any way out. Sometimes you just want to wallow, even when you don’t think you do.

And yet, the truth remains the truth. It is an internal switch that can only be flipped yourself. Outside support and love helps, of course, but you and you alone must make the choice to focus on the good or the bad. And focusing on the good does not magically lift a curtain, there’s still a long road ahead to change your mood. It’s merely step one. No inspirational speaker in the world can pull you from the darkness if you want to remain there.

It helps to know this. When you know it, you can make the choice, whatever you choose. Otherwise you’re left stuck thinking there’s nothing you can do. There is something you can do, it just seems impossible some days. But it’s worth it to step out of the darkness. It’s worth it to breathe deep and turn back towards the light.

 

NaNoWriMo Approaches

October is quickly drawing to a close, and that means National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner! (Find out more here.) I had intended to try Planning rather than Pantsing this year, but here we are a week away and I haven’t planned a thing.

I suppose that’s not entirely true, as I have decided on a general concept based on a short story I wrote a while back. So that’s already far more planning than I had last year!

Whether you’re a writer or not, or planning to join in NaNoWriMo or skip it, this is another opportunity to begin a project that you’ve always wanted to accomplish. From past NaNo experiences I can tell you with certainty that there is no “right time” for such things. November is never free and clear to write a novel. Ever. There are always other aspects of life “in the way.” But these bits of life are not actually in the way at all. They are what make up the way. They are part of the experience that add to what makes you you. Embrace them, but don’t think for a moment that they will one day vanish and leave you with the perfect opportunity to start something you dream of starting.

The planets never align. Things never really slow down. The right time is now, in spite of the craziness of life.

 

Set Deadlines

If you want to get something done, set a deadline. This is simple advice, but we often overlook it with our own projects. Adhering to other people’s deadlines is much easier; we feel responsible to meet their expectations.

I have been working on tidying the house, but I have set no deadline for it. I’m excited to reach the end, but the end will never come if I don’t set a target goal.

I have several new books in various stages of development, but none are being completed because there’s no sense of urgency. Having published a book, I know the thrill that comes from finishing, so I’d love to shoot for that again.

I began writing a dozen songs, but have none completed to share with others. Instead I just keep beginning new songs.

Today, pick a project or goal you have and think about when you’d like it to be finished by. Then start working to meet that deadline. Hold yourself accountable to it and you’ll no doubt find you will be a lot happier when that day arrives and you have a completed project in front of you.

 

An Ocean of Ideas

As I previously mentioned, I’m currently going through every item I own one by one to determine what really adds value to my life and what is just clutter. This process has lead me to gather all the papers in the house (bills, drawings, old receipts from the grocery store that I’m unclear why I kept for the past six years, etc) and pile them in the living room.

I managed to take several dozen boxes and condense it all down into one, but I’m still rather torn about the contents. Some of the papers in the keeper box do bring me a lot of joy. I found a comic I did about my first Dungeons and Dragons experience, and it brought back wonderful memories and had me laughing to the point of tears. (All inside jokes, mind you, or I’d post it here. It would not be amusing to anyone but myself and my old Dungeon Master.)

Unfortunately (fortunately?) there are a lot of papers that fall into a different category: Creative ideas. In my book, I talk about writing down ideas, prior to judging them, regardless of whether or not you plan to use them. What I didn’t take into account was the fact that decades worth of ideas scribbled on every conceivable type of paper possible (I have several scrawled on restaurant placemats) takes up room. A lot of room, as it turns out. I just had never noticed that before I began this tidying process.

While letting go of some material possessions is difficult for me, the knowledge that I could – technically – reacquire nearly each and every one brings some comfort. The fact that even the hard-to-find ones are not one-of-a-kind means letting go is a lot easier. This does not apply to my reams of ideas. These are concepts and thoughts that will never come to me again. I can’t rebuy them, nor can I relive my life to stumble across them a second time.

I am not sure what to do about this.

My wife suggested that I buy a journal and copy the box full of ideas and brainstorming into one place. That seems like a wise course of action, so I’ll give it a try. I’m not sure if it will work, but there’s hope there.

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on what to do with years and years worth of ideas? I doubt I’d have enough time in my lifetime to accomplish them all, even if I wasn’t as lazy and sluggish as I am. If you’ve been through your own collection of scribbled dreams, please let me know how it went and if there was anything that helped you along the way!

 

My Life Story

The Life and Times of JK Riki

This book does not exist. Well, it does to a degree. The picture above shows a prop I made for a video introduction I once had to do. The actual book itself is an old encyclopedia that I pasted a new cover and spine image on.

I found this prop as I was going through every book I own one by one. Given that the requirement for keeping a book during this process is “does it bring me joy?” I had to conclude that yes, this weird pretend-book brings me a great deal of joy. Not only does it remind me of the class I made it for (of which I have fond memories) but just seeing it on my shelf makes me laugh.

Even so, I often wonder what I’d put in a real “The Life and Times of J.K. Riki” book. If I were to pen a memoir or autobiography (not exactly sure what the difference is), what would I fill it with? Would anyone want to read it? Would I want to read it?

If we take a moment to think of our own lives as a story, written or otherwise, we can come across a great opportunity to determine if we’re spinning an interesting tale or not. It can wake us up from the day to day we’ve fallen asleep into and remind us that today is a perfect day to start a whole new chapter. Literally, if you were to write a book about your life, you could start something today that would begin a fresh chapter of that book.

What would that chapter look like? And would you want to read it?

 

Week Off: NYC

nyc skyline

No blog post this week, due to traveling in New York City. Till next Monday, be well!

 

Mini Book Review: Tidying

Over the weekend I stopped at the library and a little squarish book caught my eye.

the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up

I had never heard of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up before, but you may have. Apparently it’s become quite popular. At any rate, I took Marie Kondo’s book home with me and read it straight through in one go. It is rare that a book captivates me in that way, but not only was it well written, the information inside was right up my alley.

I recommend taking a look at this book. I won’t go into a full synopsis here, because there are plenty of places online that do that and frankly I think reading the book is going to be far superior to any breakdown you might find. To summarize, this book presents a method for organizing and decluttering the material possessions in your life so that you will never have to deal with clutter ever again. It sounds unreasonable or too good to be true, and yet the method makes a lot of sense once you reach the last page.

It’s difficult, as most worthwhile things are. However if living without clutter ever returning (which is, in my experience, the downfall of all organization methods) sparks your interest, consider hitting your local library or ordering a copy of this book online. I am in no way affiliated with the book; this is just a personal recommendation based on finding something I really enjoyed.

And now I’m off to start the process, to see if it really works. I have a feeling it will, so long as I see it through to the end. That will be the real challenge.