<<<< This entry was written three days ago in some word processing software that has a page counter. It's "3 pages" long. I only got the guts to post it this morning >>>>>
I’ve got a freelance writing project that I could be working on during this train ride, but alas, I’ve left the creative brief at home. So instead, we’re gonna have a little freestyle session. Now THIS I haven’t done in a while. I read part of the book “The Artists Way” and used to do the “morning pages” exercises. Basically, you force yourself to write three full pages of free associative rambles. There’s no intended structure, no goal, no subject. You just WRITE. Needless to say it’s very therapeutic. There’s some magic that happens when you write without subject or goals. Where the objective is quantity, and not quality, or communicative. I always learned something amazing about myself in the final moments of the third page. No matter how banal or uninspired the opening was, the simple act of forcing myself to produce, always yielded a result. The book says: You worry about the quantity, fate will look after the quality”. And it’s true! I might write more if I didn’t have such high expectations of what my writing is or needs to accomplish. So here, out of habit now, I’ve found a nice corner seat on the train car, stuck my longboard up against the wall, and begun typing. I have to say, it’s already terribly liberating. I just noticed that I haven’t done any of my regular “return key pacing” tricks. That bad habit I have of spacing my phrases like I want them to be read. I usually plot out my sentences in a way that I hope, forces the reader to read with the same cadence that I’m thinking in. I control the rhythm and timing by designing my paragraphs. Like those poems we read in school that were shaped like their subjects. This is fine for my blogging, but I find myself studying a lot more high school english class theory on proper paragraph structure now that I’m picking up more corporate copy writing work. Bad habits. Good habits. I used to think ALL habits were bad habits. I hated the expected. Loathed the laziness and predictability of a comfortable routine. Thrived on facing the unknown with gusto. But my priorities are changing as I climb towards 30. I almost typed “as I speed down the tracks of the roller coaster of life, approaching 30.” but I think that kind of speaking/thinking is very dangerous. People ask me how I maintain such a positive outlook on life. Well, it’s all about building good habits. One good habit I’m building, is that I only project what I desire, instead of what I fear. I WANT to be climbing towards 30. I FEAR that I’m falling towards it. So in that moment, I’m faced with a decision. Do I want to propagate my fear? or my desire? So here, as I climb towards 30, I’m discovering the value of a properly planned and executed habitual behavior. There’s a REASON the world operates on a regular, repeated schedule. Granted, I think we’d be better off on a 28 day, 13 months calender, that would better match our own natural rhythms. But I’m finding a way to make the 12 month calendar, 7 day week, work a bit harder for me. And that’s really part of the magic. Build your habits with intent. Plot every move. Oh sure, I’m a “go with the flow” kind of guy. I roll with the punches, and make the best of what life gives me. That’s how I make it appear at least. The truth is, that I make conscious decisions to take control of EVERYthing that happens to me. By choosing how I react to a situation, and by controlling what parts of my life I project outward unto others. It ALL matters. The way you do one thing, is the way you do everything. So, even seemingly small events always present you with this decision. The decision can always be broken into this “Desire or Fear” yin and a yang. I also believe there is only one right answer for YOU to these questions. My fear might be your desire, and vice versa. There’s no right answer, only the one that’s right for you! The problems arise when you ad another human being to the mix. Someone else’s feelings/fears/desires is almost always the source of any pain and frustration I ever feel in my day to day life. I always KNOW what the right path in the fork is for me. My current challenge in life, is to stop taking the path that I feel is right for OTHER people. So as I climb towards 30, I’m making a conscious effort to pick the path that I KNOW is right for ME. And not worrying so much about what I expect that others need or want from me. It’s been really hard to do. I’ve always been terribly obsessed with, and connected to, the feelings of others. I say all the time that my heightened sense of empathy is my power and my crux. My blessing and my curse. But I’m getting better at it. Getting better at hearing my first instincts when they present themselves, and not burying them under a pile of “what if”s and “what does she think”s. I’m getting really particular in my old age. The next person who breaks through my shell and really gets my heart is gonna have to be one fucking strong woman I can tell that much. I’m just not going to be satisfied with settling for anything less then what I believe and know in my heart that I want. So what is the secret to my seemingly amazing outlook on life? To my boundless energy and constant smile? Well, it’s two things. FIRST, you make one, big, declarative decision. “I AM GOING TO BE HAPPY”. Sounds irritatingly simple. I know. But here’s where it gets complicated and difficult. In order for this one decision to stick, you then have to back it up, with COUNTLESS other decisions. Everything that EVER happens to you has the potential to be a brick on the house of your dreams, or a brick on the prison cell of your fears. You have to recognize that EVERYTHING is connected. And EVERYTHING matters. Everything you do. Every reaction you have to anything that happens to you throughout your day, shapes either, your dreams, or your fears. The powerful thing, is that NO one, can control WHERE you put your brick. NO ONE. YOU are the one in control of WHERE you place these experiences. And so, when you see me on Facebook, or on Twitter, or on my blog, and I’m going off projecting all of this positivity, know that JUST as much BULLSHIT is happening to me in my life every day as it is to you. But, when I GET that load of shit thrown in my face, I scrape it off to reveal my smile has not weakened. Then, using the straw of my experiences, I turn the shit into a brick, and knowingly, carefully, intentionally, place it on the house of my dreams. IT WORKS. I used to be suicidally depressed at one point in my life. From the age of I would say 9, until about 14, I was in a steep decline that culminated in my having serious suicidal thoughts and intentions. Lucky for me, my father was there to pull me out of the hole with some real straight talk. He laid out all the disgusting realities of what suicide really was, and what it would do to him and my family to have to clean up after my selfish act. It was a real turning point. Later in that week, I reconnected with my creative side. My gift of drawing. Which, in many ways, is just an extension of my love for my Father. He gave me the gift of visual arts. My Grandfather gave me my voice. So, without going into too much detail about the circumstances, I recall the DAY I made the decision to be a happy person. THE DAY. I remember sitting on that bed, in that room, and watching that show on that TV about comic artists. I picked up my pencil and paper, and drew myself out of the grave I’d spent 5-6 years digging. Depression is a terrible self centered sickness. Everything was about me. Why did we move from New Brunswick to PEI? Why did I leave my friends behind? Why did the kids at this new school tease me so much? Only when I threatened the ultimate selfish act, and my father told me about how my bowels would release when I died and he’d be stuck cleaning shit off the dead body of his only son, did I see my great gaff. Now, 15 years later, the pendulum has swung a bit too far, and I’m realizing I need to back up a bit and be a bit more of that selfish, and sometimes sad kid. I need to allow myself a little bit more down days then I do. To embrace the bad moods and anger I sometimes feel. Still creating those bricks out of the experiences and using them to build my dreams. But realizing you get a sturdier brick out of a bigger hunk of shit! So I made the decision that day to be a happy person. To be thankful that I’m alive. That I have both legs. Both eyes. Both nuts. That I can speak properly. (thanks speech therapist in grade 5 who helped me loose my lisp!) That I can DRAW ANYTHING I can imagine. That I can SING. That I can write. That I’m blessed every single morning that I wake up. And that with this blessing, and these powers, and these gifts, come a great responsibility. I have a responsibility to myself to make me, the best me I can be. To fight every single damned fucking day to move closer to achieving my potential. Truth is, I’ll never be satisfied with where I’m at. I’ll always want more. But that’s great! That’s why we die. To push us forward in a battle to be the best us we can be in the short time we have. So I made that decision that faithful day, and now I make dozens, or hundreds of subsequent decisions every moment of every day to back the first one up. Hahahaha. Well looky here. I’m halfway through the third page and about to reach some truth. Hahaha. How do I know the truth is coming? Well, I just had a passing thought as to weather or not I’m going to post this. My FIRST instinct told me this HAD to be posted on my blog. I HAVE to commit this thought. But it’s so crass? And declarative. And bold, and combative, and not properly structured and ... and ... and ... The list of excuses could be long enough to fill the rest of the third page. But, I’m not going to allow that. I see my demon now sitting right in front of me. He IS me. He’s telling me that, because I’m worried about what other people think of me, I shouldn’t post this. Well, Mr. inner Demon, explain to me, WHY, I felt compelled to omit my regular spacing habit on this entry? Hmmm? And why is it then, that the person I’m going to be writing for tonight when I get home and start my corporate copy writing, mentioned the Artist Way book and the morning pages to me when I met with him for the first time at the coffee shop? See, that’s the problem Demon. You’re transparent. I know you too well. You can’t pull the wool over these eyes. Especially not my third eye. That one is tuned to perfection. And I use it to peer right through you into the truth. No, I was compelled NOT to space this entry, because I was meant to come to this conclusion by SEEING the end of the third page approaching. This lesson was a visual one. BOLD, and in my face! Real tangible evidence that I’m on the right path. That my current battle is the right one. That the lesson I’m learning this year, about not worrying as much about how others perceive me, or how my actions affect their feelings, is of utmost importance! So I’ll trod on, un-daunted, and push myself passed what I know it a great obstacle that stands in the way of me reaching the next level of my potential. I will post this on my blog and I will not care that it may be ill received. I heard a quote once from John Lennon that I found really compelling. He was asked by a 16 year old Toronto boy about “messages” in his music. His answer to the kid, was that the messages were all there, in the music, but that they weren’t planned. He revealed that he sometimes writes, records, and then listens to his own song, sometimes hundreds of times before ever hearing the message. But that it’s there, and it sometimes reveals itself magically to him. I feel this way about my art. People used to ask me “how did you draw that” and I would say “it was already there. Already in the paper, in the pencil. I just spent enough time on it that it came out!”. I hesitate to say things like that because people might think I’m crazy. But it’s the truth. So I just write. And the message takes care of itself!