Stop Thinking

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.” ~Lao Tzu

IMG_20150428_143905We live in a beautiful world.  Even the small segment that our senses can take in (smaller still what our minds can comprehend) is beyond what we can express with words.  There are infinite opportunities for joy, yet we use so much of our time fretting over the insignificant; the non-consequential.  We fill our days with worry and busyness, trying to get ahead.  We constantly occupy our minds with television and social media, afraid to sit in silence, and be alone with ourselves.  Trying to drown out and silence the voices of fear, regret, and uncertainty.

Stop worrying.  Stop thinking.  You are on the right path; the only path; your path.  Follow it to the end.  Take care with each step.  Feel each breath.  There is no need for fear.  You are a passenger, an observer.  Enjoy the ride.

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The Answers Are Within

I accidentally posted this on my other blog yesterday.  So, if you are subscribed to both, you may see it twice.

Sometimes, I get really worked up and worried, and I have to sit myself down, and talk some sense into me (Mostly because no one else will):

“Oh self,” I say, “Oh if only I could be like this person, or that person.”

You don’t need to be like them.  Just be yourself.  There is nothing wrong with that.

“But they have it so easy!”

You don’t know that.  You only know the ease or difficulty of your 0wn life.

“Okay, I guess.  But what am I even doing here?  I need some direction.  I need someone to show me the path.  How do I know if I’m doing whats right?”

The answers are inside of you.  Everything that you seek without and fail to find, is hidden within.  You know what is right, you know what you should be doing, and you do not need the approval or acceptance of anyone else.

“But what if I screw up?  What if I fail?  What if I change my mind?”

Making your own decisions, good or bad, right or wrong, and facing the consequences, is the only way to grow.  It is the only way to find out who you are.  Without failure, and without change, there is no growth, there is no life.

But I’m scared”

That’s okay.  Its part of being human.  acknowledge the fear, and release it.  Then go on doing what you know is right.

I really don’t think I can do this, but I guess I’ll keep trying.”

“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”  ~Lao tzu

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~Buddha

“Cherish that which is within you, and shut off that which is without; for much knowledge is a curse.” ~Zhuangzi

Writing Rule Number 2

For those of you who are Chronologically Inclined, here is the first post in this series: The Number One Writing Rule

I really enjoy writing.  It is a great way to relieve stress, gather my thoughts, and express myself.  But the feeling I get when I know that my writing has benefited another person or (dare I say it?) several people, it borders on ecstasy.  I know I am not the only one, because there are quite literally a bazillion articles on the internet with titles like, “How To Improve Your Writing” or “Three Things To Avoid When Writing” and “237 Rules You Must Follow When Making a Blog Post”

So, what rule is so important that it landed the Number 2 spot?

Writing Rule #2: Break the rules.  Don’t just break them, smash them.  Obliterate them.  (This doesn’t just apply to writing, but to to any creative act.  In fact, it applies to all of life.)

There are a lot of good people out there with good, even phenomenal advice.  There are people who know how to get followers, and likes, and up-votes, page-views, and comments.  They know the right way to write a post, and they know the wrong way.  Most of the time, it is a good idea to follow their advice.  It can be a very helpful tool to improve your writing.

All those rules though, can make for a nerve-wracking experience.  Am I posting at the right time of day?  Am I including enough keywords for SEO?  Do I have enough line breaks?  Is this post too long, too short, too whiny, too off-topic, too personal?  When we become a slave to rules, the art of writing is lost.

To me, it seems silly to apply rules just for rules’ sake.  A question I ask myself when writing is, “Does applying this rule add value to my post?” If it does, great.  If not, I rebel.  So bend ’em, break ’em, or side-step ’em.  Please, just don’t follow ’em.  At least not all the time.  (And remember, that includes Rule Number 2)

What writing rules do you follow?  Which ones do you break?

The Number One Writing Rule

I have been writing as a hobby for some time, and I enjoy it immensely.  I also enjoy having an audience with which I can interact, and exchange ideas.  (And, while I hate to admit it,  I love seeing the page-view-ometer spike from time to time) I have felt the joy of creating very successful posts, which resonate with people, and help them along their journey, and I have also felt the despair of posting utter rubbish, that causes readers to question my cognitive ability.

(Spoiler Alert:  The rule is to be yourself.  This can also be applied to any other area of your life, with amazing results)

More often than not, the more relateable works are the ones that come from the heart.  They start with an exciting idea that I can’t wait to write about, my fingers fly across the keyboard in a flourish, and the end result is something beautiful, something real, and something meaningful.

Conversely, the drab writings usually happen when I need to produce something.  for example, if I have been posting every weekday on my blog for the past month (which never happens, but hey, it’s a hypothetical, so just relax, okay?) and I happen to have a day where I am lacking inspiration, I may try to force myself to write, for the sake of the blog.  (I mean, my three loyal readers are expecting it after all, and what will it do to my SEO if I don’t regularly post new content?) In this situation, my motive is impure, and it shows plainly through in the finished product.

The other fatal error which I habitually make is creating content based on what I think people want to read.  As well intentioned as this seems, it is actually quite misguided.  I hardly know myself.  How can I even pretend to know what other people want to hear.  Additionally, if you are only posting something because it is what your audience wants to hear, they won’t want to hear it.  What people want is authenticity.  They want something genuine (well I guess I do know what people want after all, go figure)

So, what is the solution? 

Be yourself.  Create content based on what you love, and what you are passionate about.  Odds are, there are many people out there who share your values and your ideas, and operate on the same wavelength.

Expose yourself to your passion.  If you spend all of your time writing in isolation, your writing is going to be flat.  Read about your passion, follow blogs that are similar to yours, if your passion is music, go to a concert.  If it is tennis, go to a match.  If it is human waste management, visit the Sublah International Museum of Toilets. 

Take a break.  Refuel, recharge, take a week off.  Its okay.  Jot down any ideas that come to mind, and when you come back, you we be refreshed and ready to go.

Relax.  It is going to be okay.  You are going to create something fantastic, and people will love it.  and if you are truly passionate about it, your time will never be wasted.  So, relax.

It is important to note that this method can be applied to any aspect of your life.  Be yourself, Live your passion, and relax.