Life Musings

365 Challenge: Day 307 – Instinct

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Instinct: (a) an innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals in response to certain stimuli or (b) what your gut says

instinct

There are moments in life when you tell yourself to push beyond the instinctual behavior that generally guides your actions. Sometimes you can accept a different feeling or approach, but not always — and even when you do, you may not fully engage to see a different result. It is when you reflect back on your decisions and determination that you often see how accurate your instincts can be after they’ve been a natural part of who you are for so very many years. But if you choose to always rely on them, you might not ever experience a necessary revelation.

My instincts have been on high alert in regard to several decisions and trust over the last few months. I remind myself each day to take chances. It might pay off. It might not. If I listened to my instincts today (as in this morning, this moment), and followed through on what they tell me, I might be listening to fear rather than opportunity. I doubt I’ll cater to them right now, as I can see why the voice is louder in the current period — and that’s a good thing. Recognizing the parameters under which you originally developed your instincts is necessary before unequivocally accepting them as concrete guides to evaluating your options and making your decisions.

I’m more vague and philosophical than usual today — it’s something I usually contain in my open words; it’s underdeveloped thoughts, musings of a sensitive soul, a way to ponder what comes next. Nothing’s wrong or bad. It’s simply good to think outside the box (or even forget there is a box, if you recall a post from about two weeks ago) at times… there  should be a balance each day to relying on instinct versus random decisions; we must learn to use it wisely and evolve the process we use to achieve each goal.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 157 – Busy

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Busy: having a great deal to do; occupied

busy

Today’s 365 Daily Challenge word is ‘busy,’ chosen because I feel like when someone asks me how I’m doing, all I ever respond with is 1 of 2 phrases: “I’m good, you?” or “I’m so busy.” Perhaps another day we’ll cover the former phrase, but today’s all about pushing myself and you to think about what being ‘busy’ really means, especially in today’s society. Let’s start from the very obvious point of view…

There are some basics to being able to survive once you’re born; you need food, water, shelter, oxygen and sleep. From that point forward, it’s about the surroundings you are born into, i.e. are you from a family with money, do you have any illnesses, or are you able to freely exist in that location. Some people are lucky — don’t need to work nor do they have any responsibilities other than those five basic staples. Others have a level of fame which immediately gives them a purpose. And then there are those who simply don’t know any better, or have not been given any choice, other than what they are taught to do at a very early age. Somewhere in the middle are the rest of us, those who must balance our needs and our desires in a healthy way to enjoy our lives.

I often feel two kinds of ‘busy’ — (1) an actual physical one with tasks that truly need to be done, and (2) an emotional or mental one with the reminders of all the things I know I should be doing (or want to do). It’s important to separate these two items, especially if you want to control that painful and scary feeling lurking deep inside, which if not monitored, usually has negative consequences. In the grand scheme of things, that is, beyond our own ‘little’ lives, what’s the point of pushing ourselves to that breaking point where we are so utterly busy, we cannot function? That’s where I’m focusing today, at least for a few minutes in this 365 post.

No one knows it all. Few know every specific goal they want to attain. That’s the point of life… to learn and grow every day. For some, it’s determined by their spiritual or religious beliefs. For others, it’s a personal calling to help specific people or causes. But for most of us, it becomes how to earn enough money to pay the bills to focus on all the things we want to accomplish. It’s a bit like the concept of “let’s make a deal,” especially when most of the activities we want to do aren’t always at our fingertips or able to be completed on our own. It ultimately comes down to truly establishing our priorities and understanding what it is that we most want to accomplish in life.

When I tell someone I’m busy, I am definitely busy. It’s not an exaggeration, though, it feels like I must convey that sense of “it’s all too much” in the conversation. What am I thinking about in those moments? What am I not thinking about? Well — everyone else — for one thing. Because we’re all busy. We are all doing something. We are all trying to achieve our goals. It’s not a competition with friends and family, even if it feels that way at times. It’s a choice we’ve made to hopefully bring about happiness during whatever amount of free time we have available. Maybe when I say ‘I’m busy,’ I’m trying to convince myself that the right steps are being followed in my plan. Or perhaps I’m taking a few seconds to actually realize what it is I’m supposed to be doing. We all need some level of downtime where we’re not doing. And by doing, I mean thinking or doing. I often find myself more exhausted after writing and networking for 8 hours from the bench in my dining room than I do from several at hours at the gym or out running errands.

There are different levels of mental and physical exhaustion to consider when you’re working towards the goals you’ve set. You cannot achieve it all, but you can setup some boundaries and remember not to give that control away to anyone else. Being busy is one of those things we shouldn’t really need to consider or think about, whether it’s to convince yourself or convince someone else. If you need an hour a day to read a book, as that’s what helps calm you down or gives you a sense of relaxation, then make it a priority in your schedule. If you enjoy going to the gym but end up feeling guilty because it takes time away from someone or something else, you’re hurting yourself. Of course we all have priorities: children, jobs, medical things… strip those out where you can (meaning focus on them as necessary), know the amount of time left, then check your priorities. At that point, your time is your time. Don’t load it up so you feel like all you ever say is ‘I’m busy.’

Since I take my own advice here, I’ll lay out an example. I have a publishing contract which means a good chunk of my time over the next year we will need to focus on those efforts. I have to work with an editor, come up with a marketing plan, review designs and formats, update websites and social media profiles and help sell the book. That could be a full-time job. I want to be successful. I would love to be the next big author. Ignoring whether that’s a reality or an unattainable goal, it will only happen if I spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on it. I also have the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, where I get a great deal of happiness either through posting or reading other people’s posts. That takes a lot of time. And I’m 50% done with writing a rough first draft of my second book which also has goals and deadlines (I’ve given myself). That’s another full-time job right now, too. Then I have family and friends, my partner, my dog, my apartment, other responsibilities. I obviously can’t do it all without getting exhausted. And I don’t want to be that guy that stops seeing everyone in-person, and then when I do, I always says ‘I’m so busy.’    YEAH DUDE, WE GET IT.

I need to re-set my expectations and priorities. I need to focus a little time on each of these things. And the first book may take longer to get published or find its following. The new book might need more time to be thoroughly flushed out. Because in the end (of me and my life, that is), I want to know I enjoyed it all and breathed in each moment with the right sense of balance. It’s a hard decision to make, but I need my hour each night to read before bed. I want to spend quality in-person time with the cherished people in my life. And that means it’s important to ‘schedule’ those times, know it’s OK with that being part of my goal and realizing it’s not healthy to be busy 100% of the time. It’s about finding the right balance and not feeling those demons eating away for ‘what could have been if I worked even harder.’

So… I’ve rattled on enough about me… what about you? Do you always tell people you’re busy? Could you change it up and say “I’m getting a lot done and so happy,” or “I met one my goals last week, it was fantastic.”

Turn it around. Don’t make it negative. Find a positive in everything you are achieving and stop worrying about what you’re not achieving. Don’t be so busy all the time that you forget about what’s really important to you and your future. A happy and well-lived life.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 46 – Simple

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Simple: easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty; composed of a single element; straightforward

Simple is usually a good thing, when it’s applied to things or actions. You can accomplish more and feel less restricted when something is simple to do. When it’s applied to people, it can more often mean something negative as well as something positive, even at the same time.

I consider myself simple, when it comes to keeping myself entertained or interested in others. I tend to follow that ole familiar saying: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), meaning don’t over-complicate whatever it is you are trying to do. Ensure everyone can understand, then you make a bigger impression with whatever is the goal.

For me, I apply the simple approach for most things right out of the gate, increasing the intensity or complexity depending on whatever I’m trying to accomplish. I’m not focusing on work-related items, as that’s similar but in a different manner. I’m referring to how I keep myself focused during the day. Examples:

  • I don’t need to be entertained 24/7. I’m perfectly comfortable reading, watching TV, wandering around the house… not needing a lot of conversation or interaction with others. Of course, I couldn’t do that all the time, but generally, that’s a simple approach.

  • I attempt to limit any and all stress in my life by keeping my days simple. Certain things get me worked up, but generally, I’m not going to get upset when I don’t need to.  It’s all a matter of perspective and analysis, understanding what the real item at hand is.
  • If I have multiple paths to complete something, I tend to look for the easiest one that will accomplish the most. “Biggest bang for the buck.”

I certainly don’t take those tendencies overboard… but it’s a fair balance to be able to do more with less. I’d rather not spend hours trying to design something until it’s perfect, when I can find a good/solid approach and be comfortable knowing there might be something better and I didn’t get there or do that. I don’t see this as not being a perfectionist, which I’ve already confessed I am. A perfectionist needs things to be perfect, but simple can also be perfect.

When things are simple, you have less expectations. When things are simple, you can observe the beauty of something in its natural state or its innocence. When things are simple, you have a moment to breathe and enjoy it.

Things we should all try to find simplicity in:

  • Don’t get caught up in “what should we do” today… enjoy the time together, even if it’s just sitting in a quiet room and doing nothing for an hour.
  • Find a picturesque landscape and reflect on different aspects of its beauty. Think about your five senses: see, hear, smell, touch and taste.
  • Don’t over-analyze why the other person did something that made you upset / confused. Ask them… or let it go… or choose to accept the simplest answer (I’m talking about the little things!)
  • Don’t get angry about things (again, minor items) and be sure to find a way not to let it impact you.
  • Don’t over-plan such that you can’t sit back and let something happen naturally.

Having a simple approach can make your day and your life a whole lot better. That said, I am not always simple. A few points I need to improve on as the way I work below can be stressful and the opposite of simple:

  1. If I have company, the apartment needs to be spotless. I always clean.
  2. If I’m cooking a meal, it is usually not simple. Must have 20 ingredients.
  3. If I’m doing anything financial (bills, projections, investments), it is never simple. I obsess over pennies, and we’ve talked about that part of me before.

Just be careful you don’t become uncaring or lackadaisical about things. Sometimes it is important to be more focused. You also don’t want to give off an impression that you are non-committal or too removed from a situation.

How do you ensure more simplicity in your life? I’m asking for a friend… who is me… so I can keep on improving every day. Give me 20 ways please, it’s on my mind all the time… and I must improve. LOL

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

“College Campus Mysteries” – Introducing New Cozy Series

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The cozy mystery has been around for over one hundred years but many have yet to realize the tremendous value and experience from reading this type of literature.  In the early days, Agatha Christie perfected the art of the cozy detective series.  Today, there are hundreds of authors with varying series covering nearly every possible setting and theme.

“College Campus Mystery Series”

The first cozy series I’m developing will be called “The College Campus Mysteries” with Kellan Brunswick as the protagonist.  Kellan’s a 32-year old professor who has recently moved back home to Wellington, Pennsylvania, a small historic town on the central PA border with New York tucked away between the Wharton Mountain range and Crilly Lake.  Kellan’s left Los Angeles and come back home to Wellington to see family for a little while when Braxton College, the school Kellan’s father recently retired from (as President), has an opening for a professor in his field.  Should Kellan stay and get back to his roots or return to LA where his former life is holding on without him?

Click here to learn more about the new series as it’s being drafted in the coming weeks…

-jjciv

“Watching a Glass Shatter” – Writing of a Funeral and a Will Reading

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I drafted two new chapters in my novel “Watching a Glass Shatter” today.  Chapter 2 was the widow’s view on the funeral and Chapter 3 was the reading of the late husband’s will where she learns a shocking secret.

The secret while a bit of a game changer was not the hardest part.  It was the letter I had to write that the husband leaves the wife.  I poured emotion into it trying to convey both the heartache behind dying and the the pain of the choice he made years ago.

I internalized it and I feel the weight of the story on my shoulders now.  It’s temporary,  but it is still powerful. I feel good about these chapters.It encourages me to continue with this story.

I feel the characters are powerfully depicted but I of course wrote them so I’d hope I feel that way.  I’ll be curious what others think if I post anything.

Progress was good today. 🙂

-jjciv

“Watching a Glass Shatter” – We have an outline!

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Today I completed the outline for “Watching a Glass Shatter.”  It will have 30 chapters each told from a different character’s perspective (a total of 7 main characters plus a few supporting ones).

I also finalized my choice of which son is the adopted one.  It wasn’t easy, but once I flushed out the order of the events, determing who actually finds the birth mother and worked my way through the ultimate ending to the story, I settled on which brother it would be.

Prologue written.  30 chapters outlined. Tomorrow I begin on detailed character sketches.

It feels good!

-jjciv

Poetry: 6 samples within 3 series

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Six (6) new poems organized into 3 groupings:   The Truth Series       Sinister Ones     Emotions

In the first grouping, entitled “The Truth Series,” the narrator navigates a path of learning a truth, internalizing the impact and releasing his emotional aura.  Truth began almost 15 years ago but has been resurrected with some new intensity.

In the second grouping, entitled “Sinister Ones,” the narrator challenges the sinister one who has hold of him going from small idle threats to grandiose imagery of how to permanently dissolve the connections.

In the third grouping, entitled “Emotions,” the narrator expresses random feelings of love, confusion and trust.  The grouping is not a series but rather a patchwork of imagery through emotional interpretation.