Have you found the best way to convey it?

Writing’s one of those things that can be done in all kinds of ways. Making up a shopping list is much that same as penning a best-selling novel. They might seem to be a world apart, but they both involve the same skill: putting one word after another.

When you write anything it’s always best to use your imagination. Always believe that there are things out there in the world that you haven’t discovered yet, but that have the potential to be important to you. Take, for example, the radio. Until just recently, the only thing a radio meant to me was something to listen to. Then, a friend told me that she was going to host her own radio show. I didn’t realise what a game changer this was at first. I thought that only talented and fortunate people got to speak on the radio so imagine my surprise when, after sending an email to the owner of the radio station, he told me to come on in and do my own show! So I did. And it was great. And I’m going to do it again this week!

Life is full of all sorts of opportunities like this. You only need to listen to the people around you to find them. Sometimes it’s difficult to hear the messages, but if you listen with the right kind of mind-set then you can set yourself up to have all sorts of new and interesting experiences. And that’s what I mean about using your imagination. When you go through life thinking that you don’t have anything to offer the world then that’s precisely what you’ll give. But if you imagine what it would be like to hunt out and use the clues that life puts your way then that kind of openness to change will move you towards more new places than you ever thought possible.

But what’s that got to do with writing, I hear you say. Well, here’s the thing – writing is a really good channel for your imagination to run freely along. Next time you put together a shopping list, try this: add something to your list that you haven’t had in a long time, or maybe even something you’ve never had. Perhaps it’s as simple as a fruit (or a bread or a brand) that you’ve not tried since you were a kid. The thing is, it’s not particularly what you put on the list that’s important, it’s the fact that you’ve added it to the list. It’s the fact of being open to change that sets you on the path to freedom.

In the same way, every single type of writing can do that same thing for you: diary entries, notes on post-its, blog entries, short stories, observations on life, jottings about your childhood, chapters in a novel or epic sagas written in lambic pentameter. At the start of every single piece of writing, including the grandest of novels, is something that we use every day of our life: a word. And after that is another word. Put a few of those together and pretty soon you’ve got a sentence. And here’s the coolest thing of all: it’s entirely up to you as to what kind of sentence you write for yourself.

When you use the same words you’ve used in the past then you’ll end up with the same kind of life that you’ve had up until now, which is fine if you enjoy your life, but if you don’t, then now’s a great time to change. The words you use to write your shopping list or your novel are the same ones that you will use to describe your future. So do yourself a favour my friend, and write yourself an absolutely fantastically coloured, extravagantly described, wonderfully populated and beatifically sweet one. Have fun!

Positions

I had a meltdown not long back. I totally lost it. My head was so messed up that everything was black. Let me tell you: if I’d have known then what I know now about the role of decent values, then I would have had a much easier time of it. What I’m going to share with you now are the three values that pulled me out of those dark days into the light.

The beauty that I see in my life now is, in a way, down to the fact that heaven sent you here for me. I know it’s a cliché but you’re the angel that’s saved me. With all I’ve learned from the past, I just know that this time it’s going to be okay. We’re going to be okay. I know that I’m not going to repeat history.

It’s amazing how I’ve been accepted now. I met your family on Sunday and it was such a sweet day. We all went into town together and then, after going to your family’s place to change, we took a picnic into the countryside and spread the cloth in the shade of a big old oak tree and ate and laughed and drank and ran around and then drank a little more. I tell you, I was giddy by the time we set off back. Then on Monday, you know how it was. We just couldn’t get enough of each other. I ended up feeling good from the tips of my toes right up to the top of my head.

So yeah, what about those values. Well, in the dark times I couldn’t see any hope for the future. But that’s because I wasn’t planning for one. The thing about the future is that it doesn’t come along all by itself. I know that you imagine it should and does, but it’s not the future that’s coming up; it’s the past. When you don’t sit down and figure out what you’re going to do with your life then the same things that happened in the past repeat on you. That’s what I mean by the future not coming along by itself. Deliberately thinking about what I wanted for the future became very valuable to me. It became the first value on the path to my transformation into a happier person.

I know for a fact that you used to like other people as well as me. Everyone told me so. They said, don’t you mess around with that one because you’ll never be number one. You’ll just be a number. I didn’t want to be just another person to play around with. So that’s why I’m going to be doing something very special for you. Without going into too much detail, I’m going to do and be everything for you. I’m going to fulfil your every need. Pick almost any room in the house and I’ll be there for you. I mean, obviously there are some places where you need a little privacy; but apart from that – I got your back. I’ll be jumping through every hoop I can think of to do this for you. If love is an Olympic event, I’m going to win gold.

And that brings me to the second value that I’ve adopted in order to change my life from dark to light: giving. Before this, I was the most selfish person you could imagine. Everything was for me, me, me. Anything I did was solely because I wanted to do it. I was the most important person in the universe and I made sure that no-one got in the way of that. If someone wanted me to do something and it didn’t suit me, then I wouldn’t do it. I just sailed on by, content that I was doing okay if I was putting a smile on my face by following my own desires. It didn’t matter how many people around me were unhappy so long as I was fulfilled in my own little bubble of happiness. That was before I realised how valuable it was to give to those around me. You have become the centre of my world. I give myself to you.

Actually, you’re totally worth anything I could ever give you because you’re perfect in every way. You’re too good to be true, in fact, but that’s not going to stop me from showering an infinite amount of love on you. Like I said, you’re worth it because everything that I give to you, I get back double. It just feels great to be with you. It feels tremendous to run by your side instead of running away from life, people and you all the time.

The third value I’ve taken on is related to what I just said. It’s trust. I had such a problem with trusting people before now. I’ve been betrayed you see. People have come along and I’ve tried to trust them, but always, in the back of my mind there’s been a fear that they would hurt me and so I held a small part of me back. They must have sensed my fear and my reserve and it must have caused the inevitable betrayal. People who have the value of trust give everything to those around them and they don’t do it out of compulsion, they do it for love. Because my love for you is infinite, and because I’ll do anything and everything for you, it’s certain that you’ll never need anyone else.

This is stuff that I usually don’t do, but for you, I kind of want to, because you’re there for me and I’m there for you too.

So that’s my story. I was in a dark place, but with the help of my newfound values of planning for the future, giving everything that I have and trusting that you and the world will do right by me, I’ve turned myself around. I’m in a position to be able to spread love and light around me now. Thank you for your part in this, and thanks for listening.

How to Imitate Well

We all imitate. There’s not a drop of originality in any of our bones. Question is: do we choose the things we imitate, or do we do it unconsciously. Frighteningly (or not): whichever way we go will ultimately dictate the type of person we will become: a master, or a slave.

We are all immersed in a sea of experience. Our senses are always alive to sensory impressions, even when we’re asleep and, some say, even when we are in a coma. We cannot help but be affected by these impressions in some way or another. The people we admired as children, whether pop-stars or our parents, influenced the style of dress and mannerisms we adopted as we grew. It’s interesting to sit on a bench on a high-street and try to figure out who influenced the people passing by to dress and walk like they do. Probably you’ll be wrong. Possibly they don’t even know themselves. But the imitators and there imitations will be there. It’s even more interesting to do the same thing to yourself.

Look at what you’re wearing on your legs right now. Ask yourself why you chose that particular garment. I wear Levis because I liked Westerns as a kid and that’s what the cowboys wore. Maybe not that particular brand, but certainly blue jeans. Or perhaps they didn’t; but that’s how I remember it. I’m still playing a childhood game of Cowboys and Indians. Or maybe it’s not that at all. My dad wears jeans and pretty-much always has. So it’s even likelier that I picked up the habit from him (and maybe he got it from the movies. It’s a bit of idol-worship I guess. Then there are the songs: ‘I put on my jeans and I feel alright’, ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’ and ‘Blue Jean, I just met me a girl named Blue Jean’. And look at the people singing those songs. And look at Jimmy Dean when you get a moment. I know; it’s so obvious, right?

Now raise your eyes to the top half of your body and do the same self-assessment. Where did you get that top? Why did you buy it? And what made you put in on today of all days? I know exactly why I wear these form-fitting t-shirts. I know why I buy them in small when I’m a medium. I can trace my thoughts back to a day by the beach on a Caribbean island when my bag was stolen whilst I was in the water so that, when I got out, I had to borrow the shirt of a friend who, before me, had penchant for tight fitting clothing. I didn’t want to give him that shirt back at the end of the day because of how good I feel it looked on me and since then I’ve been buying the same style and size of shirt over and over again.

And that’s just clothing. Everything else is an imitation too: the volume at which you speak, where you get your books, what kind of alcohol (or not) you prefer, who you like to spend time with, what kind of movies you will pay money for (and what kinds you watch when they roll around on TV), how you walk, who you give the time of day to, and a myriad of other things that you say, do and think – all imitations of what came before.

If you want to imitate well, then you can. You just have to turn it into a conscious process so that you yourself are the one making up your own mind. You just have to become more self aware so that, in the same way that you looked at your leggings and top, you do the same for every important aspect of your life. If you want to live like Madonna (the original one) and yet find yourself drawn to Machiavelli then it’s time to do a drains up.

Start with the little things and you’ll find that, with practice, that you’ll get the hang of changing them quickly enough. Then, by the time you get to the big things, you’ve got a routine in place to handle them. That and remember to have fun. Change is inevitable, and is largely outside your control; but enjoying that change is well within your remit. You just have to make your mind up how to be. You can do it.

And that’s all we have time for now, because lunch has arrived.
Yeah, not, unfortunately, literally.
I have to go make it.
Enjoy.

Growth

I want to talk to you about growth.

When I was young I wanted to grow up. I wanted to be older and wiser and richer and more mature. Now that I’m older and wiser and richer and more mature I want a whole set of other things. Wanting never stops.

When I get all the things I want now and I sit down and look back I hope I am satisfied. I hope that I’ll have found an end to want. In other words, I hope I’ll have grown up.

Real growing up is nothing to do with height, age or even maturity. It’s about recognising the truth about things. And the truth is that we’re adrift in a world of endless possibility. We can be any one (or more) of a vast number of things. And we have choices. From here and now I can pick a direction and walk towards it. And it doesn’t have to be anywhere I was before. I’m not stuck. The world is open to me. I can move.

That’s all I need to say for now. Hope it makes sense and I hope it helps to release you from feeling tied to a situation you don’t like right now. Make wise choices. Be happy.

Review of letter to the world from a naive mind by Potterhead Aanya

book cover

Potterhead Aanya, who blogs here, writes a Wake Up Call for the World.

Powerful words from a new shining light in the world of enlightened and persuasive literature.

Aanya writes from the point of view of a 12 year old girl in her first book: letter to the world from a naive mind, but don’t be fooled by this. In reality, she is a powerful soul sent to inspire us to make a change in our lives so that the world of the future can be a fit place for all our children to live in.

She gives us a year within which to make a series of challenging transformations, but this is a chance that we cannot afford to squander. It will take time to bring earth’s climate back into balance and even more time to reverse the harm we have done to nature already. So, to have any chance of accomplishing this, before it’s too late, we have to start now.

Please read the impassioned pleas of this enlightened soul. She only wishes the best for us. Accept her gift and accept her as the voice of a generation that will inherit the earth – if only we can choose not to destroy it first. Listen now, love the world and alter your ways for always.

A Rush of OMG to My Head

I’m stepping on sinking stepping stones all the time and I need to get off them and onto dry land. Putting my faith in things that constantly change is getting my feet wet. I need to move away from temporary pleasures towards something that will remain solid when the tide of fate turns; as it always does.

I won’t go into a list of the things that have turned dark recently because I know for a fact that they will all lighten tomorrow (or the day after), but I just know that I want to stop sloshing about in the water of my life. I need to move away from the phases of the moon and the seasons of the sun into a place that is beyond those fluctuations.

There’s only one calm centre-point to all of life and that is God. I’M aware that moving closer to the source of all goodness is not the only way to move away from the instability inherent in life, and that others have taken another path, but it’s the option that does not involve any destruction and loss for me or for those in my life.

You wouldn’t mind if I loved God a little more that you would you? You wouldn’t be jealous if I said to you that I want the the strong, spiritual arms of God to comfort me and hold me above any storms that might come my way. You wouldn’t begrudge me a life of straightforward love and happiness in the heart of the supreme being. Yes, I know you wouldn’t.

So, yeah, let’s see how that goes.

Heart Felt

Do you remember when we were kids and we hadn’t run out of new things to say or do yet? When each day was so different to the one before that we might as well have gone to sleep and then woke up on another planet? When we asked people questions and the things they said took the tops of our heads off and scrambled our brains; not like eggs but in a good way? Remember those days?

And all we want to do now is find out way back to those times; even if we can’t acknowledge that to ourselves or anyone else. But instead we’re set in titanium by the jobs and marriages and friendships we’re in. And anything that we try to change about ourselves; any strap or buckle we try to adjust on our staightjackets is greeted with puzzled looks, confused questions or outright disdain. Because why would we want to be other than what we are? Why change what is obviously perfect?

Well I’m changing still. I’ve not done finding wonders. I’ve not finished asking questions. There are planets out there to explore and if anyone tells me anything different then I’m going to make a sandwich and stash it in a bag with some pop and crisps and then head off on my bike towards the unexplored horizon.

And will it be dangerous? Heck, I hope so! Because if it isn’t, then I’m still sat at the kitchen table dreaming and hoping … but dying by degrees.

Who’s with me?

Life on the Beach

Whereas before I would be in some other country, now I am in the comfort of my study. Travelling the world has been exchanged for walking from the bedroom to the bathroom. Train journeys have become tootles around the block and jet planes are just pie in the sky.

We grow, we shrink. Our bodies expand on the in-breath and contract on the out. What we were before is gone and what we are now is a downsized dream. Where will we be in a year’s time? It depends. Some parts of life will be calm and quiet and others will have tipped over the edge into insanity. Who’s to tell which of us will be up and which one south.

I know one thing, though – chocolate will still taste good. Whether we get it will be another matter. Travel corridors shorten and the time it takes to travel will lengthen. We’ll be home more than away and the new norm will be darker or paler than the one before.

Then again, this might be the last crisis ever. We might pick ourselves up, learn our lessons and then move on at an enlightened pace. We could finally say enough is enough and just do things properly from now on. Chances are that we need to.

I’m Robert and I’m sitting on the futon in the study and talking out of my thumbs. Of course everything and everyone is going to be okay. How could it not be! This cushion is as soft as it ever was and the traffic swishes by as it ever did. The sun will rise, the rain will fall and the grass will grow – why the heck shouldn’t it? Time flies like an angel. Thoughts leave us to circumvent the universe. Life does what it always does: it comes and goes, ebbs and flows. And we remain as we always were: flotsam and jetsam on the beach – taking in the sun and the scenery. Why not come visit me? Kettle’s on – what’s your poison, my friend?

Oh, wait – maybe we should wait a while. At least until … until … until …

Constant Variety

Someone asked a question this morning: why can’t we constantly experience the bliss of remembering (being with) God? My short answer is: because we’re human.

Every constant experience that humans have eventually gets turned down (reduced in volume) by the brain or the mind. Something called The Law of Diminishing Returns kicks off. In other words: we get bored. And we then want something different to happen.

I once read a book about happiness (push me and I’ll give you the title) that said that we can’t be happy all the time because the effect is produced by a chemical in the brain, and after a while the brain gets kind of immune to the chemical and so, over time, the effect (the happiness) diminishes. It’s a bit like taking heroin (so I’m told) – you need larger and larger doses to get the same ‘hit’.

So, yeah – the mind. Even the most engaging physical sensation loses its charm after a while. An orgasm that lasts forever (or more than a few minutes) becomes tiresome. A meal that starts off being delicious becomes torture as more and more is stuffed into an already full stomach. A soak in the tub becomes a wrinkly (insert your own word – I can’t think of one) after a while, even if you do keep topping up from the hot water tap.

The only thing that we constantly enjoy is variety. If one pleasant experience follows another and is then supplanted by yet another then we can be as happy as the length of our life allows. All we need to do is find a variety of enjoyable things to do.

I’m sure you can do your own search on the internet or in the local library or amongst your social network but here are a few suggestions of my own:

  • Eat something different
  • Sleep somewhere new
  • Read some other genre
  • Find another new friend
  • Move to a different city
  • Love several new …

And the list (mine and yours) goes on.

If you crave constant happiness then don’t be content with what you have. Move, change, break your old cups, throw out all thoughts of your ex-lovers, fly to exotic and erotic destinations etc. etc.

But a quiet word of caution: before, during and after all of this – don’t ever forget your God.