Bringing an idea into Tangible Form – Whew!

It was my birthday two days ago.  I turned 35.  I don’t know how I feel about that.  I know a woman with near the same birthday as me, and she has started a successful business, raising kids with a loving husband, and worked her way to an executive director position for a non-profit.  Me? – not so much.  I found two quarters and a penny on the bus floor today, though.  – That’s something.

When you look at my life…on the surface, there’s not much to see.  I live in an apartment, on a life-time housing voucher provided by some non-profit company in Denver; (even though I live in Boulder).  A lot of my friends or the people I see day to day, don’t even have that much.  I have no job, no car, no girlfriend, no children, and the only parent that I do have is dying and won’t speak to me.  That’s depressing – or can be, if I let it.

But I’ve always held this remarkable ability to see hope where others see only darkness.  This capability has seen me through foster homes, getting kicked out of the Marine Corps, being fired from numerous jobs, and a six year stint of homelessness, some jail time, and even some probation.

I’ve always held the conviction that a person is made up of their values and beliefs and their character.  If those aren’t in alignment, then you got a problem.  Your life won’t turn out quite the way you intended.  I have spent a great deal of my free-time wrestling with the issue of how to align those three foundations within myself.  As a result, I probably know much more about my own psychological process than most people know about theirs, and have steadily been teaching myself ways to transform that process so that it supports me in where I want to go and what I would like to do with my life.

The first issue I came across while still living on the second floor of an apartment with my dad and his third wife in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, was my penchant for reading romance books.  I read tons of fantasy and romance books as a sort of way to forget for the moment that I wasn’t experiencing too much of that in my own life.  But at some point, I got tired of settling.  I wanted to make more money.  I didn’t want to be worried about my dad or my own financial security.  I wanted the time, energy and resources to pursue my goals.  At some point, I decided to start reading non-fiction books…specifically, what you might term self-help books.  I did so.  I found myself frequenting Barnes and Nobles four or five times a week, picking out books with titles that caught my eye, and then sitting down, indian-style in the aisle and making my way through a chapter or two at a time.  I would come back again and again until I had read the entire book.  This was a bit more difficult to do for me, than most.  I had no car, and no bicycle and the shopping center was about 2 or 3 miles away.  So, I would get the urge to read something, go out and follow the railroad tracks, attempting tightrope walk them as far as I could before falling off to one side and doing it again.  While I would walk, I would think about my life and how much I wish I could change it.  I wondered what it would really take to do so; and at times, more often than not, I wondered if it were even possible to do so.

For months, I continued to educate myself by reading these self-improvement books.  The topics I was most interested in had to do with character-building, leadership, and making money.  Early on I was exposed to an author who also happened to be a christian minister.  John C. Maxwell.  I can’t tell you the profound effect that this man had on my idea of what it took to be a leader.  He has written more books on the concept of leadership than any other author I know of.

One thing became clear – success wasn’t something that you just stumbled into.  You didn’t just fall into it on accident.  You had to work at it; and by “it” I mean “you” – as in, you had to work on yourself.  I discovered that all my virtual mentors or success coaches in those books kept saying the same thing, just in different words.  The theme was, “The Inner game is just as important and even more so, than the outter game.”  What does that mean?  Well, the outter game has to do with developing skills, and gathering knowledge concerning the path of success that you are on.  Whereas the inner game had more to do with conquering your fears and anxieties, becoming a better person, getting clear about what you wanted and why it was so important to you.  Since then, I’ve distilled the inner game down to these three elements: Developing Character, Learning Emotional Intelligence, Gaining Faith.  With these three elements in place, the outter game became so much easier to accomplish.

I’ve often wondered if I was born “special”.  I was put in special education classes early on.  I had a hard time getting along with people when I was younger – especially children my own age.  My dad once told me that I was socially retarded.  Well, maybe he didn’t use the word “retarded” exactly, but I knew what he was getting at.  I didn’t know how to communicate my needs in a manner that wouldn’t alienate people.  In short, my Emotional Intelligence IQ was extremely low.  Over time, I began to notice a pattern that would play itself out like a broken record.  I would see someone that I wanted to get to know; I would approach them and then I would end up pushing them away.  It got to the point where I felt that it wasn’t even worth it to try to make friends; it just wouldn’t work.  Unfortunately, I am, more than most, a sensitive person and want people to like me.  Being an “ENFP” according to the Myers Briggs Type test, I crave human contact and relationship more than most other psychological types.  What irony! – that what I craved most was denied me by my own lack of understanding of how to read social cues and how to behave in social contexts.

Yet something my father told me once when I was about 16 and comparing myself to all the other kids out there, stuck somewhere in the back of my mind.  He said, “Dave, you are like a deformed lion cub.  When all the other cubs are out there running around and trying to catch their gazelles for dinner; you are too weak to do so.  But you are a smart cub and resourceful, and as a result, you will learn how to catch these gazelles a different way; and in time you will no longer be lame.  Right now, you see your weaknesses as a disadvantage; but in time, you will have spent so much time and energy learning to master your weaknesses, while at the same time learning alternate methods to survive and get what you want.  At some point in your adult life, you will have gained a tremendous advantage, because you will not only have mastered areas that you were once weak in, but you will have surpassed most normal people’s abilities, and in addition, you will have cultivated other skills that most people never even think about, let alone practice and master.  Therefore, the way I see it, this is actually a good thing!

He was right.  I’ll give you an example:  Most of my life, I have detested the idea of having a 9-5 job.  I had many, and most of my bosses either fired me, or I quit.  On the surface, someone might look at that and say to themselves, “This guy will never amount to anything.  He can’t even keep the simplest job.”  Yet they are missing something.  Over time I told myself that no-matter what, I would avoid getting a traditional job.  I would learn how to work for myself.  This was a huge undertaking for someone who had never done so.  It was extremely optimistic to think that it might even be in the realm of possibility; and yet, after living on the streets and in shelters for about six years, I have cemented a sort of resilience within myself, which allows me to wait out the worst while planning for the best.  I have begun surrounding myself with people with strong character and their own resilience. – People who have imagination.  People who not only dare to dream, but dare to take action on those dreams.  Together, we have formed partnerships to help one another attain those dreams.  Together, we have taught one another through hard-won experience, the nature of starting the simplest on-line, small business.  Homelessness eventually placed me in situations where I had to get along with all kinds of people, a lot of them – crazy!  It forced me to learn how to communicate and how to “Win Friends and Influence People” – the title of Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book on how to do exactly that.  In a way, I learned that it is much more important what you DON’T say, than what you do say.  I learned through this 6 year experience that keeping my mouth shut and listening to those around me, could teach me things that I didn’t know.  It could also teach me how to relate to people in a manner that would have them gravitate towards me, rather than away.  I guess that I could have learned some of this at a typical job; but a lot of it I would not have had the privilege of having ingrained into my core personality until it became part of the very way I operated in life.  For a while I was running my own small glorified yard-work business.  I hesitate to call it Landscaping; but in a way it was that minus doing any kind of stone-work.  I worked for my pastor.  He would continually call me up to do some things around his house: replace the mulch, thatch the yard, weed the garden…stuff like that, and he would pay me a modest $12 per hour for several hours to do so.  After a few months of this, I asked him if he’d be willing to refer me.  It wasn’t three days later when he left me a text message that his wife’s mother and her husband needed a bunch of pine needles bagged up and tossed away.  I called the number my pastor gave me and arranged to work for them later on in the week.  That single referal and my relationship with my pastor, opened a doorway to a group of clients that were obscenely wealthy – at least by my standards. Not only were they wealthy but they had a real need for pine-needle clean up.  After having people picking me up and dropping me off at my apartment, I get self-conscious and a fear began to dominate my thoughts that I was appearing un-professional.  That I should have a car and drive myself to their houses.  It was this fear which eventually destroyed the business I had built.  I began telling my clients that they no longer needed to pick me up; that I would catch the bus.  This made it much harder on me to keep my appointments.  My impatience and the way I viewed myself, and the pride I had created eventually caused my business to fail, and the relationship with my clients to become strained.

I did very well for a while.  I had to learn all kinds of things from scratch like how to schedule and re-schedule appointments, what to charge, how to keep myself from burning out, how to say no to work that didn’t meet my needs – or the money that would have been generated from that work.  I had to learn skills of operating certain machinery and learn to streamline processes to be able to work faster and get more done.  I had to teach myself so many things and ‘wear’ so many ‘hats’ – salesman, marketer, worker, collector, conversationalist, secretary…etc.  Had I been working a job, I would not have learned these things.  I would not have been exposed to problems which inevitably cropped up, which I was able to come up with creative problem-solving solutions from.  I would not have had the energy nor the time to pursue this small business with the attention-to-detail, fervor and focus which it required of me.

That was an example of how I was able to turn an apparent ‘weakness’ not being able to get and maintain a job, to a strength of being able to run my own business, set my own rates and to create a flexible schedule.  I didn’t have to worry about when I was going to get my vacation, or wonder if I was being paid enough.  I could accept the jobs that I looked over and liked, and reject the ones that didn’t feel right to me.  I made much more money than I would have, per hour, had I worked a job at entry level wage.  I built my character, learned more about people in general, and discovered that I could overcome obstacles.  Lastly, it taught me the process of starting a task and then what it took to finish it satisfactorily.

That essence of that last sentence is absolutely critical, I believe.  It’s one thing to accomplish small tasks that you’re told to do, and quite another to see, in your mind’s eye, the finished product, be able to lay out the steps, in order, that are necessary to reach that goal, and then to put that plan into action, weaving your way around obstacles as they appear, until you bring into tangible form the conception which you only had in your mind, a few days earlier.  The more you do this, the more you teach yourself the art of being able to visualize and then bring into concrete form, your life.  This teaches you that excuses don’t amount to much. – That blaming others for your lack of success won’t get you what you really desire. – Or even that blaming yourself won’t do much good.  What you need is the ability to think clearly, strategize, make a plan, use your imagination, have patience and a good bit of humor when things don’t go quite according to that plan, and to analyze and evaluate the results of your attempts at crystallizing an idea down to it’s concrete equivalent.

Their are what I like to refer to as, “Wizards of Change”, which have a remarkable ability to quickly do these things.  I like to think of myself as a “Wizard of Change-In-Training”, eventually getting to the spot in my development where I can help to influence the direction of entire communities or countries.  Wisdom, first and foremost is required; for you can be given all the power to do a thing, yet without the wisdom to know the results of a given set of actions – you can not only fail at what you were trying to do; but you could hurt people while trying to do it.  This is why I value learning from my own life experience and from smaller things, first.  I don’t want to have the power to change things without first having gained the wisdom to employ that power in an effective manner.

Thanks for reading…hope you enjoyed it.

And by the way, Emily…I haven’t written for a while, and the fact that you decided to ‘follow’ my blog and my other one “Poetry by 34” (which, incidentally, I will change to “Poetry by 35”) and I got that announcement in my email, caused me to want to start blogging again.  There you have it, Emily, your actions had a direct impact on my life- cool! 🙂

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Keystone Habits : One of the “Keys of Synergy” for Unlocking Vast Potential For Your Transformation

This is a rough draft.  I cleaned it up a bit; but I also wanted to give other writers a glimpse into how I arrive at my ideas and put them together in a flow.  I am nowhere NEAR perfect at this – if perfection even exists – but I strive to come ever nearer to that ideal of perfection through continuous self-examination of both myself and my work.

I desire not only to share my thoughts, stories, poems, experiences and inspiration on a blog; but also I crave being a well-known and respected author, such as Piers Anthony (Fantasy, Science Fiction) Isaac Asimov (Many, many fields), Zig Zigglar (Sales), Lee Child (Best known for his REACHER series about a a former MP with military detective training, who continually calls upon a set of  devastating martial arts moves and lightning-quick reflexes….think the latest version of Sherlock Holmes, only much taller, stronger and built like a tank!), Herman Hesse (A very controversial German writer who’s main audience seems to be young adults and teenagers ready for a different viewpoint – my two favorites being, “Siddhartha” and “Demian”) and the latest author and public speaker for which I have great respect: Scott Berkun (“Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management” – a book,  warm, witty and relatively free of annoying technical jargon.  But my favorite work of his has to be (“MINDFIRE: Big Ideas for Curious Minds” – a book which he self-published in order to ensure getting his message across with little to no censorship.)

Eventually I hope to be able to tell a story, write a poem, or detail instructions, with the pace, imagination, and apparent ease with which these master weavers of the word, have managed to do on such a consistent basis.

I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that YOU (Yes…I’m talking to YOU, reading this right now!) may become anything YOU want, as long as YOU are willing to look at yourself with fresh eyes every day; and one of an Artist’s greatest strengths is to be able to listen to constructive criticism and really hear what the other person is trying to communicate Based on the main 12 astrological personality types – I feel that gaining feedback from each type, gives a well-balanced viewpoint of the various psychological types in humanity, from which to work with in forming your own communication.

In the future, I hope to incorporate an inner circle of those friends who I feel most strongly embody the positive characteristics of each of the 12 psychological types.  For now, I will have to make do with imagining a critic from a second and third perspective, just as Leonardo Da Vinci did in his time, when attempting to learn how to better his communication skills and better his relationships.

[Give Quick Overview HERE]

1) Introduction
  A glimpse behind the writer
  Some of his favorite reads and authors
2) Table of Contents

  Story
3) First Keystone Decision

  Move from Denver to Boulder
    Story
    Problems
    Benefits
    Humor
    Summing up
 4) Second Keystone Decision : Common to all human beings

  Sleep
    Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs
    Picture of Pyramid from Wikipedia
  Order of My Day
  Tie in with Keystone Habits

5) Sum Up
6) What’s in store in the near future:

  Physical and Written Reminders you can call upon in order to enhance the speed, and cement the new habits you are attempting to establish in your life
7) Thank You
8) Apology for Not Being Able to Answer Comments or Questions on this Blog (Life is very Busy at the Moment
9) Email address where I CAN be accessed
10) Credentials
11) Tags List
—————–

When I was living out of “Step 13”, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado – I enjoyed strolling down to the local McDonald’s every morning, located on the 16th Street Mall, because it was a place where I could go inside away from the elements, not be bothered too much, and gather my thoughts.  While there, I would stand in line to get several breakfast sandwiches, two cherry pies (because let’s face it – they were only 49 cents each…might as well get two, right?) –  And I would top it all off with a coffee that I could refill as many times as my heart desired.  This was a negative life-impacting habit that I needed to get control of – and quick!

I kept track of my receipts, and was horrified to find out that I was spending more than $100 on fast food per month!  Not only was it costing me financially; but it was costing me my health, as well.  But I couldn’t stop I had will power; but it was more like a candle flame which flickers and dances depending on the strength of the wind; than a steady resolve of iron.  It wasn’t constant.  I could be swayed by most of my smaller desires.  You might have applied the term, “addict” to me, and you wouldn’t have been far from the truth.  The truth was, as much as it might hurt to admit it, was that I was a slave to my desires and habits.  I didn’t truly control my life.  My mind was not my own.  My decisions were not really decisions, but rather impulses which I justified and rationalized at the moment, in order to get what I wanted in the short term; even if I knew, on some level, that in the long term, it would be detrimental.
It’s interesting how many people believe that they are making choices, when in reality they are slaves to their petty desires.  I believe this results from a scattering of consciousness.

And so, even had I been capable of completely avoiding that particular McDonalds; there were half a dozen other fast food places that I would eventually be drawn to, right down the block.  Realizing that I needed to have a ‘dry’ period where I could detox for a couple of weeks from the harmful effects of that particular food and drink, and establish better habits, I tried to think up a creative way to solve the problem.  After writing about it and thinking it over for a few weeks, I realized that I what I really wanted to do was to move back to Boulder.  A strange decision you might be saying to yourself – “If he only wanted to avoid eating at McDonald’s, why’s he gotta move all that way to a completely different city?!”.  Yeah, you might be right, but just hear me out, and then decide whether I’m crazy, ok?

There were a couple of reasons for that decision.  The biggest reason is that it would solve a bunch of issues at once:  The first observation I made, was that I needed my support groups back…Carriage House, Friends, Nightly Dinners, Deacon’s Closet – a clothing bank, and MHP – regularly scheduled sessions for emotional and mental well-being.  I liked the clean air coming off of the mountains to the west; and the bus system was way easier for me to navigate, than say, Denver’s. – And of course – the McDonalds would be too far for me to travel on a daily basis from where I would be staying the previous night, in Boulder.  (I am generally lazy at times, and so I knew that by making it a hassle to have to bike all the way across town to the McDonalds; or if I was walking – to spend forty minutes walking just to get a coffee and a couple of sandwiches, hefting a back pack filled to the brim with books and clothes and other stuff — would persuade me to think of another, more convenient option.)

So, making the move from Denver to Boulder Colorado (A particular Keystone Action) took care of a whole host of things that I wanted to change; and it was only ONE DESCISION that I had to make to get all those benefits!

Now, a humorous side-effect to making that decision, was that I DID manage to stay away from McDonalds; only to be seduced by the much closer and friendlier Star Bucks on Pearl Street – where I got hooked on large hot chocolates every morning!  My friends laugh their asses off when they hear this.  It’s kinda funny, really.  I moved to try and save money; but wound up paying even MORE than I expected, because each hot chocolate was maybe $3.00 or $4.00, and as you know, there is no “Dollar Menu”, at Starbucks, and you don’t get free-refills, do you?

Anyway, the above is only one example of one of my personal Keystone Thought/Action/Habit(s)

But let me see if I can come up with a Keystone Habit which most probably affects all of you; not just me.  It would have to be something for which I’m pretty certain – the whole human race has in common.  In order to rise to the challenge, I’ll have to fall back on something that I was taught in health class back in high school:

Ever heard of Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Now, don’t groan…I can hear you guys.  This is really cool stuff.  Mazlow came up with a pyramid which depicted the various levels which a person must go through, in order to become a fully functioning and fulfilled human being.  One of the lowest levels, at the base of the pyramid or triangle, is our BASIC NEEDS.  In order they are: AIR, WATER, FOOD, CLOTHING (if in a cold climate), AND HOMEOSTASIS.

Well, I’m gonna quick skip over to Google and Youtube and see if Mazlow said anything about SLEEP; because that’s definitely a very important one……………….

……….And……. I’m back.  I typed, “Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, in the Google Search Bar (Google’s so NEAT – don’t you think?) and up popped thousands of links in blue.  There was one that took me to a Wikipedia article; and once I got there, on the right was the same picture, below, (which you should be taking a look at right about now).

Maslows Hierarchy Needs.svg

Well, I was right; but I unfortunately left out SEX (one of our favorites)  and ELIMINATION; as in what you do when you go to the bathroom.

To get back to the point, SLEEP is very important for us to function, and is one of the prime requisites for human beings to have a fulfilled life.  Without it, or enough OF it, you can run into all kinds of problems.  Chief among them is that you get very tired and sluggish and can’t move your body the right way, and your brain just refuses to work as it usually should.  Other things begin occurring right around the third or fourth day without sleep…visual and auditory hallucinations, feelings of your body getting a rush of heat, a feeling of being “wired” or your nerves moving toward the breaking point where they are all over the place.  You lose all sense of time.  You begin to forget the easy things, like where you put your glasses (on top of your head).  Paranoia. – And at the very end, insanity and eventual death.  Of course that’s the extreme; but you get my point – You need your sleep.  You need the right amount of it, uninterrupted; and you need to have a feeling of safety when you lie down and close your eyes.

The choice of when to go to bed, for most adults, is entirely up to them.  I know that when I was a kid; I chose to go to hit the mattress as late I could get away with!  My dad had to bribe me with Baskin’ Robbins, once, just to get me to climb the stairs and turn in, and STAY there!  But like I said, most people, get to choose their own sleep patterns.

For myself, I found that it is best if I go to sleep around 12:00 or 1:00 in the morning.  There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that it sets up the following day, and opens up opportunities for me to better myself and get all that I need to get done before the end of the evening.

I’ll run you through how I made the decision (and I use that term loosely, because I’m still working at it – maybe I’ll have to bribe MYSELF with ice cream, huh?  And you’ll get to see the SYNERGY that this particular Keystone Habit sets up for all other thoughts, actions and habits that I would like to build.

First, I’ll outline the early part of my day from the time I wake up, till the time when I walk out the door in the afternoon:

I get up around 6-8 in the morning (this is my ideal intent; though it doesn’t always happen that way)
I wash the dishes, first, so that while doing my other stuff, they have time to dry.
I make a bowl of fruit
I pull out plastic bags of fruit and/or vegetables which I prepared all at once the night I got back from grocery shopping:  Blueberries, Strawberries, Kiwi, Pineapple, Peaches, Mango, Blackberries, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, red/yellow/green/orange peppers, spinach (torn up with fingers), mushrooms, and purple cabbage (not at all, an exhaustive list.  I prepare a bowl of fruit throwing in as many colors of the rainbow as possible.  Followed by mixing in crushed walnuts; and then drizzle it with honey after eating a spoonful of Coconut Oil for my joints and for Alzheimer’s.

Next, I fill up a large, plastic cup with tap water, and take both the cup and the bowl of fruit into the bathroom with me…(But, I need to get in the habit of drinking filtered water.)

I take my bath, and set the timer on my stove, (sometimes twice), for about 40 minutes.

While in there, I’m reading my Massage Anatomy and Physiology Text Book that I got from a second-hand store for two or three dollars.
I’m drinking water from a large plastic cup.  Glass shatters.  And sometimes I’m clumsy with my left elbow – knocking things over.
I’m eating that bowl of fruit, which I just made in the kitchen
When the  timer rings, I set everything aside, pull the curtain in, and drain the bath water.
I’ll take a shower to get rinsed off.

Once dried off, I pull on sweat pants, preparing for relaxing the body and nervous system with yoga, in order to create the ideal conditions for a calm body for meditation.
I like to light incense and set the mood by walking slowly around my apartment in a clockwise direction, setting the intent that I am cleansing the air and the space in which I live and protecting myself against any malevolent forces or spirits which might decide to attack me psychologically, energetically, or spiritually, while opening myself up to the universe or god in my particular style of meditation.
I start off with THE 5-Tibetans, moving slowly and purposefully into my own, unique style of Yoga which I created just for me over time.
Followed by 60 rotations of Kundalini Spine Twists.  They might be called something else, but that’s what I call them.
Followed by kneeling meditation for 15 minutes.
Followed by specific mind concentration exercises.
Followed by visualization of how I want my life to turn out in the future; and who I would like to become.
Then I get up, and put away the dishes which are now dry, wipe down the stove, the counters, and the sink, and faucet.  Then dry all of it with a soft towel.

As you can see, without my having to go any farther – you can sense the importance of getting to sleep at the right time; for if I were to get up at, say, 12 or 3 in the afternoon, then most of my day would be gone by the time I got done with those things which bring me balance for the rest of my day.

Thus, the time which I go to sleep is extremely important to the how many things I am able to accomplish the next day; and even the order in which I might accomplish them.
Therefore, sleep, for me…is defined as a Keystone Habit. – One which unlocks the doors, and prepares the road I will travel while uncovering other necessary thoughts, actions and habits.

Well, that’s it for this installment of “SYNERGY”.

Next time we’ll be taking a look at how we can set up both physical and written reminders, which will enhance the speed and effectiveness of our attempts at establishing better habits for ourselves, and eliminating ones that no longer serve our needs.  As always, I will be detailing my current methods which I’m playing with, which in time, should lend to creating a synergistic and harmonious personal power with which I will construct my own life.

Thanks for reading,
Yours Truly in Loving Spirit,

I should smile more, here, huh? *smile*

Image

If you would like to get in touch with me with comments or questions, then don’t hesitate to email me at this address: knavelylovesynergy@gmail.com.  I reserve this email address just for replies to my blogs.  I will attempt to be timely in my own response, because I care about reaching out and creating a world which our grandchildren’s grandchildren would cherish and take care of.  If I judge the email to be less than that of high character, I reserve the right to refuse to respond.  So please, be kind and considerate to the writer, and he will, in turn, be kind and considerate to you!

This is the soul/sole creation and possession of:
David Lee Madison, Jr.
~Dave/Nate/Knave
~KnavetheMage – Twitter
~ZenNinja
~Dreamweaver
~Knavely Love
~Nay Nay
~Davey
~Junior
~Eric

Think only of that which you would have appear before your very eyes
I AM Becoming/Crystallizing my Form and Essence of: Superman, Wizard, Warrior, Jedi, Shaman, Fool, Master Creator, Magus…star-seeded human being.  I AM clothed in ALL Roles; subject to none…
~anewoldsoul – mylot.com
Wordpress – “Synergy”, suprememasterjedi, “Poetry by 34”, “Other People’s Poetry”, “The Bathtub Philosopher”
Copied from my WORD documents in Boulder, CO
Friday, March 12, 2014 – 05:30

“A Formerly Homeless Marine’s Story” – In case You Were Interested…

Below is an attempt to lend clarity to the boy I was, and the man I am becoming, in order to give a window into why I so strongly hold Integrity of one’s Character above all else in life.

I have striven to be as brief and clear as I can; but as a fairly new writer (how much could I have really done in 24 years, anyway?) — There are bound to be hiccups in the flow of the writing; and I will have left out some parts.  However, I have sensed a growing curiosity of what lay aback the black and white of the words I have recently typed.  We all relate to stories.  We all seek to bond in some way with the one another.  That’s why we like movies and books with good character development and great acting.  We desire that human connection.  So, even if the facts are not entirely precise in their presentation…know that I have given great thought and care to the impression that they will leave you with.  The individual facts of the story are not so important, as the overall IMPRESSION or ESSENCE with which they convey those facts.  When you take apart the human body and look at each piece separately, you cannot come away with the awe-inspiring beauty and elegance that you get from just a simple or cursory glance at the finished product.  The elegance, love and wisdom behind the synergy of an all powerful and inter-connecting intelligence, spells itself over you almost like an aroma of the finest quality.  The stories are but stories.  I think that we – including me – take them way too seriously.  The stories are merely to illustrate a certain unique perception of our connection to every single thing in existence, and the essence or glue which binds those perceptions, (or a filtering of consciousness due to a localized reality).

Therefore, read this with the overall picture or message or intent which was in my mind, and not in order to pick out faults of the writer, whether the mechanics of the writing or the views of the writer.  I have many faults.  Of this, I am supremely aware.  If you read it with an open mind and compassionate heart, you may see the underlying nature of yourself peeking through; and if so, I will have done my job for the time being.

Thank you for your presence and your love, and enjoy!

I am a 34 year-old United States Marine with no siblings who is no longer ‘active’, and I go by the name of Nate, for now, but was christened, David Lee Madison, Jr., after my father, who was a  “Sr”.  I’ve lived in foster homes.  I’ve been in special education classes when I was in elementary school.  Our family, my father and my step mother, our cats and rabbits, and myself, all moved around quite a bit, while living in Virginia.  Later I flew out by myself to go live with my fundamentally religious aunt and uncle.  I stayed there for about a year, on the west coast, overlooking some cherry trees, out into sunset after sunset, slicing it’s way so beautifully toward our home at the end of every day. Our mobile home was situated between Mount Hood, Oregon, and Washington State.  We lived with one very feisty and demonic cat, named Eidelvies, (pronounced, “AY’ DUL VICE”(This may be a butchering of that cat’s name, but I don’t care…that cat can go to hell for all I care! – joking, of course) He had one blue eye and one brown eye.  It was a bit crowded in there, as we also had two shelties.

There was no television, no radio, no toys, and certainly nothing that you would see in a typical suburban home, or an apartment.   Instead, we lived in that mobile home up on cinder blocks, with a piano, a wood stove, some books, a small, square dining room table and three wooden chairs, a bunk bed in my room, and maybe a regular bed in theirs. – And of course, there were quite a few bibles.  Outside, was a sizeable stack of firewood which rested against a brick-red painted porch with lattice the same color.  The dogs roamed freely most of the time, and you could wander down the hill, through the various orchards, toward the edge of the cliff, overlooking the Gorge, where early on Saturdays and Sundays, you could just make out the glint coming off the boards of the windsurfers, way below to your right.

I was there maybe a year or so, and then came back to live with my dad and step mom, who had, by then, moved to Rutland, Vermont.  I went to 8th grade there. – And then I moved into the newly constructed Rutland High School in June of 1994 as a freshman.

I spent about nine months up in Bangor, Maine, in a dorm on the campus of Penobscott Job Corps, studying carpentry at the “Home Builder’s Institute”; and then signing up for the Marines.  I took my ASVAB for the armed services and was very surprised to score a 98 out of a possible 99, and was assured that I could get any job that I wanted, because, as the guy explained to me, “That score shows that you’re smart enough to work on those nuclear submarines in the Navy if you really wanted!”  I didn’t much think so, not having the confidence back then which I’ve been working on lately; but the guy was adamant.  I wound up with an MOS designation of a “3521 Diesel Mechanic”.  I got out two years later, not wanting to continue, and feeling like a complete failure among other things; but I survived the experience and even fondly remember some parts as being rather pleasant.

Several things happened all at once while I was making a living as a server at TGI Fridays in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (when I got out of the Marines, my dad had once again decided to move).  The first thing major complication, was my step mom began suffering from several strokes.  The neurologists said that she had had four similar strokes in the same frontal region of the brain – where judgment calls are made.  She was placed in a care home after being released from the hospital.  Her sister came in and took control of the power of attorney which had up until then, allowed us to survive in a $700 a month, two bedroom apartment in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  When, my dad discovered that he shared a genetic condition which predisposed him to his mother’s auto-immune and nervous system disease – Mulitple Sclerosis, and that he was exhibiting the symptoms from some environmental or emotional trigger – he took it in stride.  He was about 48 years old, attending nursing school and getting mostly straight A’s, while holding down a strenuous physical labor-type job at Blommer Chocolate Factory.  All that went away while he tried to convince the doctors that he wasn’t just dreaming the condition up; but was really starting to deteriorate from the disease.  Their lack of compassion and a bunch of red-tape, allowed the disease to get some momentum going; and by the time they decided to do anything about it, his physical and mental condition had considerably worsened in just a year’s time.  I remember when he could out run me and out think me.  It wasn’t long before that was no longer the case and I began to see him more and more frequently leaning on a cane and complaining of pain in his him.  He began to slur his words and forget things I had told him not just a few days ago.  I had to watch, powerless to stop, a proud, intelligent, highly creative and competitive man with a the spirit of a lion, get broken by a deterioration of his nervous system.  This killed me.  I’ve always been rather empathic, and tend to feel other people’s pain; but in time, I had to shut that part of myself off, so that I could continue to function.  (I’ve since figured out how to ‘turn’ it back on, with the help of meditation and contemplation; and because I wanted to regain the connection I had as a kid to the world as a whole.)

As time passed and stress mounted, I began to increasingly have trouble with my attitude toward work as a server.  I dreaded coming in; and I feel that my subconscious part of myself finally decided to make the decision that the conscious part of me was afraid to:  A few weeks later, continuously worrying about my dad and what he would do since he could no longer work  (I was worried that he would wind up homeless…and I need not have worried because his girlfriend took him into her home and took care of him the best she knew how), I made the mistake of coming in on the wrong day, and was fired.  I had been trying to get people to give me extra shifts that they didn’t want so that I could cover the bills.  What then ensued for nearly six years, was on again, off again, life of living in shelters, warming centers, couches, and on the streets and in tunnels, and rooftops.  My main occupation became learning very quickly how to survive in almost any condition.  You can’t ever prepare for this.  Not even my Marine Corps training could; but it helped with my mindset.  I continued to improve upon my meditation so that I could bring balance to my mind.   The last thing I wanted was to have some organization from which I was receiving aid, to declare me incompetent to live my own life.  This is a very real possibility and nearly happened a few times.  What one does not realize, is that when you go into a building that is there to serve the homeless, you are, in effect, inviting them to become you caregiver or guardian.  If you “misbehave”, then they have the power and authority to put you into what is termed a, “72-Hour Hold”, whereby your mental condition is assessed in a hospital-type environment, and if you are seen as unable to function in normal society, certain of your rights as a “citizen” are revoked.  Freedom is one of those rights.  The freedom to make your own choices based on your own sound judgment.  Some stranger who is paid $10-$30 per hour is given charge of evaluating your state of mind.  I find this laughable, because most often, this person has no clue of the context of the situation.  Therefore, how can they possibly make evaluations and value judgments as to your normal state of mind and whether that has been compromised?  In body language, they call this a “baseline”.  In order to know whether someone is lying or sending “incongruent” signals from those that they should be in that particular situation, you must know how they act and react in everyday, non-stressful situations.  You must compare the two in order to draw meaningful conclusions.  Unfortunately, for some individuals, this is not the case; and they get some kind of label; and often are pushed or coaxed into taking medication to fix the “problem”.

Since 2008, right around Thanksgiving, I have lived outside for several winters in Boulder, CO.  I learned that my mom had lung cancer a few years back, so I decided to leave my job, buy a $500 car from my savings, and make a trip out to Illinois to attempt to take care of her.  On the way there I incurred a fine which I could not pay while driving the interstate highway, almost out of Colorado.  The officer wrote it in such a way that I could not read what it said; and therefore could not respond to the charges.  The fine stuck and fees were attached.  This eventually led through a series of cause and effect chain relationships to the result of the loss of my vehicle.  It is now 2014, and I am still paying court fines for fees from a failure to change an Illinois license plate to that of a Colorado one.  This occurred, because after paying the fine and fees, in good faith, from a “failure to yield to an emergency standing vehicle” on the highway – I did not have enough money to take care of getting my license plate changed!  This, from about 2010, when I first discovered my mom had cancer.  Afterward, when I no longer had a car to sleep in, I slept where ever I could manage – where the cops would not give me a ticket.  I still managed to get a ticket when I was turned away from the Boulder Shelter after losing a “lottery”, and upon learning that a warming center would not be open that night.  I made a decision against my better judgment, to accompany a few other homeless guys to a property which they swore they had permission to sleep on.  It was out in the woods near a ditch and a few hundred yards away from main traffic, so I assumed that we were ok there.  During the night, some guys continued to draw attention to them selves by carrying on a loud conversation, and in the morning two female cops were issuing tickets.  It was cold enough that the “illegal” sleeping bag that I had, was stiff from frost.  I was not in trouble for sleeping outside.  I was in trouble for utilizing what Boulder law has termed, “cover”.  Clothing is not considered cover, but anything other than clothing, such as blankets, sleeping bags; and I’ve even been told, tree branches, is considered cover.  It was cold enough to freeze to death that night; but because I used a certain amount of common sense to survive – I was told to appear in court.  I did.  – And a Lawyer, David Harrison, took up my “camping” case, pro-bono.  He then, got me in touch with ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union, because the case against me was deemed, in their eyes, unconstitutional.  Both David Harrison and the ACLU saw my case as one that could set a precedent in law.  If they could find me not-guilty by virtue of being forced into a situation which was unconscionable, and I therefore had to make as they termed it a “lesser evil” decision which any normal human being would have made given the unique set of circumstances; then they could set into motion protections against homelessness abuse, which made it legal to prosecute those who were simply doing all they knew how in order to survive in a society which punished those who had no or little means of making a dollar.  In effect, homelessness had become a crime; and the silly, yet awful response of law enforcement was to further punish these people by taxing them with court fees which they call “fines”.
If your son or daughter, wife or husband, boy friend or girlfriend, or mother or father were out on the streets – would you convict them for doing what they could to survive, when society had made it nearly impossible for them get shelter?  In essence, this is what the city of Boulder has done countless times.  They are making homlessness and the necessary actions which have been taken in order to avoid it — a crime.

If this isn’t enough, I’ve been tased six times in a row, by the police in a misunderstanding, maced or pepper sprayed, and had a net placed over my face for simply trying to help my friend who had been beaten up and was lying on his back in the middle of a sidewalk.  The manager of the Pub where we were playing pool told him that he didn’t have enough money on his card to pay for our drinks.  We all tried to work out something with the guys.  I offered to wash their dishes or do something else.  My friend offered to leave his license, so that he would be held accountable for paying the debt.  They declined and kept threatening to call the police if we didn’t pay up.  I could sense that my friend felt he had few options and was going to try to run out the back door.  I tried to signal him to think it over and be cool – that we could work something out.  He gave them a card which he claimed was his sister’s which he let me know didn’t have the necessary money on it, in order for them to leave the room.  This would present a distraction so that he could run.  He did.  They quickly followed, yelling and jeering, as if it were some game.  I walked around the corner and was accosted by a man who grabbed me from behind.  I looked into his eyes and told him to let go.  I had the Marine Corps training to severely injure him by attacking with a knife hand or a palm strike to the throat, thereby crushing his larynx, and sending him to the hospital or killing him.  I chose to not do this, knowing both the consequences, and only desiring to help straighten things out with my friend.  After speaking calmly to him, he let my arms go and I turned to find one of the bar employees standing over my friend in between two cars with his arm raised.  My friend’s head was either on the curb, or very near it.  I began to move toward them, when I heard rushing footsteps from behind me.  I spun around and came face to face with a police officer running with his body leaning forward, around the corner.  I tried to explain things, but he yelled, “Move.  Move or I’ll tase you.”  I got angry.  My adrenaline was already pumping and all I had wanted to do was de-escalate the violence; but then my Marine Corps Training came into play and I began reacting as a soldier might against an enemy combatant who means you physical harm.  I stepped toward him and backed him up about 7 steps.  In the meantime he had pulled his taser or stun gun out and was pointing it at my chest, his voice was quavering, almost as if he was scared and going through puberty.  “Move or I will tase you.  I mean it.”  Again, I had a choice of whether or not to resort to violence.  Had I stayed in the Marine Corps more than the two years and attained Corporal; perhaps I would have.  Marines are not known for their restraint in bar fights and their egos are sizeable for what they have had to endure.  There is a tremendous amount of pride instilled during the training, and even a culture of contempt for the civilian or other armed forces is encouraged.  Despite all this, I simply stared him down wary of any threatening movement – I was not going to be the first one to engage – and when I saw that he was reluctant to attack me, I quickly ran around to the other side of my friend who was now lying on his back in the middle of the sidewalk.  Soon other police officers arrived, and while I was kneeling over my friend, asking him if he was ok, I heard a female voice tell me to put my hands behind my back.  I yelled back, “I’m not trying to hurt anyone; I’m just trying to help my friend.”  I yelled that several times, in order to set the right intention and communicate my non-violence.  The officer I had originally faced, came up behind me and put his stun gun or taser to my back.  I stood up and clasped my hands as if in prayer.  They kept yelling for me to put my hands behind my back and the officer tried to pull my hands apart so that he could cuff them.  He could not.  I kept saying the same thing over and over again.  “I’m not trying to hurt anyone; I’m just trying to help my friend.  But no matter how many times I said this, they continued the assault.  The officer behind me placed the stun gun against my back again, in an effort to weaken me by sending electricity through my muscles, causing them to clench powerfully until, they would completely tire.  But I was determined to stand my ground, for I felt that a great injustice was occurring; and I believe that injustice, no matter the source needs to be dealt with face to face – non violently if possible.  When the officer’s tactics did not work, he reached around and sprayed me in the face.  First in one eye, and then in the other.  Since he had been in contact with me, his continuing to send electricity through me in order to make me more compliant resulted in his being the recipient of some of that electricity.  I even heard another officer laughing, when the officer cried out in pain and surprise.  I did not; because I have undergone some pain-tolerance.  Finally, someone hit me in the legs with something very much like a flying football tackle, and while I was on the ground an officer; I’m not sure which one; but I would hazard a guess as to it being the original one I had contact with – kept placing the instrument against my back and turning on the electricity.  I was struggling on the ground, at which point he placed it on my back again; but this time left it there for what seemed like an agonizingly long time.  It was then that I cried out; and it was then that most of the strength left my body.  At some point while on the ground, the female officer told me to turn over on my stomach; I told her that I was trying, and that is when she placed a booted foot on my body and thrust forward, flipping me over.  I couldn’t see much because my eyes were tearing up from the mace or pepper spray and I had contacts in…not a good combination.  I was spitting up on the ground, trying to get the burning stuff out of my mouth, and one of the officer’s – I believe the female one, put a net over my face.
If you have never received this kind of treatment by “peace officers”, then you don’t have much of an idea how you might react.  I never struck out at any of these officers; even though they were doing very inhumane things to me.

I have wound up physically assaulted by Boulder Police on more than one occasion. One of those times, while I was in jail, I decided against a plea bargain against the advice of some Legal Defenders, in order to secure a trial-by-jury.  But that is a story for another time.

What I want to convey, here, is that when you have no money or very little; and no home of your own, you are viewed, and treated as if you are a second-class or third-class citizen.  And the city can get away with doing exactly that, because you have no leverage with which to defend yourself. Your reputation is attacked.  By virtue of having no money and no home, you are put in a category of someone who lazy, or violent, or has a criminal mind.  The funny thing, is that this “system”, whether consciously or not, is designed to eventually turn you into a criminal, even if before you were exposed to it’s particular mode of coercion, you were a perfect, model citizen.  It is much, much harder for those individuals who have taken it upon themselves, early on in their school days to question that which has been “taught” to them by the powers that be.  As a kid, I had many questions.  I had a gentle nature, which turned only to violence when it could see no other way of securing it’s god-given rights to peace and liberty.  I was labeled, early on, as a trouble-maker.  I was highly intelligent, creative, and saw a world of wonder; yet I couldn’t understand why the adults around me; and even most of the kids acted the way that they did.  There was a soul inside which screamed that something was very wrong.  I didn’t know HOW wrong at the time; and it was only through trying to become an individual and think for myself, when I came against the well-oiled machine of the ‘system’.  This made me dangerous.  I was dangerous, because if I could think and act differently, it was possible that I could persuade others to do the same; and the power of the ‘system’ depends on fear, and ignorance of your rights.

I took two tests in high school to measure my brain.  In both I was placed almost squarely in the middle.  Left vs. Right Brain; and Concrete/Sequential and Abstract/Random.  This means that I tend to think wholistically.  It also means that my mental state is mostly balanced, except for those times when there is a spike in my emotions – which are simply electro-chemical impulses PRODUCED by a master gland in my brain.  Since I’ve discovered meditation, I have slowly, and over a great deal of time, learned to more and more re-wire the connections in my brain or the neural pathways of how I used to deal with stress.  This translates to a fact that even when I am placed or place myself in an extremely chaotic environment, where normally, (any normal person) might have a breakdown, or resort to the limbic brain – the Freeze, Fight or Flight mode that we ALL have been genetically programmed, over millions of years to respond with — I still, am able to respond in an almost tranquil manner, with a calm and centered mind and emotional set, more and more often, lately.  This means that I am able to function in very stressful situations.  – Situations, that even some managers of companies, police officers, and many other supposedly well-balanced individuals would have a nervous breakdown from.  One of the keys is that I have already had some complete nervous breakdowns.  This is something which the military is highly aware of.  They use it extensively in their basic training to create soldiers which are able to re-act in war-time/war-like environments, in such a way and to such a degree of accuracy, that they are able to continuously make razor-edged and split-second decisions with a very low percentage of error.  For example, less people get killed, and the unit or team accomplishes their mission, because of the fluid communication and the wise decisions which have to be made time and time again by those tested to their breaking/failure point.  It is this testing to the breaking/failure point, and then the resetting of mind, emotion and intent, which sets those who succeed massively and those who just scrape by in life.  Schools do not teach this.  They teach the opposite.  They teach you to be afraid of failure.  They build a contempt of failure and strivance toward perfection through their inadequate grading system.  Teamwork on tests and quizzes, for the most part, is deemed to be cheating.  Yet, in real life, we are not so much graded on whether we, as individuals know the material; but on how we can work together and apply what, we as a community have learned.  I have attempted to incorporate this new understanding into the way I approach the challenges in my life.

And, when I was in the military, I was anything, BUT calm, cool and collected.  I was rash, angry, frustrated, afraid, lonely, and insecure; however, AFTER I left the Marines, my real education began, and I began to consciously form my own CHARACTER based on the values I cherished when I was a child, and some that I have been exposed to since then, and have embraced because of their alignment with what I feel to be true in my soul.

I have mounting hospital bills, from the lifestyle that I was trying to get out of, nearly dying from Staph Infection, in the process of getting healing from a group of Contact Improve dancers in the local area.
But I stuck it all out, and finally managed to get the attention of a non-profit organization which works very hard to house homeless people.  I was one of the lucky ones, and every day, I am so grateful for the voucher which allows me to live in this apartment.  Without it, I would be back on the streets, without showers, proper food, and sometimes forced to sleep outside in the rain or the snow.  There are shelters and warming centers, but they aren’t always open due to many factors which, at the moment, I don’t have the time or space necessary to go into in depth.

This concludes the brief (and it is brief, though it may appear long) personal history, which if you took the time to read, should help give you the context needed to understand where I’m coming from in all the articles, poetry and my choice of what to reveal of myself in the future.Image

If you would like to get in touch with me with comments or questions, then don’t hesitate to email me at this address: knavelylovesynergy@gmail.com.  I reserve this email address just for replies to my blogs.  I will attempt to be timely in my own response, because I care about reaching out and creating a world which our grandchildren’s grandchildren would cherish and take care of.  If I judge the email to be less than that of high character, I reserve the right to refuse to respond.  So please, be kind and considerate to the writer, and he will, in turn, be kind and considerate to you!

This is the soul/sole creation and possession of:
David Lee Madison, Jr.
~Dave/Nate/Knave
~KnavetheMage – Twitter
~ZenNinja
~Dreamweaver
~Knavely Love
~Nay Nay
~Davey
~Junior
~Eric

Think only of that which you would have appear before your very eyes
 I AM Becoming/Crystallizing my Form and Essence of: Superman, Wizard, Warrior, Jedi, Shaman, Fool, Master Creator, Magus…star-seeded human being.  I AM clothed in ALL Roles; subject to none…
~anewoldsoul – mylot.com
WordPress – “Synergy”, suprememasterjedi, “Poetry by 34”, “Other People’s Poetry”, “The Bathtub Philosopher”
Copied from my WORD documents in Boulder, CO
Friday, March 8, 2014 – 03:33

 

The Writer’s 7 Powerful Ways to Beat Procrastination and Writer’s Block

You see, I too, deal with the dragons of procrastination and writer’s block. “The Writer’s 7 Powerful Ways to Beat Procrastination and Writer’s Block” is an article I began working on, when I couldn’t think of what to write.  It was inspired by that very deep-seated fear which freezes us in our tracks whenever we try to move forward and accomplish something. – ‘What if I’m not good enough?  What if I fail?  What if I look foolish and everyone laughs at me?’  I assure you, after you read this article and implement some changes in your life according to what you read, you will see a transformation in how you view and conquer the often-feared writer’s block, and even procrastination in general…

Below in italics, is a sample of what I typed out in order to get myself writing again:

I don’t know what to write.  Whenever I do, I feel that it is not enough.  Not clear enough.  Not concise enough.  Not illustrative enough.  I just want to write something that is long enough to get people engrossed, but short enough that they won’t feel that they are staying away from something they need to do.  I want to get good at being able to discern the length of things and what to say in a compact way.

The hardest thing to do is to keep going when you aren’t seeing any results.  You want to give up.  I pace around the room and grumble a bit.  I imagine myself as being somehow inferior to all those other great authors out there.  I beat myself up mercilessly.

[Notice how my mind began following another train of thought which led to a partial solution of my problem.  Writing this way (stream of consciousness) often does this for us – making clear what was foggy in our minds just moments ago.]

The trick, though, seems to lie in tiny actions, altered over time.  And in order to do this, we need to promise ourselves that we will stick with it through the good times and the bad.  [From here, I smoothly seemed to transition into my article.]

This reminds me of the time when I was first hired at Hollywood Video.  The boss liked me because he would give me a simple assignment and I would finish it and then come over to him and ask him what was next.  Those assignments got longer and harder, there, the longer I stayed around.  At one point, he put me on the computers, dealing with the customers who wanted to rent or buy some movies.

Man, was I slow!  My line would inevitably be the longest one; and it wasn’t uncommon for someone to complain, “This is taking too long.  Can’t you go any faster?”  As anyone who has ever attempted to learn something new can attest, though, there is this concept called, ‘the learning curve’.  The learning curve is a very basic thing that we seem to forget, especially when dinner might be cooking at home, or we have a date; and this video clerk seems to be wasting our time.  I was all too painfully aware of this and wished that I could be anywhere but right there on the other side of the checkout line at that very moment.  This became a pattern.  I would hear grumbles and complaints, and some of the customers were downright rude.  I began to hate coming to work.

But I made a promise to myself:  I began talking to myself as if I was my own parent. “Ok, things are pretty bad right now, but they won’t always be.  I know that you wanna quit.  You’d have every right to, but let’s see if anything changes in six months.  In six months if nothing improves to the point where you like coming to work; THEN you can quit.  Until then, just stick it out and try to learn something new everyday and work on a system to make things faster.”

And guess what? – I did improve.  Not only did I improve; but I became the fastest check out guy in that store.  In fact, I normally had the longest line when I signed on to the computer; but by the time 10 minutes had gone by, I had whittled it down to the shortest line, WHILE taking care of guests.  Perhaps a woman would come up and ask, “Can you suggest a comedy for us, tonight?”  I would ask her a few questions, finish the transaction, get an employee to cover my line for a second, and run off to the exact spot in the store where I knew a perfect movie for this particular lady would be.  I would place the movie in her hand, dash back to the computer, signaling the employee covering for me, to check the returns box, and I’d continue processing transactions.
This kind of resolve got me promoted….twice.  On top of that, the Regional Manager came into the store one day, and had a few words with my manager before coming to look for me, while I was putting movies back on the shelves.

“Do you know who I am?”
“Yes sir…You’re the Regional Manager – what can I do for you?”
“I want you to know that I’ve spoken with your manager and I asked him if there was anyone in this store who he thought might be Shift-Lead material.  He gave me your name.  Do you think that you could handle being a Shift-Lead with the right kind of training?”

Ok, fast-forward ten or so years, and here I am at my lap top, not wanting to write; but knowing that I need to.  If I don’t, I’ll never get into the habit of writing every day and one day becoming that great writer that I’ve always imagined myself to be.  Writers have a saying:  “The key to writing is to write.”Meaning, the key to becoming a great writer is to write often and write for a long time, possibly years, before you ever get to the point where you might consider yourself to be really good.

So how would YOU suggest that I accomplish this goal, if I don’t FEEL like writing at the time?  I’ll give you a few seconds………………………………..

Did you figure it out?  Here are the 7 tips for overcoming writer’s block and procrastination, in general:

1) In order to write every single day, the first thing I need to do is to make myself a promise:  I need to commit myself to writing every day.  This appears to go without saying……….

But, (and this is the most important part), I must have some way of honoring that promise.  I must figure out a way to motivate – drag out the muse and get her to inspire me – if I am to keep that promise.  Often, that is not an easy thing to do.  Just ask most any writer and they will tell you about that feared condition known as, “Writer’s Block”.

2) Clear all distractions.  Clear a space to work in.  Put away papers and pens and anything else that may be resting in disorder on your desk.  Unplug the phone or put your cell on vibrate.  Lock the door.  Put up a sign that declares, “Creator at Work…come back later, please…Thank you”  Let people know when they CAN reach you and when it is best to leave you alone.  Giving them a time when they can be expected to get a hold of you, gets rid of their fear that you’re going to disappear off the face of the planet.  Even for a writer, staying in touch with those around you is important to a well-balanced life.

3) Get your materials ready before you start.  Ever read those children’s science books which teach you how to set up an experiment?  What is the very first thing that they say, before going into how to do it?  That’s right – they ask you to go get all of your materials.  They type out a list of all the things that you’ll need – a materials list.  You need to do the same thing, and then you need to set up your workspace, following that list.  One thing that might be on that list is for you to load your favorite word processing document.  One might be for you to have created folders, ahead of time, for your writing to go into.  Another one could be for you to make sure that you have your jump/flash drive or a disk ready, to save your stuff to.  One of mine is to have set up a signature stamp – (a pre-determined name, date, and time with, maybe, a quote that I like).  All this goes a long way to getting you to write as quickly as possible, without having to get up in the middle of it all, because you just remembered something and need to get it before you continue.  Do that (getting up) four or five times, and you’ll probably throw up your hands, thinking that writing is more trouble than it’s worth.  So, make it easy for yourself, and do the setting up, all at once, before hand.

4) Save and Save often!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the library, maybe, emailing someone, and the computer suddenly shuts down.  If you are like me, you probably just typed up the longest and best email of your life — and now….it’s all gone.  Don’t let that happen to you ever again.  Save your stuff.  I go even a step further and have thought about where I’m going to save the file to, and what I’m going to call it.  Another reason to save often, is that you can be a few paragraphs into what you are doing and may have just altered a few sentences or trimmed a few words, here and there, and then you get up, go to the bathroom and while there…oooops! –  the lights go off!  Ever had a power outage?  I have.  I have to go around resetting my alarm clocks and even the kitchen stove and microwave.  You might have gotten everything just right, after you re-read it and did some adjusting; and all that (your fine work) is completely undone, because you didn’t take one second to flip your mouse up to the little save icon at the top, and click “save”.  This is where the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, truly makes a difference.

5) Write about how and why you don’t want to write.  It seems silly.  It’s probably not even your topic, but writing about how you don’t want to write does several things:  First, it has you writing about something that has a lot of emotion for you.  You’ve avoided beginning your writing for a reason; and writing about THAT will come a lot easier than trying to be creative, or to narrow your focus to what you are SUPPOSED to be writing about.  Secondly, writing about why you absolutely, positively, do not want to write at this moment, gets you moving.  It’s well documented that the hardest part of working on a project is starting it.  It becomes much easier, once you are in the middle of the process, to keep going. You have momentum on your side.

Try this:  Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and promise yourself that you will work on something (anything), like the dishes, for instance, for those full 10 or 15 minutes. You will be surprised at how you feel AFTER you have gotten into the motion of doing that simple thing.  This is a quick and easy way to beat procrastination.  Don’t worry about doing it well.  Don’t even be concerned about finishing it.  The whole point is simply to get you to take action for a limited time.  Do this over and over again and you will be able to start on anything, no matter how big or ugly, or messy it may seem.  I promise you this!

6) Take frequent breaks.  The brain can only take so much concentration at a time; and only for so long.  Get up, stretch your legs, pop a few grapes into your mouth and wash it down with some water.  By the way – water is really good for the brain.  I know that the body is supposed to be like, what, 75-80% water? – but your brain needs it, as well.  In order for your brain to be flexible enough to move the neurons around and grow connections between them, you need to have water.  Ever see jello before you add water? –  it’s a bunch of powder.  You add water and it becomes this bouncy, soft stuff.  – Super pliable.  That’s how your brain needs to be.  Enough said.

Rest your eyes.

Get some oxygen into your lungs and into your brain.  Get your body moving so that you get energy sloshing around inside of you and making things happen. – I’ve found that if I’m thinking about a problem, and I get up and move around, the thoughts seem to flow that much easier.  I don’t think I’m the only one.  Try it and see.  Try remembering a name or some particular fact that you’ve forgotten while sitting down; and then get up and walk around a bit.  I bet that you’ll come up with the answer, or at the very least, come exceptionally close to it.

7) Have your Muse prepared.  What do I mean by this?  Simply, in your spare time, when you keep coming up with thoughts about what to write…type it up in a document, labeled, “My Muse”, or “My Writing Ideas.”  You can refer to this later, when you are having a hard time coming up with a good story or poem, or direction for your article.

I’ll go into more detail about how you can do this in one of my later blogs.

Well, that’s about it for this article on “The Writer’s 7 Powerful Ways to Beat Procrastination and Writer’s Block”

Do those 7 things and your writing will become more like a joy, than a chore!

See you next time on Synergy!
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David Lee Madison, Jr.
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013 – 18:06