From Wordpress to Youtube

 The pilgrimage from words to mp4 has been a long time coming, and just as I’ve physically switched coasts in the US, I have also switched gears in the content I want to produce online.

At first, the desire to start making videos was very foreign and unnerving. This wouldn’t be something that came naturally or be an easy transition. Alas, I could not put down the feeling that this was the next step for me, and so I am here to present to you my newly launched channel, Metanoia.

 

Just as it was difficult for me to get used to the idea of trying to launch a channel, it was difficult to make the first video and try to verbally explain where I’m coming from and where I’d like to go with this new chapter.

I have spent the past few months beating myself up for not writing any blog posts and for not making any progress with my manuscript. Although it’s still discouraging, I have realized that there may be a good reason I can’t seem to get my mind on anything other than making videos. Perhaps simply going with what one feels naturally inclined to do in creative endeavors is the right way to go about it. Perhaps I have been too militant with word counts, with attempting to write my story in chronological order rather than in pieces, with churning out a blog post every week, or every month even. Where is the room for growth and letting a creation become something greater than a systematic ensemble?

   It is at this juncture that I’m entertaining the possibility that making videos at this time may be necessary for my growth as a writer, or for the person I’m becoming. After all, there is a lot that I am learning from this change of pace, and is also leading me to make a lot of new connections.

  So, if you’ve enjoyed this blog so far and would like to continue this journey with me, this is where you can find me in the foreseeable future. The thought of not producing any content on my blog still irks me and so I will be jumping on the first chance I get to write. But for now, this is where I’m called to.

 

 

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In a World of Soldiers, Be a Warrior

   You may know the famous lyrics “I got soul but I’m not a soldier” in the song All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers. I’m here to say that’s right Brandon Flowers, although I would extend that to say if you have “soul”, or character, that is actually what sets you apart from being a soldier. Having soul does not make you a soldier, it makes you a warrior.

We’ve all heard the term “soldier on” when we perceive a need to put our thoughts, feelings and inclinations aside just to get through the day, the week, the month, or even the years. But I am here to propose something different, and to suggest that this might not be the best attitude to have.

Perhaps it is the mental space we get in when we are looking for determination. We know that determination and will is the key to weathering any storm or overcoming any challenge. However, what are you conquering if you’ve turned off parts of yourself? A part of life perhaps, but not all of it. Soldiering on is not a way to be alive. It is damaging, not only to ourselves but to our surroundings.

The difference between a warrior and a soldier is that a soldier soldiers on while the warrior transcends its path. The soldier mindlessly pursues duty, without plugging into any higher, deeper purpose or meaning. The warrior is mindful of each step that it takes upon the Earth, lighting him or herself on fire to serve as a guidepost for anyone lost in their travels. The warrior walks an illumined path of sovereignty. The soldier is unconscious to what he or she is manifesting, taking orders from an external authority or an external standard.

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What is the point of moving forward when your footsteps are not created with purpose? It is in this way that there is little use for the soldier in this world, if only to service the current paradigm. That’s why I say, in a world of soldiers, be a warrior.

This is where the message turns to metaphor, so bear with me here in this next part.

The tricky element is that to be a warrior requires one to be okay with not being okay. If you are lost in the context of your surroundings, it asks that you be okay with not having a path to follow, because when you begin your journey on fresh ground, you’ll fall into a place of belonging through conscious will. The best part of making your own path is that limitations are no longer an issue, with no marching bodies in front or behind, and no line to tell you where to confine yourself. When you lift your head from the dirt and trail of the other that was showing you where to go, suddenly a new world becomes apparent to you. There are landscapes you’ve never seen, obstacles you’ve never faced, but all the while in awe at what would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

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So what do you do? You wander a bit. It gets interesting here because you may start to question where it was you were even trying to go, or what you were trying to achieve in the first place. What was it that you were servicing? Certainly not yourself, and certainly not the people, which are still in need of assistance in a world hurtling towards self destruction, all while the world persists in their hypnotic, militant trance. It all comes apparent, one way or another, and that is when you receive the call to service, true service. It is the path that embodies service to others rather than service to self.

It is in this way that service comes in many different forms. Service is not always direct, like volunteering at a soup kitchen or buying meals for the homeless. These acts, I will ask you to consider, can be more of a symptom of service rather than the service itself in this specific framework we’re talking about. There is a service to walking to the beat of your own drum, to allowing your own unique expression to shine through and be shared with others rather than conforming and editing parts of yourself to fit into a regime. The concept that this is a form of service is not so far fetched when you consider the fact that you are the only you in the world. There can be no other, and will be no other in the history of Earth than the you that is you at this exact moment. Therefore, what you bring to the world cannot be replicated, and cannot be replaced. In conclusion, you have a duty to be yourself, to walk your own sovereign path, and shine your light in the world.

To be yourself in a world that wants nothing but to put a reign on individuality, to put people in boxes of gender, sexuality, political association, race, and so on, rather than let you identify and walk as a human on the Earth, requires the strength of a warrior. As a warrior, do not let anything happen other than what your soul is naturally inclined to do, to be of service to humanity in the awakening realization that we do not stand alone but together, and that because we are all sharing the same air on this brief dance on a speck of dust floating through space, we’re not going to make it unless we call ourselves what we are, humans, and accept that we’re all connected in this way.

So with that I bid you farewell. Please share your thoughts in the comments. If you like my work and would like to support what I do here at Metanoia, please visit my Patreon page. I offer services for self discovery, promotion, mindfulness, and book lovers.

Also, thank you Marci Brockmann, Joe Milians, and Jen Dougherty for becoming a patron for Metanoia!

Featured image by RHADS

I Came Home Today

It has been a long time coming. Stepping off the plane was a dizzying experience, my senses overwhelmed by bright colors and clean air, the stark opposite from the dull polluted gray that is NY. It was also surreal. Not because I couldn’t believe it but because I felt like a part of me never left the last time I was here, and that I was just picking up where I left off. Surreal because suddenly I couldn’t tell you where the past 2 years of my life had gone as it all became a blur, a dream. I’m disoriented. It’s the feeling of stepping into a new life that you’ve seemingly already had established, that it was all just ready for your body to get with the program. It is also a sort of reincarnation in leu of what was left behind.

I’m in a personal year number of 1, a year for transformation and manifestation, as is the entire world. The last nine years of my life is a closed book now, and this is a new one. A continuation of the story, but its own story nonetheless, completely untethered and with my own hand guiding the pen. This year will set the stage for the next nine years of my life. It’s a year to remember, and a year for the history books (and globally too). What will I make with the resources at hand? What resources do I even have at my disposal? I’ve set out to discover just that.

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While walking through the community I live in, I noticed how shut up each house was despite the beautiful weather and fresh ocean air. It was then that I began to  have the passing feeling that my history in NY is actually a blessing. These people have no appreciation for the weather or beautiful scenery because they’ve never had to live without it. They’ve never had to live as caged animals for half of the year, or to have an uninhabitable climate where the air hurts your skin upon contact. Or perhaps these people have made their cages and prefer it there. Either way, I see my past as a blessing in this way, and so my windows will remain open.

I don’t and will never understand how people can see nature as a luxury. With all the  tourists here, my immediate thought towards them wasn’t negative. It was “Wow, I get to live somewhere that people pay money to visit when they’re not working.” I wonder, do people know why it feels so good to be here? It is because the soul says ‘Ah! Finally. Something that is real enough to bring nourishment.’ If we don’t consider that a priority, or if we don’t appreciate it when it’s right in front of us, then we are as plastic as the things we buy.

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to post in a while, I recently had the honor to be a guest on Writer Emily Mundell’s blog. Thanks again Emily. Here is the link to that post, which was about my stance on internal inspiration .

Also, thank you Marci Brockmann, Joe Milians, and Jen Dougherty for becoming a patron for Metanoia!

If you like my work and would like to support my endeavors, please visit my Patreon page and explore what services I have to offer.

Medicine of the Earth

Although it is not apparent in this blog, I’ve made it a point in my life to study alternative medicine, the chemicals in our food, the pharmaceutical industry, and the detriment that our overall modern lifestyles have.

The body that you’re in is not disposable. It is your most valued real estate, and yet almost nothing we’ve cultivated into habits serves its wellbeing. In my two years of searching I’ve learned a lot, and have wondered if I’d ever try to write a post about it. So many questions and obstacles have interfered with my ability to even start making one. There is just too much information, too much that has to be learned and explained. I thought it wouldn’t be worth it. I wouldn’t be able to explain the full magnitude, and I was right. I can’t. However, what I did with this post is try to hit a few major points, and tried to explain some things from a viewpoint that you may not have thought of or seen yet. I’ve also listed many of the resources I’ve used over the years to come to my understanding at the end, and you can use them or not use them to the extent that you’re comfortable with.

I finally felt compelled to write this post after I wrote “The Illusion of Separation“. In this post, I explained the false perception that the environment is something outside of ourselves. I spoke of how it is an extension of our bodies instead. It is of the Earth, and therefore of the same governing elements. We are very much at the mercy of the environment, our bodies in a constant mutual exchange that blurs the line between ‘I’, and ‘Us’, going beyond other individuals and encompassing the entire planet and all of its systems. This is an important detail to focus on because it provides leverage for the simple idea that medicinal plants and other homeopathic remedies can have efficacy on the ailments of our bodies. With this, I will begin.

1. The History of Modern Medicine

“You come out of this analysis and all this history with the realization that the medical profession is really like a lap dog of the pharmaceutical industry.”

– G. Edward Griffin from The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest

Contrary to what we’re conditioned to believe, synthetic drugs did not become the preferred method of treatment because it was more effective. This statement is not an opinion, or an inference, but a historical fact.

 It’s true that the pharmaceutical industry took prevalence and outcompeted plant-based remedies, but this is only because it was funded by big business, making it nearly impossible for any competitors to practice. In the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds, homeopathy and other natural methods of treatment had a stake in medical schools. It wasn’t until The Flexner Report of 1910 established by the Carnegie Foundation and J.D. Rockefeller reformed medical education in America. This movement prohibited the practice of medicine without a license from their school. Viable medicine took on a new definition, no longer encompassing natural alternatives, and completely embraced synthetic patented chemicals. A doctor who was not indoctrinated on this form of medicine was no longer allowed to practice their tried and tested methods.

After The Flexner Report, the use and investigation of natural medications became a crime, and that is why 100 years later alternative medicine is considered a fad more than a legitimate treatment. Again, this is not a conspiracy theory, it’s history.

To this day, there are recent accounts of sabotage.

“On May 6th 1992, they raided our clinic, with guns drawn. They told the King County Sherif that we were selling drugs (because remember they call vitamins a drug and anything used as a treatment is a drug). So the King County’s sherif’s office was expecting drug dealers. They raided with guns… kicking the doors in, gathered all the employees into the corner and proceeded to start seizing equipment, medical records, payroll records, banking records, and everything.”

-Dr. Jonathon V. Wright, M.D. from The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest

(After this event, Dr. Wright found out the case was closed from the newspapers, having not been convicted of a crime, with all of his records never to be returned.)

How could alternative medicine be fairly tested and compared with current treatments if this is how the government reacts to new clinics? This is obviously an inflated reaction to something that shouldn’t pose such a threat, which begs the question as to why these doctors are so aggressively attacked by society and their government.

As I’ve discussed in The Hidden Dogma in Science, when money is thrown on a study or preferred method of practice, it tends to reflect the interests of the foundation that provided the funding. This brings attention to the scary truth that we must face. We may not be able to fully rely on most of our current scientific studies, especially those within the medical field.

2. How Pharmaceutical Drugs are Dangerous and Why They Aren’t a Viable Solution

Ironically, many patented chemicals that our doctors prescribe with good intentions are chemical compounds that mimic those found in nature. You may be wondering why we aren’t advised to just use the plants themselves. Plants are difficult to make money off of. You cannot regulate a plant, unless you make it illegal like the federal government has done with cannabis. You are much less likely to find a lab in someone’s home than a garden, and so this is how patented chemicals are more of a viable business.   

These chemical compounds are similar enough to natural compounds, which are originally compatible with our biology and chemistry, to have an impact on our ailment. However, they are also different enough to leave a trail of destruction in the body, thus creating the long list of side effects that appear on the bottle and at the end of advertisements. I have often heard the statement “The pharmaceutical industry doesn’t create cures. It creates customers.” This is inherently true, as those who take one treatment need to take several other medications just to handle the side effects of the treatment. In this way, our ailments become a means to be dependent on a system that makes money off of our health.

Despite the fact that doctors are well aware of the negative side effects of their mediations, they prescribe them anyway. This is something that they were taught to do, and see it as the only feasible solution based on their education, which comprised mostly of how to prescribe pills and almost nothing about nutrition, or anything else for that matter. This is one of the most shocking and frustrating aspects to modern medicine in my eyes. A solution that causes a long list of other complications is not a solution at all. This is logic that even a child could understand, yet doctors cannot see beyond their training and perception to understand that this is unworkable. It can’t go on like this anymore, and denial that any alternatives are viable is pure dogma given the way history has panned out and given the trove of scientific papers supporting alternatives that they weren’t advised to study in med school.

In addition to poor side effects, most of the treatments recommended are not cures to what is causing the symptom in the first place. All medications do is mask a problem rather than address the root cause. In contrast, alternative medicine is a holistic approach. It treats the problem for what it is. To the body, a migraine is not a migraine. A migraine is dehydration, stress, or some sort of imbalance in the body. But in modern medicine, the problem is the aliment. To doctors, cancer is an accumulation of mutated cells. In alternative medicine, cancer is a compromised immune system that left a part of the body unchecked and is now manifesting in a certain way. Cancer is a body that has lost its ability to make viable cells, and when not addressed, takes over all bodily systems. When you are depressed, a friend doesn’t suggest that you to stop being sad. The depression is a symptom to a larger issue, and so that is why you seek therapy to identify the cause and how to approach it. With modern medicine, we take pills that sever our connection to the body. It can no longer tell us what is happening and why something is wrong. Imagine if you had the flu and didn’t know it. You would continue to run around like a chicken with its head cut off like we normally do in our hectic lives, and eventually the body would shut down without warning, no longer able to cope with the sickness that has overtaken all functions. The cure to any ailment lies in the cause.

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Western medicine’s picture of health

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Alternative medicine’s picture of health

3. Our Food Is Slowly Killing Us.

In refraining from turning this post into a novel, I cannot cover all there is to be known on this topic. Instead, I’ll go over a few major points. With this standpoint represented in The Illusion of Separation, the saying “you are what you eat” becomes a very literal truth. You are what you eat, and so it comes down to one of two choices: Do you want to be a manifestation of light, or do you want to be a stressed animal sent to the slaughterhouse? Do you want to be a body that is balanced and nourished or do you want the illusion of being nourished and a body that is made on and run by processed chemicals? The ramifications are surprisingly extensive, much more so than what we’ve delved into in health class. If a synthetic hormone has an impact on the health of the consumer, it goes without saying that natural hormones will as well. When we eat meat, we’re consuming the chemicals that were produced from the horror that was that life. An article in The Atlantic discusses this:

Studies on human consumption of artificial growth hormones, which are believed by many to affect our reproductive systems and other bodily processes, have already resulted in policy changes in many countries, including those that make up the E.U. Attention is now turning to these naturally occurring fear-induced hormones as scientists worry that their consumption causes similar problems.”

Aside from this, meat consumption is another cause for cancer. This is especially true for processed meats such as salami and pepperoni, as their nitrates are known carcinogens.

So perhaps you take this to heart and decide to become a vegetarian, vegan, or make a pact to eat less meat. There is now the predicament of GMO’s, pesticides, and other issues that come out of food that is anything but farm to table. Although washing fruits and vegetables helps take off these chemicals, there is no way to completely rid our food of it. It is in this way that carcinogenic substances can accumulate in our bodies, as they come from many different sources and have daily exposure. It also does not require a lot of scientific proof to support the extent of the danger that pesticides create. A pesticide is “any substance or mixture of substances meant for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest.” In other words, its purpose is to be toxic to living organisms.

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Another major contributor to increasing rates of cancer and our poor health is refined sugar. The case with sugar is particularly tricky because it is in nearly everything we eat, and so wanting an occasional sweet or latte puts us way over recommended daily intakes. The daily recommended daily intake is about 27 grams of sugar per day. While people obsess over calorie count, sometimes they’ll fail to see the grams of sugar that are in one serving of what they’re eating. Processed sugar is particularly unhealthy because the natural benefits that it is found with in nature is taken out during refinement. Also, recent studies have revealed that sugar consumption not just feeds, but leads cancer.

4. Where Do We Go From Here?

With all of this against us, it’s easy to feel like there is nothing we can do to prevent ourselves from becoming a victim of humanity’s preference for money over life. However, this is far from the truth. There are several things that we can do starting today, but it takes time and conscious effort. Like anything in life, the results you seek will only come from the amount of time that you put into an endeavor. It will take much more than reading this article, or any other piece on health. It starts with a lot of research, with looking into everything you buy. Research is also required on what things you can be consuming and practicing in order to prevent yourself from becoming immunocompromised. This, at least, will help your body rid the toxins and screen for cells that are abnormal, as it is doing as you sit here reading this.

Above all, you vote with your money. There is no form of legislation that can control the corporatocracy that has become of our world. When you buy anything that is organic, or anything that expresses concern for the consumer’s health, you are doing more than just helping that business. You are sending a message to the marketing industry that you are an informed consumer and are not interested in their cancer-causing products. This, more than anything, will force change. We have to send a message to these careless industries that we’re not buying what they’re selling, and if they want to survive, they will have to adopt sound practices that serve humanity, not just themselves.

The best source I’ve come across that has compiled various treatments and wellness techniques can be found in the docu-series I’ve mentioned, The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest. In total, it’s a nine hour event, and for good reason. The amount of material out there on alternatives is staggering. Here are just a few papers I could easily find on google that investigate the healing efficacy of plants such as frankincense essential oil, essiac tea, pomegranate, and sandalwood essential oil:

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/12/253/

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874105006239

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874106004570

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711312001250

I can’t know which practices are best for you, as I don’t know your preference and ailments. But here is a list of  focal points that I’ve come to learn and plan on integrating into my life.

1. Nutrition: There is a call for a shift in the way we perceive food. The function of food is far from the simple breakdown of compounds that can be used for energy to uphold bodily functions. That is what we’re taught, and it is true, but it’s the smallest portion of the picture. In order to overcome modern obstacles in health, one must develop a habit of seeing every morsel of food as an opportunity for the body to be able to heal itself. Every bite is either contributing to healthy functions, or taking away from healthy functions. I have a kiwi in the morning because it has 5 times the amount of vitamin c as an orange and will help keep me from getting sick. I put flax seed oil in my avocado mayo for its cancer prevention and heart-healthy qualities. Having green tea in my nightly routine will boost the amount of antioxidants in my system. These are just a few examples to slowly build upon. You start small, buying some things and not others, until one day everything in your cabinet is there to improve your health, not just fill your stomach.

2. Essential Oils: I had only just begun this journey into alternative medicine and holistic healing when my friend Janice invited me to a Young Living essential oils gathering. I had no money and no plans on buying anything, but went home that night with a lot of knowledge on the subject, and even more questions. All of a sudden I began to run into articles about essential oils from unexpected places and when I wasn’t looking for information. I found that I had in fact not gotten sick that semester while I was using a blend to improve immunity that I made while I was there. I was more alert and focused with another soothing mixture I had put together. What I’ve taken away from the importance and utility of essential oils is that they are perhaps the most human practice that a person can cultivate, and it all contributes to a healthier body as a whole. We spend most of our lives cooped up indoors in stale, dusty air. Essential oils brings the smells we’d get on vacation, or in the garden, and all around the world into the home. It is in this way that essential oils have an enormous impact on our mental health. However, essential oils have volatile organic compounds that have multipurpose benefits for the body. They enter into the bloodstream upon topical application, inhalation, or ingestion. These molecules are even small enough to pass through the blood brain barrier, making them an excellent treatment option for neurological issues and brain tumors. In The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest, a woman is interviewed who was able to get rid of a tumor that was growing on her brain stem (This interview can be found here at 59:06, but I recommend watching the entire episode). With these oils, not only have I been able to help relieve stress and help symptoms of illness, but I am getting sick less often and for shorter periods of time, have less head aches, and less insomnia. This is the whole goal to alternative medicine, as its use is meant to reduce the need for medications in the first place, allowing an actual healing to occur.

4. Emotional Well-being: To everyone, this means more sleep, more mindfulness, and more calm. To me personally, it means more time outside. However, there is nothing more human than spending time in nature, so I highly recommend it for everyone, even for those who merely consider the great outdoors as a luxury and not a necessity. When I spend time outside, I become grounded and am reminded of how small human issues are in the totality of life and this world. With this attitude, you can overcome any obstacle in life.

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Thank you Marci Stern for becoming a patron for Metanoia! Please check out her beautiful artwork and publications (can be found on her contact page).

If you would like to support me or have your name and link sponsored on my blog, please see my Patreon page.

References:

1. Article from The Atlantic: How Animal Welfare Leads to Better Meat: A Lesson From Spain

2. The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest (A 9 episode Docu-series available online). In it a man travels the world interviewing doctors, cancer survivors, and other people who have dedicated themselves to studying the field of alternative medicine.

3.The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest – Episode 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK_sX5ko8SE

4. WHO report says eating processed meat is carcinogenic: Understanding the findings: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/11/03/report-says-eating-processed-meat-is-carcinogenic-understanding-the-findings/

5.  Sugar promotes cancer: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/research-reveals-how-sugar-causes-cancer?page=1

Kindness From a Stranger

It’s the season for random acts of kindness, and this month I have a small, but beautiful experience to share with you that happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

Last month I practically lived at Starbucks in order to complete my writing goals. Sometimes with friends, and sometimes alone, I always try to sit by the window. The view, no matter how abysmal, always gives my gaze and mind freedom to explore something larger than the room I’m sitting in.

One November evening, I was sitting alongside the window by myself when the sun was setting, the clouds a brilliant orange, a unique beauty to be had for where I live. As much as I complain about my geography, there have been quite a few show stopping sunsets to behold. I’m naturally someone who gets energy from the sun, so when it goes down, I’m immediately tired. Likewise, when it comes up, I find it hard to sleep, as if caffeine could be transferable through light and the moment it beams into the room, I’m suddenly lighter, energized, and happy. So I tried to get work done, but in this few passing moments where the setting sun was changing in such divine ways, I made sure to look up every few minutes to integrate with this beauty. One never knows when the sun will come out again here at this time of year. I looked straight at it, imagining the light passing through my skin and becoming a part of me, a keeper of the light.

It turned out that someone noticed my attempt to become one with the sunset. Shortly after the sun went down, I packed up and headed out the door. Someone politely stopped me from behind when I got outside.

“Excuse me, this is very awkward for me, but I just wanted to give you this.” said a middle aged man with a foreign accent that I couldn’t identify. He handed me a folded up napkin. Confused and curious, I said some surprised and enthusiastic exclamation of “okay” and went to my car to read it. Here is what it said:

   My favorite thing about this is that this person did not leave their number. They wanted no involvement, nothing to gain from the interaction. They simply had the pure intention of recognizing the beauty in another person and wanting to make sure they knew that. As someone with little faith in humanity, this touched my heart on such a deep level, and for the first time in a long time, I had some hope for the kind of people that are out there. I felt like there must be people who see each other for more than just objects, and more than what they want them to be for their own interests. There are truly those who are able to recognize a genuine moment, or characteristic in a person, and leave it at that appreciation.

   But the thing is, this experience did not end there. Shortly after that, I found myself back at the same Starbucks where the tables had turned, and I felt compelled to do something kind for someone else. It was night this time, and a boy and his mother sat at the table across from me. I’m usually very caught up in my work, but something about this boy’s stature and expression screamed at me. With no life in his face, he looked out the window as his mom spoke at him, occasionally getting caught up in whatever he had on his lap top. I felt like no part of him wanted to be there, and I wondered how this could be, until someone else joined them and I realized what was happening. They were there to meet with someone who could help him apply to colleges. Instantly I understood this boy’s dread, and went back to my work with the case solved. Some time afterward, I heard the guest get a bit louder and frantic in his speech, so I looked up. The poor boy was crying, and in his eyes I saw myself. It was a person who had completely lost hope. He did not believe that his efforts were good enough, whether they were or not, who knows, but in this day and age when immense pressure is put on youth to get high scores and do every extracurricular activity known to youth, it can be unbearable. I had the same feeling, the same reality, both in high school and into college. I started to hear more of what this guest was saying.

“You have a score of _____… What this college wants is ____…I’ve known people with ______ get into _______… I think you have a great chance with _____… You do sports, you do everything. That’s going to make you more sellable… Do you do varsity? Mention _____ and it will be a great essay… What’s a good attribute to describe yourself? Like, would you say that you’re the life of the party? People always say they’re going to get good grades but what are you going to offer to the university?”

I was ready to vomit just listening to this. Since when did people become numbers and a sales pitch? Immediately, I ripped out a piece of paper from my sketch book and started writing.

   In my note to him, I was quite frank. I made it very honest, and made it clear that it was from a perspective that had been through it all. I gave it a sense that although this feels like the end of the world, it is all a lot of hype and unnecessary stress (I believe I specifically chose the word ‘bullshit’ as my adjective. It has been my favorite adjective as of late). I told him that future me would want my past self to know that my dreams are valid and worthwhile, but that they’re going to change. They are not fixed. That’s a part of life. So if everything is constantly changing anyway, there’s no use in having so much turmoil over what will or will not be. I told him that he was not a number, or a sellable commodity, that he had something to offer no matter what the school boards wanted. I told him that life was short, and to be truly fulfilled is to find what your authentic self has to offer, and provide that. I told him that in the end it was all going to work out, which is needed to be heard after putting so much hard work and stress into something of this magnitude. Although it was incredibly awkward, like it was for that guy who saw my face looking into the sun, the kindness that I was given gave me the courage to stop him on the way out the door and give him my note.

You never know what people are going through. You never know what is happening in a person’s life, or inner world. This is why kindness, and most of all speaking up when no one else will, is so important. I don’t have to go into rates of suicide or how stressful modern day life can be. Anyone reading this will know and can relate in their own way. So please, if you see someone struggling, do something small for that person. If you notice something beautiful in a stranger, compliment them, or simply tell them what you see. It’s the time of the year when everyone needs it, and when the spirit of the holidays makes it viable.

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Kerry Jane

If you like my work and would like to see my creative projects come to fruition, please support me on Patreon.

NaNoWriMo 2016: Why Your Word Count May Not Be as Bad as It Seems

I took a bit of a hiatus with this blog last month in order to fully focus on Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). This is my first year participating in Nanowrimo, now that I’m done with school and have more mental space to focus on such an undertaking.

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   I must first establish that I did not follow the traditional rules of Nanowrimo, but rather used it as a means to accelerate my own personal goals with what I have going on. I made my own rules. I’m not sure if this is frowned upon, or practiced by others, but nonetheless it is a time of dedication and perseverance for any writer. My goal for November 2016 was to finish the third part (out of nine parts) of my novel, from wherever I was able to get to in October. To some, this may not count as participation, but in my circumstance it does parallel the conventional rules. In my story, one part is an entire lifetime, an entire short story. So although the words are few, there is a lot that takes place, a lot that needs to be planned and outlined, and a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration to ensure that I convey the message and create something that flows with adjoining lifetimes.

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In addition to this, my novel is written in first person point of view. With first person point of view, there is an element of submersion that is often overlooked when calculating projected word counts that are appropriate given the amount of time put in. However, this is a discrepancy. Third person point of view is much easier to take on. The writer only has to tell the story from their God-like perspective, all high and mighty and full of confidence. But when writing first person narrative in fiction, there is a humbling amount of energy and mental resources that has to be put forth into experiencing first hand what it is that you’ve dreamt. It is the difference between getting into the water and swimming the laps, and watching someone from afar, describing the sore muscles and exhaustion. Another example is a commissioned painting. When you pay someone to paint something for you that requires design work, you are not just paying for the time it took for that person to sit down and physically complete the task. You’re paying for that three extra hours they took trying to determine what style, and additional elements they should add to it to make it whole.

This is something easily understood, and even perhaps well known, but I rarely see this come up on blogs or podcasts. Perhaps it is too obvious? Not worth going into detail? Either way, I find this very important to keep in mind so that I don’t inadvertently get bogged down with meeting low word count goals in comparison to others. As long as I spend a part of every single day advancing the story, that is an accomplishment to me. I am too busy making something real, so much so that I have no time to make something straightforward.

Let me just say that I am not saying anything negative towards third person narrative. If anything, I envy those who write in that framework and wish I was able to make life easier for myself in that way. However, if you are a fiction writer, especially of fantasy or scifi, who likes to write in first person, please take this message to heart. Do not ever feel badly about taking extra time to figure out the bigger picture, or minute details of what you’re writing. In the long run, it will only help the finished product, perhaps even pushing it past something that’s good to something that is extraordinary. You wont find out while trying to produce words for the mere sake of producing words.

If you participated in Nanowrimo this year or in past years, let me know what your experience was like.

Until next time…

Kerry Jane

If you like my work and would like to see my creative projects come to fruition, please support me on Patreon. Just $1 a month earns you mention on my blog posts with links to your website, if you have one. There are, however, a variety of rewards that I’m offering, so be sure to check them out.

The Human Condition Is a Disability

The human condition is a disability, but this wasn’t always the case.

I was a very strange child. Although it doesn’t make much sense, I vividly remember not liking kids when I myself was one. I felt removed from my peers, as if I was a spectator that didn’t have a role. My first impression of children my age left such an impact on me that I still remember it to this day, as it would shape my perspective of society into adulthood.

I was three years old and it was my first day of preschool. My first thought of being placed amongst a band of other three year olds was utter disgust. Well, a level of disgust that a 3 year old was capable of at least. What horrified me was their inherent unconsciousness, their inability to comprehend that there was a whole world of other people equally important to themselves, a world that had limitations and a world that they needed to share. Every whiney child believed that their snack time was more important than everyone else’s snack time, and that the adults should bow down to their every beck and call. They had no conception of how the adults were working hard for us, and that this took time and energy. They had no idea that their needs might have to be temporarily displaced in the wake of a teachers’ many tasks. But I somehow understood this at the ripe age of three. In fact, I often put others needs before my own. I remember going without something because I didn’t want to ask an adult to do it for me. I would have rather sat and dealt with not being able to reach the cup on the shelf, or the snack in the cabinet, because I didn’t want to impede on my family’s busy life.

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A picture my sister took of me when I was about 4 years old 

Like I said, I was a strange child.

This feeling continued well into elementary school and middle school. I spent my entire childhood desperately wanting to become an adult because I honestly thought that this was a trait that kids grew out of. I wanted to be amidst peers who understood the importance of cooperation, who didn’t think their food, water, shelter, and overall comfort was all that mattered, was more important than my own or the person next to them. As many of you could accurately predict, I grew up only to be disappointed. Now 22, I see no difference between humans at 3 and humans at 45. If anything, the only thing that has happened is people grew out of their valuable innocence and into their immaturity. They are unable to come to a fundamental understanding that we are all connected, that “I am another you” as I’ve written about already. There’s no comprehension that when you hurt your surroundings, you are hurting yourself because the thing you’ve externalized is a part of you on space ship Earth, whether it is apparent or not.

Yes, many self-centered people come about because a parent did not practice boundaries and discipline with their kids. But why is there a need to teach this quality out of a person in the first place? Why are so many humans inherently self-serving to various degrees?

For thousands of years, we’ve built humanity on a system where the extent of success is determined on a person’s ability to step on the throat of their neighbor in order to get ahead. It’s well documented that we’ve built humanity on competition rather than cooperation, and I suspect that this behavior is now tightly woven into the fabric of our DNA. It is in this way that the escape from the hole we’ve dug for ourselves is likened to a rope we’ve weaved and now have to unravel. In this case, the rope is our strands of DNA that are now in serious need of a makeover.

Although I’ve made everything sound very dismal, I do believe there is much hope and that this is not how humans were meant to be. The mere fact that I’m able to sit here and write this is a good sign. In my opinion, the selfishness is largely unintentional, where humans do not know the extent of the impact they have. If it is a behavior learned and adapted over time, it can be unlearned and discarded as well. DNA works like a lock and key system, and once the choice is made to adapt to a changing world, or an evolving consciousness rather, it sets up for the right adjustments to take place.

It is a good sign that I’m able to be here writing this, but an even better sign would be to have readers that can relate to these words. It would be the growth of this blog in terms of likes, comments, shares and subscribers. I’ll continue to commit more time to see this happen, to reach anyone and everyone I can, not just through WordPress but in my every day life, and with the eventual publication of Metanoia. I constantly wonder if there are people out there with similar thoughts and feelings. I know there are but it seems impossible to reach them. The articles and posts that get shared the most are the short, shallow, and relatable items on the internet. These things are not bad, but are not the full extent of what can be thought, felt and dreamt by the mind.

In order to find like minds, or for people who need to read these thoughts and words for whatever reason in their life, I need the help of my readers to share this on whatever outlet is comfortable to them. If you think you know a person who would benefit from one of my posts, or find them interesting, send it to them. If you like any concept that I’ve written about, turn it into your own content for your blog and mention me. What are some experiences that you’ve had on this subject, or what are some insights you’ve come to on your own? I’d genuinely like to know.

That aside, if you are reading this, I love you and thank you.

Featured image by Krystleyez