Minding The Mundane With Mindfulness

Photo by Michael Competielle

I find myself very lucky that I have the opportunity daily to walk between 6 and 8 miles. My daily walks start in the morning taking my dogs for a half-mile walk around our block.

In the past, I felt the walk was a waste of time and always wanted to economize my efforts by listening to a podcast or reading emails while walking. My mind preoccupied with whatever else it was I was doing instead of mindfully walking my dogs. 

One morning I decided to be present, in the moment and cherish the time spent walking the dogs and minimizing distractions. My focus would be on the path we take and our environment. 

Walking around with a clear mind, the simplest of nature’s details are observed. Spring is identified by the early evidence of small buds sprouting. The smells of floral blooms. 

Bird song soothes as they are vocalizing the pleasures of the early morning sun and coming warmth. Grasses changing color from a dull hue to vibrant greens. The air crisp and pure. 

Washing dishes often feels like a chore however when I focus on the task at hand it becomes therapeutic and calming. The warm water hitting my hands, the sounds of a sudsy pot overfilling as I presoak it. I like to wash in patterns in an attempt to be thorough, give each pot or dish my fullest nurturing care and attention. 

My mind struggles to wander as my calmness and attention remain focused. It’s my time to be one within this moment. No longer a chore but a part of my life. 

Walking and Talking

I’m not going to say that I didn’t always love to walk and talk however I do feel I noticed it a bit more after reading Steve Jobs biography which was a life-changing read and my personal bible. 

Connection happens when you walk and talk with someone. A natural cadence happens where both of your steps take a similar rhythmic pattern. Where both your speed and motions become as one. The words become secondary in the connectivity as you move collectively as one. 

Many of my best conversations have happened on walks. My mind is focused on the conversation and this connection. The environment becomes secondary to the human element of expressiveness. 

Movement and conversation opens us up to focus on the moment. You struggle to be preoccupied and lacking presence whence immersed in dialogue in motion. 

Walking through observations 

I’m a people watcher and detail seeker. As I walk alone I’ll often focus on people or my environment as I tell myself a story. Using the power of my thoughts I’ll focus on a person or an element and tell myself its story. 

Looking at an old church I’ll visualize the passing of its time, seeing the weddings, christening, and funerals. A full lifecycle happening before my eyes. Then I’ll refocus back to the present, seeing the church standing tall and proud, having bore witness to these amazing events. What a story this church could tell. 

A Tree has a soul and the mere existence of the Tree breathes life into our environment. An essential element with the power to heal and maintain life. The Tree sprouts out of the ground with just enough internal strength to bud a leaf. The richness of the soil is a requirement for the nutrients required to grow tall and strong. It’s roots spreading too far distances it gives strength and food. 

When the wind blows a Tree will sway, its core holding it in a neutral position yet its flexibility a requirement for survival. Going with the flow of the wind and being present in the moment, for a Tree that refuses it sway or lacks a firm root system will often topple over.

My body is a Tree

Sometimes on walks in the woods when a slight breeze kicks up, I’ll become a Tree. Firmly planting my feet on the earthen ground arms stretched out I’ll move with the wind. My connection to my environment is pure and present as I sway with the other Trees. We dance in cadence, as we are now as one, a forest of Trees.

The details in a Trees leaves or the blossoms of flowers fuels my mind and purify my soul. Life’s struggles still remain yet they are far off in the distance, lacking much power to enter my mindful state. 

Mundane meets my mind 

We all must do mundane tasks that require our time. By repurposing our thoughts and minds into a positive light by finding the unique perspective in those moments a new element to our lives is born.

Once we have prioritized the tasks and remain focused and engaged we can find joy and complacency in most things we do. We can develop a connection to mundane and uninspiring while attempting to find a new purpose through presence and focus. 

Curing Myself To Make The World A Better Place

Photo by Michael Competielle

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference 

Reinhold Niebuhr

A photo of the above saying hung in our home when I was growing up. I remember reading it back then and thinking I understood it as I would force my will and opinions upon others. The World didn’t change and honestly neither did I. 

I’ve been blessed with the life I have been gifted and with every passing day, that fact is reconfirmed. The past year I’ve moved towards enlightenment by redesigning my life. I’ve accepted who everyone else is and how they fit into my world. 

Nothing Is Impossible 

Mind over matter as I daily make minor adjustments to myself and my lifestyle. For the most part I don’t do anything I don’t want to and make sure the things I do actually partake in I’m present and mindful. 

The challenges I had yesterday are in the past and how I deal with situations is in the present, where I’m focused and engaged. I seek the answers to problems first within myself before I attempt to modify my surroundings. 

Everyday obstacles are deemed insignificant as I refuse to become embroiled in the static of the problems I can not solve. My objective is to carve myself a path and follow my inspiration. 


I remember as a child when my parents asked me to do something I’d always respond with “why?” And the answer was always “don’t ask questions just do it” or “because I said so”. Not really great advice and certainly not very enlightening. 

I ask myself why? in most everything I do. And the answers, when honest are life-changing. No longer do I waste time watching the news or reading about things that I can not change. My concentration is finely tuned to the things that affect me and my effect on others. 

I’m a work in progress and it’s an uphill battle to redesign my thoughts and interactions with the world. I’ve made lifestyle changes to my diet by going Whole Food Plant Based, and I’m mindful of my impact on the environment. 

I don’t any longer take nature for granted and I cherish the beauty of each passing day. Every hour is maximized in a very selfish way as I make sure I’m doing the things I need to do for me. My world revolves around me and when I arrive and interact with others it’s with purity I can interact becomes I feel complete. 

The stresses of life still exist and I still will lose my cool with others when I see they’ve given up or are defeated, often before they’ve ever started or tried. 

Every day I work on my redesign and self-development, looking deeper into myself and further out onto the horizons. With all certainty I know I can get there and so my quest to fulfillment has become easy. 

With each passing day, I do a reflection and determine my status. I’m pleased with my results yet recognize I have a long way to go. The journey to curing myself has been my greatest achievement. I keep moving the goal line as I travel deeper and deeper into my own potential and reap the rewards. 

Sleep Meditation And Falling Back Asleep

Photo by Michael Competielle

It’s 4 o’clock am and I’m awake. My mind begins to race thinking of the hundreds of scenarios and tasks I need to complete. With every attempt to answer my issues another one arises and so the sleeplessness anxiety-driven insomnia begins.

I’m always still tired at that point and would love to fall back asleep, however, my mind is racing like that overzealous running partner running in place next to you as you are gasping for air, exhausted, wanting to die.

The room is dark and silent except for the snoring of my dogs. Why is it that they can sleep straight through the night and even fall back to sleep once disrupted? Why do I wake up at this time most evenings?

Sleep Patterns

I fall asleep naturally around 11 pm every evening. I’ve never had a problem shutting down or falling asleep. When my body feels tired it’s generally around the same time each evening and I try to let it do what it feels is right.

It’s easy for me to fall asleep and get a decent 4 -5 hours of good sleep before I’ll often awaken around 4:00 am. Originally I believed I was being awoken during the witching hour which according to folklore is around 3-4 am when ghosts and the devil are most active.

As I never witnessed any supernatural activety I discounted the concept. What is basically happening is the transfer from deep sleep into a light sleep. Once I’m awake and in that needing to problem solve mode, falling back to sleep becomes almost impossible.

Mindful Sleep Meditation

I’ve developed my own secret weapon to combat early morning insomnia which I call Mindful Sleep Meditation. I’ll lie flat on my back, hands to my side in a mummy position as I’ll focus solely on my breath. Slowly breathing in and out which rhythmic controlled breathing, I’ll adjust my complete attention to my breathe.

As I breathe in and out my anxieties will attack my overactive mind yet with each solid breathe, I fend them off. My heart rate will noticeably lower as I regain the calm in my extremities.

Breathe in breathe out, as I begin to feel a fading effect. Like lights dimming before a film in a moviehouse.

As I continue to control my breathing and slip further away from my stresses, the power of calm slides me back into a slumber. I’ll enter into a calm creative version of sleep where my problems I’ll answer or discount one by one.

Awakening In Control

I generally don’t set an alarm as my mind and body are my time clock. As I arise I’m alert, energized and calmed. My stresses and anxieties still exist however I’m now in full control as I’m prepared to face the day. Soothed and in control I’ll move forth with certainty that I can take on life’s challenges and win.

My confidence reassures me that weve been here before and have gotten through. My mind is pure, clear and focused. My breath is my power when I need to return to my neutral mindful space.

The Purifying Effects of Selling Off My Belongings

Photo by Micahel Competielle

I’ve never seen a hearse followed by a Uhaul or a Brinks truck. You can’t take it with you. As I look around my house I see all of this stuff. Years of purchases, gifts and hand me downs taking up valuable space in my soul. 

The acquisition of stuff is an American pastime. Entire television shows have been made about people who collect massive amounts of stuff. American Pickers is a great example of a company that makes its living scouring the American countryside in search of stuff to resell. 

The show takes two pickers of American artifacts around the country in a big van. Mike and Frank search around for obscure collections of stuff with the hopes to find treasures amongst other people’s trash. 

As a made for TV reality show my guess it’s marginally real and many of the deals are predetermined however the point of the show is the thrill of the treasure hunt. Mike and Frank uncertain what goodies they will find in other people’s stuff.

Most often we see the team driving down the road building up the excitement for the days pick. They will pull up to an unassuming house or barn and after brief introductions, we head into the collector barn, garage, cellar or bunker to reveal most often a Hoarders Dream. 

Hoarders Delight

The parallel show to American Pickers is A&E show Hoarders that highlights the disease of hoarding. In this reality TV show, we visit a similar demographic of diseased individuals that may collect Americana or items of some monetary or sentimental value but more often than not are collecting trash.

Hoarders often surround themselves with items they feel are of great importance and will pile and live amongst their collectibles often at the expense of their well-being. 

It isn’t uncommon to see a hoarder’s home filled with what we commonly would call trash or recyclables piled often to the ceiling. When people on the show attempt to intervene in the lives of the hoarders removing the “collectibles” often is at the dismay of the hoarder.

I’m Not A Hoarder….Yet

What is all this shit? I’ll ask myself quite frequently. I’m certainly a collector of stuff, primarily musical and film equipment, movies, records and books, tools and clothing. 

I mostly wear the same 10–15 articles of clothing over and over again. My wife will take shirts I overwear and hide them in the back of the closet with hopes I’ll wear some of the other crap I have. Nope, I’m an emotional person and I like to wear the things I feel most comfortable in and therefore the infinite loop continues.

Two years ago I had to clean out my parents New Jersey home and pack 70 years of shit onto a moving truck headed to Florida. They were “downsizing” as we filled a 55-foot tractor-trailer worth of shit. Things they no longer felt fit into their lifestyle was donated or inherited by my family and friends. Truckloads of shit were regifted and donated over the months leading up to the sale. 

My Jeep Wrangler was filled weekly with precious heirlooms I’d drag home and attempt to find a space for. Fearing the wrath of God if I didn’t keep all the precious treasures.

Once down in Florida we unloaded entirely too much content into the newly built spacious retirement home. I saw the looks of dismay on my parent’s faces as we tried to find room to neatly put away all the crap. It was a perfect exercise of how to fit 10 pounds of shit in a 5-pound box. You can’t. 

Cluttered and disorganized was the immediate feeling as precious heirlooms were sequestered into the oversized two-car garage. My Mother made every attempt to surrounded my dying Father with his worldly possessions.

He died only a few short weeks later, inside his own prison of crap. Without much thought, we collected many of his items and began to donated, regift and discard carfuls of crap. 

Some items were of sentimental value so I would bring an empty suitcase to Florida and return with it full, building my own prison of crap. 

Mindfully Dehoarding

I began to question life and our time on this planet. Is collecting and not using items away we falsely extend our inevitable mortality? Possibly. 

As I look around at my collected existence I look at each item in a mindful moment. Why do I possess this item? Does it make me whole and complete? Is it a book that changed my life or a tool I can’t live without, or am I just fooling myself surrounded by instruments I don’t play or films I’ll never watch? 

Is the passing on of items we possess a purifying cleansing or will I suffer from detachment?

Yesterday I sold off a piece of equipment I’d been storing for 10 years. One day I would hook it back up, play with it and write the most transcending song. 

As I realize I’m lying to myself hiding behind the safety and comfort knowing these items are at my disposal anytime, the sense of immediacy and urgency is lifted. These items become anchors that darken our days and suck the creative spark of the spontaneity out of our souls. 

Zen And The Art Of Letting Go

It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. My quest for cleansing and purification starts with self-assessment as I’ll place my belonging before myself in their day of reckoning. Shall they stay or go? The release of their burden certain to heal, while the decision to keep the items shall force their use. 

The answers to the quest shall become clear as I believe the removal of clutter will fine-tune my body and mind as I prepare for my next adventures. Cameras will shoot images, books will be read and songs shall be sung. 

My body of work will become more purposeful and enlightening. My future shall not be unshadowed by the cloud of clutter and my money not wasted on holiday kitsch. Every item in my personal space must be purposeful and I must be complete. 

Healing Yourself Holistically

Photo by Michael Competielle

Today we set the clocks back for daylight savings and therefore we have an extra hour today. I’ve been working on creative writing projects and then I’m going to head outdoors. To embrace nature and connect with the world.

Fall is the time of year where the leaves are changing as we prepare for winter. The stunning hues of golds, reds, yellows, and oranges paint a picturesque vision into my soul. Taking time to embrace nature and what she has to offer.

The Essence of Time

I’m planning to manage my day wisely. One extra hour is hardly enough to achieve all of my goals. Mentally I prepare for the day by listing the tasks in sequential order based on importance. Eating well is of primary importance and so, therefore, may sure to have a hearty, healthy breakfast. Morning coffee is my fuel that plugs in my engine to move forward.

Creative writing is sort of like journaling. I may not go really really deep essentially because I fear what I may unearth. I’m taking the higher ground by pushing aside the past and disregarding being superfluous. My writing takes on a breath of its own as I’m mapping my daily thoughts.

My connection to my daily feeling and emotions allows me to check in on myself and verify if I’m going off the rails. Monitoring myself and being in touch with my priorities makes the remainder of the day’s events purposeful. I don’t spend much time on wasted motion.

Fuel Your Life

Good food for fuel and mental clarity prepares me for the unknown. I’ve recognized my triggers and attempt to distance myself from the offensive. The daily news, gossip, and shitty people that I previously allowed to taint my mood I’ve removed from my life.

No longer do I waste a precious moment dragged into the false narrative of the shallow and disconcerting. My time is exactly that, my time. Not to be abused or taken for granted by anyone. Where I thought I’d become more isolated, my time spent with those that honor the passage of time has become life-changing.

Mindfully Reclaiming My Life

I’ve realized that no matter what it is I’m doing it needs to be for me. I needed to become 100 percent selfish to put out the best version of myself. Instead of retracing the countless hours, days, months and years I wasted in a fetal attempt to please the dissatisfied, I moved on. No longer do I do anything for anyone unless I place myself first.

How can I be empathetic and mindful if I don’t place everyone else first? How the hell can you be completely engaged and present if you are there for yourself? We need to please ourselves before our masters.

Daily I embrace the inner workings of my mind and soul. I question my thoughts and nurture my growth to feel fulfilled. Selfishness achieves the ability to become present within the moment. Our internal demons are managed and life’s external forces we can keep in check. It is then when we can be at our best. Present at ease and adrift in the moment.

Photo by Michael Competielle

Ride Mother Natures Wave

I used to get infuriated at a contractor that worked for me. We would have work scheduled and he was a no show. I’d call him and his boss yelling and complaining and ruining my own Zen. And when I found out where the guy was I’d be angry for hours.

He would go surfing!!! I would be blowing a gasket as he would walk in a few hours late with this huge smile. He would eventually get to work and complete his tasks with a huge smile. Why? He was complete. He couldn’t change the weather but he could carve out the time to enjoy the moments when the waves were perfect.

Today is seasonably warmish. The temperature and precipitation is certainly out of my control. Now more than ever I’ve realized I need to drop what I’m doing to take the time to embrace this exact moment and ride the wave. The work and life’s priorities will still be there once I return. But this perfect day or those perfect waves. They may not.

Embrace the day, enjoy your extra hours and fuel your soul.

Appreciating Life By Celebrating The Dead

Photo by Michael Competielle

“There are three deaths: the first is when the body ceases to function.  The second is when the body is consigned to the grave.  The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”

An excerpt from Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

Breathing is life. When a child is born there is that sudden moment when they leave the safety of the womb and take that first breath. Irregular and short until their lungs fill with air, an essential requirement for life.

We hardly remember our first breath and fear the taking of our last and so therefore somewhere in between, we need to recognize the ever precious gift of life.

As I sit here and write I question my mortality and attempt to determine am I living life to my fullest potential? Listening to the words at my eulogy will it be said that I lived a fulfilling life? And what of my legacy? My children. My life’s work. Will it matter and shall it be remembered?

You can’t quit until you try
You can’t live until you die
You can’t learn to tell the truth until you learn to lie

Can’t breathe until you choke
You gotta laugh when you’re the joke
There’s nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive

Songwriters: Darren Jay Ashba / James Michael / Nikki Sixx
Life Is Beautiful lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Downtown Music Publishing
Photo by Michael Competielle

Many people I know are only half living. Their motions not dissimilar to a zombie on The Walking Dead. Lacking the ability to communicate honestly, living life vicariously through an Instagram feed.

Snapshots in time that will fade away if our experiences don’t promote a fulfillment to living. Our minds worry about what our friends will think, say and Tweet. #youralreadydead.

I’m not going to suggest I’m perfect as I am a work in progress. Sort of like pushing a boulder uphill, I’m advancing at a slow yet steady pace. Just like anyone else the second I stop pushing I run the risk of being crushed by that boulder. My own personal adjustments improve daily as I push myself forward, step by step.

Photo by Michael Competielle

Imagine you’re on a beautiful beach and you need to arrive at a spot far away in the distance. You can jump into your car and drive there. Expedient yet why the rush? What did you loose by speeding along that beach? The smell of the ocean, the feeling of the seas salts on your skin and in your hair, the radiating warmth of the beautiful sun.

Time wasted or time served? When I question where it is I’m going and how quickly I need to get there it is often daunting. Now image you had to write the narrative of the experience. Could you? Would you be able to tell an engaging story certain to inspire?

Life isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.

Imagine the destination is our death, and there we sit at the Day of Reckoning and retell the story of our journey. What would you have to say? Have you lived and loved and suffered?

I’m inspired by living while stacking the decks preparing for my death. I’ll breathe in deep and embrace the freshness of the air. The changing of the seasons I embrace and recognize and hope to see more.

With the passage of time I find I need to reassess my daily activities. What could I have spent more time enjoying and what could I move on from. The modern convenience of dishwashers and washing machines has changed who we are and how we function. Those activities used to be done collectively amongst family members and that time would also be spent in conversation.

Recently I wrote about writing memoirs and as I think back I’m not really that interested in pursuing the idea. Better yet to create an inspiring and engaging body of work. From films to photography to creative writing daily I’m working on my legacy. When I’m dead maybe no one will ever really care about my works however, I realize it’s a requirement for me to live.

As I reflect back on the bodies of work created by my influences I see a pattern. Each one started nowhere yet they pushed themselves to create masterpieces, and they lived, even to this day.

RIP David Bowie, Nikola Tesla, Stanley Kubrick, Ernest Hemmingway, Prince, Sun Tzu, General George Patton. May your names be uttered forever.

Survivalism And Why I’ll Be Willing To Die

Photo by Michael Competielle

Okay, this article is going to be a bit of a wild ride as I try to decipher how long I could or even would want to survive in a Post-apocalyptic world. I’m not going to make reference to what will actually cause said apocalypse as I don’t want to waste my creative process on the potential vulnerabilities of our existence. So let’s just assume the apocalypse has happened and it’s a shit show.

Okay so before you call me a dark and dismal dinkis let’s review some pretty harsh statistical realities. In the 19th century, there wasn’t any Country that had a life expectancy of over 40 years of age. Most people lived poorly, lacked medical knowledge and understanding of diseases.

Over the next hundred-odd years advancements in science, medicine and technology have almost doubled most of the World’s life expectancy. By the use of vaccinations, sterilization, surgical technologies, and preemptive medicine most populations are living longer than their ancestors.

Why I’m a Baby

Okay so before I single-handedly end modern civilaztion let me first discuss my absolute needs and explain why I’m a snob.

Every morning I wake up and eat a banana with my Good Seed toast with an avocado spread sprinkled lightly with Himalayan sea salt. My morning coffee I make with 100bpercent Arabica bean espresso roast I freshly ground and make into an Oat Milk latte.

Alright, I’m a snob and I can admit it. Anyhow, I digress. Where are the closest banana trees, coffee trees, avocado trees, Himalayan sea in the Northeast of America? You guessed it on the shelves in our stores. But where are they grown? Thousands of miles away.

Burning it Down, We Are All Gonna Die

Okay now let’s blow this shit up. A plague begins killing everyone as wildfires smoke out our atmosphere minimizing natural daylight. Our fiat money system collapses and fossil fuels are at a premium. Sort of like Madmax meets Children of Men.

Let’s just say our beloved iPhones and Alexa’s no longer function. When was the last time you looked at a paper map? How the hell do you put on a tourniquet and better yet how the hell do you even spell it without spell check?

Where do you get clean water from? How do you start a fire (no dipshit the answer isn’t a Zippo.) In all seriousness how will we survive without Charmin and hand sanitizer?

Okay, cue the godforsaken preppers and the bugout baggers. With basements stocked with irradiated water, canned turnips, and fucking Twinkies.

I would rather just die. Just to be clear I love life, my life, others’ lives, etc etc. I have the greatest respect for my life and daily do my best to maximize life’s experiences.

Okay back to the shit show. No social media, no nighttime news, as we have to resort back to morse code and smoke signals. What would this new world be like? What would we eat and how can we make our own version of Cheez Whiz?

So if you’re still following here the future without our modern conveniences of fresh food, heat, and shelter is ever so scary. So why the hell do we treat it all with complete disrespect?

Why do we insist on wasting the Earth’s natural resources? Do we really need all the plastic crap we purchase? I can guarantee in the Great Apocalypse we won’t be walking through Hobby Lobby’s and Michael’s stores in a quest for survival.

What are you going to carry in your survival backpack? A stack of Solo cups and plastic forks, or washable and sterilizable dishware and utensils.

How will you boil the river water you’ll need to drink. What about your adapting to a nomadic or agrarian lifestyle?

Save Our Planet

Without my morning coffee, I’m a miserable bastard, and if I go without my banana and avocado toast, my stomach growls. It’s with absolute confidence I’m certain it would only be a matter of days in the Post Apocalyptic world before I’d be voting myself off the island.

As I look at the life I currently live and the fruits of our Earth I enjoy I force myself to question where I can reduce waste and minimize my carbon footprint. For I’m certain I can not adjust to Post Apocalyptic life and so, therefore, I’ll need to figure out how to adapt to a sustainable present life.

Embracing Spontaneity By Discarding Life’s Presets

Photo by Michael Competielle

“Knobs and wires, parameters easily changed to create unique soundscapes once lost often impossible to replicate.”

Have you ever started writing the most amazing article, where every word feels just right in the assemblage? Your inner voice clear and detailed as you feel the rhythm of your thoughts translate to the computer screen. The genius of your work you’re certain will gain you a Best Selling Author title.

And then something happens, the data gremlin creeps into you’re computer and pulls the plug.

ddddrrrrreeeeewwwwuuuu you hear as your laptop goes into cardiac arrest and that godforsaken spinning beachball twirls around the page while your words are eaten like a starving Pacman. “WTF” you scream as you panic and hit every button and utter the only word that you can articulate “no, no, no” as you stare in horror at the screen like Max Renn in Videodrome.

Photo by Michael Competielle

“Save early and save often” my computer instructors would say. “Yeah yeah yeah, everything will be fine” I’d retort. Well, not this damn time. My brilliance diminished into the oblivion of my short term memory bank and a bunch of 1’s and 0’s amounting to zero-sum.

The Perfect Meal

Okay so maybe you’re not into modular synthesis or you’re one of those safety officer types that look both ways, doesn’t J-walk and covers their mouths with surgical masks when they have the sniffles. But I’ll guarantee your willingness to be calculated and rule-abiding tendencies can’t explain what happens when meals go wrong.

Okay, you marinated the ethically grown grass feed beef in certified organic Worcestershire sauce according to the latest Beef Afficiados Magazine’s top recipe. You observed the temperatures of your Mom’s Wolf stove with Dad’s digitally accurate to the nano-degree meat thermometer. The triple-ply All-Clad braising bathtub roasting pan slides into the oven and 45 minutes later. The meat just doesn’t taste right as the meat is tough and hard to chew. You eliminated all the variables and yet it still wasn’t quite right. Variables and life’s inconsistencies.

Shit Happens Bro

Okay, so what’s the point Mikey? As I’m certain I’ve lost everyone up to this point I with 100 percent certainty can say whatever the fuck I want.

Preprogrammed life sucks. Don’t do it. Forgo going to work for a great Corporation with great benefits and golden parachutes. Avoid buying into the false narrative of homeownership and 401k’s. Take some risks and have some adventures. Be spontaneous and whatever you do don’t be damn boring.

Join the startup and watch a business being built. If they succeed you’ll learn so much. If they fail, you’ll learn that too.

Don’t buy any furniture except used or Ikea. Anything else is a waste of cash.

Mindful Developments

I’m a work in progress however I’m currently selling off crap I own that I have hidden behind. Excuses for not being more creative and spontaneous. I’m not even close to achieving my goals but I will say it’s a refreshing feeling to move on and get rid of crap. I force myself to read web articles I’d otherwise save for another day. Or use the tools and equipment I previously wasn’t. And if I feel they are dull and uninspiring, I send them packing.

The culling of the herd of shit I’m hoping will bring me closer to the things I love and free me to be more adventurous as I embrace learning, experimenting and experiencing.

New connections and opportunities create a more complete and enlightened me. I’m modifying my lifestyle to allow for less guarantee and certainty that I’m thinking will create a more fulfilling life.

I’m feeling I can always go back to the safe path and follow in the footsteps of others, many of whom I see are sad, lonely and anxious. While not having an actual plan yields uncertainty on how I’ll move forward I feel it’ll necessitate the need to keep pushing on.

Daily I reflect back on my day. What did I photograph, write and experience? Could I sit down and tell an amazing story about my adventures? If not maybe it was another wasteful day, hiding behind my safety net.

A modular synthesizer with its knobs and wires lacks pre-programmed sounds. Putting a cable into a different signal path can yield new and unique sounds never witnessed. And if you don’t relish them at that moment, you’d better because if you turn one knob wrong and try to go back, you may get that sound but it may never be exacting. And actually you shouldn’t want that anyway. As new sounds and experiences are what makes us complete.

Finding Myself By Becoming Nomadic

Photo by Michael Competielle

Every morning I awaken with energy to make a change. I’ll try to make a difference in the world by questioning the status quo and attempting to make minor adjustments to my lifestyle to help save our planet.

My short drive to work I pass through small suburban developments of semi-manicured lawns and sidewalks. Some people will walk their dogs or go for a jog however just like me most everyone jumps into their cars and drives to work.

Very few homes including mine are even close to being carbon neutral. Our lawns and home designs don’t benefit our environment nor our needs beyond basic shelter. Gone are the agrarian days where our homes were also small farms where we would grow some fruits, vegetables and raise animals for food.

Prior to agrarian times, we lived a nomadic life. Traveling and foraging for foods to survive. For centuries various cultures survived living off the fruits of the land and their diets were based on the proximity to the foods available.

My favorite foods seem to come from warmer climates closer to the equator. Middle Eastern, Indian, Japanese, Peruvian foods and most importantly being a vegan all of those cultures have options.

My quest is to experience and witness how other cultures live and prosper. Can I witness and learn from the ambassadors of our land? Can I learn how the foods I love and enjoy are grown? Will I understand the supply chain of how those foods are transported to me in New Jersey?

Obtaining Enlightenment

I’m hoping that my travels will bring me to obscure places, guided by opportunities and happenstance. I’m hoping to learn new traditions and break bread with others after a day of wholesome hard work.

Would my soul become cleansed as I purify my mind? Will religious differences make more sense as I experience them in the environment? Can I expand my mindful meditation and enrich my existence?

As a nomad, you’d need to limit the number of personal possessions you travel with. What would my priorities actually be? Clothing, ways to document my travels, and ways to make a living.

How long would it take to obtain enlightenment is hard to guess however I visualize the process will begin the moment I leave to get on the plane. My nomadic travels are my goal and the narrative of my future.

Writing To The Picture

Using Original Photography For Inspiration

Photo by Michael Competielle


The Chinese proverb “One picture is worth ten thousand words” in reality wasn’t a Chinese proverb at all. The phrase has been modified and misrepresented over the past hundred years in marketing campaigns and advertisements. However, if you stare closely at a well-taken photograph your imagination can run amuck as you fabricate the narrative.

Earlier this year I was challenged by a friend of mine to write an original Haiku per day for 100 days. We were both successful and we are separately each working on a self-published Haiku book with 100 original Haiku along with 100 original photographs.

With absolutely no experience nor qualifications to actually write one poem with any level of quality, I had to cheat. As plagiarism is not my style I decide to write to a visual and that visual was one of the thousands of photographs taking up space in my iPhone. When I was writing I would look into my photos and find an inspiring image and begin to write.

The words would begin to flow easily as I was just telling a story while attempting to focus on the 5-7-5 syllable rules. My creativity increased as I began to see Haiku in everything and I experimented more not only with my words but also my photography.

While I worked on my poems I began to develop and understand the rhythm that makes our world function. Our breathing, heartbeat, and each step we take, a rhythmic sequence. I attempted to capture the inner nuances within the image as my imagination would run wild.

Narrative Writing

After completing 100 original Haiku, my creativity was in overload. A new challenge was required that could fuel my desire to write while expanding on my photography. Without any actual requirements on the article topics, duration and purpose I decided to write about my passions for sound, design, learning and self-improvement. Leaving the door open to essential ramble on about any topic of interest I needed to hone myself into a lane and kind of stay there.

The challenge was to now each write 100 articles in 100 days. Certainly, a lot more work than 17 syllables, as we needed to have a sense of structure and conclusion. 24 hours to conjure up an original concept, write, edit and publish as we decided our vulnerability would exhume honest and pure writing.

My decision again to write to images that I already had acquired was helpful in saving time and keeping on task. My decided style would be writing in prose based on actual life events while attempting to be clear, concise and direct. Some days I would be serious and businesslike in my writing as other times I would be a bit more abstract and whimsical.

As I’d scroll through my phone I’d search for the best images I had taken. Images that had a builtin narrative I could expeditiously extract and attempt to detail. Often I would spend my time on details I felt were an expansion on the sense of sight as I’d explain sounds, tastes or smells.

My writing based on my recollection of the experience and the emotion I felt while being captured at that moment. The photo is merely a frozen fragment of time, captured in a split second, a story that can change in the blink of an eye or the click of the shutter.

Ode to Film

I’m only halfway through my narrative writing project as my creative juices continue to flow and I embrace the challenge. With the finish line in sight, I’ve been contemplating my next advances in the realm of creativity and self-discovery. My mind is replaying the sheer brilliance of my favorite films.

With 24 frames of images per second and the average feature film having a 90-minute duration the potential for a filmmaker to tell his tales dwarfs those of the photographer. 12,960 individual visual opportunities to mold a story and develop characters I find my love is for films that leave the narrative up to the individual viewer’s imagination. Filmmakers such as Lynch, Kubrick, Fincher, and Aronofsky have all made contemporary films discussed and debated by film aficionados.

Storylines and characters that are mysterious and intriguing yet believable. My favorite films such as Shudder Island, The Shining, Mulholland Drive and Pi have me constantly questioning what I believed to be true and what is left up to the viewer’s interpretation.

The Book Is Always Better

So why is it the book is always better than the film? The imagination of the reader would be my best guess. We would assume the writer was clear and definitive as they wrote the details into their literary piece. The threads of the fabric woven together to hopefully leave just enough uncertainty that allows our creative minds to race.

Did the author have a visual? Why have so many great writers traveled and lived in unique and interesting places? For inspiration, experience and the visual, I’d venture to guess.

So if you’re looking to expand your creativity in your writing and storytelling try using a visual. A still image locked in your mind’s time machine. A fragment of sand in father times eye. Visualize, photograph and write.