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

Haiku

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.

Quality Of Life In The Resurgence of City Dwelling

Photo by Michael Competielle

Within the past year, I’ve traveled to New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Tampa, Orlando, St. Petersburgh, Jersey City, and Pittsburgh. With New York ranking the largest city based on population at 8,601,186 and a density of 11,056 people per sq km most other US cities are substantially less densely populated.

Traveling to a multitude of cities within a one year period allowed me to witness the massive growth and revitalization of the urban environment. By increasing the density of a city, public transportation, infrastructure requirements, and availability of jobs is increased.

With an active expansion of mixed-use redevelopment projects, an increase in the construction of greenbuilding and an expansion of the gig/ freelance economy there has never been a better time to live in a modern urban setting.

Photo by Michael Competielle

With the speed and saturation of internet-based business models, the modern workforce in the tech, design, creative sectors has the opportunity to work in non-traditional office settings. With a flexible workforce and businesses that have stepped up to the modern business platform such as We Work to allow for temporary office spaces, conference rooms, and amenities that allow businesses to remain agile.

Young educated professional workers have modified what is a priority as wages have remained stagnant while costs of living and debt are on the rise. Flexibility of a city environment always workers to jump from low paying service jobs to better paying freelance gigs. As we’ve reduced the need for ownership and stocking of large quantities of personal possessions offset by the ability to rent cars, scooters, clothing and real estate on a short term temporary basis our space requirements are reducing.

Working in certain markets allows the flexibility to deviate from the traditional 9-5 job and allow a concentration on quality of life.

Not following in the footsteps of our parents, we are trading in garages and lawnmowers for pilates and cafe lattes.

Money can be earned easily with as little as an internet connection and a basic computer. Living in a modern urban setting has many perks of cultural diversity, large varieties of resturants, clothing stores and services such as laundry and grocery delivery.

Photo by Michael Competielle

Most large cities have designated an area for outdoor craft and farmers markets the brings farm-fresh items in the urban setting.

Traveling around cities such as Boston and New York is relatively easy with the sheer magnitude of transportation options such as buses, cabs, Uber and Lyft, subways, scooters and best of all on foot.

As we move closer to close the gap on environmental issues of suburban sprawl and recognize the damaging effects of tract homes, manicured lawns, and populated highways, urban-dwelling becomes a wiser choice. As we deplete the supply of artificially inexpensive fossil fuels we will be forced to devise aggressive plans to revitalize urban sects to create increased density required to minimize waste and maximize our infrastructure.

As the world moves closer to AI taking over medial tasks, their will be a necessary reduction in workforce that will assumably reduce wages and the amount of required jobs.

As we race towards the downward spiral, we will need to reevaluate the needs of the excess waste in housing sizes, travel distances to jobs and goods and services.

Daily I‘m working towards expanding my ability to generate a passive income stream form various business ventures. While clearly uncertain which model will become the most sustainable and lucrative, I continue to ponder the concept.

Taking Steps Forward And Leaving Your Fears Behind

Photo by Michael Competielle

How do we determine if something is alive? “Is it moving?” “Is it breathing” in that fearful curiosity voice we all had as a kid. If we are moving are we dying or dead?

One of my many vocations is I’m a Sound Designer and Editor. I edit, clean and create sounds to extend the suspension of disbelief in a motion picture. The irony is if it’s not moving, it doesn’t make a sound. It feels odd and unsettling to add sound to objects that aren’t moving on the screen. Add some movement and we open the possibility to add an effect, no matter how slight to accentuate the movement.

As we age many of us slow down, our movement reduced as we tire or lack desire. There is a sense of safety not leaving our warm beds and cozy couches. The evil and fearful world outside our safety zone. What lurks in the dark? 

In a horror film, it’s an evil monster or a possessed spirit. Both amazing possibilities for sound design yet horrible excuses to not step outside. That evil monster is our fears. Fear of being judged. A fear of taking risks. 

Some mornings I awaken in fear, possibly from a bad dream or an unsettled issue I need to resolve. My heart rate will rise and anxieties will slowly creep in like the dark damp fog in a supernatural film. 

But what do I know that others may not? I’m comfortable here, in my fears. Why? Because I’ve been here before. In the dark alone and scared. When I stay frozen in the fear, it lurks towards me, it’s coldness surrounding me like a plague. If I breath easy and control my breath my chances of survival increase. You can’t die if your breathing right?

With each controlled breath I feel a calming overcome my body and mind and my fears, they may still be there but I slowly step away. The sound of my footsteps i hardly heard. 

Once I reach my point of safety many steps away, I can breathe easier, as my confidence returns. I’ve chosen to live and not have my fears strangle my movement.


So now let’s just image your struggling with life. Breathing in and addressing your fears have you petrified within your own existence. What happens? Fears lead to anxieties and anxieties can lead to depression. And there you are, motionless and probably not even recognizing you are actually breathing. 

Generally breathing is an autonomous bodily function however once fear and stress enter the equation we can have difficulty breathing. We then must manually control our breath to work ourselves out of the situation and return to normalcy. 

By recognizing our breath and rhythm we can control our emotions and regain control allowing our body to take back over.


So let’s imagine we have an interest in mountain climbing. The thoughts of the amazing mountain summit fuel our desires and we encourage ourself to the experience. But then that voice steps in, the voice of reason? Hardly, it’s that voice of fear. Everything that can go wrong will. What if I lose my footing and fall? What if the oxygen isn’t enough? What if I get tired?

Excuses we make to not have to face our fears. The fear of failure or falling or whatever can happen walking from your warm bed to the toilet. These are all excuses we make to not face the fear.

In our fear movie, our protagonist is afraid of heights, afraid of leaving the house, afraid of falling. Yet we are all rooting for this character, an audience of hundreds watching, hold their breath as our character takes steps to overcome the fear.

We suit-up in our hiking boots and shorts, pack our sack and head outside. Slowly at first, we may walk the neighborhood to feel comfortable with our pack, evaluating our energy levels, water consumption, and feelings in our body.

The first day we may feel tired or unsteady. If we stop at the first signs of struggle, we are right back where we started. Nowhere. Yet if we embrace our pains and laugh out our fears, every step and every breath will increase in strength in selfconfidence.

So our protagonist trains daily for her upcoming trek. Fears still exist as they never actually go away, we only leave them behind as we move forward. With each confident step forward our fears are left behind watching us take each confident step.

In our fear movie, if we wanted to show the confidence of our protagonist the camera would follow the character. The scene on the screen would be a shot requiring camera movement. This movement is the same movement of our character as we are as one.

However, if we care to show that our character is triumphant, we will leave the camera stationary as our protagonist moves away and leaves her fears behind. 

Getting up and facing our fears and with confidence walking away is the strongest lesson I’ve learned in self-improvement. Controlling my breath and emotion is still a challenge yet what I seek is the comfort in knowing that I’m confident enough to take on risks, try new things and make movement my goal.

Venture Capitalists Aren’t Building Companies They Are Building Return On Investments

Photo by Michael Competielle

A few years ago I was reading an article comparing Patagonia and North Face. Both companies manufacture similar outdoor winter wear products with a similar price point and customer base. Both companies are turning profits however North Face’s annual sales far exceed Patagonia’s.

North Face is a subsidiary of VF Corporation which is a publicly traded company that owns 30 odd apparel and footwear brands. 

North Face’s Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report noted 9 percent growth, over 22 percent return on capital and $3 billion dollars of returned to shareholders from dividends and share repurchases. 

Patagonia is a private benefit corporation otherwise known as a B Corporation meaning a company thatincludes positive impact on society, workers, the community and the environment in addition to profit.

Patagonia’s 2018 Annual Benefit Corporation Report notes “Each year, we commit one percent (1%) of our annual net revenues to support nonprofit charitable organizations that promote environmental conservation and sustainability”.

Patagonia is a 46-year-old company and known as an activist company. Back in 2011 on Black Friday, Patagonia’s marketing campaign placed labels in their coats “Don’t Buy This Jacket” suggesting to customers they don’t buy the companies products unless you absolutely needed a new coat. Patagonia recognized a 30% percent increase in sales with a belief the increase was the winning over the competitor’s customer base.

Patagonia also created a buy back program called Worn Wear. The concept is to wear, repair and share in items you already own instead of buying new.

As an educated consumer, my purchases are generally researched and calculated. My decisions are based on many variables as I search for brands of companies with philosophies that I can align with. 

The environment is a top priority for me as I’m recognizing the effect we are having on our planet from companies and people that aren’t concerned with our future. Businesses are built to profit, that I can align with however certainly not at the expense of the world environment, workforce or excessive taxation. Corporate welfare privatizes profits and socializes losses at the expense of the taxpayer who also is the consumer.

Large corporations lobby politicians for tax breaks, leniency on rules and laws governing wages, benefits and environmental impact for only one purpose, artificial growth and maximizing profits. 


Working as a Brand Designer with a new startup company we are designing the core values of our brand. Listing the individual threads of what will ultimately become the fabric of the companies mission and philosophy we are researching companies that align with our own personal beliefs and recognizing their struggles to close the gap on sustainability. 

As we recognized the current status of the global business environments challenge to remain competitive and profitable we also see a pattern of the abusers. Cutting corners, removing quantity and quality from goods and services while devouring up the competition and creating conglomerates that are too large to fail all hiding behind a welfare system designed to absorb the risk. 

Daily I challenge myself to evaluate my personal impact on the environment and things I can do to change. My distance traveled to work has grossly diminished based on 8 years ago and I’m evaluating the products I buy, upcycle, recycle and repurpose. I’ve stopped shopping in stores fully of kitsch and buying memorable trinkets. Instead, I try to purchase Buy It For Life products that may not last an actual lifetime but certainly can be repaired, handed down or resold.

I’ll remember places visited and experienced by taking photographs and writing about the experience. The sharing of the experience through communication far exceeds the memory of a plastic souvenir thrown into a drawer.

For products that I can not buy it for life, I try to extend the life expectancy of those products by no longer discarding clothing or shoes due to imperfections, I’ll instead try to stretch out a bit more use out of the products until they are fully expended.

I revitalize old buildings to give them a new life while minimizing the waste of discarding the structure. I’ll repair items to extend their life and donate or gift away items with limited resale value.

Items such as clothing, books, and household goods have low to no resale value due to the artificial capitalist economy we have created. Cheap products and services are being sold while risks and losses are bring absorbed through creative accounting and taxation loopholes.

More billionaires are being created annually as employee benefits, wages, retirement funds, and job security have diminished to record lows. Our product choices have also been grossly decreased as we find out about large conglomerates who own the majority of the products that are on our shelves. Startups and market innovators are bought up and absorbed into just another product line in these already obese corporations.

These companies work on tight margins and maximize sales by increasing their market shares. Many corporations product lines or acquired companies are designed specifically to lose money to drive down the price of goods and services forcing competitors to cut corners for survivalism.

Our single line of defense is to research the companies we purchase from. Learn from actual consumers about their personal experiences on purchased goods and services and we must create our own standards of what we as the customer are willing to pay and receive in return. We must flock to companies that align with those beliefs and place a stakeholder in their future.

The future of our planet relies purely on our active participation in revitalizing our planet by minimizing waste and buying sustainable and renewable resources. Collectively we must look to where we can take a firm stance on global warming, pollution, reduction in quality of life and natural resources.

“We can revitalize the Earth by making gradual changes based on products we use and how we treat the waste. Our biggest voice is in the boycotting of products that do not align with our core beliefs and in turn either doing without or buying from companies that take a truthful stab at saving our planet”.

Pinpoint A Moment By The Separation Of Space and Time

Photo by Michael Competielle

Our world is a connected place, every individual person is a blip on the World radar moving about in a common cosmic universe. Experiences are influenced by our emotions based on the present time and space.

Rereading a book or listening to a favorite song can often invoke feelings and emotions from past experiences as we can transcend backward in time. Based on your present mood and level of focus the revisit can unearth new discoveries and connections often unheard or unread. We will frequently find new meaning and understanding as we have expanded our knowledge through experiences and personal growth.

What variable in time discrepancy offsets the fabric of connection?Where exactly is the wrinkle in time that creates the missed connection? Decisions we make writes not only our history but the history of others. Inclusion in situations influence the course of others lives and more often than not purely by happenstance. 

Fragments of data I’ll file into my mental memory banks stored like a scientists notes. Compartmentalizing content I’ll keep the metadata available for future exploration and hope the content will expand in concrete understanding. 

As I mature and maintain positive forward motion looking back only to see progress and a refusal to dwell on the past, I comfort new discovery. New experiences map a new and unique future guiding me to another space and time. 

My interests in music, film, sound and design are now almost a circadian rhythm of connections as I’m close to closing the infinite loop. What’s new is frequently old, a fusion of old concepts rediscovered and reborn into a new being.

As I walk around expanding my connection to nature I’ll often recognize I’m on hallowed ground. Prior to the creation of a sub development in a suburban town, the land was a tree farm, prior to that forest and a Battleground of the Revolutionary War and prior to that home to the Lenape Indians. We are only separated by time as space or place is remains consistent.

Photo by Michael Competielle

Only through conversation and discovery do we unearth the individual fibers used to weave the pattern of our existence. Only with an open mind and exploratory mindset can we expand our horizons to absorb new discoveries. We shall never stop learning nor discovering. Reading, writing and photographing fragments of time are only missed connections unless we defragment our data-dumps into buckets of commonality and make connections.

Patterns will emerge as we better understand our minds content. As we cleanse our minds of junk files, the reactions of others or our superfluous content allowing room to fill the void of self discovery and conscious understanding.

Freedom to create, design and experience. To use our own connections to expand our minds and our lives and share with others to change their experiences in the fragment of time.