The Time To Start Anything Is Right Now

Photo by Michael Competielle

Time is a created thing. To say “I don’t have time” is to say “I don’t want to”.

Lao Tzu

One of the most powerful tools we have is our ability to learn through reflection. By learning to reflect we can check in with ourselves from time to time and perform a self-assessment. Are we still on track for our goals? What have we learned over the passage of time and how will we use this knowledge to continue on. 

Life is the journey without a definitive destination. If we feel we have reached the end what makes us continue on? For me, it’s the one variable in which I can not control. The passage of time.

It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. Steve Jobs

At what point did Steve Jobs recognize our most precious resource? At the beginning of his quest or and the end? Had he relieved he was at the end of the journey and out of time? Was he reflecting back on his life and wishing he hadn’t wasted those precious moments that he will never get back?

Everyday, I perform a self-reflection. Most days I don’t have the time for a full reassessment of my entire life and so, therefore, I perform an abridged daily assessment. Am I still on target to reach my goals? Have I maximized my day and lived it to the fullest? Did I learn anything new and most importantly was I present in the moment? 

Being present in the moment is the practice of mindfulness. The meditative qualities of being present and fully immersed in the moment maximizes the experience. If we are mindful we are focused on this exacting moment in time. Time stands still and it’s only then when we have total control. With complete focus, we can overcome the passage of time. 

By taking a mental photograph of this finite moment and recognizing every detail we can overcome the obstacle of time by forcing it to stand still. Checking in with our feeling and emotions and recognizing what experiences make us feel good we begin to learn how to get ourselves back to this euphoric state. 

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. Albert Einstein 

Image if everything happened in our lives at once. Every amazing moment was overshadowed by our darkest of days. We would be standing in the eye of the storm watching life’s events whirl around us in a cyclonic fury. 

Which moment do we capture? What photograph do we take to remember this moment? It’s that blurry picture that we have to delete. 

Time is Linear

As the blocks of time pass us by we have the opportunity to learn for the past to design the future. We can’t go back and so therefore as time continues on the separation of events allows us to ride the waves of emotion and experiences. If we don’t use the power of a linear timeline everything will happen in our lives at once as we worry about the future by living in the past while missing the present. 

Stopping time in this exacting moment and reflecting we look to see where we have been and right to see where we are going. Okay, so what happens right now? This is that moment where we have complete control. What are we doing right now?

Right now I’m writing an article about time. Time hasn’t stood still as I just looked over st my clock however I feel as though it has. The past 30 minutes has generated hundreds of words of text that will be about maximizing my time. The past a faded memory and the future is how long can I write before I’m going to be late for work. This moment is the only moment that matters as I furiously type to articulate my thoughts.

This moment in time is mine. The outside world remains outside and that cyclonic fury is a distant blur. For I’m sitting in the eye of the storm like a lotus. Present in my moment and ignoring the distractions. When this moment in time passes so will the storm. The wreckage it has left behind I can not prevent. It’s within that moment I can only focus on how to repair from the damage and continue on my path.

Leaving the Wreckage Behind

When all we have is this moment and we see that the wreckage of the past has poisoned our present and will modify our futures we have to overcome the wreckage by leaving it all behind. Standing up we dust ourselves off and continue on our journey. Destination unknown as we travel on. 

That storm is in the past in which we can reflect on. Learn from the experience as we concentrate on this moment. Time is ticking yet each moment in time matters. Our power of being present and in a mindful state will maximize our life’s experiences. 

Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.

George Orwell

Mindfulness is the total control of the Now. The present moment in time. Our past is behind us and her lessons we have learned and extracted the fabric of our future. We have planted the seeds of our destiny in which we plan to live. The future is in our control when we take control of this present moment. Focused and understanding the meaning of the passage of time and how we can slow it down and accomplish our goals and live our lives to their potential. 

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

Andy Warhol

How Practicing Empathy Is Saving Our Planet

Photo by Michael Competielle

“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” — Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

Of all the lessons I’ve learned in life, nothing has been more rewarding and life-changing then practicing empathy. Seeing the world through another person’s eyes and understanding their perspective. Recognizing their feelings and emotions while we share in the experience. The development of likemindedness and mindful closeness.

Empathy can be practiced on anything or anyone. From people to animals and from objects to our planet. If we place ourselves into the minds and emotions of others and learn from their perspective. 

Photo by Michael Competielle

Looking at our planet and the impact we have on her future has been the largest and most impactful way I’ve been able to practice empathy. That is not to say I don’t listen to other’s feelings and experience their emotions. What it means is though I can make an impact in that specific situation or relationship the larger contributions are from my daily decisions made on foods I eat, items I purchase, trash I produce and environment I hurt. 

As consumers, we have the power to become informed about the products we purchase and consume. Concepts such as Meatless Mondays or skipping the bag at the checkout have helped pave the way to us making environmentally conscience decisions. Imagine the impact of using one less bag or one less cheeseburger or one less gallon of gas.

Photo by Michael Competielle

My practicing of empathy starts with my morning latte made with plant-based oat milk. It’s been many years since I’ve had animal milk in my diet. Partially for my health, partially for the environment and most importantly for the empathy of the milk-producing animals that live treacherous lives in often horrifying conditions forced to lactate for human consumption. 

Living Life As A Pig

No longer do I eat breakfast meats like sausages or bacon after looking into the eyes of a pig and seeing his soul. Content with his life, happily living. His intelligence and personality were his pride. 

As I visited farms where the animals I consumed almost daily were being raised I began to have a connection to them. Looking at them as a living, breathing being that had feelings and emotions just like I did. Their hearts were beating pushing blood through their veins and each breath made their chests heave. No longer were the animal’s burgers on a plate or slabs of flesh in shrink wrap, they were life. A body, mind, and soul. Who was I to take that life or eat its meat?

Photo by Michael Competielle

Practicing Empathy

As I’ve extended my practice of empathy on animals and our planet there doesn’t seem to be anywhere that we can’t be mindful of others. From the waste in packaging, purchasing of single-use plastic products and misunderstandings of the environmental impacts of our actions, empathy can be used in every scenario. 

Yesterday as I helped destroy the environment all in the name of curb appeal, I thought of the fuel I was wasting in my leaf blower, collecting the leaves to be removed by our town for compositing, only to bring the compost back them in spring in the form of mulch. What a moron I am for caving into this infinite loop of destruction. The leaves are a part of a natural cycle providing warmth to plants and trees in the winter and nourishment in the spring and summer.

Making Decisions

As I would love to tell you that I know the secrets to save the planet I do not. Avoidance of single-use plastics and paper goods is currently almost impossible. I’m still driving a car, mowing a lawn and drinking water from gallon jugs. I’ve recognized my shortcomings and work daily to have empathy for our environment and how to minimize the damage.

Having empathy for living beings has changed my philosophy on my priorities and modified my lifestyle. I research companies in which I buy from as I try to support companies that prioritize their employees as well as the environment. Companies that care for the people who work for them and take an aggressive stance on the impact their products have on our planet are exercising empathy.

Each time I touch a new product I think of the people that created it. Not only the packaging but the message that they are trying to convey. If they are thinking through the supply chain with a mindful consideration of what message they are putting out to the world. It makes sense to listen.

Words are only words until we take action. Action is only valid if we truly can understand the impact those actions have. I’ve vowed to no longer eat animal-based products or their byproducts. My diet is solely plant-based and shall remain as such.

Plants Have Feelings Too

A friend of mine recently reminded me that plants have feelings too. This has absolutely been proven and something I believe. So how do I eat plant-based products while still practicing mindfulness?

The answer is simple. Plants give themselves away without dying in the process. Remove the fruits from any tree. Does it die? Nope. Removed the leaves from any plant. Will it die? Nope. Will these plants drop their leaves and fruits to give to other living things as they continue in the balance of the circle of life. Absolutely. Does the plant feel sadness or anxieties in the exchange? Doubtful.

I’m asking everyone to stop eating meat? No, I asked everyone to practice mindfulness and empathy. You will make your own decisions from there. The planet will only be saved by people understanding the impacts of our decisions and being mindful of our actions.

Write Your Own Eulogy And Live That Life

Photo by Michael Competielle

We only have one chance at life. Our time is often wasted with unfulfilling mundane tasks and toxic people. Freeing yourself to live your life to the fullest should be your single most concern.

Over the years I have written a few eulogies. One was incredibly detailed and vibrant as I was able to emphasize the amazing life my friend had lived, however, another eulogy that I wrote was sad and incomplete as I struggled to find where this person’s life goals had been fulfilled.

“He was a great father, son and a harder worker.”

Utter horseshit and if anyway says anything like that at my funeral you have my permission to stab them in the eyeball with your car keys (assuming they still have car keys when I croak, or even cars, or even people for that matter).

My Eulogy

Every day I awaken with the thought “If today is my last, will I have regrets?” The answer is “hell yes” as I’m certain most people would agree. However, it isn’t because I regret the past. The past already happened so I give it the great “bon voyage and fuck off.” We can’t change that shit. What we do control are our present and our future.

I’ve been a son, grandson, father, brother, teacher, student and blah blah fucking blah. Just to be clear nobody cares not even me. What we do care about is the quality of those situations and how we interacted with each person.

An amazing friend once told me of an old proverb “the best day to plant a tree is 20 years ago, or today.” And therefore I daily plant the trees which will grow and nurture my future for as many years as I have left.

My eulogy will list my accomplishments as I work daily to reach them. Writer, philosopher, artist, filmmaker, craftsman, yogi, guru, photographer, pornstar. (I always squeeze that one in as a guy can dream). None of which I’m not working on in some capacity to enrich my life and enlighten everyone I come into contact with.

So my mental eulogy mentions all of these qualities and my backlog of works will be the proof. I will have written books, made more films, written more poetry and become a yogi. How did I get there? I started 20 years ago…or today.

You are reading article number 78 of 100. You are looking at one of over 50k pictures I have guesstimated I’ve taken. Is it my best article or best photo? If I die today it most certainly will be. Is there room for improvement? 100 percent and that’s what I work on daily.

You Are Writing Your Eulogy Everyday

I make it an important part of my day to randomly stop and ask colleagues, friends, coworkers, and family the most important question of them all. The only thing that actually matters. “How do you feel?” It floors most people and the first time or two you often get lame answers. “Fine”. How about fine isn’t fucking good enough. Ask me how I’m doing. Anyone that knows me knows that “I’m living the dream”. Am I? You bet your ass I am. Why you ask.

Because I work daily on my own personal development and goals. I’m going to get to where I need to be because I’ve designed my destiny. Do I have specific plans? Nope. I don’t generally do the same things twice. If I do I modify the sequence and mix it up. I don’t make concrete plans, I don’t follow rules and I read directions backward. Why? Because I like to see what direction the path takes me.

My eye is on the prize as I’m working diligently to learn, develop, create and just breathe. Life is what we make it. Shit is going to happen however if you are on a specific course, you can modify and adjust as your goals have already been set.

If it all ends today, so be it. It’s out of my control, however, when you hear my eulogy there won’t be a question that I was everything I had hoped to be. Possibly just a little sapling in the shadows of the future me that never will have the chance to materialize, but I’ll be damned if I don’t daily fertilizer myself with the beliefs I’ll get there. Some how..some day.

If it all ends today I’ll see the rest of you rebels in hell. Man will I have some stories to tell you. And if we live on realize we are still headed to the same place but my backlog of stories will continue to be mounting.

Today is the best day of my life and today I’m Living the Dream.

Michael Competielle

Stop Asking The Wrong Questions Trying To Get The Right Answers

Photo by Michael Competielle

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them 

Albert Einstein

The quest for knowledge and finding solutions to problems is a lifelong endeavor. We start off young and ignorant to the outside world as we begin to experience life and its many obstacles. As a child, we often would ask the question “why?” With anticipation the answers to the question are simple. 

As we become older it is assumed that we become wiser. We believe it is through education and experiences however some people we recognize truly excel. They have all of the answers and have risen to the top, riding that wave of life. 

Why is it these certain people always have the answers and seem to be fulfilled while you feel hollow and empty? What makes a brilliant mind? I’d say a great thinker.

On determining the proper question If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes. 

Albert Einstein

Questioning The Question

We all have those people in our lives, you know the people with a hundred questions that never listen to your answer. They just barrel on with more questions not only ignoring your response but answering their own questions with premeditated answers. You’ll see a smile on their face as they walk away feeling contentment. 

As they feel complete and resolved you feel confounded in how little time people spend thinking and more importantly articulating well thought out questions. 

“You can increase your problem-solving skills by honing your question-asking ability.” — Michael J. Gelb

Confucius, Plato, Einstein, Aristotle, Lao Tzu, and Pythagoras were all known to be great thinkers. And all great thinkers ask brilliant questions. 

So why do so many people struggle with asking the right questions? Because they want to hear the answer they already believe

Great Minds Think Like 

Insecure people spend most of their lives attempting to find security. They will surround themselves around the safety net of like-minded people while having conversations that corroborate their insecurities. They’ll feel better asking baited questions which are reciprocated with shallow reassuring answers. 

The questions aren’t really questions as they are just statements of misdirection. As we stand in front of our peers and repeat to questions while awaiting comforting encouragement, we never really receive valid answers. 

Asking questions we already know the answer to does not help in our self-development. Asking for answers to questions we can’t answer ourselves is the first step to enlightenment. 

Answering Our Own Questions

If you have to ask superfluous questions you’ve already lost. Honest assessment and communication within yourself are a perfect opportunity for obtaining truthful answers. Asking someone else “Am I fat?” When you damn well know you are while awaiting the kind emotionally intelligent answer “You? No way, you look amazing” has manipulated the answer you want to hear even though you actually know the answer is false. 

Why bother asking the question? Does the artificial dopamine rush from a manipulative lie actually make you feel better? Nope. You know you are overweight and out of shape. So how to get to the right answers? Ask the right questions. Simple right?

What Are The Right Questions

Okay, you recognize you’re out of shape. Diets and exercise cause you anxiety. As you make a mental list of options you know won’t work you triangulate onto a possible solution you believe could work. Now reask your question. 

“I’m overweight and out of shape. I was thinking of taking a yoga class and try a new juicing diet. What do you think?”

Honest questions yield honest answers and you are well on your way there. Every day I ask myself questions and attempt to give myself honest answers. When I hit a question I can’t answer or I need to expand on a theory I’ll formulate a well-articulated question that can easily be answered with little objectivity. 

Asking Why

When we are in touch with our thoughts and processed the information to a point where we feel we fully understand things the most valuable question is that of the child. Why?

Why do I have to go to work? Why am I maintaining this toxic relationship? Why am I wasting my time making others happy? Why do I not get satisfaction from (insert statement here.)

As I’m designing my future my time is spent accessing current situations and asking “Why?” When the answer is clear and concise I continue to follow the existing path. However, when the answer is met with murky waters and frustration, I move far away from those scenarios. My life has aligned with a clearer path to fulfillment as my questions are easily answered with two words.

Why?…. For Me….

Understand By Supporting Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, And Free Expression

Photo By Michael Competielle

Some days I just need to check in with myself. I pride myself on ignoring the evening news and hardly ever reading my daily New York Times subscription of curated articles. The news depresses me as I feel helpless within this modern society. However, there are areas where I feel I can learn to understand and make a positive impact.

For all of my life, I’ve been friendly with various types of people and love to lend a non-judgemental ear in an attempt to understand perspectives. Gender, sexual preference, race are not distinguishing factors to characterize who we are because what we are is human.

Humans are an imperfect species as we have tortured and killed each other, and isolated those we chose to spare. Our success as a species and lack of empathy has isolated nations and ravaged neighborhoods.

Our breeding of hate and separation has been passed down through the generations until it has become the poison of our thoughts and toxins to our tongues. Closing our eyes and ears to the ignorant is not an excuse as not speaking up only condones the hate.

Photo by Michael Competielle of Fierce Pussy Artwork

The Hate That We Breed

Generations have stood silent as horrible atrocities have been bestowed on people for being different. But why? What do we fear and why do we hate?

Over the years I’ve learned as I’ve questioned and I’ve accepted as I become enlightened. Who am I too chose what is right or wrong is based on another religion, skin or non-binary gender identity.

Many of my best friends and biggest inspirations have crossed gender barriers as they have attempted to obtain knowledge and acceptance. If we as people decided to love and accept with an open mind and let people be whomever they want to be this world would be an amazing place.

The Choice Is Yours

Photo by Michael Competielle

Understanding and being in touch with our own emotions and feelings is a unique power we possess as humans. As we raise our families and teach each other to love and respect others as we expect ourselves to be loved. How lucky are the ones that are born and die knowing our identities and living every day in our own unique ways?

Some people aren’t so lucky as many are born just not feeling quite right. They question their identity and seek answers to questions many refuse to speak of. We owe ourselves the right to decide where we feel comfortable and complete. We owe each other this right to choose without judgment.

Photo by Michael Competielle

I’m a middle-class white American straight male. It’s doubtful anyone has it better than me. I’ve got the world by the balls and can essentially do as I please. It’s with the power that I was born with that I’ve made the decision to educate myself and share my knowledge. To question the status quo and be supportive of our brothers, sisters, gender-neutral, non-binary and gender-fluid friends.

Hate is a learned response and through education that teaches truth and understanding, we can stop the hate. With compassion by listening, we can learn to understand the perspective that will change the fabric of our future. Collectively we will remain as one and ensure that future generations have the ability to modify their lifestyles as they see fit.

By taking away gender distinctions we can move forth in a positive and proactive uniformity. Open your mind and be mindful of the complexities of others and be supportive of their decision to find themselves. Our identities are best defined based on how we perceive ourselves in this world without judgment and impunity.

How I Regain Control From My Anxiety In 5 Minutes

Photo by Michael Competielle

Monday mornings, the bane of my existence. Where I awaken from the comfort and calmness of my weekend to the racing thoughts of my responsibilities. My breathing is short like a staccato violin and life’s complexities race towards me as I stand still at the intersection of my mind. 

Scheduling conflicts, upcoming holidays, year-end deadlines and changing weather conditions awaken me as I feel the rush of cortisol pollute my body. The pressures of being in charge and responsible I need to maintain control even though I feel a cloud of thick dense fog over my concentration. 

Regaining Control

As I recognize these are my last few minutes of rest before a long hard day I know I must regain control of my mind. As I’m quietly still lying in bed it’s the perfect scenario for mindful meditation. 

The room is dark and nearly silent. The sounds of my dogs breathing in the forefront, soothing and rhythmic while in the distance, I hear the sounds of the highway traffic beginning to build up.

As I lay flat on my back and stretched out like a mummy with my hands to my side I begin to regain control of my breath. With every ounce of concentration and focus, I take in my first calculated intake of breath. As I feel the air come in I imagine it flowing down into my lungs and begin to fill them like the expansion of a hot air balloon.

I hold the air in my lungs for a few seconds as I begin to feel the effects in my extremities. I begin to exhale with complete control like opening a bottle of champagne without explosive popping.

My next breath is again focused and purposeful as I’m feeling the flow expand my chest. Slowly my mind begins to again take charge of my thoughts as each anxious thought fades away like the ripples in calming waters.

Photo by Michael Competielle

The focus on my breathing becomes consistent and autonomous as each trouble vaporizes and my body is calmly rested. Deeper in I breathe with the same timing but increased intensity as my anxieties seem ever so small and distant.

My body begins to feel rested and energized as I keep breathing and open my eyes slowly. I’m still physically in the same place however my mind and my spirit are in control as I begin to float through my day. Calmed, mindful and in control.

How I Increased Productivity By Multitasking With Mindless Activities While I’m Mindfully Focusing

Photo by Michael Competielle

Every morning I do essentially the same mindless routine while I’m reading and catching up on my life. The routine is pretty simple and regimented so I can maximize my personal time. If I plan ahead properly I have an entire 1/2 hour of focused mindful reading and thinking.

Many people feel that we can all multitask however studies show our productivity and concentration struggle as we attempt to do too many things at the same time. With the notable reduction in productivity and focus, what we believe is multitasking, in reality, are rapid shiftings of our tasks while we lose concentration and focus.

By creating a daily mindless routine regiment, my muscle memory has taken over many of my morning tasks. My mind can focus fully on reading or focused thinking while I’m making breakfast or washing dishes because I’ve fallen into a groove.

Mindless Focus

Having crafted a pattern of simple tasks, my processes seem to function absent of thought. I’ve visualized myself as a kitchen virtuoso since my routine is similar to a master musician that can perform perfectly while engaged in a detailed conversation.

As I distance myself mentally from my morning routine, my mind shifts to my planned mindful focus. I can read a short article or listen to a podcast with full and complete immersion. Each word I read or hear is processed into long term memory as I lose myself in the exercise.

How I Know It’s Working

The proof is in the pudding they say. Well in my case the proof is in the cleaned kitchen, breakfast made, vitamins taken, lattes frothed as I’ll evaluate all I have done within that short period of time.

If I made any mistakes in my process such as forgetting to turn on the toaster or making the espresso incorrectly, I’d agree that my multitasking technique doesn’t work and therefore I could possibly be focusing on my mindful activities. However, what actually is happening is completely the opposite. My productivity has increased while my focus and retention have become more present and purposeful.

Having my mornings to easily accomplish my chores and desires early has begun to set the tone for the day. I’ve become more focused, fulfilled and present. My completed task list grows while life’s mundane daily routine has become a mindless passive routine.

Mindful Excercise

You can multitask simply if you focusing your mind away from what can become mindless. Dishes, folding wash, raking leaves are all activities that you can remove focus from while you redirect your mind into meditative mindful exercises.

As I’ve retrained my mind to stay focused on mindful activities my productivity has increased and my presence is in the now.

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Finding Peace And Connections Within The Sounds of Our World’s Typography

Photo by Michael Competielle

Letters and symbols of nine various languages meticulously connected together to form 19 floating cloud-like stainless steel orbs. The creation of the world’s most well-known sculptors Jaume Plensa in an installation he calls Talking Continents.

Each unique individual letter is fused together to form words without any true meaning and function as an example of the breakdown of communication.

However, as we look at each unique form as they represent humans sitting on top of these floating orbs we begin to understand Plensa’s title of Talking Continents.

The Sounds of Continents

As I’m preparing for my next large scale project of 100 days of unique sound recordings I find inspiration and connection to Plensa’s works. What would be the unique sounds of these nine different and unique letters or words as they were formulated into a connection of sentences or statements? Are we all saying the same things albeit in a different tongue?

In our study of text and more elegantly typography, we see how the combinations of only a few letters can create words of beauty. The beauty of our every language articulates our feelings and emotions that resonate from island to island, continent to continent.

Photo by Michael Competielle

The Beauty In Plensa’s Silence

As I quietly walked amongst each orb I recognized letters that highlighted the diversity in distance Plensa was recognizing. It was here in the silence circling each island that I began to question our differences as we were all connected and unified, fused together as one.

Is each unique letter chosen by Plensa to make connections to our similarities while appearing to be different? What was the connection that made each sculpture unified? Are we as humans actually unified and we are saying the same thing maybe just a bit differently?

Photo by Micahel Competielle

Upon closer inspection, I noticed all of the orbs seemed to be facing the same direction. Was this intentional? Are we collectively moving along together while seemingly drifting apart?

On this day I don’t have any insightful answers however I’m certain my explorations of typography, sound, and languages will have a new and enrichening perspective.

Our Conversations, We Are Speaking But No One Is Listening

Photo by Michael Competielle

The power of human beings is our ability to communicate our thoughts and emotions with clarity and detail. The issue is, however, most people haven’t anything to really say or understand what we are actually saying. Assemblages of words that make up sentences that lead to paragraphs that speak volumes of nothingness. We vocalize our emotions based on superfluous fragments, the sum of which is zero.

Focused Listening

The key to being a great communicator is to become a great listener. If we mindfully listen to the words that are shared with us we can extract the details of how a person feels and that is where great communication is born.

Think of yourselves as the editor and the therapist as our “patient” shares with us their deepest emotions. We process each individual word and determine which words we can cutout. As we mentally abridge the story it allows us to exercise our abilities to perform Mindful Listening and deepen our connection to the story.

As the words become statements that hopefully become full-fledged thoughts we can begin to paint a mental picture of the storyteller’s feelings.

If you silently listen without retort or introjection you will begin to fill in the blanks of what story you are actually being told. When the storyteller finishes it allows us time to breathe and help the storyteller feel comfort in your understanding of the narrative. It’s at this moment when you are able to express your analysis.

Positive Response

With complete sincerity, you should begin to respond with “what I hear you saying is” as you explain back to them what it is you heard them say. A positive response notating what content you have been shared can allow for a deeper and more meaningful dialog.

We often don’t hear what we are saying or even understand the meaning behind what it is we are saying. As we hear back what another person feels they heard you say, we can begin to rebuild the content into a baseline.

Once we are reconnected to the repeated narrative we can begin to access the basis of how are statements come across to an outsider. Many times hearing back the regurgitation of our words leaves us unsettled and exposed. It’s at that moment when the listener can make the largest impact.

What it all means

Most often our conversations stem from the expression of feelings that have developed inside our reptilian brain. This portion of our brains is responsible for carnal knowledge of basic functions essential for life. Our reptilian brain handles our primal instincts inclusive of our fight or flight emotion.

Our primal mind is incapable of reasoning or thought processing and so, therefore, we often aren’t making processed statements when our narrative comes from our lizard mind.

With a kind response we should ask the storyteller “but how did it make you feel?” This one usually floors a storyteller as it’s an uncommon question that will develop the deepest impact.

It’s during that exacting moment we hope to have moved the conversation into the frontal lobe of our brains where emotional expression, judgment, and problem-solving takes place. With our focus inside this controlled environment of our minds, we have moved away from fight or flight into deciphering the content.

When you give this segment of your brain the ability to process and decipher what we have heard repeated back to us, we can then look deeper within ourselves to find the clues on why we may have been triggered.

When we care to listen and allow a story to unwind, it’s the responses we receive back that opens our mind to the ability to figure it all out. Learn to listen and listening to the process is the most powerful of our human minds. Nurture the process and sharing how you feel makes the largest advancements in self-development.

Writing My Love Affair

Photo by Michael Competielle

Your arm is wrapped tightly around my bicep, your head on my shoulder. We walk together in a cadence of rhythmic footsteps. My every word touches you. We are connected as one, I take your breath away.

It’s a warm dark night for a streetwalker. The gas lamps only show a shadow of your face and your identity is unknown. I’m barely dressed, almost naked and vulnerable. Putting myself out there hoping to entice you to share this intimate moment.

I speak volumes as I’m hoping you hear my voice. My words are chosen carefully to engage your emotions. With passion and a willingness to give you pleasure, I continue to speak.

As I look into your eyes I’m seeing a spark as I hope to ignite a flame in your soul. Cars pass by, potential new business yet I’m completely immersed at this moment with you. Right now, I am yours, completely vulnerable yet trusting.

We walk down a dark alleyway and prepare for our intimate engagement and we see the reflection of light off the cobblestone streets. My eyes struggle to adjust because I’m longing to see your face.

You say nothing, silent and still. I squint my eyes as I continue to speak, my words of nakedness and honesty. Closer I move towards you and reach out my hand to touch yours as I’m hoping we still have this connection.

My footsteps and soft delicate words are the only sounds to be heard because I no longer hear your breath. Are you still engaged in our intimate moment?

I slowly move closer in an attempt to feel your presence only to find you are no longer there. I’ve lost another one.

Wiping the tears from my eyes I readjust my emotions and proudly walk back onto that gas lite street hoping another passerby will stop so we can engage in intimacy.

For I am a writer, a servant to the faceless, silent, and unknown. My passion placed onto every word hoping for a moment of intimacy so I can stop your breath.