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….

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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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.

How My Writing Is My Journal and Journaling Is My Meditation

Photo by Michael Competielle

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” Buddha

It isn’t uncommon for me to awaken early, my mind alert and racing. I’ll think about situations I can hardly control as I’ll attempt to find a solution. Next thing I know I’m grabbing my iPhone and mindlessly scrolling through social media posts. My mind will then wander deeper into a rabbit hole. My time wasted. Nothing is resolved and I remain sleepless.

Once I began practicing meditation, on those sleepless mornings, I would focus on my breath. My mind would calm as I would fall back into a deep restful sleep. The gain was I would awaken refreshed and stressfree.

Enter the Journal

At my bedside, I kept a Moleskin journal and a pen. I was hopeful that when I would awaken I could begin to perform some mindful journaling until I fell back asleep.

The concept indeed could work however the issue I had was writing in the darkness of the night. Certain there must be a simple solution I decided on writing into my iPad.

Fully charged and in night mode, my iPad is on my end table. Now when I awaken I can immediately begin to journal while in the headspace of my anxieties.

Words begin to flow from the innards of my psyche. My focus is always on how I feel at that exacting moment that I ensure I’m articulating with honestly and focus.

Each of my latest journal entries has become my Medium articles. Journaling my articles and channeling my philosophies has expanded my mind and thought process. When I revisit my entries I’ve recognized loopholes in my thoughts have been filled as my journaling technique continues.

Journal About How You Feel

Yesterday I was told by a friend I “mindfucked her” as I explained my theories on recognizing how situations and environments make you feel. She and her fiancee wake up very early and together head to the gym. From there they together head to their jointly owned business and spend the day working hard. They have been very successful in spite of having limited free time.

As we discussed further my journaling exercises and the Power Of How You Feel she recognized she has been feeling better than 10 years prior and that their lives were fulfilled and purposeful.

Writing articles daily as journal entries as I focus on how I feel begs to ask the question Why? Why do I feel focused, calm and in touch with my feelings? Honest writing that just in the clearest form.

I’ve learned to recognize truths and can read through people’s insecurities and lies. I can practice empathy and mindfulness as my intentions can remain honest and pure. The truths of how I feel, expressed in writing and shared with the world.

Like A Fish Out Of Water, I Don’t Belong Anywhere

Photo By Michael Competielle

Stepping outside I’ll immediately struggle with the decision whether I go left, right, or straight. “Fuck it let’s go right” I’ll say to the only one that really listens and head left, my instincts of being ambidextrous have determined when in doubt go left.

Instincts guide my decisions as I walk aimlessly through life looking for experiences and enlightenment. Situations will present themselves in a natural unadulterated fashion as I attempt to focus on the present and go with the flow.

When I walk into a store, tradeshow or museum and I’m challenged to make a decision, I always go left as that just feels right. Going right feels foreign and obscene like most people that I’ve met, boring and following a plan. I’m always focusing on being somewhat thorough in a speed reading sort of way until the connection is made with an object, a person or a notion.

Walking through an Ikea once I noticed that the store was designed properly with projected arrows on the floors guiding the pedestrian traffic in a natural flow from left to right like I read and how I wander through life like a whimsical fish.

On another occasion, in another Ikea the store’s directional arrows were placed backward guiding the herd from right to left. Unorthodox and teetering on blasphemy, I debated on the notion to leave my group and fix the store by reversing all of the store’s arrows and signage yet the concept of human traffic when I’m trying to create order is daunting. The mindless zombies certainly would be lost forever in the catacombs of chic furniture, destinations no longer known.

How adaptable is a fish out of water? We can survive. Our way of breathing will change as our skin will dry out yet we will adjust and endure the challenges of a foreign environment. We become like sea urchins, calloused and hardened.

When I ultimately get my way and get back into the water, I will swim upstream like salmon, in an attempt to spawn new ideas and adventures.

I live in fear of doing the same thing twice as I find comfort in my inconsistencies. My plans for today only spoiled by my mood and inabilities to stick to the plan. Winds and water flow will guide me off course. My surroundings uncharted and anew.

How will I feel connected and complacent? I never will, however, the journey is my destination, no matter how foreign or unplanned.

Spending Time Apart Enriches Your Time Together

Photo by Michael Competielle

As humans, our greatest ability over any other being is our ability to communicate. Everything from facial expressions to dialogue to writing we have many ways to articulate our thoughts and emotions. Yet most people haven’t anything to say. 

Talks of the weather or last night’s game are conversation devoid of creativity and honesty. Place saving for true self-expression and thought. Ask the person “how did you feel when your team lost” or “how did you feel that it rained all day” and possibly you’ll be on to an actual form of emotion.

With our busy lives filled basically of doing nothing, traffic, the morning news, work issues and the long line at the grocery isn’t actually conversation, it’s a data dump of words that fill the narrative. Fluff to get the report to look through or detailed. If you economize and minimize the dialogue to one’s emotions the conversations become more honest and engaging because they create inclusion to the listener. 

A filmmaker friend I speak to daily returned yesterday from a 17 day trip to Europe. We talked for over an hour about his trip. He loved the premium class seating on the flight due to the added legroom however not having a direct flight he would never do again. 

The coffee in his hotel in Budapest wasn’t great and so he went to McDonald’s for a cup to go and he was surprised it was served in a ceramic cup with a stainless steel spoon and a fabric napkin. There isn’t any coffee cup to go. You don’t go anywhere with your coffee. You sit there and enjoy it. 

He spoke of the energy he had immersed in the architecture and culture of the century-old cities and how he felt relieved on rainy days because he could spend hours inside museums without missing the outdoors. 

At the end of the hour, we had little filler or fluff. An honest close conversation on how he felt being away and how great it felt to be back. We scheduled a date for next week to spend two hours discussing a new film project and to look at some of the hours of video footage he had captured during the 17 days trek. 

Distance brings us closer as it gives us space and time apart to reconnect with our emotions. The passing of time is real and actual. And the longer the duration apart the more abridged our engagements become as we will expedite the narrative to express ourselves. 

We may not always get out our truest feelings yet if we know we may be again distanced we should be honest in our expression. I missed my friend over the 17 days, I feel reconnected with him as we squeezed 17 days into 1 hour. However, it’s that one hour we shared how we felt more so than what we did. And how we felt during our separation and how we now feel together again. 

The Changing Of The Season Affects My Mood

Photo by Michael Competielle

The changing of the season from summer to fall is the perfect time for forest walks and fall foliage drives. As the leaves change colors from green to vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges and the temperatures are still marginally warm and bearable.

Yet something is lurking in the shadows of fall. A cold and evil darkness is beginning to set in. As the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder, the seasons change to winter will bring on a sense of sadness.

The winter days sun is hardly reminiscent of the sun of the warmer seasons. Brightly shining with a warmth that fuels our souls and tones our flesh. Our bodies are energized on the long journey of a summer day. 

The darkening of fall will lead to the dead of winter. A season lacking in birdsong, vibrancy and light. Annually I begin to sadden as I will feel imprisoned to the indoors to avoid the harshness of winters chill.

As of late, I’ve learned to overcome the sadness of dark frigid days by keeping my mind in check. I’ve learned to stack the decks against the disconnect from the great outdoors. By using my mind to fuel my soul, and adjusting my activity and motivation the changing of the season to winter has become pleasant. 

Dressing warmly I’ll trudge outside to embrace the difference in the sounds of winter. The lack of leaves and ground brush changes the pitch and character of common sounds. 

The feeling of the cold winters air has a bite that reminds me that I have a fire inside. An internal light that needs to be fueled and nurtured. The glowing embers of energy that I need to keep stoking to maintain my sanity. 

Embracing the days and fortifying my passion to learn and experience, I’ve learned to love each day and fill it with love and life. The sadness of the cold and dark is overshadowed by the fire in my heart and power of my mind. 

With controlled breath and pure thoughts I realign my mind to fulfillment. This day may not be that picturesque scene we would love to paint yet it is the perfect opportunity to reconnect my mind to my soul. 

With breathing and focus the changing of the season can be enjoyed. With pure thoughts and an open mind, we can embrace this time for learning and expression. 

Looking back we see where we were, and looking forward may be too far away. So by nurturing this thought in this moment for the fire shall rage to overcome the sadness of the cold and dark days ahead.