Birthday of a Blessing

Gratefulness

I’ll keep it short and sweet. Today is a blessed day. Last night, at 00:00 PM the fireworks started blasting off and shook my world. They were rocking the entire neighborhood with how strong they were, or maybe I just wasn’t expecting them to go off that’s why they caught me so off guard.

Like you did.

Here, at 00:00 PM, people blast fireworks as a “happy birthday” wish to their loved ones. Nothing says I’m happy you were born like some colorful fire in the sky.

God, I’m happy you were born.

I think of you, a smile pops up. You remind me of the word life, maybe because to me, you represent all that’s good in this life.

You knew you had to have me in your life the first time you saw me, and I felt the same, I had to get to know you.
I felt very drawn to you, and for good reason.

As we started to get to know each other, I was surprised at how much we had in common, how many values we shared, our similar views on so many topics and not long after I met you, how attached I’d become to you. I just…loved you. There was no denying it.

Where had you been all my life?!

Years have passed since that time I “scared” you as you were going to French class, and I feel as strongly as ever that you’re a blessing. A real-life angel.

You’re undiluted soul, energy, goodness, truth, love. In its simplest, purest form.

I’m ecstatic you’re alive.
Happy birthday. I love you.

Its June Already: Reflections on the First Half of 2018

Gratefulness
Half of the year has passed. Some self-reflection is in order.
470 days of consecutive meditation as of today. I miss my 30-minute sessions, but apparently not enough to make it a priority and actually follow through with it. See, complete honesty at all times.
“If you have more than three priorities, you have none.”
The third week in a row writing every day. Amazing feeling and what I already knew- I should have started earlier. Happy I made this a priority.

Blamed for loving myself too much, so I’ll have to gladly report self-care and self-love is still top notch.

Coffee mug

Alone Time

Psychology

I love spending time alone. Ironically, the past few years I’ve realized making time for alone time (it rhymes!) has tremendously helped in creating loving, meaningful relationships with others.

A benefit of choosing to be alone that I read about at Forbes and found very interesting comes to mind. Alone time helps us overcome the me-vs-them mentality, which is the norm when you’re surrounded by others. They did this, I did that, they think this, I think otherwise. Alone time makes us more empathetic and dissolves that line between us and others. I do believe everything is interconnected, and that in a strange, magic-like way, we’re all one. However, it’s hard to keep that in mind when you can’t choose the people you surround yourself with and they’re, well, shitty people.

I always love people more and feel more capable of seeing things from their point of view when I allow myself some distance.

Time alone improves your creative thinking processes, making you more productive and the end product inherently better. You’re more concentrated, and even though we have enough inner “noise” as is, outside distractions definitely add to that and not allowing them to interrupt our train of thought does make GSD easier and less of a hassle. We need to be more cautious with what we choose to pay attention to, and alone time helps us see clearly what is essential and what isn’t.

Spending time alone strengthens your sense of self and self-confidence. I really love this quote by Imam Sufyan Al Tha:

إذا عرفت نفسك فلا يضرك ما قيل فيك
“If you know yourself, then you’ll not be harmed by what is said about you.”

How beautiful is that?! Also, if you’re aware of your worth (and vices, bullshit, limiting ways), you’re not about to take shit from others.

Plus, I believe people that have an issue with spending time alone, have underlying psychological issues. What fears are you avoiding (or trying to)? What are you so afraid of?

If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company. – Jean-Paul Sartre

Today, I took it a step further. I went to a lovely place near my house and didn’t even take my phone or laptop or a book with me. Just me, no distractions, no interruptions. I mindfully enjoyed my coffee, the sun rays hitting my face, the cars and people passing by. I had such a productive rest of the day, and it’s about to get better.

Give yourself a chance to get to know yourself better, you might be delighted with what you find out.

Words to Omit & Circular Time

Words

Yes, borrowing from that course again. Under words to avoid if you’re trying to write good copy:

  • all things considered
  • as a matter of fact
  • as far as I’m concerned
  • at any rate
  • Basically, essentially, totally
  • be that as it may
  • in a manner of speaking
  • in a very real sense
  • for all intents and purposes
  • for the most part
  • in my opinion
  • Indeed
  • it goes without saying
  • the point here is
  • the point I’m trying to make
  • it is a fact that
  • to be honest
  • it has long been known
  • Very, really, quite
  • of course
  • certainly
  • naturally

For some reason, I found this list hysterical & I couldn’t stop laughing. When I finally stopped, I was thinking about the concept of seemingly obvious statements. Why do we feel the need to say words like basically, honestly, it goes without saying? Shouldn’t it… go without saying?

One of the reasons One Hundred Years of Solitude holds such a special place in my heart is because its magical realism confirmed what I’d known: history repeats itself. And that time isn’t a line, it’s a circle. I have a lot to say on the subject, you can read about Linear and Circular Time in the book here for the time being.

We’re wired to forget, and I believe that’s fortunate. However, no matter how simplistic or obvious something might seem to us, some reminding can’t/won’t hurt. We can learn from history if we just allow it to teach us. Time and time again. Honestly.

It even became a meme a while back, plot twist: humanity learns from its history.

We’re all personally responsible to do better, to remind ourselves (and others when they need reminding) of what we’ve (or they’ve) learned and know to be true, no matter how painful or captain obvious-ish it is.

The seemingly obvious isn’t our enemy.

Us repeatedly making the choice to ignore it is.

Words that Strike My Fancy- Read, Heard, Overheard, Misheard

Words
Out of context, probably misheard/overheard sayings or song lyrics that struck my fancy enough for me to write them down in my lil notebook the past few days:
  • a private butt is nice too
  • my hips have missed your hips
  • can we keep up with the moon?
  • “I personally got hit today by a jet ski” – actual trip advisor review
  • refuse, grey and black
  • infinity edge
  • “Everything I needed to know about marketing I learned from Dungeons and Dragons”
  • “Cat videos make up 99% of all online video content”
  • 38 months ago
  • “Don’t overdo it though or you’ll just look obnoxious”
  • One benefit. One message. A single focus
  • peak/plateau
  • unicorn vomit
  • “Positivity is great, but reality is even better. Write about problems too.”
  • a grain of fleur de sel
  • intermingle
  • unobstructed sea view in all rooms
  • Killers and Poets

My TED talk on humanity

Psychology

Have you heard of the Hawthorne Effect?

Simply put, it’s a term referring to how observing a thing changes that thing. Which means studying behavior is meaningless, and all studies monitoring humans can’t be trusted or be referred to.

Also in 2010, an avid lover and connoisseur of the placebo effect, Kaptchuk, told people they were getting placebo treatment instead of the real thing. He informed them about the placebo effect and how a great number (cough 62% cough) of people get objectively better for some reason. They got better.

We’re limitless and the rules don’t apply.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

Content Strategy & Marketing Copy & Cats

Words

I haven’t seen a movie in weeks. Last night I did go to bed at 9 pm, even though I stayed up until 3. Oops. I wish I didn’t feel the need to go deep into every single conversation or interaction. It’s not going to happen, and it’s not even something I should be striving towards anyway. Yesterday, I completed a course on copywriting, and the professor, Ian Lurie, was fucking awesome & said some gems like:

  • Provide value in the form of a return on time invested. 

He was passionate about writing and believed great marketing delivers value to people when they most need it, period. Unfortunately, I find it’s rarely so.

  • A lot of folks think marketing copywriting isn’t a creative art. They think it’s some kind of mechanical, formulaic discipline where creative writers go to die. That is so wrong.

I felt personally attacked. I did giggle though. And I do believe the last sentence is inherently true so, in Biggie’s words, it’s all good baby baby.

  •  Direct marketing copywriting is an art in and of itself. It also gets a bad rap, because most direct marketing is so awful. But great marketing delivers values to those who need it when they need it.

It is extremely awful and disrespectful, most times. However, those other times make it all worth it.

Mondays

Gratefulness

I’m about to cook some gnocchi and pass out on the couch by 9PM, but I’ve committed to this writing every day no matter what thing, so I’ll try. I’ve noticed that when I meditate first thing in the morning, and get my writing done early, I can have such a peaceful rest of the day without having to worry whether I’ll get the time, or make the time, or if I’ll have to lie to my meditation tracking app once again. Shhhh.

So lesson of the day/week: do it early.

Also, if you do it early, you’re more likely to do it well.

Also, don’t doubt yourself.

Also, keep finding joy in the little things. And the big things. And all the things. You’re doing amazing sweetie.

Bittersweet Realization on Elderly People

Food for thought

I’m by the beach, enjoying my morning coffee & this lovely breeze & the 90s music that is playing. At the moment, my friends aren’t here so I’m enjoying my time alone. I scrolled on my phone and wrote for a bit on my notebook.

Then was just enjoying the view and the moment, the stripped beach umbrellas, the tiny palm trees, the glowy sand, the parachute up in the sky and the person in it probably having the time of their life.

And the elderly (seemingly) couple next to me. They seemed to be enjoying the moment as well, especially each others company and the conversation.

sonder: the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own

Unsplash photo

My notes- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Psychology

My notes on Cal Newport’s Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, who says one of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare and if you master this skill, you’ll achieve extraordinary results. I had to see for myself.


To disagree with Freud in the 1920s was a bold move. To disagree with Freud in the 1920s was a bold move.

Jung retreated to Bollingen, not to escape his professional life, but instead to advance it.

Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.

“Although he had many patients who relied on him, Jung was not shy about taking time off.” Deep work, though a burden to prioritize, was crucial for his goal of changing the world.