Generally Helpful Tips

The following is a guest post from a new friend of mine, Mark Davidson, who I had the pleasure of meeting through my friend Yukari Peerless. Mark’s a very funny and talented guy, and when I asked him if he’d be willing to write a guest post for me I was stoked when he said he’d be glad to do so. Once he sent his post to me (he describes his efforts on getting it to me below), I realized that it couldn’t be more timely based on what I’ve posted here lately. The events of the past couple of weeks had somewhat derailed me — I got back on track with my most recent post — and Mark’s post is the perfect way for me to wrap up the week here at the blog. Enjoy.

This week has been a strange week for me. This is now my fifth attempt at writing a blog post for Mike. (Mike can attest to that -— most likely with some significant annoyance because I’ll send him a piece and then tell him not to post it.) Some weeks I can write. Other weeks, particularly those weeks when I’m adjusting my nicotine intake downwards, I turn into a crazy person overwhelmed with my own neurosis and inability to produce serotonin or dopamine.

This is a problem for writers. If you don’t understand how neurotransmitters work, that’s okay. I’ll explain it in layman’s terms: I’ve been a complete nut-case all week.

After writing many words this week (be thankful that you will not be subjected to reading them), I think I’ve collected some generally helpful tips. These tips are not necessarily productivity related. They certainly aren’t lifehacks either. These are the words that come from someone who is suffering from an addiction, is trying to move through that addiction, and is genuinely repentant for all the shitty writing he has created in the last 6 days.

Now…here be those generally helpful tips.

Nobody but us understands the path we are on or knows our own experience. The only person who can walk in our shoes is us. There has been and there will always be suffering. It’s our faith and compassion that makes us human. Sometimes, we suffer because of our own experiences and sometimes we find ourselves pained by the suffering of others.

No matter what challenges you are facing now, if you have access to food, clean water, and clothing, you are blessed. If you woke up this morning, you are blessed. If secret police haven’t arrested and tortured you today, you are blessed. If you can write your thoughts without fear of being imprisoned, you are blessed. If you are in good health, you are blessed. If you are experiencing challenges in your life and you can pick up a telephone, have a computer and can send messages, and find support in the friendships you’ve developed, you are blessed.

Nothing outside of us can cause us fear, pain or doubt. Our attitude towards events is what causes our feelings rather than the events themselves. Each of us has a choice.

Differentiate between what we can control and what we cannot. Do what we can, where we can and leave the rest to The Universe. We cannot and should not carry the burden of the world on our shoulders. It’s not our job. We are not equipped. We can, however, control ourselves and cut a path, even in the worst of times. We still have free will. Do not focus on what you do not have, focus on what you do have. Do not focus on what you cannot change. Focus on what you can change.

I’m not going to pretend to known what The Universe’s plan is beyond my share. It’s too overwhelming and I’m not that smart. I’ll leave that to the philosophers and religious scholars and the thinkers.

What I can do is to look for and recognize the miracles that occur daily and surround me and be thankful for what I do have and can do, rather than what I can’t.

We are all connected. We are all human. I usually feel better when I take a moment to remember that.

(Disclosure: When I write “The Universe” for me, what I mean is God. For others it may be Allah, Buddha, Jesus, or a random occurrence of amazing events. It doesn’t matter how you represent it to yourself. The sentiment and feeling is the same.)

Photo credit: Marc Falardeau (CC BY 2.0)