What reading does to you

Words and conversations mostly pass us by. It’s curious though that a carefully crafted story can stick to us. When we felt incredible empathy towards a character—however strange and far flung from our lives—it stays with us. We identify with them because it’s honest. It’s human.

And it’s amazing how a simple decision to read and read alone can do that.

It’s incredible how a simple, unique gesture can make you tear up. Or how a seemingly unemotional, geeky remark can make you smile and nod with agreement because you haven’t thought about it that way and now you do. To recognize that we can be different by large degrees and yet others can also be right and beautiful in their own way.

This was how I felt when I got back to reading fiction: I grabbed Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I wanted to get back to reading after indulging on a few articles by Ryan Holiday—He’s a great writer.

The importance of reading is etched in stone and time. Nothing beats it. And I did miss the ritual. What it does to you is profound when you find the right book. You connect and get into a sphere of understanding that only reading can take you.

Also, the beautiful thing about reading books is that your sentiment evolves: When you’re young you might feel chasing the book to feel accomplished, and you might have forgotten what’s there. But as an adult, I don’t have to hurry: I get to pause and smile in between, grateful for the moment I’m given to feel engaged.

In this lifetime, I think we’re given tremendous blessings to feel alive. And it’s in those quiet moments where we took the time it deserves.

 

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Inside it pours

Rain is a good thing. Across the window from the bus are a pile of brown leaves under the tree. Nutrients leach out from their homes and suddenly the fall makes sense. Crisp becomes giving.

Even when the rain could mean gloomy and inconvenient compared to a cool, fair day, it’s fantastic how one can cultivate good feelings despite outside forces.

The food can taste better. There’s more time to be home. It’s quiet. There’s water for everyone to indulge. We might bump into someone because we shared the hood.

Internal locus of control is a good thing. And the rain can be that incredible if we allow ourselves to see it.

Breathe

These days it’s quite difficult to focus on one thing. It’s normal to be distracted, to have things muddled in your brain, to feel the urge to execute things all at once.

Being cognizant, however, is something we can cultivate. It’s a good start because there’s a space for change.

Something I noticed to be helpful is to pay attention to the impulse–to just notice, pause, and talk ourselves out.

While it sounds funny to do a monologue, it starts an honest conversation when we say, “Hey! You’re on the verge of juggling again. Breathe. It’s okay. You can do it one thing at a time.”

Focus is freedom. When we can cultivate undivided attention towards one thing, we make calculated decisions–we know where our attention is really needed. We’re more likely to get things done. We might slip back, but it’s fine as we practice and untangle ourselves from the excess and gain clarity.

 

The gift of now

Right now we could have that extra hour to do something worth our time. Of course we each have a good inkling on how to live well, on how to stir our lives in a worthile direction.

It could be through learning one thing a day, or probably unlearning things that in the long-term get us in trouble. It could be getting rid of toxic relationships, or meeting new people we only had the courage to approach. It could be leaving a ones lustrous home or visiting new places, re-aligning our perspective.

No single principle fits us all. So that’s a relief for us to create our own experiences, especially that many of us now can have the surplus time and energy, when we can identify the few we value most. Being deliberate can mean freedom.

Cetainly, however, we only have one timeline in which to make these principles count. Every day is a chance to see things more clearly. To sever what’s excess. To replace what’s painful. To maneuver when it makes sense. To build malleable habits that get us where we really ought to.

When we realize that life is finite, we can act more accordingly to our values. We can turn that limited lifeline to a colorful, substantial spectrum.

And it begins by choosing, now, what’s worth our attention.

What you want can set you free

What do you want to try out today?

What habits do you want to let go of?

What do you want to see growing in you, knowing it could be one of the best decisions in your life?

The world we live in now is filled with distractions. Busy can be everyone’s business.

To navigate mindfully is critical, unless we become slaves to clicks, anxiety, and envy.

Instead, how would our life look like if we put limitations to where our attention goes to and define what’s more important to us from what merely is a distraction?

Sparing a few minutes and deciding on one thing we really want to cultivate closes the dead time while opening possibilities for more alive time.

While ignorance is blissful, as I often get into,  I realized that the gift of information can be powerful when we choose what we consume deliberately. When we can attain that balance–a certain constraint–we’re freer to navigate the norms we live in.

From nothing to…

You can tell it in words, a few will do

You can tell your story, otherwise no one will know

If words won’t do, create still

Make designs no one else can

Draw characters only you imagined

Write foolish songs

Pour your heart out in poems

Make models in your head

Code because you can

Viral or not, it doesn’t matter

As long as it’s you and only you

You gotta let it go