Fulfilling our dreams start with our desires. It is like a seed that we bury into soil. Then, we plan which we may or may not follow. Plans are like instructions for the care of our dreams. We adjust accordingly to the needs of the plants. We might not even need one if we are well versed with taking care of plants. Finally, we do our part by acting it out. Like giving plants some water and fertilizers, we also need to give our dreams what it needs. Attention and action. That book you’re planning to write would not write itself unless you have pen and paper writing it out. It might be divinely inspired, but it still needs you. You would not be working your way out of the addiction of yours if you don’t try to stop that addiction in that moment. Yes, the divine might be helping you but you have to do your part, too. You have to act.
Despite that, we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves when we fail. Often, we beat ourselves up for not meeting our expectations leading to a downward spiral of failure. We need to celebrate our tiny accomplishments. Tiny wins eventually lead us to victory. When I was young, I enjoy saving because my bank gives children rewards for the amounts on their bank accounts– pens for P100, stationeries for P250, address book for P500, etc. The rewards get bigger until they reach the zenith at P10,000–they give a special piggy bank. Even now that I am older, money is still my fondest memories.
Understanding that, it inspired me to use my childhood methods again. Maybe if I use these tier reward system, these actions wouldn’t feel like a chore. It wouldn’t feel like I’m punishing myself and cause me to give up. It would actually feel like a joy. There’s a reward for every small task I accomplish. Here is an example. Anna wants to quit smoking. Most people have a hard time quitting so this can be a challenge. So, if Anna were to use a rewards system, it might be like this:
Now, this this is just an example. You have to create your rewards that is of little that would not break your bank. Still, I it should be cumulative. For example, after resisting smoking for a day, Anna have to give herself a pat on the back plus a new song from her iPod. After resisting for a week, she should have the pat on the back, a new song for her iPod, and an accessory. This goes on until she finally associates quitting smoking with rewards. Besides, when Anna quit buying those cigarettes, she would have more money for other things.
Smoking is an expensive habit but quitting is associated with punishment. They get comfort with smoking. If we remove the cigarette in their lives, we would take away their comfort. However, if she associates quitting with reward, she will actually be motivated to strive harder. After all, she would be able to get that $500 shopping spree + shoes + Manicure + 1 piece of clothing article + 1 accessory + 1 song for the iPod + 1 pat on the back.
Our actions toward our dreams should be associated with rewards. The things we have to give up are punishment enough. If we have to give up 1 hour of television for every page or two we write when it is our television show, we would associate writing with punishment. What if we give ourselves reward for every page we write? Once we reach a milestone, we give ourselves additional rewards? Soon, we would finish what we’re doing without even thinking that it’s a punishment.
So, what is it that you desire the most? How would you reward yourself using my rewards example?
Fulfilling our dreams is never easy. Often, we are living in our own versions of hell as we trudge through in order to fulfill our dreams. Whether it’s letting go of an addiction, working on our dream jobs, or finding that special someone, there is a sense of dissatisfaction within us that created our desires. It was on the things that we knew we don’t want that cause us to realize what we do. Our desires are fruits of the situations we find ourselves in, or have seen others in, that we knew we don’t want in our lives.
Still, fulfilling our dreams are often harder than climbing Mt. Everest. Our desires are on the top of that mountain. Yet, everytime we try to climb that mountain, we stumble and fall. We feel that everytime we take one step forward, we take two steps back. We will get there. We just need extra help. The divine kind.
I know there are those who don’t believe in God. Yet, I know that they believe in Science–which also can be a type of faith. A lot of these scientific theories are impossible to test. After all, how are you going to recreate the big bang? Still, they are discovering what they would call the god particle–Higgs boson. In other words, religion and science are slowly but surely, meeting in the middle.
The truth was, it was a human need to believe in a higher power. As such, every culture in the planet is worshipping some form of deity. For Christians, it’s just called God. For Muslims, they call him Allah. Still, ancient Egyptians have different names for theirs. So do the ancient Greeks–one of them was Zeus. Still, every culture have their own way of calling to the Almighty. Its name doesn’t matter. What matters is that you call on it.
Lynne McTaggart’s Intention Experiment proved how effective focused prayers can be. Having world renowned scientists, they did intention experiments on the most chaotic parts of the world. It took weeks but that part of the world became peaceful after several decades of fighting. Dan Brown was so amazed he even included her name in one of his novels, The Lost Symbol. I would recommend you to read both books. The Intention Experiment is dry but it had a lot of research and experiments to show how intentions work.
How does this translate to prayers? Praying is the way for us to reach the state where our intention is heard by God. It was how we feel the peace and love required for our intentions to sprout forth and take root. When we pray, we surrender our desires and feel the loving energy of God. When we say, “Dear God, you take over since I can’t seem to get this right. I tried to____ but it didn’t work so please help me”, slowly but surely, we would find the strength deep within us that we never know we have.
Our prayers would give us that extra push. When we believe that we couldn’t do it anymore, somehow, there is something deep within us that will tell us that yes, you can. It would ask us to trust and just persevere. If we are battling food or drug addictions, if we surrender, yes, we would fall. However, we would realize that we don’t really want that extra cheesecake or that we prefer sober. That was why the Alcoholics Anonymous had included God in their twelve traditions. And a lot of people had gotten better through it.
So, while you and I are forging our paths to our dream lives, while we need to do our parts, we also need to surrender to the higher power. Our strengths alone couldn’t accomplish our desires. Since we will be battling an uphill battle, we need to have the strength of the divine on our side. We need to pray. Ask and it shall be given.
Just because you have the daily plan doesn’t mean that you would actually follow whatever it is you’ve written. Welcome to self-sabotage. Now, the PLAN is to follow your daily plan. That doesn’t always happen. You would encounter resistance within yourself. You would say to yourself that “you don’t want to do this because…” or “this is too hard because…”. In other words, you would come out all sorts of excuses. This is your subconscious trying hard to maintain its equilibrium.
I am an addict for self-improvement. I read a lot of the self-help and alternative health books out there and tried them all. A few years ago, I read that I shouldn’t watch violence because it seeps into my subconscious so I stopped watching tv for some time. Months after that, I read that violent music would also make me weak so I stopped on listening those, too. Next was the food. I have heard that gluten is bad for me so I let go of that, too. It took me some time before I realized that joy has left my life.
It took a while but it finally sunk in that my life is a self-improvement blur. It’s a neverending series of reading books and avoiding certain types of music, food, and films. Meanwhile, I was at a loss with what’s wrong with my life. Something felt missing but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I tried every alternative health methods I know–chakra clearing, meditation audios, and other various methods. It was then that I hit rock bottom. I became honest with myself. I was bored out of my mind and I wasn’t happy. Life had became a mundane set of tasks that I wish not to be a part of. I needed something but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Then, I found Netflix streaming and DVD.
It was funny since I wasn’t supposed to watch too much because of the self-improvement thing I was doing. Still, I allow myself to indulge. I started with one movie at first. Then, another. Over the course of time, I also began watching tv shows that I enjoyed through the years. That’s when I started having tv show marathon. It was then that I realized that one of my favorite shows of all time, Chuck, is missing. I borrowed a few DVD’s from Netflix but I enjoy it so much that I bought myself the DVD. I decided to allow myself to indulge. Chuck marathons is a must. I missed a lot of shows since it was airing during my “no watching violent tv shows phase”. Then, I was content for a while. Finally, it hit me: my life was just out of balance. There was no variety in my life. No variety means no boring. That’s when I began to rebel from my self-imposed restrictions.
It started with the music. I literally clicked on the heavy metal station on my Pandora. Though I realized that I like them, there are a lot of times when I would miss soft piano music. Then, there are times when I would miss listening to my radio shows. I decided that I would listen in to the things I want to listen to in equal proportion. I took turns listening to classical and heavy metal, radio shows and silence. Somehow, it made me feel calmer. There’s a newness in me that I couldn’t explain. I added a few more stations to my mix. That’s when I realized that there are songs I enjoy from every single genre and there were those I hated. Still, I enjoy Broadway, Classic Rock, and Disney stations the most. For some reason, it made me happier at work. It also increased my creativity–I got a new idea and it’s turning into a promising story.
Food also became part of it. I decided to eat it everything–wheat and meat included. Still, I have a diary which allows me to keep track of what I eat. The first day, I literally eat everything on sight. Then, it lessened. There are times when I still get occasional cravings so I let myself enjoy the food. Surprisingly, I lost weight when I started doing that.
It then occurred to me: we need both the “good” and the “bad” aspects of everything in life. Too much of something is bad for us. Even water, the most essential nutrients in our body, could kill us if we drink too much. We also need the “bad” things to add spice in our lives. After all, even arsenic had medicinal purposes if taken in the right proportion. The key is the right proportion–moderation. Only you can determine what’s the right proportion for you.
From that day on, I decided to allow myself to indulge on everything, provided that I indulge in moderation. I’ve never been happier and more balanced in my life.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I recently started rewatching Chuck again. Personally, I believe that it was one of the best television series of all time and I was, and still am, mad when it got cancelled. I had signed a petition to put it back on the air. It’s a comedy show about a man who was forced to become a spy when he downloaded a computer on his head. Their antics made me laugh without feeling like I want to shoot myself whenever I decide to have a Chuck marathon.
For those who have not seen it, it takes some getting used to. After all, how many parodies of spy shows are there that focuses on how a regular person would do if they suddenly find themselves thrust in the spy life? I really enjoy the antics like getting Chuck hanging from the edge of the building, or when he tried to jump off the building to save his life. Then, there were the subplots. I couldn’t stop laughing when Morgan, Chuck’s best friend, met his girlfriend’s parents. That was so funny I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the whole scene.
Shows like this makes me wish that there are more good shows on television. Good shows are relative. I recently told you about my experience with True Blood. Still, there were those shows that I thought was promising but has been canceled, like Made in Jersey and Journeyman. Now, Made in Jersey is an awesome show where a lawyer helps her clients have justice but it doesn’t have the sex and the violence that a show like True Blood have. Journeyman’s story was promising, too, except that there was a writer’s strike at the time so NBC cancelled it.
Reality shows for me is a bust. I don’t like seeing people get humiliated on national TV so I do myself a favor: I don’t watch the show. After all, that’s how shows get cancelled–the less people watching the faster the show gets cancelled. Still, it might take a while. Until then, I’m going to take a stand by not watching the show.
I hope that someday there would be more good shows on television. For now, Once Upon a Time is on the top of my list. Now, I haven’t seen Revolution but if it’s as good as the first season of Heroes, then it’s a show worth watching. For now, I’m watching my favorites on Netflix/Hulu.
What are your favorite shows?
I finally started watching True Blood for two reasons. Besides the rave reviews, it starred one of my favorite actresses–Anna Paquin. Yet, I couldn’t stand the first episode. Still, I tried to watch it since there are shows that I grew to love as the series goes on. After seven episodes, I had to stop watching it. It’s too dark for my taste. Does that mean the people that loved the show were wrong? No. We have different preferences. What I like to watch isn’t necessarily what you would enjoy.
For example, I enjoy watching Once Upon a Time. I literally record the show and let my parents know that I’ll watch the show during the season finale. My dad, however, always tease me everytime I watch. The same thing goes with mom and dad (I agree with my father on this one) everytime she watches those Chinese action movies and drama. Still, that’s what my mother likes.
What does that mean for us artists? It means that whatever our preferences, there is sure to be a niche where you can latch yourself in. Your work would surely find an audience, even if it’s only a handful. Just write whatever novel/screenplay you enjoy writing. Paint or sing your hearts out. Keep your eyes on your vision and work on your craft. There are those who would enjoy your work. Just because you’re an artist from a tiny archipelago doesn’t mean that people from the other side of the world won’t enjoy your work.
I know this because I enjoy a dose of Japanese drama once in a while. It lacks character development but it’s so funny I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s the same reason why I love Chuck. Some people don’t understand why but I love them. That’s fine. They probably enjoy a lot of things I’d rather not waste my time on.
What are the television shows you enjoy? Why do you enjoy them?
The day I decided to be a novelist, I bought every single book I can afford on how to write a novel. I also took as much classes as I could about it. Years later, I still haven’t finished writing a book. I had been so overwhelmed with information that I started second guessing on what I should do. That’s when I realized that I was too busy knowing things that I’m paralyzing myself from doing it.
Everytime I try to write, I tell myself that the characters need to be this and that, and that the description should be more concise. As I start typing, that’s when I realized that it’s not good and stop without even typing anything. Of course, at that stage I did not know what was wrong with me. It took me a while to figure it out. The voices of other people became too loud that I lost my own. I shut myself down and tried to put down writing novels temporarily. Though I knew how to write, I need to find my own voice. Only my journal remains my constant companion. I find it therapeutic, writing about my thoughts and feelings for the day.
As I was writing on my journal, I realized that I was not writing on my novel. I was still paralyzed from the overwhelming information I tried to cram my brain with. So, I realized that it must be the writing books that overwhelmed me. That was when it occurred to me that I had been stuffing all of these information down my throat without even absorbing them all. I also noticed how I had different perspective a few years later after listening/reading certain audio books. I understood them better as I gain the wisdom.
That was when I decided that I don’t need to know every detail. I can learn one thing and digest it. For example, if I were to read about drawing, I should only read one to two chapters and practice it until I master it. It may take a day, a week, or a month but I don’t need to know every detail of it. Once that knowledge is ingrained in me, I could read another chapter to deepen my understanding. That way, I may know little but I was not as paralyzed with the knowledge that too much research bring me.
It occurred to me that there is a time and place for doing research and a time and place to just do them. However, any type of artistic expression does not require a lot of knowledge. If anything, a lot of knowledge can be too much. It can drown out your own voice. So, choose an aspect you need, practice it, and when you want to broaden your knowledge, take another perspective. You don’t need to know everything about how to create art–you need to be an artist.
We affect more people than we realize. Every action we’re taking causes a ripple effect that have a far bigger consequences we realize. Whether it’s our jobs, our driving skills, or our hobbies we have a much bigger impact than our immediate environment.
This occurred to me last week when I was driving. I had to hit on my break because the car in front of me stopped. I almost had to slam on my break but I managed to get an adequate distance between me and the car in front of me. The car behind me did the same thing but she was not so lucky. The car behind her hit her car. As I looked in the rearview mirror, I realized something. A total stranger’s actions would cause her to pay thousands of dollars for damages, and ruin the aesthetics of her car. As I exited the freeway, I realized that I have changed that person’s life.
That had certainly been the case during my own car accident almost a decade ago. A black van hit me on the side before I spun around and hit the center divider. Now, the driver of the van got away. Still, it took me years of trauma before I could drive confidently again. It also set me to my path of spirituality.
Most of us might not be as famous as Wayne Dyer, Sonia Choquette, and Joel Osteen but believe me when I say that our actions are significant nonetheless. We touch a lot of lives we don’t even realize it. Without even knowing it, our actions touch other people’s lives which in turn would touch the people they come into contact with. Hence, we should do our best. We don’t know how much we’re affecting other people by the lives we live. Just ask the parent of an abused or neglected child.
Our actions have far reaching consequences than we even realize. Therefore, we should smile and do our best at everything. We don’t know how much we change other people’s lives just by being there. Who knows? You might be saving a life without even knowing it.
The power of love is something to not be underestimated. Sometimes it’s all we needed to endure. An artist’s love for art could be seen when he or she struggles, working two jobs at a time while working on his or her spare time to give birth to a wonderful art. While it was not unusual for artists to work for two jobs to support oneself, it was and should be uncommon for us artists to wait for the big break while doing nothing. It takes perseverance to be an artist. It’s worth the struggle, yet it always turns out well once we reach the other side of it.
It’s easier to paint or to sing when we have food in our belly. For one, we don’t get too desperate to sell our artistic talents for money. Not that it doesn’t happen when we reach our zenith of wealth. Sometimes, when you become too wealthy, money becomes your motivation. It would be nice to reach the point where our love for art sustain us. Until then, we need to work on menial job in order to sustain ourselves. An art requires the soul of the artist. Otherwise, it would be a worthless trash.
When we love, we also need to use our minds. Both in tandem, it could create something that we would never thought possible. In a relationship, it is not worth it to stay when your partner abuses you, cheats on you, or even disregards your true self. That’s the time when we use our minds and leave. So it is with art. As an artist, we need to use both our minds and our hearts. While I do not suggest that you abandon what makes you happy–art, unlike humans, do not physically interact with us and could therefore not harm us–it is necessary for us to do what it takes to survive. Survival comes first. It’s true determination that keeps us working on our artistic creations when we wake up early or sleep late to squeeze in that extra time to do our sketches, write our songs, and even paint that canvas.
Mind has its place in our work. That’s why most jobs require that we use it. However, doing something we love while working on jobs that would help us survive is not either/or. It’s both. It’s essential to do the tasks in front of us while exploring what we truly love to do on the side. Maybe you truly want to be an artist but it could also be a desperate cry of the soul to be let out. The good thing when working for something while figuring out what you like is that it gives you a chance to explore. What type of paints and colors do you prefer using? What type of sound do you create? Having a job means having that money to afford that easel without having to ask for a loan.
We need to combine the passionate power of love with the logical power of the mind. We have both in our body and we could never survive without the other. That’s why it’s essential. We need to explore and experiment as artists but we also need to use our brains in order to survive. Blessed be.