Friday, March 30, 2012

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

- John F. Kennedy.

Life appears to be an ever changing and unpredictable thing.  Finding a truly singular purpose that you can be proud of and strive for is truly a wonderful thing. 


Also as an aside, I love light houses.  This one was painted by Thomas Kinkade.  Check out his work!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.

This is something I wrote a few months ago.  It’s short and simple, but I think it sums up things rather well, at least for now…
All of my regrets, all my failures, all my successes and wins, everything I've ever said, felt, every relationship and friendship, my feelings, thoughts, actions, desires and dreams, my experiences and perceptions make my life what it is today.  Although at times I might begrudge too harshly the negatives and underappreciate the positive, all of these things create the essence of who I am.  If I tug at the loose strings of the tapestry of my life, it would unravel into the chaotic turmoil of the unknown.  Who I am would be lost.  In its place would be a void.  Trite and fanciful fantasies of altering my life by rearranging my past only stands to cast shadow on my future...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.

- Winston Churchill.


Stories of survival against impossible odds, like this one, are amazing.  I often wonder, if I were in such a situation, how would I handle it and how would I react.  Sometimes there's just no way of knowing if we'll be courageous or cowardly, until the time arrives.  For now, I'll imagine myself on the courageous side, and hope to live true to my dreams, until the end.



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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Abandoned places drive the Imagination

I've always had a slightly morbid fascination with old and abandoned things.   Stories like this one are almost irresistible.   There's something about seeing ships, houses, cars, and the like just sitting there, waiting for their oweners to come back, even though we know they never will.  The possibilities about what happened, why the items were abandoned, and the story behind the story is too much for me to pass up. 

People ask me all the time where my ideas come from for my short stories.  Well letting my imagination wander when it comes to lost and abandoned things is a perfect answer.  The possibilities of where a story can go are endless.  There's something about everyday recognizable items seen in such disarray or disrepair that is simultaneously intriguing and distrubing.  That's where the imagination comes into play.  It's not so much that I enjoy seeing abandoned hospitals or haunting ghost ships, but the realization that at any time, the life we know can turn on a dime, disappear and never return is so stark and real.  So true that is, if you've never heard the story of Centralia Pennsylvania, you might want to reconsider just how dramatically life can change.

To be sure, most of the things I've used as an example here are somewhat unsettling.  However, look at the bigger picture here for a moment.  With such turmoil and uncertainty in the world, such things make a great case for seizing the moment.  Waiting another day, or putting things off can only do one thing: Waste time.  Don't let that happen!  You'll only regret it in more ways than one.  Trust me.  Just remember that inspiration and creativity can come from almost anywhere, even an abandoned house!



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Monday, March 26, 2012

Cools songs just for the hell of it.

I thought I'd go a different route today and just post up a few videos that I liked, just for the hell of it.  This first one is a little out there, but for those of you who have ever heard of Daft Punk, I'm sure it's a favorite.


Pretty crazy, that little robot dude is cool and scary at the same time.

This next one is a classic from the 1980s.  If you remember hearing it on the radio you'll remember just how awesome it was to hear this song first the first time.


I love both of these songs even though they are totally different in comparison. 



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Friday, March 23, 2012

The Fascination of Inspiring Paintings

Paintings are an extreme visual representation of emotion.  The first time I saw this painting, I was mesmerized.




L'Ange du Foyerby Max Ernst  

This painting is so striking and animated, yet the agony I seen in that creature is so articulated I'm somewhat stunned.  It never fails to capture my attention every time I see it.

The next painting that has always had my attention is this one.



Persistence of Memory

This paiting is by Salvador Dali  I'm constantly perplexed by the meaning of this painting.  Time is always such a strange subject, putting its essence into a painting seems to complicate the idea. 

I hope you like my selections.  Think about concepts and ideas that interest you and see if you can find paintings that represent those ideals.  You might be very surprised at what you find!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.


Buddha


What does it mean to have personal independence?  There’s a lot to be said to have a self-sufficient personality that allows you to make decisions, complete tasks, explore new opportunities, and just be able to think for yourself.  Being independent is easy for some, it comes naturally.  For others it’s a life long struggle to learn how to cope and manage, let alone thrive by themselves. 

I watch my daughter grow up and see the evolution of her character and personality.  At the same time I see her struggle for independence while still clinging to me for help and support.  I think it’s vital to foster her personal growth into a person that is capable and self-reliant.  Right now, in those formative years where she will become the woman she’s destine to be, I want to help her experience as much as she can to develop properly.  But what about those who didn’t have the right encouragement and direction, are they lost?  No.  I’ve known some people who unfortunately didn’t have very loving or nurturing parents.  But they took their situation as a motivator to improve and rise above the negative. 

Being able to depend on yourself is a gift that is hard to describe, but so worth the efforts in getting it.  If you find yourself clinging to others, unable to experience life on your own, you might want to try developing a new paradigm.  Independence doesn’t just happen, for some it takes a long time with a lot of effort.  Start out slow.  Pick an activity or task that you think you can accomplish with little help or supervision and try it.  Even if you fail, try again.  And keep trying.  Ask for advice if you need it while attempting to learn why you didn’t succeed.  Remember, I’ve always said there’s a success in every attempt.  So keep trying.  Some day you’ll be flying solo, and you’ll be proud of yourself and your independence



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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Throughout my life, as I'm sure in yours, life has is small and large disappointments.  They can be bitter, stinging defeats, or they can be tools to help you recognize just how precious the good things are in life.  Keep hoping!




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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I must lose myself in action, lest I wither in despair.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

  

There’s an old saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”  Now I know that sometimes busy people can look frazzled, disorganized, and totally unprepared to take on yet another task.  However, what you might not realize is, their action keeps them moving.  Their success at accomplishing tasks feeds on itself and perpetuates.  They thrive on action.  Okay, so it may be that the busy person you know might not be the most organized, or efficient worker you know, but what good is an organized, efficient loaf?  Really.  The action those busy workers take may seem stressful to the outside observer (and to the worker themselves), but don’t underestimate the power of motion.  It kind of reminds me of Newton’s Laws of Motion. 

I’ve learned enough about myself to know that when I have a lot of things to do and not much time to do it, I get things done.  Usually I get those tasks done better than if I had all the time in the world. But what motivates a person to action?  What drives them to get up off the couch and do something, be active?  If you don’t have motivation but feel a call to action, you might just sit there and feel frustrated.  For me, I need a purpose or goal to make my action meaningful.  I tend to think about what my life will or would be like if I did nothing; if I didn’t bother trying to improve myself or make a difference.  Having that realization of unaccomplished goals and untaken chances is usually enough to get me into gear.  Remember, I’m all about living up to my potential.  What about you?  Are you going to loaf around or take action?




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Monday, March 19, 2012

Songs of Emotion

Last time I did Songs of Inspiration.  This week I want to do a couple of songs that illicite emotion.  I think periods of strong and intense emotion can be inspiring if you direct that energy toward something positive.

The first song is Into the west, by Anne Lennox.  This song was featured in The Lord of The Rings, The Return of the King. (All rights reserved to the orginal artists)




Also, as you may know, Whitney Houston recently passed away.  The song, I will Always Love You, was originally recorded by Dolly Parton, but for my money, Whitney's version is the best.




Hope you find inspiration in these selections!


Also, here's a picture of a Lilly Pond at Balboa Park, San Diego.  I took this about four years ago, but it's still one of my favorites.



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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Scenes from Balboa Park, San Diego

One of the wonderful things about living in San Diego is being able to spend time at Balboa Park.  There are so many things to see and do, you could spend days being entertained and still not see the whole thing.  I've lived in San Diego for over seven years and I still haven't seen all of the amazing things the park has to offer.  As part of my mission in life to explore new areas and gain new experiences, I think I'll redouble my efforts to see every site in Balboa Park.

I have been trying to learn photography.  In that effort I've taken lots of pictures.  The last time I was at the park, I took several.  So here are a few that I think turned out pretty nice.  Enjoy!



 This is the fountain right near the Natural History museum.  It's a favorite spot to visit for most.

 The yellow of this flower just popped out at me and thought it should be captured.


I was surprised I got the entire tree in frame.  It so tall you might not even realize it.  If you look at the bridge at the bottom of the picture you can just make out a few people crossing.  That will give you an idea of just how tall this tree is.


 I have no idea what this is but it looked so cool I had to snap a picture.

Another flower picture.  I really like the contrast of orange, blue and green.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  Remember, inspiration and creativity can be sparked by many things.  Don't be afraid to explore and imagine.  Great things can happen.


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Friday, March 16, 2012

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.




How would we handle it if the future came all at once?  Maybe it would be pretty cool, or not.  Traveling through time would be fun, just as long as you could get back to where you started from.




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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Continue to be yourself because in the end that’s what people will remember about you.

-Author Unknown

What do you do when your voice is not being heard?  In an age where so many people can express themselves over the internet it’s easy to feel like your opinion and beliefs can be drowned out by the voices of a billion others.  And that’s a fair assessment.  With so many people finding the urge and avenue for self expression it’s hard to filter out all the noise.  With so many people, just finding any one single person that believes as you do may seem impossible.  So what should we do?  Do we give up, keep quiet and not bother?  Do we go along with the flow and just accept the loudest voice as the strongest belief?  Should we just accept it?

No.

You should shout like no one is listening.  Your opinions are yours, derived from years of experience, knowledge, dreams, and desires.  At the very least, they should mean something to you.  Expressing those opinions are an affirmation of those beliefs.  There have been plenty of times where I’ve felt completely ignored, rejected, and unwanted.  If you think about it, I’m sure most people have felt that way at least once or twice.  Heck if they haven’t I’d love to know what that feels like, but I digress.  So how do we get people to listen?  Well, you may discover that by examining your beliefs and opinions, I mean really dig deep into their meaning, that they aren’t as profound as you thought.  Maybe those beliefs and opinions need to have a few more experiences behind them to have more substance.  Reexamining your life should not be a onetime thing, it should be ongoing.

Feeling passionate about your beliefs is admirable, but it’s only part of the equation.  You have to have knowledge, experience, and wisdom to support your claims.  If you really know what you’re talking about and have facts and proof as support, you’ll have something that will reinforce your passion.  Then people will be forced to listen to your voice because it has so much profound resonance to it.  So, experience much, learn more, and speak up!

Do you think your voice would echo here?



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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Adventure is not outside man; it is within.

George Eliot


Just like most guys my age, when I first saw Raiders of the lost ark, I wanted to be Indiana Jones.  Adventures of the mind can lead to adventures of the body.  Go for it!







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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Explore the true art and mystery of self discovery.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” -Albert Einstein

What does mystery mean to you? The greatest challenge of life is the unknown. For some people that is a scary, if not horrifying thing. Society in general seems to fear the unknown, taking years, if not decades or centuries to truly change their outlook and demeanor about certain issues. Religion, God, the meaning of life, abortion, sexuality, tolerance, all of these things are still hotly debated and argued about. But why? It’s the mystery of the future that’s the problem.

People fear what they don’t know, can’t predict, or don’t understand. It’s logical in a way to avoid that which could potentially hurt or destroy your accepted way of life. But the mystery of the unknown drives people to excel. It’s the intrepid explorer, the bold adventurer, the brazen challenger that drives society forward. Through them great accomplishments have been made such as exploring new lands, inventing amazing machinery, curing diseases, and cultivating new understandings of the mind and universe. The want to know drove those pioneers to achieve great things.

If there is a mystery in your life, you should explore it. A journey of self discovery is the greatest journey you can take. They only person you can never get away from is yourself. Wouldn't it be better to know that person as best you can right down to the core? I'm not saying if you explore your deeper soul you’ll find some kind of transcending enlightenment (but damn that would be cool!). Taking the effort to find out what your personal mysteries mean and where they can lead will enrich your life. Trust me, try it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Songs of Inspiration

Music is one of the most motivating and inspirational ways for me to feel the creativity of life flow.  This first selection is just amazing.  Set to Rob Dugan's Clubbed to Death, the  Kurayamino Mix, ptxgarfield put together an amazing animation of the formation of the Solar System.  I can watch this one over and over...




This next selection is The Zephyr Song, by one of my favorite bands, The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I've always loved this song, plus the video is pretty damn cool. 



Enjoy the selections.  I know I will. (just to note, all rights reserved to the original artists.  Thanks to Google and Youtube for letting me share!)

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Friday, March 9, 2012

We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.

- Harrison Ford

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

I think this just goes to show you that even when you think you've totally lost, there's still a chance to start over.  You should make it your mission in life to improve yourself as much as possible.  At worst, you'll only get better...







Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hang on a Second!



Dost thou love life, then do not squander time,
for that's the stuff life is made of.
Benjamin Franklin



Have you ever just felt like no matter how busy or pressed for time you are, you need to just take a second out and stop?  The world careens around us, seemingly out of our control or influence, which it is, but your life lies in your control.  You should take that control and use it to your fullest.  Don’t worry, the world will always command your time, demand your attention, and be a force you cannot deny or ignore. So if that’s true, why give it your undivided attention, 24/7?  The simple answer is you don’t have to.  Taking a few moments out and diverting your attention to something that Really, Truly matters is not a crime and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

Today is a great example of this.  I was dropping my little one off at school.  She has been having a bit of trouble the last two weeks getting it in gear in the morning despite my prodding.  We were a bit late but I just had to stop and give her my total attention, look her in the eye and ask what was wrong.  We both needed that.  Now we agreed to talk about it more later, but that moment of shutting the world out was important.   Not only does it show my daughter she is important, it shows I know how to prioritize and give attention to what I value.

Sometimes recognizing what we really should be giving our attention to can be difficult.  There are clues and warnings, signs and symptoms, but if we don't take a moment out every so often, you'll totally miss those signs.  It might take a conscious effort at first to make yourself pause fo a moment and just look at what's going on around you.  You know there's an old saying, "if you don't look up once in a while, the world will pass you by".  It's true, what's even worse is the things you care most about will also pass you by.  And the people and things we truly care about make life worth living in the first place.  Don't let them slide through your life unnoticed!

A green hedge maze

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Friendship needs no words - it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.

Dag Hammarskjold

There’s something about a true friend that is more valuable than all the money in the world.  A true friend will not only be there when you need them, but also tell you the things you need to hear when you’d rather not hear it at all.  True friends know that friendship isn’t all about happiness and smiles, it’s about integrity and respect.  If you’ve ever know someone that never bothered to tell you the truth, or shied away from the hard issues, or maybe they were only around when things were going well for you, they might just be ‘fair weather’ friends.  We’ve all known the type.  They’re the ones that ask for favors, only tell you things you want to hear and don’t seem to contribute much to your wellbeing. 

True friends are there through the worst parts of life.  My best friend helped me out when I was really in a bad spot.  At the time, I was literally homeless, and although he was 3000 miles away, I at least had someone to talk to on the phone.  It might not seem like much, but when it seems all is lost, a voice of encouragement can be priceless.  It’s been a long time since I slept on that street corner, but I’ll never forget who my real friends were then, and now.

Sometimes it’s hard to develop real and true friendships.  Make no mistake they can be hard, but real friendships are always worth the effort.  Those of you who have a true friend know exactly what I’m talking about.  Those of you who don’t have a true friend are really missing out.  I realize developing a lasting relationship takes time, but truly, the payoff is so worth it.  Getting out and getting to know new people is the first step.  If you feel closed off and disconnected from the world, get out, start talking to people and open yourself up t o the idea that having a friend can make life So much better!


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Monday, March 5, 2012

A man must be master of his hours and days, not their servant.

William Frederick Book

Often times it seems like we're slaving away to pay our bills, work for the boss, do other people's will when what we really should be doing is living our lives for Our purpose.





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Friday, March 2, 2012

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

- Oscar Wilde


Have you ever known someone that is always a fun time to be around?  I have and it's great to have them in your life.  But we've all probably known someone whose company to absolutely dread.  That's unfortnate, but hey, there's no  law that says you Have to be around those people, right?!

It's Friday, let's have a great weekend!


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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit

- Vince Lombardi

I’ve talked about Potential before, but right now I feel there’s merit in discussing it once again.  You see, personally, I feel I’m at a crossroads.  There are times in every person’s life where things must or need to change.  This change could be caused by external forces or internal desires.  For me I think it’s a little of both.  Change can be good, especially if you’re ready for it.  That’s where Potential comes in to play. 

What are you capable of doing?  What can you accomplish or achieve?  Well if you even for one moment believe you can get close to your goals, let alone reaching them, well that’s Potential.  It’s not only what you think you can do, but what you think you can push yourself to do.  And the task or goal can be almost anything, whether it’s changing your mindset and perspective, or learning to play an instrument or earning a higher degree.  And that leads me back to my situation.  I recently finished my Master’s thesis and earned my Master’s Degree.  It was a long time coming, but I did it.  Believe me, when I was finished I felt a mind drain that was palpable.  But you know what, shortly after that I realized that I wasn’t relaxing after a hard fought achievement, I was feeling malaise because I needed a new challenge.  And that’s when it hit me.  I had more to offer, I had more Potential to live up to. 

Now maybe I push myself a bit too hard, maybe I am too critical.  Or maybe I know deep down inside, somewhere in the back of my mind behind the memories of T-ball, learning to ride a bike, Swedish Fish, Yankees baseball games and muscle cars, is the long-ago learned lesson that I CAN achieve great things, so long as I never give up trying.  Because as strange as it may seem, I don't have to succeed to reach my Potential, I just have to ensure I make the Attempt!  Will you give up, or will you Try?




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Understanding Pandemics

By Doug Clark Head Writer -  The Inspiration Engine With all that is going on with Covid 19, I thought it would be a good idea to help ...