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Weekly Word of Wisdom

Both Sides Now

“Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air

 And feather canyons everywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way

 But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone

 So many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way…”

From <https://www.songfacts.com/lyrics/judy-collins/both-sides-now>

As a pilot, I discovered that during daylight, the sky is always blue. All I had I had to do, was to fly above the clouds to witness it.

The true ‘clouds’ in my life are the never-ending thoughts that seem to create all manner of negatives, especially fears in my mind. The solution for me was to rise above these clouds and live in that space.

I came to understand my true identity is me, not the thoughts in my mind. The ‘thoughts in my mind’ are placed there by the Ego – the speaker. I am the listener.

The purpose of the Ego (the voice speaking thoughts in my mind) is to protect me from doing or saying things that might be harmful and from me taking unnecessary risks.

Here’s the crux of the matter; the Ego cannot discern between risk and opportunity, it simply sees everything in my life as risk!

What is most important though, is how I respond to what I hear. If thoughts engender such things as fear, doubt, anxiety, and multitudes of other negatives, I simply observe them and then, allow them to drift out of my mind. If thoughts of love, joy, peace excitement and such fill me, I embrace them fully.

Above all, I need to decide to take risks when necessary in order to seize opportunities, or else lose them.

The skill needed in my life is wise thought management; considering that thoughts become actions and these will have a future consequence, it is vital I choose correctly. If I do not conscientiously manage the moment-by-moment stream of thoughts overwhelming my mind, I become victim to many negative feelings and even depression at some level.

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Weekly Word of Wisdom

Change 2

Changing Attitude

Mostly, changes, in all their forms came about unexpectedly in my life. Some were dramatically quick, others so slow that I didn’t even notice until they were upon me. In particular small changes were often like this.

If I give some thought; changes that I liked, I accepted; changes that I didn’t like, I resisted. Yet, I recall that often the changes that I embraced, were, in the long run not beneficial to me, and changes that I resisted became lost opportunities. In other words, accepting changes I enjoy was not always the right thing for me and similarly, those I resisted, because they did not appeal to me, would have been the better option.

What I discovered over the years was this; I am not always the best judge of what changes to accept and which to resist.

If I was to accept changes that came into my life without resisting, then I could in due course apply these changes, ultimately to my benefit. If I could not apply them to my benefit I would accept them until such time as I was ready to make other arrangements.

I think of recent lockdown regulations. Here was change affecting people on a global basis. As these changes were introduced by law, none of us could have resisted them, except under pain of heavy fines. We all accepted the changes and began to adapt to the situation, awaiting a day when we could return to, at the very least, a semblance of our previous lifestyles.

Change
Nothing is Forever, Everything Changes

Many of us started to work from home, adapting to being almost completely housebound and not enjoying the physical company of our fellow workers, family or friends. Many were put off work, some were paid state benefits; airline pilots were painting houses, change was the order of the day in every phase of our lives. For the most part it was, ‘adapt or die.’

I noticed in the beginning of this bizarre state, I resisted the enforced changes in my mind. But as time passed, I realized this attitude was fruitless and on the advice of several articles I read, relating to the subject of change, I did just that – I changed my attitude!

Knowing that I was helpless to resist the enforced changes I adapted to applying a different way of living, with a view to ‘putting a finger in the dyke’ until I could repair the hole.

I had no trouble sleeping after that.

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Railway Track photo by Michael & Diane Weidner on Unsplash

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Failings are not Failure

Failure 3
Brett Jordan Avatar of user Brett Jordan Brett Jordan @brett_jordan @brett_jordan

The overriding failure in my life was seeing my failings as a failure, when, in truth, they were simply steps on the ladder of my ultimate success.

I turned my life around, simply because it wasn’t working for me. I woke up to the fact that the reason for this was; I was living in my past.

It is said; with age comes wisdom. I’m not sure if this is true as I recall asking for wisdom, and progressively, over the years I was aware of growing in wisdom.

Wisdom has revealed to me; I can learn from my past experiences, I can plan for the future, but I must live only in this moment now.

Not only did wisdom come to me, it also brought along its close friend, adventure. How I know this is, I started to become exceptionally curious. Curious about everything not only of myself, but the world around me. This led to many of the most amazing discoveries I began to make in all the different aspects of my life.

Failure
Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

As a writer, I constantly crawl the net for information and am daily amazed at what I discover there.

Today’s technology has provided a mammoth library; the most dynamic ever established in the history of humankind. And, it’s largely free!

Along with this new experience, I began to practice self-development in many of its different forms; the discovery of me and how I can I improve myself.

Finally I established a daily routine of meditative prayer, meditation and mindfulness.

I never knew adventure could be both so exciting and interesting.

I see my life as ever-changing, each moment of every day and yet, the direction of my journey remains constant toward refining the relationship I have, the Spirit within me and I.

Thankfully, I no longer look to my past, as that door is firmly shut, yet I plan for my future, but above all – I live to the full in this moment now, there is no place like it!

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Weekly Word of Wisdom

Man With Arms Up

Freedom

My freedom is a matter of my choice, no one else on this planet can give me freedom. I might be released from prison, but that is not the essence of freedom, because there are those who, whilst imprisoned, experienced freedom. There are those who cannot find freedom after being released from prison or without ever having been in a physical prison.

I can be enslaved in multitudes of prisons in this life. Toxic relationships, soul-destroying employment, poverty, fear, anxiety. The list is endless.

By contrast the quintessence of freedom is not found in multitudes of expressions. It is essentially in my state of  mind and it’s a state which understands; water flows in the direction of least resistance until, over  millennia, sometimes, overcomes the resistances in its path.

 I allow my mind to follow the line of least resistance, thus freeing my journey in flowing to my destination. Many times, in pursuing  that approach, I also overcome the resistances in my path.

Through all this, I am the captain of my ship and my decision must be final.

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Meditation Magic

Flying Birds Eye View

I love meditating and indulge myself daily in this liberating experience. This discipline has made a remarkable improvement in the area of my spiritual, mental, and physical strength.

I journey through my body, from the top of my head and on to the soles of my feet, using a homespun mantra of thanksgiving for the perfect health of every component in this precious body of mine.

From here, taking sound advice from my unofficial distance mentor, Eckart Tolle (‘The Power of Now.’) Who says that we should never chase the thoughts coming into our minds, but rather observe them, without becoming involved, I enter my meditative state.

“Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.” – Alan Watts

My aim, with no pre-planned strategy in mind, is to silently drift, as clouds do ahead of the winds, in a yoga pose seated on the floor. I have no idea if the pose is essential to a deeper meditation or not, but at the very least, it does wonders for my posture.

More recently, in my meditation, I have taken to ‘flying’ in my body, sometimes only thirty or forty meters above the ground. Because I am invisible to the naked eye, I can observe, unnoticed by humans, animals, and birdlife, as they go about their daily activities. At other times I soar above the clouds and see the curvature of the earth below. I am grateful that I have sufficient ‘pictures’ in my mind to achieve all this. It’s so peaceful, relaxing, and above all – calming. I am slowly learning the art of ‘being.’

For me there are no rules, except to gain maximum from Eckart’s teaching, I steer myself into the now moment and discipline myself to remaining there.

Aaah, sweet bliss, I love this time, first thing in my day.

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Weekly word of Wisdom

Blame Game

Wormhole
Picture Credit: John Paul Summers Avatar of user John Paul Summers @jpthedp

I hear others talk of ‘The Blame Game’ and it made me think. Surely, to lay blame on others and especially myself, is not only a fruitless but also damaging practice. If something happens in my life at this moment now, it immediately becomes past tense and as such, cannot be changed. It is done. Unless… I could time walk.

Researches say that in order to time walk, I have to find and enter into a wormhole. I have no idea as to the validity of this statement, but if it is true then would I be able to go backward and change things for the better, or will this run against the law of the Universe?

Considering the above, until I find a wormhole and understand the law of the Universe, I can’t change any action or words of mine done or spoken, even a nano-second ago. Hence it becomes fruitless to blame myself or others for something done or said in the past.

There’s more… to do something that is fruitless is one thing, to do something that is damaging is another; Something fruitless offers no gain, but the damage will need repair if it is possible. Psychologists say, in the realm of the human psyche, the repair is not always that simple to accomplish.

 Since I made this decision my breathing has improved! This being the case, It would be wiser for me resolving to remove the word ‘blame’ from my vocabulary and desist from anything connected to it.

Keywords: #Wisequotes #shortstories.

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Moment of Silence

Eagle

Once my hearing was taken from me and I was placed into a space of absolute silence. I could hear nothing, not even the blood rushing against my temples. I watched the people around me, their lips moving as they spoke, smiles on their faces as they laughed. I had no fear, only wonderment as I moved from a place of silence to a deeply calm stillness. First, it began in my heart then it flooded my soul. I closed my eyes and marveled at the place I was in and it spurred me into a thought of thanksgiving for the new and novel experience. I did not speak, because, I thought, speaking will require responses and I won’t hear those…. I savored, by choice, my first-time experience of pure stillness.

It was strange, I was not even aware of my thoughts and now, as I write, I wonder how much of my thoughts in the past were created by sounds that I could hear.


Picture credit:

Mark Paton
@mark0polo





I have met with people who have impaired hearing, over the years of my life. For me, they were uncomfortable times, as I felt deep pity for those souls. I experienced, sign language for the first time and people whom I had to face when speaking so that they could read my lips. Through these experiences though, I never gave a thought to what it must be like to hear nothing at all! Now for the very first time I could, without any warning, hear nothing!

In hindsight, I realize that not being able to hear anything was only a tiny, but beautiful, part of my experience.

What about life after the encounter? Yes, I had the luxury of moving effortlessly into stillness, like it used to be when I flew gliders, above the mountain ridge in the company of eagles. The return of my hearing, in retrospect, was like touching down on the runway after and being barraged by the chatter of the world and its demands. 

Was I grateful to have my hearing restored? You bet I was! But my silent time left me with a desire to return to the stillness I experienced.

The only way I could hope to emulate the experience was to set about my morning meditating with new vigor. I don’t attain the same level of stillness, but at least I can thankfully return to the world chatter and demands after, because I realize, part of me needs that.

Featured Image of Eagle credit:

Zdeněk Macháček
Avatar of user Zdeněk Macháček
Zdeněk Macháček
@zmachacek

Available for hire

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Dreams of a Wanna-Be Writer.

I always dreamed of being a writer and during the course of my later adult life many folks remarked that I should, ‘write a book.’ This was as a result of my having led an interesting life and the fact that I was a good story-teller.

Looking back, I realize that the expression, ‘write a book’ left me a little at sixes and sevens. This being because I did not know how to go about writing a book in the first place and in addition, what to write about.

There was no question; I had led an interesting life and yes, I was a natural story-teller, but how to put this, as I saw it, ‘dogs breakfast’ into a book, was beyond me.

Continue reading Dreams of a Wanna-Be Writer.

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Don’t Die Too Soon – continued

 

Continued from previous publication. (click for link)

One grey rainy morning at the age of seventy one (I had just been retired from my job of twelve years with no more than handshake and thirty days’ notice pay!) gazing out of the window, I wondered, fearfully what was going to become of me. I had the promise of nine months of UIF pay and then state pension. But after that???

To add to this medley I was still suffering from the effects of an unexpected divorce, caring for a drug addicted son, and many other domestic issues.

Thankfully my brother rescued me, by offering me a commission only sales position in his business.

My mind was being bombarded with all manner of thoughts and I began to bitterly regret the many poor choices made in my past life, when I was young, healthy and making a fortune of money – wasting it as fast as I made it.

Browsing in a bookstore I picked up a book called, “Artists Way.” I was unaware as I stood in the store, that I faced a fork in the road ahead of me. IArtists Way opted for the ‘left fork’ and armed with Artists Way I hit the road. The story from there is a long, but interesting one. For sake of time, I will tell you about it at some other stage.

Save it to say, from the left fork, I gobbled up self-help and motivational books, whilst  scouring the internet. I tried to see myself breaking the barriers of low self-worth, old age, rejection, and finally succeeding in my life once more.

Daily, I faced thoughts in my mind telling me it was too late, I was too old, who would take notice of an old man anyway. Besides what could I do to set myself back on my feet?

Employment at my brother’s business worked well for both of us and this proved to be a Godsend. I took up affordable residence in a clean, well maintained ‘retirement residence’, which in reality was an old age home! Filled with precious older folks (many younger than me!) sitting on the verandah, gazing into outer space, and waiting for someone to visit. (My heart broke for them.)

I knew this was not the life for me. I might be seventy two, but not ‘old’ and certainly far away from dying. My body was in prime condition (I’ve always been and exerciser and watched my diet.) but my mind…..that was another story!

I cannot describe to you the battle that raged in my mind, day, and night.

My mind was poisoned with fear, loneliness, fear of rejection, no self-confidence.

One day, after reading some Earl Nightingale material and a book called, ‘Portable Coach’ I set about some deep soul searching.Portable Coach

Ultimately, I concluded that what I really wanted to do, and in fact, what had been a dream of mine for many years was to ‘write a book.’

My mind tore me to shreds on this one! What are you going to write about? You are too old; you don’t know how to write! I made several attempts to write about my life but the scorn from my mind defeated me.

At this point, in a most miraculous way, I met a lady who ran a tailor’s shop and we began to date. Suddenly my mind was consumed by thoughts about her, day, and night.

We dined out, laughed a great deal (I could not remember ever laughing so much in my life.) and had a tremendous amount of fun.

She had a delightful apartment in a secure complex and invited me to move in with her. At this juncture I could say that I moved in with her and ‘the rest is history.’ But no, it wasn’t, the rest is our future and the complete revitalization of my mind. We married and have been together for five years.

Neelie, encouraged me to start a blog site and write short articles each week. I was so in love that I wrote poems about her, setting up a fictional character, ‘The Bold Knight Sir Peter James and his Lady Scarlett.’ At her urging I began writing a paranormal romance novel and was nothing short of amazed at how the words simply flowed  off my keys, with no apparent effort on my part. With much research into how to write a book, plots, genres, and the many free writing tools available on the internet, I started my journey into serious writing. I also joined a writer’s group.

I am by nature a disciplined person, I set about allocating a time in my busy day to writing for a fixed period of time; a certain amount of days each week. I have always been a goal-setter, but I found with a creative art such as writing, it was better for me not to set goals, rather to ensure I met with my disciplined writing times and let the words take care of themselves.

I was 60 thousand words into my estimated finished work of 90 thousand words, when I realized that it might be more advantageous for me to write a short story book. After all, I had loads of material after blogging (by then) for two years and publishing an article each week. This way I could publish sooner and pave the way for my completed novel.

I aimed at 45 thousand words and was finished in three months. After much searching I found a publisher who offered an affordable turnkey package at what I thought was an all-round beneficial deal.

I prayed for a sponsor, as I did not have much money in my account. I witnessed a miracle – the sponsor arrived and I was able to make a down payment and the monthly installments.

During this period of time I learned a great deal about design, editing, layout and plenty more.

Two weeks ago my publishers, true to their promise, loaded my e-book onto Amazon, Kindle and Smashwords. A few days later my six free printed books were ready to be delivered!

Me & My Book
Me and My Book

My family arranged for my books to be couriered to me and last night, for the first time Neelie and I held our dream in our hands!

Neelie is in her early seventies and I’m a couple of years off 80.

Now we are going to learn how to market our book in Europe; to achieve this we sold up home and fitted it into four suitcases……..

Don’t die too soon, there’s too much living to do!

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Need encouragement? Read my book, “Eerie Silence and Other Short Stories”:

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Why Write? – Part Eight

Please Note This Course is Completely Free of Charge

If you have just joined us, then you need to read previous editions in the series, you will find these here:

With each publication in this series, I was giving you assignments to do and asked you to return these to me for editing. This way you sent in your effort, which I called a ‘submission’ and I send back a ‘correction’ to you. In doing this, you ended up with a comparison.

If you have just joined us, you are free to submit the earlier assignments to us for correction, to help get you started.

Otherwise I have discontinued this routine for practical reasons.

As discussed in part Seven, discipline is a vital characteristic for a writer. As discipline is a learned state, we can all, with no exception, develop the habit. If you are a competitive sports person, fitness of body and mind as well as honing the skills required for your particular brand of sport are all essential factors.

Competitive sports people set markers along the pathway to achieving their goals; by virtue of the fact that this system is used world-over, it is probably achieving its purpose.

Writing is no different.

As writers, each of us can use the system above to reach our dreams and I am sure many authors will attest its success.

Best selling author Paulo Coelho wrote that, early in his career, he set down to write at 8 am. Took time off for lunch then worked on to five pm. From what I recall, his wife was influential in helping him to apply this discipline. In more recent times he attests to first thing, spending time finding reasons to avoid starting his writing. Once he starts he will write onwards through the day into the night.

Setting a goal and then staging markers to the point of completion, did not work for me. This maybe something to do with the fact that I am a pantser and or the fact that I was officially diagnosed ADD.

What has produced results for me, so far, is at prescribed times I sit down and write for as many hours as I have available. This is my discipline. I think that I am extremely fortunate, inasmuch as I love writing so much, it is not difficult for me to start writing and continue for hours on end, punching out about 800 to 1500 words an hour. Thank God, so far, I have never had ‘writer’s block.’

Bottom line though, is disciplining myself to write at prescribed times. Disciplining myself to set about my home-based business, in order that my bank balance stays out the red. Assisting my wife wherever and whenever she allows me to do so. Fortunately, my wife’s passion is to see me achieve – for this I shall be eternally grateful.

I have discovered this discipline has allowed me to accomplish without goals and markers. Discipline has kept me in that place where my passion is allowed to drive my creativity and send me across the finish-line of accomplishment.

In short, get down and do it – consistently.

That behind us, let us touch on two important writing points:

  1. Over Used Words.

These words I tend to overuse: ‘that, and, so, was, then, also, great…..’the list is endless. Visit this link: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/common-adjectives/

In my opinion overused words water down our creativity. Diluted creativity bores our readers and is a sure sign of immaturity. You would be quite surprised if you went over your recent writing efforts and see how many of these words you use sub conscientiously.

Try this exercise: Without giving it any thought write a quick seventy-five words; you should be well equipped to do this by now. Take the completed article and see how many over-used words you can find.

Rewrite the article removing these words and replacing them with more imaginative one’s. In many cases this will require a change of layout in your sentences. You may even have to completely rewrite certain sentences.

Once you have completed this, you will be surprised at what a far more interesting article you have written.

  1. Use of dull unimaginative words, especially adjectives and verbs.

Take your rewritten piece above and now set about changing as many words with others. Try this link:  https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/. You will find interesting synonyms here.

On finishing this exercise, compare your present article with the first and you will be pleasantly surprised.

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If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; http://www.adcrucemchristi.com

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’

button).