Meditating and Writing

Meditation is awesome.

I had heard for the longest time that the benefits of meditation were innumerable, but I could never get myself to try it. A friend of mine would speak at lengths about how he practices transcendental meditation every morning and how he wasn’t even sure if it was helping him. It just seemed so mystical and woo-woo to me that I unfairly dismissed it.

Not anymore!

I was checking out an episode of the Random Show and they brought up an app called Headspace. Sitting down and meditating by myself? Not too into it. But “guided meditation”? That’s something I could get behind.

I downloaded the app and gave it a try. They give you 10 free lessons. Each one is 10 minutes long and each one builds upon the previous. I always imagined that for meditation to be effective you needed an hour or so of solid concentration. I can get behind 10 minutes.

I think there’s a lot of genius in the app. Obviously 10 minutes is an easy sell, but all of the other stuff that the app preaches is gold too, especially the theme of not fighting thoughts that start to creep in. The app constantly tells you to let thoughts come and go and not to worry about it. There’s even a section in each lesson where you’re encouraged you to let your mind do whatever “it” wants. There’s no pressure to have a singularly focused mind for 10 straight minutes and I think that’s key.

I’ve been waking up earlier, putting my earbuds in and firing up the app. The voice of the app, Andy, is pleasant, mellow and soothing. I’ve run through the 10 lessons three times now and I can honestly say that I feel amazing.

I’m handling my stress better. I’m energized in the mornings. I’m sleeping better. My focus and concentration are better. My creativity is flowing. All of this is boosting my writing. The ideas are coming freely and I don’t find myself getting distracted and wandering off to the dark corners of the internet as much.

I’m excited to see the long term effects of continuing meditation. Give it a try. Your health and your writing will thank you.

Slick New Theme

Even though I only post here once or twice a month, I decided to give the ol’ site a little face lift last night.

I love how clean and simple the articles on Medium look and how the focus is totally on the words. I wanted to mimic that as best I could so I found this nice template called Gravit that has no sidebars and wonderful choices for font and font sizing.

One odd benefit of this design is that I no longer feel obligated to find an image to accompany a post. I may tack on an image to a story every once in a while but I think stories look so much better with just the white background and the black text.

I briefly considered switching from WordPress to a new blogging platform called Ghost. It looks super slick and clean and very minimal, but I ultimately decided against it. If I can barely bring myself to post here once a month then I’m certainly not going to go through the trouble of trying to install a new platform on the server.

In other news, I’ve been writing some scripts for a first person sci-fi audio series/podcast type deal. It’s certainly different than anything I’ve ever done but I am really enjoying it. I love getting into this character’s head and seeing how freely the words are flowing.

I haven’t decided what I am going to do with it when I finish. I have someone lined up to be the voice, but I don’t know where or how I am going to release it yet. I’d really like to create a separate website for it and create an immersive experience where in addition to the narration by the character, there would be notes, maps, drawings, etc. “from” the character.

I’m leaning that way, but I need to finish it first!

An Orb for a Better World

red orb

Max sighed. Solving for x was boring, so mind numbingly boring that he didn’t notice the flickering blue light hovering in his room. It crackled and popped, growing until a shimmering rectangle stretched from floor to ceiling.

A hand pushed out from the rectangle, and a moment later, a man stood in his room, smiling. His grey robe hung loosely, hiding his small frame.

“Greetings, Max,” he said.

“You have one second to leave before I call the police,” Max said.

“Do not do that. Please. I have come a long way bearing a great gift.” He reached up one of his sleeves and produced a red orb. “It has changed my life and I hope it will change yours.”

Max squinted and studied the orb. “What is it? And… how do you know my name?”

“I seek disadvantaged people with good hearts, like you, to create better futures. This is a magical orb of ancient power. Focus its energy on another person and they will realize incredible wealth and power.” He handed the orb to Max who rolled it in his hands.

“Why don’t I just use it on myself and get the wealth and power?”

“The orb comes from another time when people were selfless. It will not work on your own person. If it is wealth and power you desire, then choose a recipient that will benefit you directly. Perhaps a parent.”

“Good luck,” he said and stepped into the portal. It closed behind him.

Max held the orb, unsure of what just happened. A car door slammed and he saw his father walking up the driveway in his suit with campaign signs tucked under his arm. “I’m home,” his father announced. “I almost raised money.”

Money had been tight since his mother died, and now every available penny went towards his father’s new aspirations. Perhaps this orb could help them.

As a test, he aimed it at a stuffed alligator on his shelf. A second later, the alligator erupted into flames.

The portal appeared once again and the mysterious man stepped through. “Hello. I just wanted to check in on you. Have you not give your father endless wealth?”

“Who are you, really?”

The man scrunched his face. “I am sorry?”

“This is not magical. It’s a killing device,” Max said, pointing to the alligator.

“I have told you. It can only be used on a person.”

“Last chance. Who are you?”

The man raised his hands defensively and backed towards the portal. “You do not know what is at stake. The future… You and only you must use it on your father. I – “

Flames engulfed the man, dropping him to the ground. A second later, his father burst through the door. “What was that?” He looked at Max holding the orb, the dead man on the floor and the blue portal, swirling in the center of the room. His jaw dropped.

“I think this man wanted me to stop you from winning the election.”

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