On Becoming Aware and Present

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In 2008, I participated in a ten-part series presented by Oprah Winfrey and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. Oprah and Eckhart took millions of viewers on a chapter-by-chapter journey through A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Eckhart’s seminal work).

Their intention: To teach viewers how to focus and become more aware and present.

Since that time, I have reread A New Earth several times and also picked up Eckhart Tolle’s other book, The Power of Now. I highly recommend both books.

Whenever Oprah hosts Eckhart on Super Soul Sunday, I make a point of watching and taking notes. I was inspired and entertained by the following interview segment from the November 12, 2012 broadcast:

Oprah: How do you accept an unpleasant situation, if change is not possible?

Eckhart: You must accept a situation, even if change is not possible. The basis for effective enlightenment is to come in alignment with the present situation. When you accept the “isness” of life, greater intelligence arises. If you are angry and resist the unpleasant situation, you will remain stuck in it.

Oprah: How do you calm the voice in your head?

Eckhart: This question implies you know that your mind can’t stop. This is a good first step. Take the energy away from these thoughts, by asking yourself if you can feel the energy in your hands. Wait and you will feel it. Then move to your legs and other body parts. The inner body serves as a wonderful anchor for a sense of presence. This allows you to be distracted from your other thoughts.

Oprah: How does one clear the mind of bad memories?

Eckhart: Recognize that these memories are thoughts only in your head. They are not realities because they have already happened.

Oprah: How do you have fun?

Eckhart: I enjoy the present moment wherever I am and that’s fun for me.

Oprah: Are you happy?

Eckhart: I am in a state of peaceful aliveness.

Oprah: What do you believe in?

Eckhart: I believe in nothing in particular. LOL

Oprah: What are you grateful for?

Eckhart: I am grateful for always this moment…the now, no matter what form it takes.


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My Favorite Love Song

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Whenever I hear Celine Dion sing “My Heart Will Go On,” I feel goosebumps rising. I especially like this YouTube video, which includes scenes from “Titanic” (one of my favorite movies).

Happy Valentine’s Day!


The Optimist Creed

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

While February is the shortest month of the year, it can be the most challenging, especially if winter persists. I turn to “The Optimist Creed” by Christian D. Larson whenever I need an extra dose of positive energy.



Let Go and Let God

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Australian singer Olivia Newton John released Let Go and Let God on her twenty-second studio album, Grace and Gratitude, in 2006. The song has been described as “meditative mood music”…an apt description for a song that has benefited several cancer charities. The hauntingly beautiful music and lyrics resonate with me at the soul level. It’s my go-to song whenever I need to uplift my spirits.



A Three-Step Remedy from Warren Buffett

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, author Daniel H. Pink devotes an entire chapter to Midpoints. At the end of the chapter, he shares several strategies and anecdotes from well-known high achievers. I was impressed by this advice from Warren Buffett:

One day Mr. Buffett was talking with his private pilot, who was frustrated that he hadn’t achieved all he’d hoped. Mr. Buffett prescribed the following three-step remedy.

First, he said, write down your top twenty-five goals for the rest of your life.

Second, look at the list and circle your top five goals, those that are unquestionably your highest priority. That will give you two lists–one with your top five goals, the other with the next twenty.

Third, immediately start planning how to achieve those top five goals. And the other twenty? Get rid of them. Avoid them at all costs. Don’t even look at them until you’ve achieved the top five, which might take a long time.

Doing a few important things well is far more likely to propel you out of the slump than a dozen half-finished projects.


Inspired by the Real Rocky Story

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In mid January, it’s very easy to start feeling down and less productive. Whenever that happens, I turn to several real-life stories that inspire and motivate me to get back on track. Here’s one of my favorites:

In 1974, Sylvester Stallone was a broke, discouraged actor and screenwriter. While attending a boxing match, he became inspired by a “nobody” boxer who “went the distance” with the great Mohammed Ali.

Stallone rushed home and, in a three-day burst of creative output, produced the first draft of the screenplay entitled Rocky.

Down to his last $106, Stallone submitted his screenplay to his agent. A studio offered $20,000 with either Ryan O’Neal or Burt Reynolds playing the lead character. Stallone was excited by the offer but wanted to play the lead himself. He offered to act for free. He was told, “That’s not the way it works in Hollywood.” Stallone turned down the offer though he desperately needed the money.

Then they offered him $80,000 on the condition that he wouldn’t play the lead. He turned them down again.

They told him that Robert Redford was interested, in which case they’d pay him $200,000. He turned them down once more.

They upped their offer to $300,000 for his script. He told them he didn’t want to go through his whole life wondering “What if?”

They offered him $330,000. He told them he’d rather not see the movie made if he couldn’t play the lead.

They finally agreed to let him play the lead. He was paid $20,000 for the script plus $340 per week minimum actor’s scale. After expenses, agent fees, and taxes, he netted about $6,000 instead of $330,000.

In 1976, Stallone was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor. The movie Rocky won three Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing. The Rocky series has since grossed almost $1 billion, making Sylvester Stallone an international movie star!

Source: The One Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen (2002)


The Fringe Benefits of Failure

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series, J.K. Rowling has experienced a “rags to riches” life in which she progressed from living on state benefits to multi-millionaire status. She is the United Kingdom’s best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238M.

In her inspiring and entertaining commencement address to the class of 2008 at Harvard University, J.K. Rowling offered powerful advice to dreamers and overachievers, including one hard-won lesson that she deems “worth more than any qualification I have ever learned.”