How shall I begin?


Isn’t it funny sometimes how things turn out even when we put forth the effort required to make things happen as we intended them to? January is over and I have yet to post anything on my blog this year even though I have been working on this post for weeks.

Oh come on now Joe you’re a paid writer. Do you mean to tell me that you do the research and write 600-700 word articles for your clients in a matter of hours, but a simple post for your own blog has taken almost a month to write?

Not to make excuses, but the dead of winter is an emotionally challenging time for many of us, and this winter has been especially challenging for me. The fact is I’ve been hesitant to share what’s been on my mind.

As I stood among my friends the Aspen, Cottonwood, and Spruce a couple of weeks ago on a frozen mountainside I caught site of a lone bird sitting on a bare branch. The crooning of the lonely songbird invoked a deep mourning for one that I loved and missed dearly.

You may not know it, but last January my son Dennis passed away after a long bout with the a demon I know all too well… the devil that lurks inside of the bottle.

I searched for the silver lining in the sorrow I was experiencing while a ferocious arctic wind pummeled my face with ice rain, sleet, and snow. With frostbite about to set in from the waterfall of tears cascading down my frozen cheeks it dawned on me that tragedy was the perfect segue into my upcoming series about writing.

Tragedy… After all a series of tragic events was the impetus for me to write something for the first time since I left high school.

What was so tragic that I would pick up the pen and express myself in writing? A better question might be why did I pick up the pen?

It was February of 2007 as I sat in my car during a freezing rain storm. I stared at the bottle of Wild Turkey 101 I held in my hand, and contemplated whether or not it might be better for those I loved if I stepped in front of a truck. I was about to pop the cork, when out of nowhere a poetic thought came to mind.

Fortunately I chose to set the bottle down and followed the urge I had to drag the backpack that contained my laptop out of the back seat. I snatched the laptop out of the bag, fired it up and watched the letters appear on the 15” screen as my fingers hit the keys. When I finished reading the poem that I had just written, a wave of emotion overcame me. I felt so happy to be alive, that I took a walk and let the freezing rain wash away the tears.

Several poems and a few months passed before I started my first major writing project. Even though I spent the next year writing a story that will most likely never be published, I knew as I wrote my life story that I wanted to become a paid writer.

So how does one become a paid writer? Especially when you don’t have a college degree.

First of all you have to love writing enough that you are inspired to learn how to write in a way that reaches an audience. Learning to write for the audience you want to reach doesn’t require spending thousands of dollars, and sitting in classes for years. It does require study and dedication to learning the craft of writing though. I have spent at least four hours a day over the last eight years learning the craft and if I were to guess I will spend the rest of my life studying the art of writing.

My first mentors William Strunk Jr., and E.B. White, authors of The Elements of Style opened my eyes to the simple truths of the importance of style and grammar in my writing. No I don’t personally know either of these two masters of the craft, none the less they have mentored me by sharing their wisdom and knowledge.

Over the next few months I will be sharing with the cherished readers of this blog the adventures I have enjoyed with the many mentors I have had the gift to learn from over the years. Some of them are known to many, Masters of the craft like William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, Nora Roberts, and Stephen King to name a few. Then there are those that you probably never heard of like Brendan Schemrie, who taught me the importance of writing for a specific audience. Or Shauna Edson, who spent an hour every Wednesday for a year coaching me and teaching me the mechanics of writing dialogue. Then there is my friend, editor, and co-mentor of the Veterans writing group at the Salt Lake V.A. Hospital, Peter Muller who has taught and inspired me in ways that the masters would admire.

Thank you for stopping by and allowing me to share my thoughts with you. Until next time please keep being beautiful you as you are the change we need to make our world a better place for all we share it with.

Namaste with love,

Joe Bradshaw

The Key… Acceptance unlock your heart and mind.


“Our watchword, then, will be acceptance, and not exclusion. Not only toleration, for so-called toleration is often blasphemy, and I do not believe in it. I believe in acceptance. Why should I tolerate? Toleration means that I think that you are wrong and I am just allowing you to live. Is it not a blasphemy to think that you and I are allowing others to live?” (Swami Vivekananda, The Complete Works Vol.2)

I was inspired to share the quote as I observe the world around me, I accept that it is a beautiful world and it is by working together as human beings and accepting our differences that our world will evolve and the ignorance as well as the violence will transform into wisdom and compassion.

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Acceptance is the key to changing ourselves and our world. Accepting responsibility for our thoughts and actions is the first step towards changing ourselves and our world. Start with accepting that you are you and loving yourself just as you are and embracing who you want to be. Accept it will take effort and know that you are doing the best you can. It will allow you to accept that those around you are human just like you!

Acceptance is a form of love, I happen to feel it is one of the ultimate expressions of love!

I accept that you feel how you feel. I accept that you did what you felt you had to do. I accept that at this moment in time….. I am where I am, I am present, I accept that it is what it is and it is accepted with love. I accept you as you are and me as I am all of us are a part of this wonderful existence we know as life.

Thank you for being beautiful you and changing the world with your love and your smiles, You are making a difference and having an impact. Thank you for being the positive change our world so needs, you are making it better for all we share it with! Thank you!

Namaste

Taking the time to smell the flowers!


 

I wanted to share a few thoughts. It is my first post of the New Year; In fact it is my first post in a few weeks. I was reminded recently of my past, I lived a fast hard life during my twenty’s and thirty’s. Work consumed my time and money was all that was on my mind. So much so that I missed out on smelling so many roses… Have you ever stopped to think about and feel something that really brought you great joy? I have observed as I talk to people and help them step into the life they dream of that it is easy to remember the not so pleasant things that happen in our lives. I also have noticed as I step into my dream life, and implement the things I have learned and teach I had the same problem.

Funny how other people’s story can remind us of our own story, the good the bad and the ugly. I read Stephen Kings memoir “On Writing” recently. I had been told it was the number one guide to becoming a better writer, to master the craft of writing this book is a must read. I agree it is a must read for any writer, as a writer you have to be a reader. Some of the characters in his story were very reminiscent of some of the characters in my youth.

One or two of his characters along with their situations, and experiences hit quite close to home for me. The truth is they would probably hit quite home for most of us. One of the stories he shared was about two girls and a boy that were in some of his classes while he was a teacher at a High School. They were not wealthy students; one of the girls wore the same skirt and shirt all year. By the time it was winter the skirt was faded, the shirt was stained and for the most part translucent. The kids all picked on those unfortunate students because they were basically stuck with what they had.

One of the motivating factors for my obsession with making money and having the means to buy my children the finest of everything materially was my own childhood memories. When I was in fifth grade I was given the nick name “K mart”. I had one pair of shoes to wear through the school year, plastic ones that were always a size or two larger than my feet at the start of the year so I could grow into them. One pair of jeans and a couple of homemade shirts completed my wardrobe. The shoes were what they used to call K Mart specials shiny patent leather knock offs. Most other kids I knew wore them on Sunday to church.

I got my first job at 13 so I could buy myself clothes that were more in style, and lose the nick name. I never wanted to hear the name” K mart” again especially if it was what I was being called. I was determined to make a million dollars and know my children would never be ridiculed for the clothes they wore. I would never again feel like I was poor!

Here it is 2015, I was speaking with a friend about a seminar we had recently attended. It was a Law of Attraction seminar and the speaker (A close friend) was talking about the visualization process. Find a memory of a time in your life when you had great joy and success. Feel that moment remember how you felt. Bask in that moment!

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It was that moment that I realized… How important it is to stop and smell the roses. I had the hardest time finding a moment that truly resonated with that feeling of joy. Not that I have not known or experienced joy, there have been many times in my life that I have. I was trying to think of a financial moment as it was again money on my mind. There was a time I got a check for twenty thousand dollars, I will remember that moment and the feeling I told myself. I suppose that is where I am going with this post.

I don’t remember the feeling, I don’t remember the joy, I don’t remember celebrating, I remember telling my former wife to deposit it. I remember going to work a fifteen hour day, coming home and checking on the balance in my checking account before I went to bed. Ten years later I can’t say how I felt about something that would have made “K mart” jump for joy, laugh, dance and sing.

I start this year with a great smile, and the intent to bask in each moment, find the joy and feel it savor it just like it was a rose. I have changed my life and path, choosing to do what I love. I am writing, painting and creating things with love and joy. I believe and know just like I did when I was 13 that I will make millions. This time doing what I love and savoring the moments, not neglecting the most beautiful part of life.

Do you live in the moment, do you smell the flowers? Can you recall the first time you felt love? The feeling you had when you had your first kiss? I had to dig very deep to remember those feelings. Isn’t that a shame?

I encourage you to stop and smell the roses, savor the moments in your life that bring you joy! Bask in those moments, and remember them when you start to think about the not, so pleasant things. That change of perspective will brighten up a cloudy day. The more you remember how beautiful that rose was to look at, the smell, and how it made you smile… The more beautiful your life will become!


Thank you for stopping by, thank you even more for being you!

Namaste

Happy Thanksgiving… Everyday is a gift to be thankful for


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Every day is a gift I choose to be Grateful for
Thanksgiving Day is special that is for sure
Where we give thanks even more

Today is a day of love and grace
No matter your religion, creed or race
As we sit down to our meals all over the place

Some say prayers before they eat
Their wonderful meals and their tasty treats
Some choose tofu for their Thanksgiving feasts

Whatever it is that you do this day
I hope that you do it in a loving way
I wish you and yours a day filled with love and joy
On this very special day
Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you the best where ever you are if you are in a place where it isn’t a holiday or you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving I wish you a day filled with love and grace, in my heart you are with me at my table sharing a meal and some smiles as we express our gratitude and thanks for the gift of life and the love we have in our lives.
Thank you all for being You, and doing all the beautiful things you do! You are awesome and I am quite blessed to be given the opportunity to share this time and space with you. Thank you!

Namaste 🙂

Are we creating a Utopia or a Nightmare? Do the ploice have too much power?


Hello world!

I have decided to take a few minute break from my novel writing project. I am in the home stretch with over 53,000 words on virtual paper. There are still probably another 10,000 to 15,000 words to go yet I am feeling quite good about my progress. Like running a cross country race when I was in High School I am catching my second wind.

It is funny that my mom, the local newspaper, and another tragic shooting of a child inspired me to write a blog post. Writing a blog post is a break?

I was chatting with my mom about an article in the local paper “The Salt Lake Tribune” the article and headline titled “Are 45 deaths at the hands of police a cause for alarm?” was about the number of citizens killed by police in the last five years 45 of them “Ranked second only to homicide of intimate partners” (quote taken from sub headline) local law enforcement watchdogs (who they are is a mystery to me) say it is time to treat deadly force as a “Potentially Serious Public Safety Problem.”

The article goes on to say “The numbers reflect that there could be an issue and it is going to take a deeper understanding of these shootings” and “It definitely can’t be written off as citizens groups being upset with law enforcement” quotes shared in the tribune by a former police lieutenant that served in Washington D.C. and Utah six years of his law enforcement carrier were on SWAT teams.

As I was reading the article I mentioned the shooting today of a child in Cleveland Ohio, to my mom asking her if she had heard about it. It appears, police had received a call about someone waving a “probably fake gun” the young man was 12 years old.

My mom said the most shocking thing I have ever heard her say and it broke my heart as well as opened my eyes as to part of the problem with our Utopian police run society. “He wanted to get killed, waving a gun in a police officer’s face” WHAT? “I am the Law”?



I looked at her and reminded her that when I was a kid I used to wear a cap gun and play cowboys and Indians with my friends all the time, if it wasn’t cowboys and Indians it was war the Americans against the Germans or the Japanese. We didn’t even think about being shot by the police. She said”Times have changed “in a very nasty tone. I replied in my most loving reverent voice “Yes they have we have made it against the law to be a kid.”

I am not a fan of guns and certainly not a fan of violence, I do think that kids should be able to play and have fun even if it is acting like a soldier, a cowboy, an Indian, a pirate, or even a Knight of the round Table. Without the fear of being shot by the police, or a neighborhood watch group.

Do you remember the old western movies where the Sheriff shot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand?

Why are the police choosing to “Shoot to kill” rather than using an alternate shot? Most of the victims of police killings are un armed and those that are armed are usually carrying a pocket knife or wielding a dull sword, some even armed with a toy gun, they pose no real harm to anyone other than themselves. It seems to me if the officers are required to pass a shooting test and can hit the kill zone ten out of ten times they should be just as able to hit a leg or arm ten out of ten times and to be honest even a gun from a person’s hand more often than not.

I am a veteran and actually have medals from shooting competitions, I do understand gun control, I also understand that the police are under a lot of stress. I just hope that they know our streets are not the battlefield and our children are not the enemy.

Is there a real cause for alarm?

Is there a legitimate reason to be concerned that our police are killing so many of our citizens?

Are the police and their methods a “Serious Public Safety Problem”?

It seems that of the many cases I have seen over the last twenty years including one of a young man shot 40 + times by multiple officers who was un armed on his porch in Brooklyn NY while reaching for his wallet have been clearly a case of manslaughter at minimum, murder for many of them. Yet the courts and the officials of our towns and choose not to prosecute those officers, stating they were within the limits of the law and protected by the badge they wear.

Are the Police above the law? It would seem that our police have 00 status and the license to shoot to kill!

We need police, I am grateful for the most part we have them, the majority are truly looking out for our communities and well being. I would ask them to perhaps remember that this is not a war zone, even the criminals are not the enemy, and shoot to kill should be the last choice not the first!

Thank you for being you and thank you for visiting my page… I will be back with my normally scheduled inspirational posts in the next couple of days! I do have a special post for the Thanksgiving Holiday we -are about to celebrate here in the U.S.
Namaste

The Elephant… Don’t you see it?


The Elephant in the room….

Why is it that many of us human beings don’t acknowledge the obvious? We can look at the Elephant in the room and act like we don’t see it.

There are many issues in our personal lives and in our communities, cities, states, nations, and our world that the old saying applies to. (war, homelessness, racism, hunger, poverty, to name a few)

Do we just choose not to see it? Is it fear that stops us?
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I had several conversations with friends about the issues they were experiencing in their lives that reminded me of the old saying “The Elephant in the room” first it would be helpful to define the saying for those who may not have heard it or those that really have taken no time to understand what it means.

Wikipedia says: “Elephant in the room” or “Elephant in the living room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first recorded use of the phrase, as a simile, as The New York Times on June 20, 1959: “Financing schools has become a problem about equal to having an elephant in the living room. It’s so big you just can’t ignore it.”[3]

The conversations were for the most part about the issues that they were dealing with; the largest cause of those issues was their own negative attitudes and perspectives. Most of them were running from the issue rather than going within and changing their perspectives. I was guilty recently of trying to shut out the rest of the world and focus… Not how it works!

Much like what was happening with my friends and family I was ignoring the “Elephant in the room.” Life doesn’t work that way nor can I just be a master of my mind and heart in solitude. I did need to take some time and get focused, mastery would be something that I have to do in my everyday life, in my encounters with the energy and attitudes that others.

The only one that can make things change in your life is you, what is your relationship with the Elephant in the room? Are you ignoring your pains and your negative attitude or those of your friends and loved ones pretending that they are not the problem?

We owe it to ourselves, our friends, our families to deal with the elephant! Go deep, confront then release your fears and negativity, and let those feelings go free. They like the elephant they do better out in the open than caged up in the room!

Thank you for being you, you are beautiful and quite awesome, I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and read my posts. It brings a great smile, speaking of which… Your smiles and the love you share are making our world a better place for all we share it with! Thank you for being the positive change our world so needs!

Namaste 