Joy and Gratitude During Difficult Times – Daily Quote

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Current global events highlight how short and fragile life can be. 2020 is a stark reminder that we did not receive any warranties or guarantees. It is our responsibility to treat every day as precious and live it. Waiting for spring has taken considerable patience. Now April rains dampen my world, and misty mornings leave the muddy ground a squidgy quagmire that is best avoided. I rejoice because it is rain and not snow. I shed multiple layers as daily temperatures steadily creep higher, daylight grows longer. I commend the brave tulips as they push golden-green leaves into the sunlight.

The darkness recedes, and nature responds. Buds swell on bushes and trees, and the weight of winter lifts. It is time to sing, play and celebrate life. We need not make drastic changes, we already possess the skills to enjoy a more fulfilled existence. We have shining examples of people nurturing positive relationships and supporting one another. Unexpected beacons light the way by practicing gratitude and appreciation for the blessings we have, while we mourn the suffering and loss.

The present crisis will end. Today’s reactions slowly pass into history, as we take steps towards recovery. Actions define our character, hone our values, and distinguish our humanity. I am confident future generations will view these days with awe and respect for the fortitude we display.

Where do you find joy today?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Color Your World – Daily Quote

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I don’t know about you, but gray is my least favorite color. The trend of gray kitchens, gray barn wood flooring, gray countertops, and walls painted—wait for it—gray leaves me more depressed than I care to admit. The weather doesn’t cooperate when it sends gray, dreary, rainy days and I would rather spend my time on a misty moor crying for Heathcliff.

Whatever happened to sunny yellows, loving pinks, and gleeful greens? There is a school of thought which says color therapy helps improve our mood, heighten awareness and energy, decrease stress, reduce anxiety, and increase our productivity. True or not, opting for bright hues seems prudent.

Spring greens can support feelings of hope, strength, and serenity. Sky blue encourages peaceful thoughts, wisdom, creativity, loyalty, and spirituality. Clear, energetic yellow, my personal favorite, just makes me feel happier.

What color will you add to your life?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Light in the Darkness – Daily Quote

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They say the best stories reflect life. My experience says life is messy, difficult, filled with trials and tribulations. If the tales we write were all about rainbows and unicorns, they would feel unreal, unbelievable, and the reader would soon throw the book across the room. Or I would.

Writing fiction riddled with gloom, doom, and terror would be equally unsatisfactory. Mired in deep despair, when all is lost, I search, hunting for a glimmer, a flickering light beckoning at the tunnel’s end. I fervently hope the light is not a freight train barreling toward me. Lost causes, desperate situations hide miraculous resolutions. Wayward heroes discover novel ways to set things right. Despondent characters unearth a reason to carry on. Novels that give me a reason to hope are the ones I cherish.

How do you balance light and dark in your stories?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Quest for Happiness – Daily Quote

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Anything worth experiencing takes effort. When we lack a focused resolution, it is easy to find ourselves consumed by life’s crazy whirlwind of doubts, fears, anxiety, and hopelessness. Without thinking, we sink into predictable patterns of consuming massive amounts of data and trying to process complex concepts faster than any supercomputer. Feeling confused and overwhelmed, we plead for five minutes of silence. Is it any wonder we cope by vegging on the couch? Or we can make a different choice.

My alarm rings at 5 AM, and I force myself out of bed. No one else is awake, and calmness perfumes the air. I move in pre-dawn stillness as I brew my coffee. My oversized mug steams when I step onto my deck and wipe the dew from my chair. These early morning hours hold a special magic. Photographs cannot capture the beauty or brilliant promises on the horizon.

Songbirds sing, squirrels scamper, and a rabbit nibbles the tender growth in my strawberry patch. I snuggle into my warm jacket, sip my hot coffee, and discover I have found happiness. This quiet moment reminds me of the true value of simple things. These five minutes set me on a hopeful trajectory.

What brings you happiness?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Reward of a Good Writing Session – Daily Quote

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I don’t know if it is OCD, but I like it when things are immaculate and ordered. There is something satisfying about having a place for everything, and everything lives in its assigned spot. Clean house, sparkling windows and mirrors, freshly folded towels, spotless floors, and warm homemade cookies are my idea of a comfortable abode. My writing rituals are no less rigorous.

I set specific, time-sensitive and writing goals, which I scheduled and then analyze my progress. I demand high standards. Expecting perfection, my results are often less than gratifying, and yet better than I hoped. A clutter-free desk and a blank document allow my mind to concentrate on writing without distraction. When my writing session is complete, I reward myself with a cup of coffee and one of those home-baked cookies.

What is your perfect writing environment?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

 

Let Me Sleep on It, Baby, Baby – Daily Quote

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I suspect we are all experiencing abnormal sleep patterns. Stress, uncertainty, altered schedules, and worry contribute to insomnia. Add unprecedented layoffs, furloughs, or reduced hours for some, and overtime requests and increased exposure concerns for others, and you might wonder how anyone is sleeping at night. Whether you are working from home, home without work, or are an essential worker, any tenuous grasp on normalcy has been severed. Then there are the kids.

We need a firm schedule, sunshine, exercise, and elusive sleep. Experts recommend waking at the same time every morning and indulging in at least 30 minutes of sunlight to regulate our circadian rhythms. They suggest gentle workouts help mitigate anxiety, and they advise against using devices leading up to your normal bedtime. The trouble is, when the room goes dark, irrational fears creep from under the bed, and threaten to drag you down the rabbit hole of one more sleepless night.

My bag of tricks includes nice long baths, deep breathing and relaxation exercises, meditative music, and an almost boring book. Collections of inspirational short stories, books on poetry, and essays live on my nightstand. Page-turners I reserve for early morning reading sessions. As I turn the page, sleep closes the book on another day, and I dream of a better tomorrow.

How do you ensure a good night’s sleep?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Coffee to the Rescue – Daily Quote

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Spring allergies have hit. Stuffy head, red watery eyes, sneezing, and sinus pressure takes their toll when you are running full speed ahead. While allergy medication can relieve the pressure and ease congestion, it messes with my ability to concentrate and form coherent thoughts. My mind starts swirling, dreaming up countless improbable conjectures. Although none of the symptoms align, you wonder if you have coronavirus. It is crazy, reactionary thinking not supported by facts. Experience says sleep will help.

Ah, sweet sleep. It is a commodity as rare as toilet paper these days. We, humans, are hardwired to worry in the dark of night. We spend hours staring at the ceiling, tossing, turning, and entertaining concerns about the lack of shut-eye. The spinning wheels make matters worse. Sleeping during the daytime is a luxury I cannot afford. Coping mechanism number two is multiple cups of coffee. My hot brew helps ease sinus pressure while the caffeine combats a throbbing headache, and viola, no fuzzy brain. Step aside, I have work to do and I need another cuppa Joe.

What comforts you and makes you feel better?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Happy April Fool’s Day – Daily Quote

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Happy April Fool’s Day? I think? Wouldn’t it be nice if Q1 2020 was the setup for today’s punch line? I can imagine a fool jumping from a box to tell everyone this has been an awful dream. Alack, and alas, we are where we are. When planning and setting my schedule for this first quarter, I expected trouble reaching my normal word count goals. None the less, I set aside time for writing every day and tried to write even a few minutes.

For three months, I was discouraged. Thoughts of “I have gotten little done,” and “I am so far behind where I should be,” were a recurring theme. But my fingers hit the keyboard as often as I could manage, and I didn’t abandon my commitment. Moving slowly isn’t sexy. We admire the overnight successes, the fastest runner, the first to publish, and those who hustle at lighting speed.

Today I sat to review my results and plot my course for the next ninety days. Running my numbers, it shocked me to discover I am only a small percentage below my normal word count target. Without realizing it, I was making slow and steady progress. The key was daily persistence and unwavering dedication to writing every day. That’s an April Fool’s surprise I and glad to experience.

Are you moving closer to achieving your goals?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Traveling the Hero’s Journey – Daily Quote

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Even when we know where we are going, the path can be circuitous. Detours, roadblocks, washouts, and fallen bridges block the direct path. The going isn’t easy. We find ourselves unprepared, short on supplies, lacking the right password, and despair threatens to consume the last of our resolve.  We cling to hope’s faint light and push forward.

Having goals is imperative. I compare the path to Joseph Campbell’s structure of the hero’s journey. The goal is set, we answer the Call to Adventure, travel the Road of Trials, descend into the Abyss, experience the Supreme Ordeal. I know the story isn’t complete, everyone is waiting for our hero to prevail against the odds.

Where are you on your hero’s journey?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Day One, Step One on the Path to Productivity – Daily Quote

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Focus and my ability to concentrate is in short supply. Uncertainty messes with my brain, but world events needn’t derail my desire to be productive. Easier said than done, right? Focus behaves like a muscle. The more I exercise it, the stronger and less painful concentrating becomes. The problem is starting.

When life gets stressful, I resort to Warren Buffett’s Two-List strategy. His directions say to create a detail list of 25 things I wish to accomplish. Long-term goals are proving too difficult to consider, so I fixate on this week. Completing the list is challenging, but I won’t be dissuaded. Eventually, my paper details a wide variety of tasks from housework, to writing posts.

With my twenty-five complied, I narrow the field to my five most important desires. Buffet says to set aside the remaining twenty, and he forbids dabbling with List 2 tasks until List 1 is done. On this Monday morning, even five things are overwhelming. I take Buffet’s instructions a step further and select one task. That means if I’m in desperate need of clean yoga pants, and it is on my leading five, laundry is my focus for today.

Sure, I still must fix lunch, and see to the normal day-to-day necessities, but I must do my wash before I allow myself to pick the next item from my list. But with a distracted mind, it may be my only success. And that’s okay. Tomorrow I promise to tackle another goal.

What will you accomplish today?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer