The Secret of Flying Free – Daily Quote

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How many times have you heard someone lament they just want to be free? What does that mean to you? Is it the ability to do whatever you what whenever you wish? The ability to act or change without constraint. The reality is so much more. Everything we say and do has consequences. What happens rests on our shoulders and if there is blame to be cast, we must blame ourselves.

There is a secret to attaining the freedom you seek, it comes when you first take responsibility and hold yourself accountable to the highest standard. Freedom and responsibility are the embodiment of inseparable and contradictory opposites. They are Yin and Yang, darkness and light, young and old. Holding one requires that you maintain a balance with the other.  To be free, we must also be in control. Freedom and responsibility are not granted by the powers that be. They are taken. We must use them with virtue, knowledge, and compassion. If we are lucky, those qualities transform into wisdom and we can truly fly.

What will you do with your freedom?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

https://ko-fi.com/johawkthewriter#

Improving Your Attitude is Not Rocket Science– Daily Quote

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I have been thinking about my attitude a lot recently. I have read comments posted across the internet of people saying to various authors, “You are a success because you are special. But I can never attain the same level of achievement.” Those remarks hurt my heart. I wish I could speak to them, reach them, convince them they are wrong. Experience has taught me it is folly to force reform on someone who doesn’t want change.

I have heard the arguments. Sure, some fortunate individuals have negative outlooks and horrid attitudes, but most prosperous people are optimistic. Studies confirm it. If you constantly expect the worst outcome and project failure, your inner choices align to confirm your hypothesis. We have all fallen short, failed, missed our moment and made mistakes. It doesn’t pay to get discouraged and comparing ourselves to others is often our biggest mistake. The best course of action is to stand up, lift your head, adjust your attitude, determined to keep going. It requires a strong character and a positive mindset.

Changing your outlook begins with acceptance. I stand here now, and I won’t be here forever, just right now. Each morning, I wake thankful for another opportunity to become better than I was yesterday. I find a single action that will move me one step closer to the person I dream of being. I will arrive someday, but not today.

Is your attitude holding you back?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Art of Balancing Projects – Daily Quote 

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Making tea is an art. A Japanese tea ceremony is an elaborate affair. The host sends invitations, prepares a room within specific guidelines and creates a menu of yummy snacks. At the appointed hour, the hostess greets her guests, ceremoniously cleans the implements, makes the matcha, and all parties observe rituals steeped in a history dating to the 14th century.

Rooted in Zen Buddhism, the participants embark on an inner journey similar to meditation. Science upholds the idea, confirming the ceremony brings deep calm and even spiritual reflection to those who involved. The specific steps engage all five senses and both sides of the brain. With each sense engaged the mind works in unison. Living in peace and harmony, free from competing interests, we reduce our stress levels and relax. This intersection is where the world opens, and reflection runs deep.

When I take breaks, my goal is to reestablish balance. Mini vacations let me step away from my work. Alternate activities keep me occupied on one issue while letting the answers to another problem find a home. But first, I need a cup of tea.

What rituals restore you and allow you to finish your projects?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Increasing Productivity is Child’s Play – Daily Quote

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Taking a break from work isn’t my forte, in truth, I am a confirmed workaholic. Ten, twelve, or fourteen-hour days are easy. When facing a deadline, I can put in sixteen and eighteen hours to complete my project. Balance is difficult to attain. I read the studies and follow the papers reporting the benefits of getting breaks. I understand the concepts, but holidays are torture. My internal voice screams, “Do Something.”

What’s a girl to do? I resort to tricks. During the workweek, I set timers using the 52-minute, 17-minute rule, and I force myself to obey. Vacations require creative solutions. I know my temperament, stay-cations are not an option. I must go away. Even on a budget, there are no-cost or low-cost options. I have organized girlfriend weekends, an adult sleepover where we schedule grown-up daytime excursions. The upside is we get to reconnect with fun adventures.

Other times I have cashed in reward points to use at a local hotel. The trick is to leave all work materials at home and create an over-scheduled, flexible plan. For this hack, I find open-ended or drop-in activities. Planning a visit to the zoo, the art museum, or a walk along the lakefront serves several purposes. It gets me moving and the locations are places where I can lose myself without feeling antsy.

The result is I return from my vacation weekend refreshed, full of new ideas and ready for work.

What vacation activities help you unwind?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Make It A Summer You’ll Never Forget – Daily Quote

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Sadly, summer won’t last all year. Back to school sales remind parents and students the end looms on the horizon. Summer plans lay forgotten, buried under half-empty sunscreen bottles, beach towels, and procrastination. Time to find your list. It doesn’t matter if work has interfered with your best intentions or if you have indulged in too much summer entertainment. The answer is the same. Make the most of your week and double down on your weekends.

The workweek becomes more productive with a deadline and a desire to enjoy what summer remains to the fullest. Realization is in the air and coworkers schedule their vacations. Fewer meetings, fewer distractions create room to focus and finish. Temperatures are hot and the weekends are for celebrations. I plan to delay binge-watching my favorite shows, saving them for crisp autumn nights. I’ll revel in these lazy days. Bon voyage.

How will you spend your remaining summer days?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Finding Productivity by Creating A Void – Daily Quote

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Sometimes words don’t come. We get tired, and we block the free flow of words. The result is frustrating, and it can grow into a debilitating problem. Joni has the right idea. The best remedy is to change the flow. Change your movements, do something different, push writing from your mind. My answer is allowing my hands the freedom to engage in activities they know well.  It allows my brain to rest. Completing chores around the house, working out, crocheting a scarf or a blanket or using my sewing machine creates needed space.

Rote activities shift my brain into neutral, it clears a space, leaving a void.  The universe despises voids. Voids require filling. That is when inspiration strikes and I am soon back at my keyboard, filling blank pages with another story.

What activities help you clear the way for your story?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Overcoming Impossible – Daily Quote

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I had never heard of François de La Rochefoucauld when I found his quote. My guess is you haven’t either. His words feel timely, pertinent for today. Time for a Google search. Wikipedia reports he was born September 15, 1613, in Paris. He was His Highness the Prince of Marcillac. An educated nobleman, he served in the military and the French court of Queen Anne and Louis XIII. Like Marcus Aurelius before him, François was an author of maxims and memoirs.

They say many 19th century French critics referenced his work, and his ethics and style influenced the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Now, four hundred years later, he is still influencing us. The aspect of maxims which intrigue me is they are truisms of human nature which chronically repeat. The observations of a Roman emperor, a French aristocrat or a German philosopher, echo through time. If it is important, you will find a way. When similar themes repeat across authors, it behooves us to notice the pattern and determine our course of action. We need to find the purpose which ignites our will to defy excuses.

What do you consider impossible?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

When Facts Get in the Way – Daily Quote 

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When I was in school, the teachers taught facts, drilled them into our heads and tested how well we remembered them. I believed the hype. I joined the debate team. Winning required developing a strong case for your position, defending it with irrefutable evidence, and showing the fallacy and ill-logical conclusions presented by the opposing team. Easy-peasy. Facts win. Until they change.

Pluto used to be a planet, once there were only four oceans, Mount Everts may not be the tallest mountain, and the Brontosaurus never existed. Facts represent the best knowledge we currently have. History is full of examples of things humans once considered being “facts” that we no longer believe. Leaches anyone?

Basing decisions on irrefutable facts is like walking on shifting sand. It becomes an exercise in futility that only delays action. It the face of changing facts, what are us mere mortals supposed to do? I am opting for grabbing hold of my dream and running with it.

What facts are stopping you from pursuing your dreams?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Digging Classics in the Park – Daily Quote

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The planets have aligned, and my muse whispers in my ear, urging me to write, and influencing my reading. The agenda encompasses Shakespeare’s works. It’s the season a return to school, learning, and the bard. I have been re-reading sonnets.

Conversations with friends revolve around who likes which play the best. My friend is partial to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Chicago area lawns are hosting free performances of “The Comedy of Errors’ with Shakespeare in the Park events. I prefer either “Macbeth” or “Hamlet”, while others like “Othello” or “Taming of the Shrew”.

I am re-reading “Venus and Adonis”, Shakespeare’s first published work. They say Shakespeare based it on a story found in Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”.  I am looking forward to it, as it is becoming a favorite.

Does your reading run in phases? What are you reading?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Return to the Land of the Dreamer – Daily Quote

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Once upon a time, I dreamed great dreams. Wide-eyed, optimistic, and sure-footed, I stepped into a world filled with possibilities. Help arrived at my side, to caution me about the perils of real life. They warned me survival was difficult. Constructive criticism delivered with sharp tongues flayed my skin. They held me down, held me back, stopped me in my tracks.

Fear whispered in my ear and fed on my last ounce of courage. Numb, my spirit sank into the nightmare. I struggled to find my way and bought lies from the snake-oil salesman. I worked harder, but it all fell apart They laughed, saying it didn’t matter how hard I tried.

Crushed and broken I thought I would die. A child’s hand touched mine. She woke me and promised to save me from the nothing I had become.  She showed me the answers I had held all along.

“Life goes where you place your focus,” she said, “Keep your eyes on your dream.”

My attempts to fly failed because I forgot to aim high. To leave the darkness, I only needed to reach for the stars. I listen to my drummer beating a cadence to drown the naysayers. The strength, the passion, the persistence, they live in my dreams.

Do you remember your dreams?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer