Writing habits

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Of course you do. Kind of like discovering chocolate for the first time, you just wanted more and more.

My first proper relationship was notable in that it was mostly long distance. Soon after we met I went overseas to study and decided to pour my heart and soul into keeping the relationship going. And a writing habit was born.

We were prolific. The amount of words written in letters, emails and text messages was at an almost Shakespearean quantity. Every single day, for months on end. Quality was highly questionable, but quantity was admirable.

This laid the groundwork for blogging and writing regularly for the rest of my life to date. I’m thankful. Thankful for the habit, thankful for this blog, and thankful my current relationship is in person.

What are the origins of your habits?

Happy Monday chimps.

Oops.

After some valuable consultation with my friends and family, i have realised something: I don’t know much about humans. 

Sad, but true. Let me explain, dear reader.

I have been pretty excited lately about my new ‘pivot’ towards highlighting and fixing a problem which I know exists: The Jungle Of Life. All of my posts on chimpwithcans.com are inspired by the jungle of life around me. As I wrote yesterday:

Clearly, not many of us live in a real jungle or rainforest anymore. However, the metaphor of everyday life becoming a tangled jungle works in my head. The writing, podcasts and projects I become involved in will be focused on disciplines that can untangle our personal jungles. Disciplines like Creativity, Design, Psychology, and Negotiation. Also, the image of the “Chimpwithcans” clear of the tangled jungle and free to listen to music resonates with me

I love the above paragraph. It excites me and fills my head with ideas for future projects.

Where I went wrong was to think that this only applies to husbands and fathers. Besides cutting my potential readership and market roughly in half, I was completely missing the point by focusing so tightly on my own experience of “The Jungle”.  The encroaching jungle of life is a human problem. We can all, each and every one of us, benefit from the disciplines I mention above.

Maybe this should have been very obvious. But like I said, I don’t know much about humans.

Also, my wise owl of a friend advised me not to add a PROJECTS button if there are no projects to show. So I’ve removed it until the projects take place.

Happy Friday, Chimps.

Love and War

King of your realm? Everything in its place? You will inevitably receive a challenge to let the spirits of War or Love come in through the front door. Accept the challenge and then everything changes. You have a choice to let them in or not. To stay where you are, or to take on the responsibility.

Years ago we let a dog through the door. A long haired mutt called “Trumpet” – Hair and damp spots grew in the realm. We fed him, changed his name, took him to school, gave him haircuts and a bed of his own.

Other spirits heard our doors were open and started to arrive in different forms. We let in more dogs, fish, grownups and finally children.

If you let them in, Love and War can take over the realm. This is not ideal and can lead to eternal battles that will burn the realm to the ground leaving nothing but scorched earth. So what to do? It is tempting to enforce discipline on the spirits no matter what. To shout and push them around. This works to a point, but the realm loses something in the process so too much discipline and fear will hurt the realm. Once upon a time we shouted and ordered spirits around for three whole days and the realm turned grey. No more color was left. It was as if the realm was sick with a cancer.

Instead we recommend you provide a stage in the realm for Love and War to play out their fantasies. This stage needs to be thought out to a degree, but really you just need a snug place to sit, some open space as a stage with sunlight to light up the spirits, and some clean air. Maybe a bit of music in the background for atmosphere. Once the stage is set, sit back and watch for the magic. Note that this can be messy and cleaning up after a performance will be up to you, but pay attention when the play is on because the magic is oh so beautiful. Carry a glass jar to capture some of the magic if you can. Then you can hang the jar on a piece of string and let the children sleep easy under its light.

This will come with practice.

Bail out mindsets and remedies

Sometimes my brain will flick a switch and bail out. Just like a wrestler tapping out of a choke hold, when my stresses build up and become too much, the brain seems to automatically hide from responsibility. It searches memories for simpler times and childhood. Sadness creeps in. The search for distraction and pleasure creeps in. It bails out of life. This happens quickly and quietly.

Inevitably when this happens, and when I take the time to look at my life, I will see a pattern emerging. Usually this “bail out” mindset happens when I haven’t looked after myself in one of three ways. Either I haven’t done any exercise in a while, I haven’t done anything artistic in a while, or I’m not sleeping enough. Or some combination of the three.

So yesterday my brain bailed out. So I ran in the afternoon….yes….endorphins! Then i went to bed early. Today I’ll try find some time to doodle on the guitar or work on the podcast….Yeah, the podcast I reckon.

Do what you can. Which is more than you think.

Motivation vs discipline

I can’t think of anything to write. It’s often the way with writing. Or painting. Or creating anything.

Sure, every now and then the words flow like wine from a carafe. Sweet muse does her thing and inspiration hits. But most of the time it feels more like squeezing water out of a rock.

What helps in these situations is discipline and routine. This forces you to do some work despite the way you feel. Open the laptop. Write something. Anything. Go through the motions.

And there’s another blog post.

An ode to combis

My sister left a car for me in Australia. A classic VW combi van with sliding doors and acres of space. It was very cool. But very old.

She had travelled across the top of Australia in a bigger 4×4, hit a big kangaroo, and traded the wreck in for the combi. The first time i drove it the accelerator pedal fell off in the middle of freeway traffic. I was starting my undergraduate degree at the university of Western Australia, trying to find the place on busy roads in Perth.

I was able to drive it for a few glorious weeks. Combis have so much space you can pile a lot of students in. There’s nothing quite like driving one to the beach for a surf. It made me a few friends and helped to ease me into University life. But then the registration ran out on the car, and it was so old, they wouldn’t renew the road worthy certificate without a load of work done on the car. It made sense to buy another car instead. A boring old Mitsubishi with less space, and an accelerator pedal which worked.

At the tail end of 2019 I find myself wanting to buy another combi. A wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and sometimes the goldfish come with me everywhere i go. Soon they will all have friends (except maybe the goldfish).

Keeping it alive

Daily life can most often be distilled down to a single question: should I keep this alive?

Whether it is a pet fish, a job, a relationship, a website: burn the dead wood.

And possibly the goldfish??

Happy Tuesday chimps.

Balance the Sun

Too much sun can lead to DNA damage – sun burn and eventually cancer.

Too little sun can cause vitamin deficiencies – rickets.

Design yourself a living space with some sunshine. Not too much but definitely not too little. The Sun’s light impacts mood and physical health in a massive way.

Pull it back

Recover from that setback, that fall from grace, that injury.

Given that entropy rules, and the world naturally falls apart, recovery is perhaps the most important thing we can strive for. The only thing to strive for. Recovery from whatever is wearing you down – be it lack of sleep, lack of money, lack of fitness – this is really all we have.

In the road to recovery you are either getting better, or you are getting worse. There is no steady state. Time marches on and age is a bitch. But free will allows you to fight back and recovery time after time. So recover. Do it for yourself and do it every second of every day. If you stop trying, then you lose.

You’ll still lose eventually. But recovery from all the bumps along the way is where potential is met and where the great moments are found.

Pull it back, until the next bump comes along.

Play Games

Playing games is important to me. In my life, Games come up all over the place.

If I find something difficult then it helps me to think of it as a game. This approach makes things less stressful and lowers my anxiety. Elon Musk says we might all just be living in a simulation. Sometimes it helps to think of life in that way. A few examples of play as it manifests in my life:

  • Playing with the kids at whatever game they have going
  • Treating menial parenting tasks as a game
  • Comedy and conversation with friends
  • Computer games
  • Sport and exercise including data on health
  • Social media accounts
  • Music – listening and playing music is a beautiful game
  • Work
  • Podcasts
  • Blogging 😉
  • More and more I see life as one big bunch of games to play.
  • Some people are not good at playing. Doodling, Riffing, Games, Jokes, Humor are seen as a waste of time. I can’t understand this approach to life.
  • Happy Wednesday, chimps.