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Seeking Peace and Happiness? (Pt. 3 of 4) The Future is a Mystery. Stop Worrying About It.

When we live in the future, we suffer from anxiety and worry as a result of doubt and fear about what we will do, how we will do it, what will become of us, or what others will do to us. The natural antidote to anxiety is to have a plan based on your heart’s desire and to take action–any first and logical step will do. Then sit back and “let go.” It will make it that much easier to be at peace, centered like the bubble of a level.

Another big key to seeking peace, is to be patient about future events and try not to resist even seemingly negative events–they could be growth-inducing challenges. Call upon the patience and wisdom you have developed deep inside of you and use it to get through the more difficult aspects of life. Change what you can, but know that you cannot control everything. It’s torment to resist life’s inevitable roadblocks with worry and anxiety. 

When it gets too rough, even for your high consciousness new age self, seek a trusted friend or loved one…or research what the best minds advise. Above all, listen to your heart. When you do, it will let you know if your path is good–that’s the true road to peace. 

See part IV for the rest of “Seeking Peace and Happiness?”

Barbara Klide
Seeking Peace and Happiness? (Pt. 2 of 4) The Past is History

 The fact is, you could become better today than who you were yesterday, but when we live in the past we can suffer from bouts of depression from those unceasing, repetitive thoughts about what “could have been, should have been, and would’ve been”. If you’re adrift in that thinking, know that there are two natural antidotes: make peace with the past by acceptance and gratefulness for what you learned and what you have now including life itself; and have something to look forward to. I learned this from a psychologist at a Veterans Administration (VA) nursing facility where my Dad spent the last few months of his life.

A normally well-balanced man, he had recently lost his wife, my Mom. He understandably cried and then got a big blow with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He had lived a truly good life and was already 92. When he arrived at the VA, he was seriously depressed. His two children lived far away and visited for weeks at a time to help. The second day of my Dad’s stay at the VA, I was invited to attend a private meeting of “soldiers”, mostly from World War II. I was told I could only attend the first one with my Dad. I was honored, but even more, I sat in the meeting with wide open ears. 

Leo Buscaglia Quote

The stories, when told by the men who lived through the war were mind-boggling. One Air Force pilot was the only survivor in a crew having been shot down in his war plane. He was held captive in Germany as a prisoner of war (POW) for two years. My Dad, an Army man, earned two Purple Heart, but his astounding stories are for another time. However, the two men had two distinctly different attitudes. The former POW was incredibly cheerful. My Dad, on the other hand, was a wreck. He wanted to die.

During the meeting, the psychiatrist told them all that the only way to combat depression was to be grateful for what they each had and to look forward to something. I was soaking all this in. Dad cried about being the last of his familial generation with parents, uncles, cousins, and his beloved wife of over 60 years now all gone. I went into action fast. Both men were in wheel chairs and were encouraged to hang out after dinner on a lovely porch viewing a green grassy field. I wheeled my Dad to the other soldier, also in a wheel chair, and made sure they had the opportunity to make friends with one another. Dad was a talker and that helped a lot, but I could not help Dad about gratefulness. His living in the past, was not working for his well-being. I told all my family when visiting or calling, to remind Dad how lucky he was to have loving kids and grandkids. It finally started to work. 

Having visits was something Dad could look forward to, but with our far away residences, the visits were not constant. I came up with a plan besides the daily phone calls. I sent him a beautiful greeting card every single day. The staff told me Dad would wheel his chair to the front desk Monday through Saturday waiting for the mail to arrive. It gave him something to look forward to and provided him joy and peace. Eventually his depression lifted to the relief of his loved ones. 

Cherokee Proverb

See part III for the rest of “Seeking Peace and Happiness?”

Barbara Klide
Seeking Peace and Happiness? (Pt. 1 of 4) Know What You Like and Do It!

A man in his late 90s once said, “Life is too short so do only those things that make you happy.” I thought with all the years he’s lived, he ought to know.

Later, a wise woman, now over 100 years old, exhorted me to be cognizant of who I am by learning what my unique strengths, gifts and my true desires are. Above all, she said not to procrastinate in seeking worthy industry to exercise those gifts and ultimately be in the “zone” doing so. Being in the zone is joyful and peaceful. For me, I knew I could write. I love to write. I sought writing as a hobby and I do find joy, fully immersed, energized, and happy to be engaged in it. 

Education is a good way to introduce ourselves to our gifts. When we try new things, we learn various skills and lessons that can transcend every part of our lives, not to mention that we develop good character, values, and philosophical beliefs which can serve us for a very long time. The more we do things that we are good at or practice to become good at, the more we desire to do them…so shoot for the moon and be happy! 

See part II for the rest of “Seeking Peace and Happiness?”

Barbara Klide
Writing Wisdom...In Pairs (Part 3 of 3) Sane Editing - Avoid the Vortex

“I always listen for what I can leave out.”

— Miles Davis, Musician

Like planning and prioritizing, editing crosses all parts of life. Look no further than the amount of

accessories some people wear. If you indulge in them (rings, belts, hats, bracelets and anything else that

stands out including attention-getting colors), count how many you’re wearing. Would paring some

down produce an improved, sharper look?

As pertains to writing, no one speaks to editing better than William Zinsser: “The secret of good writing

is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.” ― William Knowlton Zinsser, On Writing Well:

The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction.

So true, but we also have to beware. Editing is a good servant, but overediting is a bad master that can

lead to the wicked vortex. That’s the twilight zone of writing projects. Overediting is a lot like the law of

diminishing returns. You’ve heard it before; the first slice of pizza tastes great and the second as well,

the third is OK, but with the fourth and more, the thrill is gone and you begin to lose your way and your

perspective.

Here’s a great test: If you haven’t completed your planned goal of creating for a particular writing

session, but you are instead editing the same section over and over and over, you’ve entered the vortex.

You likely are obsessing, procrastinating or both. Stop the insanity! Be cognizant of the difference and

balance between editing and creating. Sane editing can be an exciting yet calm endeavor embodying a

refreshingly clear perspective. Try refraining from editing until after you’ve laid down your draft. When

you do, you may find that you begin to enjoy more productivity and at a less frantic, more predictable

pace.

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Barbara Klide
Writing Wisdom...In Pairs (Part 2 of 3) Prioritize and Focus (One Task at a Time)

“The shorter way to do many things is to only do one thing at a time.”

-Mozart, Composer

Mozart was right. Everyone has just so much time and time is the coin of the realm of our human

existence.

A professional organizer I once consulted, exhorted me to write a prioritized list of things I had to do so

that I could maximize my bandwidth. She said to concentrate on the top three items, but do only one

task at a time. The rest of the tasks will often fall into place, she said, and if they don’t, they probably

aren’t pressing.

For a cool time management matrix you can use to refine prioritization skills, check out the Eisenhower-

Covey Matrix: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-use-stephen-coveys-time-management-matrix-

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On a side note, be sure to read your list–the entire list. That may seem obvious, but I sheepishly mention

it having failed to do so myself. I recall having written a shopping list that I didn’t bother to look at while

out on errands and missed getting an important item. That’s a crime against time you don’t need.

See part III for the rest of “Writing Wisdom…in Pairs”.

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Barbara Klide
Writing Wisdom...in Pairs (Part 1 of 3) Plan and Flow

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

– Benjamin Franklin, US Founding Father, diplomat, inventor

I recall back in my kindergarten playground days when one kid started a challenge to see who could chew the most crackers the quickest, adding the instruction to eat a little at a time. Nearly all the kids jumped in and stuffed their mouths with abandon ending up not able to chew at all let alone speak. Their only accomplishment was to entertain each other with their chipmunk cheeks. The successful ones were those who followed the plan to bite off only as much as they could chew.

 When it comes to writing, planning is the same. That is, plan to write only as much as you reasonably can. For example, depending upon your personal circumstances, a sensible goal might be to write one or more chapters, sections, or pages per writing session.

Another planning strategy of successful writers is to schedule when to write. Do this and you will crush fears of deadlines and minimize stress along the way.

Bottom line, with a plan in place and time set aside to write, the channel which delivers the magical “flow” of life-infusing creativity opens wider.

See part II for the rest of “Writing  Wisdom…in Pairs”

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Barbara Klide
When Editors Know Best (Part I) — Outtake from Along Came Ryan Vol. II

“No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft."H.G. Wells

Sometimes, as writers, we must apply a sanity check and if we cling to words like a beloved old shirt that one no longer wears, find a person to do a ruthless sanity check and either repair,  reimagine, discard, or donate it. 

The following story was to appear in my upcoming book, “Along Came Ryan…the Little Gosling King, the Return of the Geese (Vol. II)”. I was clinging to it knowing deep down that it was “iffy”. It took one of my crack editors, Amy, to say “this just doesn’t advance the story—axe it!” She was right. It’s still a fun, authentic anecdote worth a renaissance. Enjoy! 

(Continued in Part II)

BARBARA_0983.jpg

Hi I’m Barbara!

I love ballroom dancing, photography, writing, rescuing cats, natural living, the ocean, and all animals.

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Barbara Klide
When Editors Know Best (Part II) — Outtake from Along Came Ryan Vol. II

“Write without fear. Edit without mercy.” -Unknown

We had been awaiting our guests. Then we saw them—first a single pair of Canada Geese flew into the enclosed courtyard and paraded about. We couldn’t tell if they were last year’s mated pair. Then a second pair flew in. Every day my co-workers and I peered outside from a long, glassed-in corridor stretching the length of the courtyard next to our office. In fishbowl-style, we watched and wondered if one of the pairs would remain. I kept asking staff if they saw any nesting activity since one person might see what another might not. 

We were giddy for news as Canada Geese often return to their former nesting site. Those of us on edge were easily distracted and one staff person sent around a photo of a cat proclaiming that it was living in the walls of our building. “Not likely” most snickered, but proof was in the photo. 

A small band of people followed our willing guide to the place in the image and sure enough, looking way up the tall wall above a window, a cat was sitting, silhouetted through the thin wall. Emails began to fly and many people wondered if our eyes deceived us or if it was true.

A full 24 hours later, the town crier fessed up that it wasn’t a cat, but was a section of peeling drywall coincidentally shaped exactly like a cat! You could’ve fooled me and indeed, I was. Most people were as well. So, while there were no nesting geese, and no cat living in the building, we did have a herd of sheepish people and one smug comedian at large. 

Photo Credit: Mark Henry

2018 11-14 Blog #4 B&W Cat photo by Mark Henry.jpg
Barbara Klide
When the novelty wears off

When the mated Canada Geese pair first arrived, people at work went nuts. I mean nuts! They were chattering and speculating about every minute detail of the wild geese activities. They had their cameras out taking pictures, set off alarms running through corridors to peer out into the courtyard to see them, and otherwise acted themselves as “silly geese”. And there was a lot to see including warring with invading geese who may or may not have wanted the courtyard territory for themselves.

As the months passed, the novelty of the little family seemed to wear off. The single gosling offspring was growing larger and when he lost his beautiful yellow fluff, well, some people lost interest. It may have seemed to some that the geese just went about their business in the same way every day, but that’s not what I saw. The best way to explain it is in a quote I recently read by the author Henry Miller: “The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”

“Indescribably magnificent” is how I saw the noble, sensitive, caring and lovable Canada Geese.

Barbara KlideComment
Writer's block could be something else...

I finally got my book published early this year and I’m excited to let the world know about the gosling named Ryan. “Along Came Ryan…the Little King Volume II” is now in the works and I am planning to have it published by the end of this year.

It’s challenging to have a great desire to share this wonderful story, but working during the day means I have bandwidth issues. Of course if I did not have my good job, I would never have met the fascinating Canada Geese and watch the same set of parents nest two years in a row in the company’s own backyard. And should they visit again next year, I will desperately want to write Volume III! Before that happens, I have to finish Volume II!

I have a lot of information to compile and it sometimes feels overwhelming. I can be so linear and tell myself that I need to get all my other chores done first, “and only then will I write.” I also dance ballroom and that adds to the challenge. So, balancing life, and, in my case, writing, can be tough. I must confess though, sometimes I simply procrastinate!

I recently came across a shot-in- the-arm quote, which has helped free me of my writer’s block, thanks to the author John Steinbeck. He said, “Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on.” Isn’t that great! Thanks, John. I needed that!