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Pseudo Philosophy

Affirmative

Affirmative

Every morning I write an affirmation 15 times. It's focused on being a famous and wealthy author — something I've worked for my whole life. I write it because it's a good way to start the day, a good way to get my mind on the something I want, and a good way to ensure that, no matter what else happens each day, I've accomplished something positive. 


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____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

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35 beats per minute

About a year-and-a-half ago I went into a doctor's office thinking I had a bad chest cold.

The thing is, I'm not the "go to the doctor" type. In fact, I pretty much never see a doctor unless something is hanging off of me that would better serve me by being attached, or copious amounts of "inside fluids" are suddenly becoming "outside fluids." So for me to even consider going in for a chest cold should tell you that I had more than the sniffles and a bit of congestion. Think in terms of absolute lethargy, an inability to exert myself for more than a few minutes at a time, and an impending sense of doom.

The big surprise for me was when they checked my pulse and found that it was around 35 beats per minute.

"Yeah, my heart rate has always been low," I said, nonchalantly-in-complete-and-utter-denial.

"Are you an Olympic-class athlete?" my doctor asked.

"Not unless fried chicken is an competitive event."

"Then we have a problem, Mr. Tumlinson."

"Please," I said, "call me Ishmael."

OK, no, I didn't say that. I may have thought it, though. But at that moment, I think I was more focused on the "problem." An excruciating bit of worry started to chew at my insides. But on the plus side, my heart rate and blood pressure "shot up" to near normal levels. Now all I'd have to do is live under complete and continuous stress and I'd have a perfectly healthy amount of energy and vigor. Clearly no harm there.

The short version of this story is this: After some stress tests, EKGs, ultrasounds and blood work it was determined that I was absolutely, positively fine. Except for the heretofore undiagnosed congenital heart defect which was causing an ever-worsening bradycardia (gradual slowing of the heart) as I aged, and would eventually lead to my death, probably within the next few months.

The solution was for me, at 37 years old, to go under the knife and have a pacemaker installed. I was apparently "batteries not included."

For the next year or so I recovered from the surgery and started to get my strength and stamina up. It was a slow process, and in many ways it is still ongoing. But I did manage, in that time, to drop about 30 pounds, to stop wheezing when I took a flight of stairs, and to actually become a bit more active and energetic. Times were gettin' good.

More energy is great. A bit of weight loss is great. But I still have moments where I feel a bit exhausted and lethargic, and I still have a good 20 or 30 pounds of extra "me" hanging over my belt. I'm not as "out of the woods" as I'd really like to be. So that's why I've started being more active.

I do not do gyms. They're a blatant rip-off, frankly. Most want you to sign some ridiculous contract that auto-renews with or without your permission, obligating you to an auto-draft of an exorbitant monthly rate for the occasional use of their facilities, which are nice and clean and sometimes very modern, but still a place you have to force yourself to attend. Most  gyms, as well, require you to have a credit card on file, with or without a contract. I still don't get the "give me your credit card, we have no contract" gyms. I have the sneaky suspicion that they are paying for porn while I'm sweating and grunting in another room. And that just ain't fair. I can't compete with that.

I prefer to get my workout from things I actually find fun and engaging. Or at the very least the activities have to make some kind of sense to me.

If I'm going to run, I want to get some place and maybe see a bit of nature and God's creation sprawling out around me, as opposed to running on a treadmill for an hour watching a sub-titled soap opera on a hanging television screen. If I'm going to ride a bike, I want to have the reward of zipping past joggers and people working in their lawns and dodging the spray of lawn sprinklers, as opposed to dodging the rain of sweat flinging from the grunting guy on the treadmill next to me. And if I'm going to lift weights, I'd rather hoist my own hefty butt up the side of a rock wall or over a boulder, as opposed to laying in a pool of some other guy's funk while I push a metal bar up and down, over and over, mostly praying it doesn't slip and crush my windpipe.

Call me a radical hippie.

The thing is, even though I've always liked the whole "the world is my gym" attitude, I've been stupidly lax about actually getting out there and using it. Until now.

Recently I've started taking on some new challenges. I've started rock climbing. I bought a bike and I ride most mornings. I've started walking and sprinting. I'm slowly adding more and more actual activity to my lifestyle.

It is kicking my butt. I may need some kind of intervention.

The truth is, I'm enjoying the things I'm getting into, and I'm seeing some positive results. I'm not getting the svelte, slender body I was hoping for, but then I'm not as consistent as I should be, I tend to fall off the wagon on keeping my calorie intake low, and I've only been doing this for a couple of months. Lifestyle changes ... they're so friggin' slow.

One thing that annoys me is when people say, "It took you 38 years to get into the condition you're in now. Just think about it that way."

This is an invitation for a savage beating.

OK, maybe not. I do understand that these folks mean well, and they're trying to be encouraging. And I do my best to take it that way. But the truth is, this being fat and lazy thing didn't happen to me over a span of decades. I was actually in very good shape right up until my late 20s. Which, perhaps coincidentally, is about the time my doctors think my heart started slowing to the point of causing me some issues. So the reality of my life is that in a relatively short period of time I went from slim and fit to fat and lazy. I'd say the responsibility for that was 60% heart, 30% fried chicken, and 10% natural-born laziness.

No excuses.

I'm working on lifestyle changes these days. I learn things, I try things, I succeed, I fail, I try again. I'm looking for activities and relationships that get me out there in the world, staying fit by having a blast. I'm looking at getting to the point where I play so hard I don't even recognize it as exercise anymore.

So, in a lot of ways, getting a pacemaker is the best thing that ever happened to me. I have a second chance. And the only requirement, the only responsibility I have to live up to, is "do something."

I can do that.


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Tip in any amount you like, safely and securely via PayPal (no PayPal account requred). And thank you in advance for your generosity!


____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

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Booked up

I read a lot.

It's a funny thing, but somehow, in an age when bookstores are going bankrupt and publishers are holding out on offering writing contracts like a fat kid holds out on sharing his Oreos, I am suddenly finding it easier than ever before to gain access to books. It has a lot to do with the fact that the definition of what a book actually is has started to shift.

You know what I think is the most surprising technological advancement of the past 30 years? If you said the iPhone or iPad ... you're pretty close, actually. I was going to say "eReaders," but it all amounts to the same thing, doesn't it?

Four years ago I carried a paperback book in my shoulder bag so I could read whenever I had the chance. This allowed me to chew through maybe five or six books per month if I was on a roll. I probably averaged three on most months, though. And once I was done with a book, I'd have to wait until I had a chance to drop by the book store to pick up another.

About two years ago, though, my wife gave me a Kindle 2 for my birthday. It. Was. On.

I was still slipping a book into my bag, but now it was a sleek and slim volume that allowed me to read a book to its end, then hop on and buy a second book that I could start right away. And I could keep a virtual library of these books at the ready.

Then, about a year ago or so ago the first smartphone eReader apps started popping up. It. Was. On. Part 2.

The only way I can truly describe the impact of this advancement is by saying "Holy crap." Seriously, it's that big. It's like seeing the Death Star for the first time and suddenly realizing it isn't a small moon. It's like discovering that your wardrobe leads to Narnia. It's like going to a family reunion and being introduced to Uncle Bill Gates.

Now I not only had access to a virtual Alexandria of books, I could read them anywhere, any time.

I am of that certain temperament of fella that absolutely MUST have his iPhone on him at all times. Want to see a major freak out? Run my battery down sometime. Shit goes wrong.

Quirky part is, I rarely use my iPhone as an actual phone. I'd say that phone usage accounts for maybe .5% of total use. The rest of the time, it's a texting, web surfing, book displaying, audiobook playing machine. It should be called the iTextSurfReadListenThingy. Steve Jobs take note.

Thanks to my Kindle, and then my iTextSurfReadListenThingy, I went from reading  3-5 books per month to 5-10, and then about 10-15. I now have greater opportunity to read than my attention span can allot for. Keen.

Notice, I count audiobooks in my final figures. If you don't [or more importantly, if you sneer and look down your nose at the mere mention of audiobooks] I encourage you to look up the definition of "read." Here, let me Google that for you:

"Read (v.) - To apprehend the meaning of (signs, characters, etc.) otherwise than with the eyes, as by means of the fingers: to read Braille. (Dictionary.com)


I submit for your consideration: If one can read with one's fingers then one can certainly read with one's ears. I'll let you know if I figure out a way for someone to read with one's nose.

So what do I get out of all of this reading? I like to think I primarily get a bigger, bulgier brain. But in addition to increased brain girth, I also get the bonus of a sense of accomplishment, a sense of fulfillment, and a sense of how to use language and story to motivate and inspire. Handy, if you happen to be a writer. Equally as handy if you want to be a leader in an industry, or impress smart chicks at parties.

As the landscape of reading changes, I'm glad to see new paths opening up. It's telling, I think, that as new technology starts to crawl out of the primordial ooze and evolve from its single-cell origins, books are still a vital and iconic part of our advancement. Gutenberg changed the world with his printing press, and centuries later we're still using books as stepping stones into the future.



Like what you're reading? Consider tipping the author!

Tip in any amount you like, safely and securely via PayPal (no PayPal account requred). And thank you in advance for your generosity!


____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

BECOME A SLINGER

Get updates on new books, new posts, and new podcasts, plus be the first to hear about special offers and giveways. And pants jokes. Lots and lots of pants jokes.








In the moment

I'm not exactly a Zen kinda guy. Not historically, anyway. I've had my moments. I know how to take a breath every now and then and enjoy where I am. And, being obsessed with self improvement, I've read all the books on self actualization and living in the moment. I'm hip.

Living in the moment ... that never really made sense to me. Of course I'm living in the moment! I'm right here, right now, right on? So that whole business, it never clicked for me. I never saw what was so tough about it. All those bumper stickers and e-mail signatures and self-help books are just talkin' crazy, man.

Except I don't think I've been in any moments for a long, long time.

OK, here's the scenario: I'm here and now. I'm walking in the park, enjoying a nice Spring-like day. I'm listening to some music or an audiobook. I'm thinking about something that happened this morning. I'm worrying about something that's going to happen tomorrow. I'm off on a tangent. I'm considering three new business ideas. I'm thinking about a goof I made in my last book. I'm hoping I can remember everything that happened in that book while I write the next one. I'm stressing over potentialities. I'm concerned about forgetting to do something, neglecting to take some action. I'm FREAKING OUT.

Some moment.

But that's what it has always been for me. Even those rare times when I've been "still," and "quiet," I'm neither still nor quiet. I've never, ever, ever sat in one place and cleared my mind. I wouldn't even know how.

I was thinking about this today, while I was on my walk. Worrying and obsessing about it, actually. I was thinking about some of what I've read so far in a book called "Mindsight," by Dr. Daniel Siegel. The Doc is talking about using focused attention as therapy. He has his patients do what he calls "body scans," having them focus on their bodies from their toes to their heads, one bit at a time, while being aware of the thoughts or memories or emotions that come up. He gets some surprising results, and is usually able to help his patients discover and overcome some past emotional trauma that's causing all manner of problems.

This idea of being able to overcome stress or trauma or whatever by controlling what you pay attention to really appeals to me. I know that it can veer towards new-agey, but I think it has a lot of merit.

Which brings me to "in the moment."

I have a hard time living in the moment because my brain doesn't like to focus on one thing. My attention is scattered almost all of the time. I'm constantly splitting my attention to three, four, five, maybe a dozen different ideas, passions, and interests, all in the name of getting what I want out of life. The result: I get a lot less of what I want than I could get if I were just more focused.

These days we live in this multitasking world. I used to wear my multitasking merit badge with pride, pointing out to anyone who would listen that "today I wrote an article while creating a graphic and building a website as I put the finishing touches on a video I'm editing." Multitask Man. He's everywhere.

And whenever anyone would say something like, "You can do one thing really well, or do a lot of things half-assed," I would scoff. These fools clearly had no idea of Multitask Man's massive might! My powers of do-everything are unmatched in this galaxy or any other!

But now I wonder.

Yes, I am a multi-talented fella. No sense being modest about that. I'm not a modest person.

Yes, I get a lot done.

Yes, a lot of it is quite awesome.

But dammit, I'm tired. Exhausted, in fact. And not only that, I'm torn and confused most of the time about what it is, exactly, I'm wanting to accomplish. And, worst of all, I'm annoyingly aware of the fact that this is what some folks warned me about when I was a young spitfire, out to do it all. I'm getting burned out on all the damned multitasking.

So living in the moment? Not exactly. Unless I'm living in a whole bunch of parallel moments, like alternate realities in which I'm busy doing lots and lots of things. Doesn't seem likely, though.

Today, as I walked around Memorial Park with nothing but my brain for company and mental stimulation, I started to see a little glimmer of in-the-moment-ness. It wasn't easy to get in touch with, I'll admit. I had to keep coming back to it. I had to keep forcing myself to focus on it. I had to keep making sure I was aware of that, and nothing else. Aware of being in this park, feeling this breeze, hearing these birds, smelling these pine needles. I had to come back to it over and over and over, but by God if I didn't manage to be there, and then, right as it was all happening.

I still don't get it, of course. I'm still pondering exactly what "in the moment" really means, and how a multitasker like me can get his hands on it. I think it starts with stopping the multitasking thing and concentrating on one thing at a time.

That's gonna be tough. I'm kind of addicted to doing things all at once, and really, really fast. But maybe I can convince myself to slow down and enjoy what I'm doing "in the moment." And then, one day, I might actually understand what all the damned bumper stickers and e-mail signatures and self-help books are trying to tell me.


Like what you're reading? Consider tipping the author!

Tip in any amount you like, safely and securely via PayPal (no PayPal account requred). And thank you in advance for your generosity!


____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

BECOME A SLINGER

Get updates on new books, new posts, and new podcasts, plus be the first to hear about special offers and giveways. And pants jokes. Lots and lots of pants jokes.








In the Moment

I'm not exactly a Zen kinda guy. Not historically, anyway. I've had my moments. I know how to take a breath every now and then and enjoy where I am. And, being obsessed with self improvement, I've read all the books on self actualization and living in the moment. I'm hip.

Living in the moment ... that never really made sense to me. Of course I'm living in the moment! I'm right here, right now, right on? So that whole business, it never clicked for me. I never saw what was so tough about it. All those bumper stickers and e-mail signatures and self-help books are just talkin' crazy, man.

Except I don't think I've been in any moments for a long, long time.

OK, here's the scenario: I'm here and now. I'm walking in the park, enjoying a nice Spring-like day. I'm listening to some music or an audiobook. I'm thinking about something that happened this morning. I'm worrying about something that's going to happen tomorrow. I'm off on a tangent. I'm considering three new business ideas. I'm thinking about a goof I made in my last book. I'm hoping I can remember everything that happened in that book while I write the next one. I'm stressing over potentialities. I'm concerned about forgetting to do something, neglecting to take some action. I'm FREAKING OUT.

Some moment.

But that's what it has always been for me. Even those rare times when I've been "still," and "quiet," I'm neither still nor quiet. I've never, ever, ever sat in one place and cleared my mind. I wouldn't even know how.

I was thinking about this today, while I was on my walk. Worrying and obsessing about it, actually. I was thinking about some of what I've read so far in a book called "Mindsight," by Dr. Daniel Siegel. The Doc is talking about using focused attention as therapy. He has his patients do what he calls "body scans," having them focus on their bodies from their toes to their heads, one bit at a time, while being aware of the thoughts or memories or emotions that come up. He gets some surprising results, and is usually able to help his patients discover and overcome some past emotional trauma that's causing all manner of problems.

This idea of being able to overcome stress or trauma or whatever by controlling what you pay attention to really appeals to me. I know that it can veer towards new-agey, but I think it has a lot of merit.

Which brings me to "in the moment."

I have a hard time living in the moment because my brain doesn't like to focus on one thing. My attention is scattered almost all of the time. I'm constantly splitting my attention to three, four, five, maybe a dozen different ideas, passions, and interests, all in the name of getting what I want out of life. The result: I get a lot less of what I want than I could get if I were just more focused.

These days we live in this multitasking world. I used to wear my multitasking merit badge with pride, pointing out to anyone who would listen that "today I wrote an article while creating a graphic and building a website as I put the finishing touches on a video I'm editing." Multitask Man. He's everywhere.

And whenever anyone would say something like, "You can do one thing really well, or do a lot of things half-assed," I would scoff. These fools clearly had no idea of Multitask Man's massive might! My powers of do-everything are unmatched in this galaxy or any other!

But now I wonder.

Yes, I am a multi-talented fella. No sense being modest about that. I'm not a modest person.

Yes, I get a lot done.

Yes, a lot of it is quite awesome.

But dammit, I'm tired. Exhausted, in fact. And not only that, I'm torn and confused most of the time about what it is, exactly, I'm wanting to accomplish. And, worst of all, I'm annoyingly aware of the fact that this is what some folks warned me about when I was a young spitfire, out to do it all. I'm getting burned out on all the damned multitasking.

So living in the moment? Not exactly. Unless I'm living in a whole bunch of parallel moments, like alternate realities in which I'm busy doing lots and lots of things. Doesn't seem likely, though.

Today, as I walked around Memorial Park with nothing but my brain for company and mental stimulation, I started to see a little glimmer of in-the-moment-ness. It wasn't easy to get in touch with, I'll admit. I had to keep coming back to it. I had to keep forcing myself to focus on it. I had to keep making sure I was aware of that, and nothing else. Aware of being in this park, feeling this breeze, hearing these birds, smelling these pine needles. I had to come back to it over and over and over, but by God if I didn't manage to be there, and then, right as it was all happening.

I still don't get it, of course. I'm still pondering exactly what "in the moment" really means, and how a multitasker like me can get his hands on it. I think it starts with stopping the multitasking thing and concentrating on one thing at a time.

That's gonna be tough. I'm kind of addicted to doing things all at once, and really, really fast. But maybe I can convince myself to slow down and enjoy what I'm doing "in the moment." And then, one day, I might actually understand what all the damned bumper stickers and e-mail signatures and self-help books are trying to tell me.


Like what you're reading? Consider tipping the author!

Tip in any amount you like, safely and securely via PayPal (no PayPal account requred). And thank you in advance for your generosity!


____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

BECOME A SLINGER

Get updates on new books, new posts, and new podcasts, plus be the first to hear about special offers and giveways. And pants jokes. Lots and lots of pants jokes.