If you want to change your life, you have to change your mind first. One of the most important steps is learning to think positively, especially in negative situations. When you learn to see opportunity in every moment and teach yourself to make the best of your circumstances, your life will begin to improve. Seek the positive throughout each day, and cherish all of your blessings.
I’ve been through quite a bit in my life. There have been many times when I’ve felt like giving up and quitting. In those dark moments, when despair seems too great to overcome and life feels as if all the joy is gone, it takes a tremendous act of will to remind myself that the darkness never lasts forever. Eventually the sun will rise, the clouds will part, and better days will come again.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned about facing any kind of adversity is this: regardless of the situation, your best approach is to roll up your sleeves and put your energy into doing something productive. Hard work cures so many ills. Productivity makes you feel better about yourself and lessens the pain of whatever you’re facing. Despite already knowing these truths, I have to remind myself of them regularly.
Whatever you may be dealing with in your life, please remember that you can find the strength to face it. You have it in you to overcome even the most desperate of situations if you are willing to maintain a positive attitude and put in the work to accomplish your goals. And if you give it your best effort and fall short, you will still feel better about yourself for having had to courage to try than if you throw up your hands and quit. I’ve learned this from firsthand experience.
I want this blog to return to being a forum for like-minded people to share thoughts about our lives, so please, feel free to comment below with your experiences concerning adversity. Let’s start a conversation and motivate each other to overcome whatever challenges we face. This can be our Motivational Mondays.
I’m making every effort to fill my life with people who inspire and nurture my creativity. Because of circumstances, my circle has gotten much smaller over the last couple of years, and after all I’ve endured and experienced, I simply have no more tolerance for lies, deceit, negativity, or anything else that distracts from my creative process. I am who I am–the good and bad, the pretty and ugly, the kindness and the scars. I’m all or nothing, full-tilt, pedal-to-the-floor-when-I-believe-in-something, and if you can’t accept me as I am and be fully open and honest with me, there’s no more room in my life for you.
I’m D.A. emeffing Adams, and I stomp upon this terra with all of the life spark that burns inside me.
I acknowledge that I have many flaws: I’m emotional and moody at times. I’m obsessive (um, writer). I can be overly dramatic and even melodramatic, too. I have serious trust issues because my ex-wife hid a relationship from me for years. I can brood with the best of them, and for the love of god please don’t piss me off. Oh yeah, and there’s that felony thing, as well. I acknowledge my baggage and don’t try to sweep it under the rug.
But I’m also kind and gentle; generous to a fault; tender and compassionate; supportive; funny; and one of the most loyal people you will ever meet. When I love, I love with all of my heart and soul, and I don’t know any other way. When I set my mind to something, I accomplish that task or work at it until all of my resources are exhausted. I’m a good listener, a good shoulder, and a rock for those who need it. All in all, I still think my good outweighs my bad, and I hope the people who still call me a friend will agree.
I hold out hope that one day I’ll meet the right woman who will love and appreciate me for not only my writing and creativity but also for my passion for the outdoors and rough-around-the-edges ways. But I also accept that it may never happen. I’m damaged and scarred, so maybe I’m no longer fit for a relationship. Despite it all, I still believe in love. I still believe that there’s a lot of love for me to share, and even if I can’t find the right woman to share my life with, I can share that love with my friends and family and even the world.
At the end of my road, I want to look back and see a life that mattered. One filled with creativity (right now I can’t say I’ve accomplished all that I’m capable of). One filled with love, compassion, peace, serenity, and laughter. One filled with the pursuit of knowledge and the sharing of that knowledge with others. One filled with an appreciation of both the sun and rain, for it takes both to make things grow. I want my life to be more than the accumulation of stuff or the acquisition of money. I want to leave this world a little better than I found it.
That’s all for now.
I’ll be honest. I never could get my heart into the last blog format. While I love making the Professor Write videos and plan to develop more, the effort at the blog just didn’t work for me, and as a result, this site has been neglected for the last couple of months. That’s unacceptable, so I’m trying a new direction.
Well, if you’re paying attention, actually an old direction.
I’m going back to the original Ramblings of D.A. Adams style, where I chronicle my day to day adventures and write about whatever strikes my fancy that day. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of book five. Currently the rough draft is over halfway complete. Not sure about a timetable for a launch yet because there’s still too much editing and polishing to go, but soon. I promise. Soon.
I’ll also try to inspire you with my efforts to rebuild my life, and I’ll post regular updates on my physical fitness journey as I continue to recover from the neurological condition that knocked me down a couple of years ago. Right now, I physically feel healthier than I have in years and am approaching 100 pounds lost.
I also have a new book about to launch. It’s a humorous look at life in jail. So far, the feedback on the manuscript is that it’s laugh-out-loud funny, so I’m excited for it to hit the market. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll share the cover and a brief preview.
The last few months have been quite a journey. I got rather close with a friend and thought we were possibly building a real relationship, but it fell apart. The experience taught me that I’m simply not ready to be involved with anyone yet. From everything I’ve experienced, I have too many scars and too many wounds that haven’t fully healed. Unfortunately, I lost a friend in the process, but maybe time will mend that fence.
Despite that setback, life is still pretty good. I’m glad to be healthy and productive again, and each day I’m moving another inch forward. I hope you’ll check back often as The New Ramblings of D.A. Adams kicks into gear. There’s still a long, steep climb ahead, but I believe I’m up to the challenge.
That’s all for now.
I fully admit and accept that it’s rather cliche for someone who has been incarcerated to wax poetic about time, but in my experience on this earth, nothing brings it into such sharp focus quite so well. There is our measurement of time–the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years we use to mark its passage. This artificial system, though imperfect and dynamic according to the laws of physics, serves it purpose of keeping our minds grounded in the present while still allowing us to consider the past and future. We need this system, else many of us would slip into madness as time flowed forever onward. But the system is not the thing itself, merely our tool for counting it.
Then, there is our perception of time, an inconstant and capricious master that drives our every waking moment. During joyful moments, time seems to fly as the old saying goes, while during the difficult experiences it can seem nearly to stop. In jail, one single night can feel like a veritable lifetime as the seconds crawl along. Much more so than our system for measuring it, our perception of time is dynamic and pliable to the whims of circumstance. But still, our perception is not the thing itself.
Time itself flows forward, inexorable and implacable as it goes. Time cares nothing for circumstance or systems of measurement. It merely is, and whether we like it or not, whether we accept it or not, time moves in one direction, only in that direction, and only at a constant rate. You cannot recapture yesterday, and you cannot fast forward to tomorrow. If you are alive on this planet, you must endure the relentless flow of time one moment to the next. Learning and accepting this fact can be the most important thing you ever do for yourself.
Regardless of my circumstances or what I choose to do, today will slip away. If I’m mired in an unpleasant situation, I can choose to sit by passively and wait for it to pass, and it will, though what about my circumstances have really changed? Have I learned anything? Grown as a person? Changed my perception? Or am I merely allowing time to flow by as I hope for something positive to happen?
If time is going to pass regardless, then I will use my moments to pursue actively those things I desire. Do I really want to lose weight? I can find 30 minutes in each day to walk if I choose to. Do I truly want to improve my vocabulary? There is time if I take advantage of the moments. Am I stuck in a suffocating relationship? What will change if I don’t utilize time to my advantage and find a way out of those circumstances? Whatever it is, the time is going to pass whether I take action or not, so I am much better off using time to improve something about myself, and if I make small incremental changes every single day, over the course of weeks and months, I will see the benefits of those choices.
That is what I’ve learned about time.
I dream of a day when there is real economic opportunity for all, a day when all positive contributions to society are valued and rewarded. When the day finally arrives that physical labor is seen as more than disposable, we will begin to enjoy real freedoms for all. When the ability to teach others becomes as valuable as throwing a football, we will begin heal the fragmentation of our society. When knowledge and sacrifice are once again revered instead of ridiculed and avoided, we will once again innovate the world. When basic humanity trumps financial greed, we will have a society that seeks justice.
I dream of a day when people listen twice as much as they talk, and nations stop fighting over petty grudges and insignificant differences. When the peaceful, civilized people of the world hold sway over the warmongers, we will begin to know real, lasting peace. When the wants of ordinary citizens – to raise their families and have safety and nourishment – become more important than the greed of a few, the world will begin to move away from the threats of annihilation. When cooperation is given equal footing as competition, as both are necessary for human prosperity, we will begin to solve most of our problems.
I dream of a day when people live as much by principles as by self-interest, a day when people remember that their communities are as valuable as their own homes. When people refuse to accept a child going hungry or the mentally ill sleeping on the street, we will reclaim honor. When the day comes that we protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us, our world will brighten into something worth protecting, something worth defending. When we begin to see each other as brothers and sisters, we can begin pushing back against the darker impulses of our species, and maybe, just maybe, if people do not feel the suffocation of desperation, some of those darker impulses will fade on their own.
I dream of a day when people are free to love whomever they love and express themselves in whatever manner they see fit, without judgment or condemnation. When that day comes, we will learn real freedom. If people can ever let go of their deeply entrenched hate and simply accept others as they are, not as one might wish they were, we can begin to communicate with each other instead of at each other.
These are my simple dreams for this world.
(Warning: normally I refrain from expressing my views on religion out of respect for my friends who are believers, but in light of the events in France yesterday, my views are central to this piece. Stop now if your faith is easily insulted.)
The biggest threat in this world, the one I have pushed against most of my life, is that of extremism. It comes in many forms, but the common denominator is intolerance for other people’s lifestyles or beliefs. On January 7, 2014, twelve people who worked for the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were gunned down by two Islamic extremists because the magazine had insulted their invisible man in the sky. Around the world, others who believe in different invisible folks in the sky saw this atrocity as proof of the superiority of their totems. Extremists to the left used it as an opportunity to once again renounce gun violence, while extremists to the right made sure to point out France’s restrictive gun control laws. Both sides, so convinced of their own divine authority of knowing THE one right way, missed the point: Intolerance ultimately leads to destruction.
Rather than galvanizing civilized people into a collective mass, this latest tragedy is further proof of just how fragmented and intolerant we truly are. Just this morning, the first item to appear in my Facebook newsfeed was a post ridiculing Al Gore because it’s cold over much of North America this week. The ignorance and short-sightedness of confusing weather and climate never cease to amaze me, but that’s a different discussion for a different day. Within minutes, this person’s post had filled with followers, either piling on with more insults for the 97.5% of climatologists who believe climate change is a real thing and man made or questioning the original poster’s intelligence. Per usual with these kinds of discussions, there was no dialogue, no discourse, no exchanging of ideas, just a further entrenching of deeply held beliefs.
Even though I am pretty much a non-believer – especially in religion and specifically in invisible men in the sky who want cartoonists murdered – I’ve always tried to be respectful of other people’s beliefs. After all, that’s what tolerance is all about, allowing other individual’s the right to worship or not as they see fit, to love the person they want (as long it’s a consensual relationship), and to view the world through whatever prism they deem appropriate. The scope of this tolerance ends when one person decides to impose their beliefs on others involuntarily. In free societies, you do not have the right to impose your will on someone else against their own will. This message applies to the extremists on both sides. In light of this most recent tragedy, I see little hope for bridging the gulf of extremist intolerance.
We as a species are heading for a major conflict if we do not find ways to communicate with each other instead of at each other. Because of the unimaginable power of the weapons we possess, our survival as civilized societies is at stake, possibly even the survival of our entire species. And I have no idea how to fix it at this point. I see no way to convince believers that our actions as people are not preordained by the will of whichever invisible person in the sky they worship, and I see no way to get the extremists on the other end to respect the right to believe. I fear the consequences of this steady march towards a worldwide war, because that is what we are approaching, and if this war ultimately erupts, it will be unlike anything humans have experienced before because of the deep fragmentation we have created and those weapons we possess. While little internet arguments over climate change may seem innocuous on the surface, the dehumanization of “the other” is just a symptom of that terrifying disease of intolerance.