Waiting for the Right Moment

Rick standing at grandpa's grave

I was 7 years old when my grandfather died. My memories of him are like a happy, but forgotten dream. I know I loved him because just thinking about him gives me a sense of joy and I can feel a warm sensation go through me. But if pressed to describe any memories, I’d just be grasping at the ephemeral blips that dissolve like a morning fog when the sun comes up. If only I had a stronger mental picture. The only ones that haven’t faded away for good: walking through the back woods, playing dominoes on the floor, and trying to get rid of those damn gophers from destroying their lawn!

I don’t think I ever told him I loved him. That’s just not the way I was raised and it simply wasn’t a word in my vocabulary. It’s since become a word I use daily, and without hesitation. I love my wife, I love my family, I love my dog, I love my friends, I love my job, I love this world. I probably don’t even know you, but I’m sure I’d love you too!

Writer's Block Tip: Journal First

Go after it journal by Ja-Nae Duane

Building positive momentum is an effective way to overcome any challenge. Personal example: biking up Maple Avenue hill in my bike’s highest gear when I was 12-13 years old. If I started at the base of the hill from a stand still, this became an almost impossible task because my bike would tip before I moved a few feet. Thankfully, there was a mini hill right before the big hill. And if I started there and got to full speed by the time I reached the larger hill, I could get to the top without expending that much energy. In fact, on several occasions I would sometimes ride up the hill multiple times for a workout.

The difference was all in building that initial momentum.

Writer's Block Tip: Check Your Inbox

Mailboxes - __o__ - flickr

Do you struggle finding something to write about? Afraid that what you have to say is not important, or that people won’t listen, or that people already know this? Here is a tip to both find useful, relevant topics to write about AND eliminate any self-defeating worries and doubts along the way.

It boils down to “we all have questions, we all have answers, you have their answers, now make a bigger impact by getting it out there.” Let’s explore these below and get you re-inspired to start writing again.

The Lie of Averages

One flower standing out with a red petal

“The Economy” is merely a label that we give to describe the wealth and/or success of large groups of people. And when the economy tanks, it’s easy to make a logical fallacy by assuming that every individual person must experience their equal share of this pain. If the economy is bad, no one can make money, get a good job, etc. Such is the fate of the law lie of averages.

Heeding the Call

Telephone booth in a field - strep72 - flickr

I remember how confused I was as a child when someone would say “nature’s calling” and then they’d excuse themselves. Only later did I find out that it was a silly euphemism for “going to the bathroom.” It was also silly because I never used to believe in spirits, God, mother nature, or anything beyond what could be measured/verified/scientificied (not a real word). I was an atheistic and didn’t really know what the purpose was of this life we all seemed to get plopped into.

I’ve since changed my tune for reasons that are too numerous to list here. Now I’m a believer in signs. Now I believe that (somehow) people, events, or situations appear at the right moment to guide us along our purpose in life.


Rick and Ryan in a swimming pool

Although my family didn’t have a lot of money, we always splurged on those $200 above ground swimming pools that you could pop up in a couple of hours. And we got every dollars worth of entertainment out of those pools: WWF-style wrestling matches, full speed swan dives from the grass, and the occasional cannon ball initiated from atop the flimsy ladder that came with the set. During a hot NY summer, it was heaven.

And then there was the momentum game…

Big Table Brainstorming

A big kitchen table ready for a brainstorming session.

I love using index cards to capture goals/ideas. But when it comes to fleshing them out into full fledged plans, a single 3x5 or sheet of paper can feel a bit cramped. I’ve been discovering that I am most creative when I have room to expand, to lay out multiple sheets of paper, to color, to draw out shapes, to connect lines between major themes, to shuffle, to reorganize, etc. This is where I experience my ‘ah-ha’ moments. This is how I break through resistance. This is when I crystalize these thoughts onto paper.

Have you experienced this level of flow lately?

Bucket List Item Complete: 10 Minute Wall Sit

Rick Manelius doing a wall sit next to a chair

It’s official. After making my bucket list several months ago, I’ve crossed off my 3rd item: a 10 minute wall sit. Previously, I had only crossed the 5 minute mark about 3-5 times with my previous best being 7:50. Today I threw in an extra 5 seconds to go 10:05 so I could be absolutely certain that I didn’t stop short of my goal. Either way, I was exhausted yet exhilarated. No longer do I have to wonder if I could do it. I can, and I did!

Don't Confuse the Two

A man holding a newspaper over his head - flickr - Silentmind8

During a torrential downpour in NYC, people were grabbing copies of the NY metro newspaper to use as makeshift umbrellas. Clearly, the number of papers handed out does not equal the number of readers.

A decade ago, AOL used to send out an excessive quantity of CDs and 3.5 inch floppy disks in order to entice people to sign up for a free month of internet service. Most of these CDs/floppies were thrown out. But some individuals would collect them to use in their artwork or use them in other creative ways. Clearly, the number of free offers does not equal the number of people who will accept said offer.

Stop Waiting for the Party

MIT PDT 2003 pledge class party

800+ peopled stopped by in a single night. I know, because we had the signatures on our guest list to prove it. Yes, MIT was full of nerds and you wouldn’t consider it a party school. But Boston is a college town and that meant a lot of people were looking to have some fun on a friday night. We just happened to be one of many venues on that particular night.