EMPTY AND FULL

The car stops at the corner,
The street is empty and bare,
No need to wonder at the barren roads,
It’s the new normal we all have to live by,
It’s another way of life we have to get used to,
For we have made our hearts concrete just as the city.

The car travels on
Passing fields green with vital fife,
Rolling rivers team with brimming new life,
Mountains purple with shadows of passing clouds,
Birds and beasts roaming the now newly reviving wilds.
Denuded nature is returning to its pristine state and restful fullness.

*Friday Fictioneers is a talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt © Na’ama Yehuda

EGGING ON

https://youtu.be/pa4dyeu9Cdk

Morning dawns
Evening falls
Sun shines
Moon beams
Flowers bloom
Fruits ripen
Grass grows
Trees sway
Wind blows
Waves beat
Births happen
Deaths occur.

Pandemic or not,
Life has to gone on.

For better or worse
For good or bad
In sickness or in health
In poverty or in riches
With love or hate
With goodness or meanness
We are all in this together.

Stand fast,
For this too shall pass away!

Let’s go on
Keeping faith till the last!

*Friday Fictioneers is a talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt © Todd Foltz

STORAGE SPACE

One of the episodes in my favorite TV series, Person of Interest by Christopher Nolan, portrays a high school student, who looks to be average but is actually a mathematical genius and a prodigy in software programing. He develops a compression algorithm that condenses terabytes into a thumb drive. He later becomes an entrepreneur and a legend in the field for providing large storage capacity in a small space.

A prime vital need of the digital world, with its bourgeoning apps and usage, is storage space. Every device that is launched is promoted by mooting certain specs, topmost of which is storage capacity – so many gigabytes more than the previous or other models. The growth of digital age escalated exponentially with increase of memory in decrease of space.

Space crunch is not an issue confined to certain cities on terra firma, but also a major factor in the digital world. Researchers are scrambling to help their companies master the market through improving the unique capabilities of their product with greater the processing speed and higher the number of applications and finally the size of the product. The smaller and thinner the model the better the saleability of the product. The smaller the device and greater the memory space became the thrust of the digital world.

With the introduction of multiple search engines, coupled with the advent of smartphones and other digital devices that help you access information instanteously and immediately as well as the ability to store that information in a small memory space, has deleted the need to remember many things or keep relevant data in mind.

No one these days even makes an effort at remembering even basic multiplication tables, or conversion rates or any simple functions. A simple touch of the phone is all that is required to perform many actions that once upon a time needed the use of the mind and its capacity for memory. Gone are the days when people would remember many people’s phone numbers as well as other details such birthdays, anniversaries and other minutae with ease.

The key to such a feat is the heart and the mind. Indeed, the heart and mind are second to none for storing and retaining information. Their ability to grow and expand is the added advantage when they are trained to do so. The heart and mind have untold and infinite capacity not just for storage, but for learning, relearning and adapting. They are more versatile and multifaceted than any instrument that man has ever invented.

King David the Psalmist in the Bible says in Ps 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” He also says in Ps 1:3 that the one who meditates (focus one’s mind) on God’s law day and night will be evergreen. The king seems to have discovered and declared that the best space for storing and preserving God’s Word are the heart and the mind.

Of course, he did not have the many storage devices and cloud facilities that we have today. He did not have access to digital tablets, though he had other storage devices such as stone tablets, papyrus rolls etc. Some would say that because he did not have all these, he was forced to use the heart and the mind as storage units. That may be true, yet all our gadgets and instruments do not work unless they have been connected or charged by a power source. They also be hacked or corrupted or even destroyed remotely. They can be shut down or made redundant by cutting of their power source.

What if you are in a place and a position where you have no access to such crutches and have to remember things, especially God’s Word? Will you become crippled and at a loss because you don’t have your devices or will you be able to tap into your in-built storage apparatus and draw input from your memory the Word needed for the hour?

Will you be able to draw strength from what you have stored of the life-giving word in your heart and mind?

All our technology and the devices they birth are only making us dependent like suckling babes. It is not wrong to use them when you have, but the question is what if you don’t have them!

We are living in a pandemic period when everyone of our systems are failing or proving to fail. Be it the educational, economic, medical, political, social or cultural construct, each of them have been shown to be of zero help in times like this. Everything around and on which we have building our lives have faltered, demonstrating their inability to help us. Technology alone is to an extent allowing us to maintain a semblance of life. When that too fails, we will be left with only the gifts God created us with and bestowed on us innately.

How about exercising and using your in-built storage capacity and facility, your heart and your mind, so as to come to your aid in times of need?

How about teaching and training our children to use theirs to the maximum to stockpile Scripture, while keeping technology as addendum?

How about giving attention to develop a cache of God’s Word in your heart and mind, tapping in to their full capacity and capability!

*Pics courtesy unsplash.com

THE KEY FOR PROLIFERATION AND MULTIPLICATION – A PATTERN

MacDonald’s is a name that’s recognized all over the world, even in seemingly remote places. The phenomenal growth MacDonald’s achieved has made it not just a business or a brand, but a symbol of a country and its way of life, specifically its food.

One of the reasons for the success of the MacDonald’s chain of restaurants is the quickness of their service and the quality of their product, maintained the same in every place they have opened up. Their fanatical obsession to maintain their quality and sameness has contributed to the explosive growth of their franchisee.

The key to their near-perfect replication of their product lies in their strict adherence to the same production process in every location they are found. They discovered and refined a way of doing things and then religiously stuck to that way everywhere. Their insistence that the same process is repeated every time, all over, is the key to their phenomenal expansion. MacDonald’s owes its growth to the sameness of its process that has resulted in the sameness of the end product delivered in the same interval of time!

What has made this business expand and be outstanding is that its profit has been achieved everywhere and every time. The key to such effect is the ability to reproduce through replication, not duplication, of its product and process. Nobody likes a duplicate for it is the imitation of the real thing. However, if the real product can be got with the same quality and in the same quantity, that’s the key to multiplication into multiple locations. The crux of such an achievement is thus having a model, prototype and a pattern to emulate, and then following it strictly.

A pattern and a model enables easy way to multiply, expand and establish. If there is no pattern, then the original prototype will become submerged and lost in the milieu of possibilities and modifications. Only when the integrity of the design of the source model is maintained, the reproductions will be true to the prototype and can be validated as that product. Otherwise, you will end up with imitation that looks like the original but does not retain its integrity. Only when its integrity is safeguarded can the product be trademarked.

The key for an industry to grow and impact with its product is this same thing, a pattern or a model or a prototype. This is especially true in the textile industry where multiple garments can be tailored using a key pattern. This is indeed crucial for the export of such garments, for each and every piece must be the same as the model they showed the buyer. The colors may vary, but the pattern and sizes ordered must not very from the original that was exhibited while receiving the order. Every industrial product goes through the same process, including big one’s such as cars and trucks!

In the Bible, we see both in the Old and New Testaments a pattern of worship and life given to the people of God to live as a community of faith. Through Moses God gave Israel a manner of life in very minute detail, including their worship, their holidays, their occupation, their diet, their justice system, their education, their family life etc. Since they were the people of God, their life revolved around worship and expressions of their faith. Their allegiance to Yahweh permeated every part of their existence and the sociocultural as well as economic and political construct of their lives was ordered by His instructions, communicated to them as His laws. Irrespective of the places they migrated to, they maintained their identity and their distinctiveness through this pattern of worship places, practices and lifestyle!

Similarly, in the New Testament Christ, as the Apostle and Architect of His Church, gave Paul His administrative plan for those who follow Him to exist as His people on earth. In order for them to be the community of faith, He gave them a distinct blueprint and pattern for their lives so that would be witnesses of His death, burial and resurrection. The way they lived as individuals, families and community would communicate the good news of His love for all to the world around. This pattern was for all times, providing a sociocultural framework for His followers that would distinguish and set them apart as the adherents of His teaching.

Paul and other apostles faithfully communicated this framework through their teaching and their letters, urging the people of God to follow the pattern of life and inward transformation. This was what would set them apart and brand them as Christ’s, worthy to be called His people.

The question to ask today in our churches is this: Are we following the pattern shown and showcased by the Apostles and the early church? Is that a core reason that we haven’t multiplied and expanded the way they did? What if returning to the way of Christ and the Apostles is the need of the hour and the appropriate step to take if church has to shine with the glory of God?

After all, the blessing inherent in creation for multiplication is: each kind bringing forth its own kind!

*Pics: Coutesy shutterstock.com

WASTING OR (IN)VESTING SHUTDOWN

Shutdown, lockdown, rollbacks, cutbacks, layoffs and retrenchment are all dreaded words in the job market and industry circles. These indicate a loss, ruin, bankruptcy, failure, default, liquidation and debt. The current lockdown or shutdown is unique and unlike since it is not a result of any of these. It is an action that has been dictated and mandated as a consequence of a pandemic. However, in a way it can be said that it is not so dissimilar since there is loss here, the loss of the greatest resource on earth – human beings!

Shutting down for isolation or quarantine, and destruction are two sides of the same coin since one is the contraposition of the other. One warrants the other and one is the outcome or preventive measure of another. For example, evacuation is the last natural response or counter-measure to a flood or fire or storm, inevitable when all other efforts fail. It is done to preserve human life from becoming totally extinguished or extinct. Even though it is a moot point whether human life is worth saving, it goes without saying that human beings, made in the image of God need saving if not salvaging!

This period of lockdown that keeps extending and lengthening is aimed at saving people, not money or land or animals or plants or even the environment. It is an all-out effort to save the great and best resource of all. So to complain or crib against it is unreasonable and actually inhumane. If we haven’t seen and realised this, we would be cribbing about the measures being taken to sustain and preserve human life!

Having said that, it is time to run a reality check, to determine if we have realised and accepted that these measures are to prevent the extinction of the most endangered species of all at this time. If we have figured this out, we would know what to do or occupy ourselves with, during this confinement period. We have been restricted and contained at home, letting go of all that we once thought was needed and important for life. The question is how have been handling this enforced isolation and quarantine!

If you have been sulking and whining about being confined at home unable to go out, or putting tantrums and throwing your weight around, or needling those around you and venting your ire on them, or chafing at delays and being restless about the extension of protocol, then you have lost out!

If we are wise, we would use these extended periods of being shut up:

To recover health
With time to relax and rest, catching up on sleep would have been your priority. Weaning your system off junk food and indiscriminate eating, you would have started a regime of healthy wholesome food, proper hydration and regular exercise.
If you haven’t, you still have time. Start now!

To build and repair relationships
You would have used this time to spend time with family, getting to know them once again, grasping what makes each one tick, etc. You would have repaired breaches and built bridges in relationships, restoring those you may have lost. You would have forged new ones since you have time to talk and enquire, using the pretext of the pandemic concerns to your own advantage in this aspect. You would have tweaked your daily and weekly routine to include giving attention and showing concern for your spouse, playing and teaching your kids, put in place family activities and caught up with senior citizens in the family.
If you haven’t, you still have time. Begin now!

To learn and pick up new skills
You would have taken this season to do things you have never done before and maybe identified acumen you never realized you had, such as cooking, tailoring, painting, gardening, writing and such like. You would have picked back up a hobby you had in your school or college days, something you didn’t have time till now and enjoyed doing it alone or along with your family. You would have gone online and learnt something new, maybe another language acquired another degree or certificate may be, taken a new training, attended a workshop etc.
If you haven’t yet done it, start now!

To enjoy solitude and develop the art of meditating
Instead of being stressed out, you would have realised that you now had time to sit down and have a quiet conversation with yourself, with nature, in the quietness of the night or the early hours of the day – something you didn’t have energy or time to do because of a busy schedule. You would have learnt how to handle silence, listen to a song, heard sounds around and silently noted the rhythm and flow of life around.
If you haven’t done it till now, you still have time. Start now!

To assess and gauge your shortcomings
As your body began recouping with rest and relaxation, as your feelings and emotions began streamlining, you would have understood the mistakes you have been making, especially in relationships. You would have noted your misdeeds and found yourself wondering why you had to be so insecure or short-tempered. You would have vowed to change and become a better person, as you weighed your actions in the past and thought of how you would behave and treat others once this period is over.
If you haven’t at all, there is still time. Begin now!

To count your blessings and be thankful
Most of us have a roof over our heads, food to eat, a bed to sleep and a family that also has all these things. We have been truly blessed, especially in the light of the many migrant workers who have been stranded and trying to make their way home by walk. They have to depend on the courtesy of others and have to wing their way through life depending on the mercy of strangers. We need to count these things in our lives and be thankful to God for gifting us all things needed to exist in a comfortable way. We need to be grateful for this time to unwind, destress from hectic schedule and grace to spend moments with our family.
If you haven’t taken time to be grateful and prayerful, begin now. There’s still time to do so!

To look forward to new times and reset yourselves for a new normal
This season is so providential because we have been given the occasion to pull back, recuperate, reorient, repatriate losses and refocus for the future. Never has the human race faced such a time as this and given such a great opportunity to make amends and reorganize. It is the season to restructure our lives and set our direction according to a new normal, for life is not going to be the same.
If you haven’t thought through things, estimated the new future, sat down with the family and planned for the days ahead, don’t worry. Just do it now!

To value life and align your every priority towards preserving it
We need to understand that life is all about people, about saving and serving others around us. We need to cultivate generosity, weed out selfish narcissism, looking beyond what is of use to me and mine. We need to look past what belongs to me, what will benefit me and make every effort, as much as we can, to protect, preserve and progress life.
If you haven’t ever done it, this is the time to do so!

To understand the connectivity of humanity
We must understand that we are all part of humanity and share the same space in time. We are all brothers and sisters by virtue of being part of the human race, living in the same era in history. We need to accept and acknowledge that we are our brother’s keeper, and therefore responsible to do as much as we can to make life easier for those within our reach.
If we haven’t learnt this valuable lesson, it is time to do so!

To acknowledge the chain reaction reality of our existence
We need to seriously consider the impact and effect of being a part and parcel of the valuable flow and cycle of life. We are not living isolated and remote from others in society. We cannot afford to be estranged or detached from the community we are placed in. This pandemic has made us intensely aware and sensitized us to the domino effect and contagion impact of our existence. What happens in one remote corner of the earth will gradually but surely spread and seep into the economy, health, sociology, culture and politics of every other part of the world. We are all in a web of relationship and so cannot avoid or protect ourselves from this chain-effect.
If you have lived life as though you are the only one and that the whole world revolves around you, now is the time to change!

COVID shutdown time is a time to invest in and rethink many things! It’s a time to sit down and evaluate your life, something you may have avoided doing because of the busyness of life and the mechanical way of existence!

COVID lockdown is a Godsend, a gift from the Almighty to stand still, take stock, realign, restore and refurbish life as a whole. It is the blessing of God, a pause and reset time, a boon to be able to assess and zoom in on the essentials, weeding out the debris and extra burden we have as a species picked up on our way to what we thought was progress!

The question as we face lockdown 5.0 is: what have we done in this time and how have we used it. What have we, as individuals and families contributed towards saving and sustaining the sanctity of human life and livelihood. What are we going to do to conserve and perpetuate the human race, preventing its extinction!

The real question is: Have you been wasting or investing in and during the COVID protocols!

*Pics courtesy unsplash.com

BE THE LIGHT OR BE IN THE LIMELIGHT?

Jesus told His disciples that they were the salt and light of the world. The similarity between salt and light is that both create an impact, wherever they are placed, but become inconsequential in so doing. They have to lose themselves in order to cause any difference to their surroundings.

Salt is well-defined in substance and is felt rather than seen or identified as such. It is often quite easy to comprehend being the salt of the earth, for its role is well-defined and its boundary marked.

To be the light, however, needs a clear understanding of purpose, priority and pose. The purpose of light is not to draw attention to itself, but to bring in to sharp relief what is hidden in the shadows. The priority of light is to shed its illumination so that what is not seen becomes uncovered and exposed. The pose of light is to dispel darkness and impart comfort in visibility.

The issue in being the light is that we often confuse it with being in the limelight. Most often it is construed that to fulfil the role of being a light, one needs to have exposure and elevation. We think that when Jesus said that no one lights a lamp and puts it under the bed, but on a lampstand, it means being placed in a position of prominence. We assume that when He said that a city in a hill cannot be hid, that advancement is needed for influence. We decide that to be a force to create a ripple, one must be placed in positions and posts of visibility.

The good news is that to be the light one doesn’t need authority or power or control. Light, by its very nature, will alter its surroundings and empower all around. So also in this dark world, you don’t need special recognition or position, because being the light talks about conduct not position. Jesus said Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.

Being the light is to draw attention to God and elevate Him so others can reach the safety of His presence. All you need to do is just shine in the darkness so that others can see and be helped.

Light is basically energy that will do a work, viz. destroy darkness, irrespective of where it is found or placed. Coupled with the sense of sight, light is a primary tool for perceiving the world and communicating within it. A tool will serve its purpose for whatever it is created to do, irrespective of its circumstances.

Light can be ensconced in a humble lantern or beam out of a mighty lighthouse, yet however and wherever it is placed it will cause a change in it’s surroundings. So also it doesn’t matter who you are and where you are placed. Just be the light and do the work of light – clear out darkness.

Light, like salt, has to disperse itself into the medium to accomplish its work and fulfil its task. So also be willing to be unknown as you actively fulfil God’s mandate in life. The One Who created you acknowledges and appreciates you being the light. Those around you know the role you play in their lives and will appreciate and thank God for you.

Do not fret that you are not in the limelight, for you are in good company. The stalwarts of faith, Elijah, John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna, Ananias who baptized Paul, etc were all people who had no visibility or position. Yet God saw them and recognized them in His graces.

The greatest example of light, Jesus Christ, lived unknown for thirty years in the quietness of a middle eastern hamlet. He Who came to be the Savior of the world and the greatest Man to live on planet earth, lived in obscurity and invisibility for about 80% of his life.

If you are one who lives a hidden life, unknown and unsung, remember you are in good company – in the company of the Son of God!

Continue to be the light without worrying or fretting that you are not in the limelight!

Being the light is not synonymous with being in the limelight!

*Pic courtesy unsplash.com and google images

BEING & BECOMING THE SALT OF THE EARTH

Jesus told his disciples that they were salt and light of the world.

The similarity between salt and light is that both create an impact, wherever they are placed.

They both diffuse and disperse themselves into the medium they are placed to add (flavour and illumination) to their surroundings. Both dispel something (tastelessness and darkness) through their influence on the environment. Both do not draw attention to themselves, but are known by the effect they create, viz. taste and sight.

The difference between them is that salt needs to melt away into oblivion, its substance never evident but felt. Light, on the other hand, needs to be lifted up to be evident to all, if it is to bring sight and comfort all around.

Salt has the ability to combine everything together into a cohesive whole, while light by nature separates everything into two different entities.

Jesus said that if salt loses its saltiness (its nature) it is only fit to be thrown in the dunghill because it has lost its ability and nature to cause change.

Similarly, He said that a lamp is not lighted to be put under a bowl (covering), but is kept on a stand to be true to its nature (to illuminate). In other words, light becomes useless when it is not placed in a position from where it can be seen.

For a lamp to be in placed on a stand means to be placed in a position that will facilitate and help it do its work, viz. to illuminate and make bright. Only if the way is made for its brightness to be seen can light dispel darkness and bring into sharp relief the things that are hidden.

In our walk with Christ, there are different seasons in life wherein we alternate as salt and light. There will be times when we are hidden away with no one even being aware of us. We will be doing our work and influencing others in quietness, without publicity or fanfare. It is easy to be light, to be seen and acknowledged, but hard to be salt, unknown and unsung!

Salt purifies and preserves, but in so doing, has to lose itself. To be salt is to be felt and often not known or acknowledged. You will be needed but not maybe appreciated or thanked, just taken for granted. No one places or levate to a place of prominence, though it is valued and stored as being essential to life.

So also you maybe taken for granted or unacknowledged, but take heart. Do not fret at such times, just continue doing what you do, for Heaven sees what you do, even if men do not or acknowledge not!

You are in good company for many of the prophets began in hiding before they were know. John the Baptist was n the wilderness many years before he came on the scene. Elijah suddenly appears on the national scene to confront the king. family, before being recognized and anointed as King by Samuel, lived in quietness with the sheep, the youngest and considered the most insignificant of his family. We have no idea of the depth and background of Ananias who anointed Saul (who later became Paul) and yet he had the privilege of bringing healing to one of the great apostles of all times, the Apostle of the Gentiles!

Jesus Himself was unknown until He was baptized in the Jordan and was identified as the Lamb of God by John the Baptist. Thirty years He lived in obscurity, without doing doing a miracle, preaching a sermon or having any followers. In fact, His brothers did not acknowledge or accept Him His ministry and He was rejected by His own townsmen.

Yet Heaven noted His progress and watched over His growth. The Bible says He grew in stature, gaining face with God and man. He did not walk in arrogance as Son of God, but humbly behaved as Son of Man, learning the lessons God put Him through, fighting His battles over sin in secret, ‘learning obedience by the things He suffered’ and was shaped as the perfect vessel that brought salvation to all in the fires of loneliness and in the crucible of affliction.

If you are one who is hidden and unknown, do not fret but take courage. You are known and your worth is recognised not on earth by in heaven and by heaven.

If you are in a season of obscurity, seemingly forgotten, placed on the shelf and hidden away, do not lose heart. Many a prophet was formed and forged in the backside of the desert before brought into the open, like Moses.

Strengthen yourself with the realization that God knows our address and is privy to all we go through in secret. He is aware of our tears and bottles them up as precious.

Remember certain flowers open only in the night and are often ignored, though the perfume the night with their pleasant scent. They bloom and bless wherever they are because that’s the place and time ordained for them by their Creator!

If you are in the season of being salt, rest secure in the thought that God knows where you and what you do. He understands and appreciates who you are, considering who you are and what you do precious.

Be the salt of the earth, influencing the world around, in quiet confidence and gentle blessedness!

*Pic from unsplash.com and google images

CHECKMATE

Here we are the midst of a pandemic struggle,
Wondering how we got into this morbid bubble.
Searching for ways to overcome this present trouble,
Trying to unravel and solve this terrible viral puzzle!

Are we hapless pawns moved about in a board game,
Having no clue or sense about those who want to proclaim domain.
Who is to be believed when we don’t control the mainframe,
How long before we all blow up in a blue flame!

Let’s not lose heart for mankind has never failed,
To rise up from ashes of what we have often veiled.
Humanity has a rebooting system within it engrailed,
Never fear, we will soon overcome what we have inhaled!


*Friday Fictioneers is a talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt © Ted Strutz

KAMALAM

The lotus flower is sacred to many cultures and the pink lotus is the national flower of India.

Symbolic of purity, beauty, majesty, grace, fertility, wealth, richness, knowledge, serenity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth, many a child in India is called Kamala or Kamal etc, from its name Kamalam.

As it displays beauty while growing in dirtiest waters, it is thought to represent the human race.

Every portion of the lotus flower, ie. its stems, roots, seeds, petals, stamens etc, is used by Asians in food, drink, medicine and water treatment.

Buddhists weave a special robe for Buddha from the unique fabric made from the lotus plant fibres produced only in Myanmar and Cambodia.

*Friday Fictioneers is a talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt © David Stewart

WANT TO WRITE? HERE’S HOW YOU CAN!

https://youtu.be/-4zU0NFsUz0

Writing is an art, a skill and a science that can be learnt and acquired. You just need to pick a pen and paper to note things down! Do it constantly and consistently and soon it will become a practice as well as natural act.

Writing is simple – just put down what you want to put down. It can be your thoughts, your impressions, what you see, what you note, what you observe, what you feel, what you deduce, etc.

I have developed the habit of writing whenever and wherever I can, on the notepad available in my phone. When inspiration hits, I immediately store them in writing using these apps so that I don’t miss the idea or forget them in the flow of work and day!

To help you write, do these things:

1. GATHER CONTENT – Intent or aspiration or desire alone is not enough to write. You need a storehouse to draw from and a knowledge bank to draw on. Without a repertoire of content your writing will be just hot air and not solid substance that people can read and relish. If your writing is like candy floss, spun thinly out of minutiae, then those who sample your wares will not greedy to return for more.

2. BE OBSERVANT – To have a wealth of content, you need to be perceptive. Watch life around you and note the complexities as well as patterns of its flow. There is ever so much happening around you and if you care to see, your writing will have richness and nuances. So teach yourself to be alert and perceive changes around you.

3. LEARN TO PONDER – Don’t just bypass life and be satisfied to watch it. Think on what you have observed or what you see around you. Weigh and assess the events, incidents and people. Let the wheels of your mind turn and exercise, chewing on the fodder it has ingested from the world around. Digest the lessons you learn from life you see , becoming knowledgeable in the general nuances of everything.

4. BE INQUISITIVE – Explore and investigate to learn instead of simply browsing or passing by. Go a little beyond the surface and be curious to unearth new treasures that become a stock to draw on. Grow your storehouse of knowledge by being a discoverer.

5. BE A NOTE TAKER – Jot down thoughts that crop up and points that surface as you pass through your day. Recognize a nugget of wisdom that pops up on your consciousness and immediately put it down. These are the beginnings of what might later become a profound insight, an article, a poem or even a book. Your writing begins here, by noting down random ideas.

6. CARRY AROUND WRITING TOOLS – Get used to having small jotters or notebooks along with a pen. Make use of the various notepads and writing apps freely available on every mobile and iPad. There are a number of note pads or word apps such as Evernote, Penzu etc available for immediate and easy use. Exploit the capability of these gadgets to use cloud facilities for accessing and transferring data among various devices.

7. REVIEW YOUR NOTES & HONE IN ON A THEME – Time and again go back and read what you have jotted down. Set apart a time to look at some of them to see if there is a trail of thought to follow. Pursue that trail and see if you can flesh it out with some research. You can also select a topic and see if you have anything noted down relating to the topic. Maybe a number of them can be clubbed together to be compiled as a post.

8. MIND YOUR LANGUAGE – Pay attention to sentence structure, grammar rules and avoid syntax errors while writing. Your ideas need to be encapsulated in beautiful wrapping to entice the reader to continue beyond the first look. Your language can be simple but it has to be error-free.

9. EVALUATE YOUR WORK – Allow proficient writers and other knowledgeable people to read, critique and correct your work. Invite comments and concerns from friends and family. Improve your writing by accepting instructive and constructive criticisms. Do not shy away from exposing your writing to people, for it cannot then progress.

10. DISSEMINATE AND DISPERSE YOUR WRITING – Post online in whatever social media you are active on. Circulate your work among those who will appreciate your maiden effort.

11. FIND A WRITING COMMUNITY – Be part of a writing group or a writers’ conclave for it will help you grow. They will encourage your many steps and you will learn by reading their works.

12. PERSIST AND PERSEVERE – Initially you may not be able to produce much, but don’t give up. Continue writing and keep on doing it until you find your niche in this world. Do not be discouraged that your writing doesn’t flow. In the beginning it will be hard, but as you continue to push on you are sure to hit a wellspring of words. Keep on, for writing is not a sprint but a marathon!

Life is dynamic and in motion, not static and stationary. It is constantly moving, evolving and growing. It throws up enough nuggets of worth, if one is alert and sharp to catch them. Even death is part of life, possessing a beauty worth viewing and a lesson worth learning.

Capture, if you can and will, its artistry and charm in your words.

Extract, exhibit and excite others with its elegancies through your writing!

*Pics courtesy: unsplash.com