3 Easy Steps to Total Mind Control

Brainstorm

Thought (noun)
The product of mental activity; that which one thinks: a body of thought.

With stress coming from all directions in our lives, our minds can really suffer and cause a ton of preventable health problems for us. If not well-taken care of, our thoughts can get pretty rowdy or out of shape. The simplest and fastest way to get these thoughts in shape is to take your intellect for a walk.

Step 1: Take one small step

And walk it off! You could go on a long, soul-searching trek around the world, climb mountains, or beat the thoughts to shape by speed-walking with a Fitbit to prove your track record. Or not. During the course of your day, you’re bound to get from point A to point B for one reason or another. Today, “walking it off” for me meant getting out of bed this morning.

My 6 a.m. alarm hasn’t gone off yet, but it was light outside. It was almost 5 a.m. I had just woken up from a strange dream. I stared at the ceiling for a few minutes, then felt my right leg slide down the side of the bed. I kept letting it slide until my toes touched the floor. That was it. The first step. A few seconds later, I was a few feet away from my bed and sitting at my desk, staring out the window.

Step 2: Stare at stuff

I don’t recommend blankly staring at people because it’s rude. But staring at objects is fun. Most inanimate objects won’t feel threatened, self-conscious, or intimidated. Stare at stuff like the sky, sand, sidewalks, walls, trees, flowers, buildings, art, coffee cups, or staplers. You could even take it up a notch and try staring at birds, squirrels, or puppies. But don’t stare at electronic screens. If you’re staring at a puppy on your computer screen, tv, or your phone — you’re not getting the full effect of the puppy! Go look at something up close and study the amazing details of the thing. Notice details you like and the details you don’t like, and try to admire them all for what they are, anyway. Find a detail that you’re thankful for and consider why you’re thankful for it.

While getting out of bed this morning, I looked down at the floor and looked at all the details in the wood grain of the hardwood. My apartment was warm but the floor felt nice and cool under my feet. And it was as if each line of the floorboards was leading me right to the bathroom, so I could shower and get ready for the day. But apparently, on the way there, I got tired and had to take a break at my desk.

Step 3: Repeat

Step, stare, repeat. Do it again and again until it becomes second nature.

These exercises are not a marketing ploy, like those shampoo bottles that want you to lather, rinse, repeat so that you’ll run out of shampoo faster and have to buy more! The more steps we take, and the more details we pay attention to, the more we repeat this, the more at peace our thoughts will feel.

Secret Bonus Step: Go at your own pace

Others don’t know what you’re going through. So, don’t compete with others because you don’t know what others are going through, either. Everyone moves at their own pace. These steps are an endless journey with no particular destination. If you’d like, you can create some pit stops for yourself, whether it’s sitting at your desk or sun bathing on the beach. Tomorrow you might even be staring at the amazing sight that is the Colosseum. Meanwhile I might have finally arrived in the bathroom, brushing my teeth and taking a toothbrush out of my mouth while wondering how something that was just infused in my morning breath marinade still smells so minty-fresh. Architecture is beautiful, and so is toothpaste, okay?!

Oops, this should have been the first Step: Breathe

The good news is that you’re probably already doing this. The bad news is that you’re probably not doing it hard enough. Our thoughts come from our brains and when our brains doesn’t get enough oxygen, they become cranky and don’t want to work well, and give us some half-assed quality thoughtmanship. So, always inhale nice and deeply to bathe your brain in freshness, especially while you’re doing the all the other steps. Air is free but breathe it like you’re paying for it!

But, if you think about it, we kind of are paying for air by simply living our lives, which we need to make money for, which depends on us to work a job, which creates stress, which causes the buildup of thoughts in our minds, which makes us cranky, which interrupts our focus on breathing deeply. Man, life is complicated. Go back to Step 1.


Average Heroes #4: The Sound Advisers

AverageHeroesTheSoundAdvisors

Whenever I feel like I’m not sure what I’m doing or where I’m going in life, I consult my board of trusted advisers: The music artists in my mp3 player. Within this device are hundreds of creditable people who know just what to say when I need advice or just listen to a nonsense pick-me-up. Although most of these people are/were celebrities, and their lives are probably anything but average, the sounds they make connect with us strongly.

Shuffle Is Your Best Friend

Because amazing things happen at random. Get out your handy-dandy music player, press shuffle, and see what happens.

I got out my iPhone, hooked up my headphones, opened the Music App, selected ‘Songs’, scrolled all the way up above the letter ‘A’ and pressed ‘Shuffle’. Of the 2207 songs, these are the first 3 consecutive ones that played:

Beck – Peaches & Cream

The first track that comes up is Beck’s “Peaches & Cream“. Don’t tell your right hand, baby, what your left hand do. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to not talk to your hands at all. That’s just weird, man.

Sublime – Burritos

Next is Sublime’s “Burritos,” which names of a bunch of stuff he doesn’t wanna do and suddenly, you think of a bunch of stuff you don’t wanna do, either. I have my own ever-growing list of stuff I don’t wanna do. And I don’t even wanna write out that list. And I sure as hell don’t wanna eat burritos. They don’t go with my coffee. In case you missed it, here’s the hidden gem within this song: none of us ever have to do anything that we don’t wanna do!

Matt & Kim – Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare

Then Matt & Kim’s “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare,” comes on and reminds me that what has happened on the side streets of your life can really define a big part of who you truly are and showing the side streets can determine who your true friends are. You may be very disappointed when you realize which people were never truly your friends, but it gets better. After riding trains to end of lines for a while, like you’ve got nothing but time, you’ll move on. With your left foot in front of right, you’ll meet more new people along the way and make new friends. Friends who accept you as you are. People who prefer the main streets and hide the side streets, never really belonged in your life in the first place.

Just For Fun

Check out if your music player has something along the lines of “Top 25 Most Played” list and see what the #1 song is on your list. My top song is “Miss Me” by Andy Grammer.


An Open Love Letter To Art: For The Love Of Art

For The Love of Art

Art is patient,

Because sometimes it takes days, weeks, or years to create a piece of art. Just sitting there, tinkering with paints, clay, glue, glass, or wood, to express themselves and create something — it seems like the artists are the patient ones. But, really, you have to be pretty patient with the artists, who are such uber perfectionists. In this case, art, you’re more of the therapist and the artists are the patients.

Art is kind.

You always understand, art. Like that time when I spilled a bottle of ink on white carpet in the middle of my old bedroom. While trying to clean up a 2-inch spot, it somehow spread to about 3 feet in diameter. Thanks to you, art, it looked like an ACME portable hole that I could crawl into if my mom would have seen what happened.

It does not envy,

You KNOW you’re the only one for me, art baby. Those other activities like grocery-shopping, laundry, and dish-washing mean NOTHING to me, I tell ya! Enjoying a nice walk, a hanging out with friends, or swimming? Psh, who needs all that when I’ve got YOU. My night job at the printing place? It came onto ME! It doesn’t have what you have, art, it really doesn’t.

It does not boast,

Because you don’t even have to. Your awesomeness is simply felt. You quietly lead seduce and excite, seemingly like when the McRib is back.

It is not proud.

Well, it’s kind of hard to be proud of artwork while knowing what goes on beyond the surface of the canvas. Like, who has the time to waste on stuff like getting dressed and showering when I’ve got this article to write about you? Art, you and I both know that right now, I’m sitting here in a tank top and pajama pants, my laptop at one edge of the desk, my illustration in progress on the other. Meanwhile, I try really hard to keep in mind which glass I’m drinking my coffee from and which glass use to clean my brushes.

It is not rude,

Because me revealing my charming scene above doesn’t make you go, “Eww.” Yes, art, you might be thinking “Eww,” but you know better than to say “Eww,” because you know that all of the above is happening only because of Yoouu.

It is not self-seeking,

But that doesn’t even matter to yoouu because you do not let this article define yoouu. You probably didn’t even expect this kind of honor of being featured on IllustrArticles, because this is your 15 seconds of fame. It’s all downhill from here, bro. But even that doesn’t matter, of course.

It is not easily angered,

Because if you were easily angered, art, then it would take me years to create a single piece of artwork that would be to your liking. Thankfully, your sense of humor is refreshing. Like, thousands of times, when I thought that what I really wanted to do is photography for a living, again. And you just HAD to put ideas in my head, like, that one time, to go outside in the dark and freeze out there till 12 a.m., with a set of flashlights, drawing figures in the air and taking photos of them. Again and again, you never showed up to comfort me. You just let me to continue to knock myself out until I realized that illustration really is better for me.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Like, that one time, when I wrote a really long article about you, art, and you weren’t sure if it was a compliment or an insult. So, in case you were wrong either way, you pretended that you didn’t read it.

Art does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Like, that one time, when I told you that I’m wearing a tank top and pajama pants and haven’t showered yet while drawing and writing this article, and you didn’t take it as an opportunity delight in something like, “So, below the surface, filthy wife-beaters wear the pants and spread dirt. Awesome.” You only rejoice in the fact that you didn’t really just read this article. And that fact that you’re not really my wife.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Art, you like me! You REALLY like me!

Art never fails.

Because when art fails, it is still a work of art.