A poem: “Reader”


There is more to understanding
than reading people or situations.
There is an unnamed force that flows around
everything living and nonliving
like the wind flowing through the reeds,
an energy that permeates us,
our pasts, our futures,
that touched our ancestors
and that will touch our children
and their children…

There is an energy that connects us all,
binds us in a great flow
that originates in the soul
and flows from the heart like water,
sometimes a thin trickle,
in times of great emotion
like a raging torrent.

We have all felt it and are affected by it
in great ways. Though some ignore it,
it is always there around us, within us.
Happiness, anger, courage and cowardice –
it encompasses everything we know and feel.
Though we may not always understand it,
it understands us, forgives us, empowers us.

It gives us strength in times of weakness
and consoles us in times of great loss
if only we would open ourselves to it.

Allow yourself to be taken by it
and there will be no force
that can shake your resolve,
nothing to hold you in place
if you chose to press forward.

It is all there, flowing from our hearts.
It is all within, even now,
and always has been.

You must use your heart to acquire
the things that your heart desires –
there is no other way.

Do not fear, for it gives you
the strength to move any obstacle
and overcome any loss.

There is no more or less in any one or the other,
but an equal and inexhaustible measure in us all
that everyone must share.

Open yourself to it.
Eat, drink, breath deeply of it
and nothing will ever displace you
from the path you walk
towards the life you most desire.


The Story of Grunk Garfunkle: An Ogre’s Episode

“The Story of Grunk Garfunkle”

The evening sun was setting in the distance and behind it trailed the light of another golden day, but squatting high on a rusty mountain range in the Blarkard Desert was a village of sandstone huts where another fire was being lit to take its place. A great pyre of brush was coming to life with flame in celebration of The Great Ogre Holiday of “Stunk Krungle-gruntas.”

Translated to the Common Tongue this loosely means “Eating Chickens Alive Party”, which the Ogres found to be festive and amusing. It wasn’t every day that they chased live chickens through the streets and ate them in mass quantities, hundreds and hundreds, still ‘grunkle-grawlen’ and ‘krinkrin-frunken’ for mercy. Often it is pigs.

There is no direct translation for grunkle-grawlen and krinkrin-frunken in the Common Tongue, but I’ve found that it can be roughly translated to ‘fluster-flapping’ and ‘panicked cluck-begging’.

A great crowd of Red-skinned Mountain Ogres had gathered for the lighting of the bonfire, a bi-annual event that signaled the beginning of the festivities. Scores of chicken coops scattered across several miles of Skungk Village would be opened simultaneously, releasing the vast hoard of plump and defenseless little snacks into a living and bellowing Hell of blood-thirsty predators.

They coo-cooed and squabbled aimlessly at first – each about a mouthful for a grown Ogre with their jaw unhinged and stretched to its widest – but once the first few were torn limb from limb in a gooshing smushy-pop of crunchy bone and sinew the others would fly into hysterics. That is, if chickens could fly.

Even if they could, Ogre village was surrounded, all several miles rimmed with an iron fence twelve feet tall. As I said: Chicken Hell. Cages withing cages. It was a guaranteed blood-bath in the most literal depiction of the words ‘blood’ and ‘bath’.

Funny enough, in Ogrish (the Ogre’s spoken tongue) there was no such word for ‘bath’ in the hygienic sense, but more than eight words for ‘blood-bath’…

I sat at the top of the sandstone hut I called home contemplating the structural integrity of the hut under my 250lbs of muscle and pot-belly. That evening as the grand fire began to blaze there was much on my mind, though Ogrish then was the only language I could think or speak.

Grunk! Gk’ruk nur’grunk’n kruk gr’nuner krun!?” a voice called up to me. Grunk! Brother and friend, it said in Ogrish, why not do you join our festive slaughter?

Oh, if tears could spell thoughts! If eyes could spill truth instead of salted waters!

Ker’nunken’rgk frug’durk!Just go eat your chickens! I screamed back down. It was impossible to hide my distress. With a snort (the common departing gesture in Ogrish dialect) the brother red-skin pranced off. It is damning to the eyes to see an Ogre prance, really.

From behind my perch I heard thunderous footsteps coming up the crooked sandstone stairs. My mother, like any Ogre, could not step in any way but thunderously. Stepping was more like stomping, stomping was more like crushing the Earth beneath our feet.

For purposes of story-telling I will abandon the Ogrish speech in place of the Common Tongue. I find it… tedious, troublesome to write.

“Grunk, what is wrong?” my Mama Ogre said bellowing-ly. I still cringe to think that she must still speak with such booming ignorance, even when attempting to sound consoling.

“What is this, Mother? Why must we act like barbarians? Every two years we fill the streets with this spectacle of shame.” I knew it was a trivial start to a useless conversation. A dozen times I had tried to relate these feelings, but always the same responses.

“But Grunk, you will see how the chickens plead for their chicken-feathered lives and won’t you want to join the fun?”

“No! I do not want to see the chickens torn asunder again!” I cried, salty tears of Ogre-y sadness.

“Then we’ll prepare a special pig, just for-”

“NO! Not a pig, either! It’s not the meat, Mother, it’s the needless carnage! I will eat chicken, I will eat pig, but must we have a festival celebrating our own barbarism!? Can we not have a chicken prepared on a plate, one for each Ogre, instead of gorging, twenty for each, blood-bathing in their chicken life-flood?” Here I used ‘skurg’urg-krungles’, arguably the most poetic of the many words for ‘blood-bathing’ in Ogrish.

I needn’t turn my head to see the far off look of dismay in my Mother’s red-obsidian Ogre eyes. I had seen it dozens, scores, maybe hundreds of times throughout the years during similar conversations.

Since my rebellious teenage years I had questioned our Ogre-culture, woven colorful rocks and feathers into my hair instead of freshly torn animal limbs and dead birds. I had befriended our house-pigs and fattened them out of companionship and love. I had done this though I knew their fate was to be released into the neighboring streets and hunted for blood-sport with teeth and claws. As a child-Ogre I had hidden and cried whenever the hunting day came. My mother always asked as she splat-plopped the head of my piggy-friend on the table, “Where were you, Grunk? Where were you?

I turned to her, but I didn’t see her. I saw right past her, the stretches of red-iron desert in the distance as the sun set. I knew before she had arrived what I would do that night. Without a word I stood and walked past her, down the sandstone steps that shifted slightly under my feet, through the house I questioned the structural stability of (for good reason: many of the huts collapsed unexpectedly…), and made my way outside. Already I could hear the chickens squabbling, smelling the killer instinct growing to a frenzy in the streets and alleys.

“Gruuuuunk!” I yelled. I quickened my pace, put more distance between me and the impossible distance that had grown between me and that house.

“Gruuuuuuuunk!” I ran lumbering-ly, the only way Ogres really run. I bowled into a passerby Ogre-brother. He smacked his butt in the typical offensive Ogrish gesture, but I kept running, gaining speed, making for the nearest chicken-den.

“GRUUUUNK! GRUNK, GRUNK, GRUNK!” Ogre-tears ran down my face, Ogre-rage had me by the Ogre-balls, so to Ogre-speak. That’s how we spoke, how I spoke, back then. The chicken-den came into view, a hundred or more chickens grunkle-grawlen and krinkrin-frunken in fear.

GRUUUUUUUNK! GRUNK, GRUNK GRUUUUUUNK!!!” I shrieked and SMAAASSH! went the wooden fence that kept the chickens prisoner! SMAAASH! This time the chicken-house where the chickens lived, the door blew apart as I Ogre-plowed through it! SMAAASH! Right through the walls of the chicken-house – SMAAASH! – I was a crushing force of chicken-liberation! I was a chicken-freedom-fighter! A freedom-smasher! Chickens fluster-flapped and ba-cawked around me, explosions of white and brown feathers everywhere, I stepped on a few (that I regret, but Ogre’s are blinded when in the Ogre-rage) and the house of chicken-captivity blew apart in my rage!

GRUUUUUUNK!” I screamed, slobbering and crying with a trail of frenzied chickens all around me like the godly aura of a chicken, a, a chicken-GOD!


But then… the iron gate was before me.

But then, nothing could stop me, the Ogre-rage blinded everything before me, all I could think was NO! NO, NO, NO! SMASH IT DOWN! And I did! I SMASHED my Ogre-fists into the thick iron bars, again, again, AGAIN! The iron squealed and bent under each Ogre-blow! The chickens, I could hear them cheering for me! Not really cheering, but I heard their frenzy as a roar in my temples, the Ogre-rage screaming CRUSH IT ALL! NO MORE! CRUSH ALL THAT BARS YOU!

I vaguely remember Ogre-arms of many Ogre-brothers and sisters trying to hold me back, but without the Ogre rage driving their actions as mine were driven they stood no chance against my flailing, crushing Ogre-fury. With this fury behind my blows, not the chicken-house, not the iron bars, not the entire village, nothing could stop me. The iron gate broke into pieces under my hellish rain of punches.

And I kept running, never looking back, straight into the desert, a hundred or more chickens coursing in a frenzy behind me like great, white and brown chicken-angel wings sprouting from my back.

I was free.

If We Burn

by robert okaji

This. This is good.

O at the Edges


If We Burn

What flares instead to replace our
privileged nights? And which

assemblage of words could reorder these
deaths into comprehension,

change I can’t breathe from epitaph
to actuated plea for help?

Are words ever enough?
Can we stack our indifference and fear

into a mile-high pyre, and torching it
watch them rise to nothingness,

disappearing through the clouds
into the streaming light of cold, dark stars?

Raise your hands and sing. Blow softly
upon the ember. Inhale and recall.

Do you still feel? Will you breathe?
Every fire needs oxygen.

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How to feel more confident

Happiness, Health and Hypnosis

how to feel more confident hypnosis

Confidence is a bit like air.

When you have it you tend not to think about it, when you don’t it can feel awful.

Social anxiety, performance anxiety and generalised anxiety can all be debilitating, reducing sufferers to people afraid to leave their own homes and with serious esteem issues.

The good news is that it can be overcome.

It takes work, and it’s not always easy, but you can do it.

My advice would be to get professional help – counsellors and therapists can work wonders in this area.

If you’re not ready to take that step, or think you can manage it yourself there are some things that you can do to move forward.

How to feel more confident.

1. Challenge your beliefs.

If you you believe that everyone at the party will hate you – challenge that.

Firstly, it’s very likely that most people at the party…

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Hacking Creativity: Simple Steps to Become More Creative

Very sound. Very.

The Daily Post

One of my most vivid memories from high school involves a pottery class I took during my senior year. While I was sitting there mashing clay around the table trying my best to sculpt something that resembled a bowl, some of my classmates were practically recreating Michelangelo’s “David.”

There seemed to be a chasm in the quality of art being created. Some projects would be showcased proudly on a shelf at home while others would be hidden behind picture frames and encyclopedia volumes. I was in the latter group. Whatever gene was responsible for creativity, I didn’t have it.

Fast forward several years, I decided to give blogging a try. To my amazement, I was decent at stringing words together. After many early mornings of practice, I was even able to sell a few pieces of writing. Despite my lack of ingenuity in art class, I was able to grow some semblance of a creative muscle.

While we…

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