At the start of any project, whether it’s a creative work, a major household reorganization, or setting up a new bullet journal, I create a magna carta. This is an idea adapted from No Plot? No Problem, the “bible” of National Novel Writing Month. You sit down with a piece of paper and make two lists. The first is all of the things you feel a good novel needs — what you enjoy reading, basically. The second is a list of the things that you don’t like and want to avoid in your own work. It’s really a brainstorming exercise, but it becomes a touchstone that you can refer back to as you’re writing your novel. It’s similar to some[…]

If I have one big button that gets pushed on a daily basis, it’s people doing things that they know will result in harm to others. Sometimes they don’t care; they’re not suffering, so it isn’t their problem, even though they could choose to not cause pain. Too often they set out to hurt people on purpose, because it makes them feel powerful to do so, or feeds the cancerous hate residing within them. This willful infliction of misery includes everything from terrorism to bullying, but there are so many iterations of this concept it’s maddening. Systemic bigotry, which strips humans of their dignity and respect. Pseudo-meritocracies that determine who is and isn’t “worthy”, in order to deny necessities like food,[…]

Keeping a journal is something that I’ve done for years. It started when I was in art school and always had a sketchbook with me. Inevitably, I started writing other notes in it because it was handy. That practice expanded into a commonplace book, where I wrote down ideas for stories that I wanted to write. When I entered the corporate world, I graduated to a Franklin Covey planner, which my employer cheerfully paid for. Upon leaving that life, and unwilling to pay big bucks for a “system”, I started playing around with my own formats. That’s what ultimately led me to join the cult of the bullet journal. Now I write it down, get it done, and better manage[…]

Whether you’re a Buddhist or not, you have to accept the First Noble Truth: suffering exists. We all experience it to some degree. It could be serious in nature, like a major illness or the loss of a loved one. There might be a tragedy on a broader scale beyond ourselves, like war, a terrorist attack, or a natural disaster. Suffering could be something small and trivial that causes us frustration or discomfort. We need to honestly assess the scope and scale of our suffering. We need to employ Right View. Then we can use that perspective as a catalyst for self-care. What is Right View? Right View is the first step along the Buddhist Eightfold Path. It’s not meant[…]

For the month of June I’m moving to a twice-weekly blogging schedule. Before that kicks off tomorrow I wanted to take a moment to touch base, and to let you know what to expect to see in this space going forward. This is the State of Berin, June 2018. My June 2018 Mission Statement I remain true to myself and my values no matter what happens. My June 2018 Vision Statement I am well-organized, maintain the right focus, and have the flexibility to handle unexpected changes. Old Business Following The Inevitable Crash™ at the end of March, I spent April getting excess obligations off of my plate. There were tasks that I didn’t need to be doing, and loose ends[…]