Inflamed: The Red Stain Goes Deeper. 4 Steps To Resurface.

“You gotta stay who you are, not who you were.

Places like this..

You have to put it away.”

What if you can’t?

“You have to.

Or it kills you.”

broken heart Here.

Rip open what’s been sealed tight and the past will bubble up on airy ringlets of regret. Pain grabs and fuses with it on the journey higher – they rise as one, gather momentum, and then explode into a fog of thick fear that absorbs you.

You’ll feel a boulder hit in the gut when this creature surfaces.

Everything you love or thought you loved will crumble. Ashes.

You don’t know it yet but you’re fighting a force you can’t beat.

But you’ll fight all the same.

And the stain begins to take hold.

blood spray

You hate every minute of its movement.

You feel the crawl. It’s cold.

Your initial response is to resist.

Resistance is an inflammation that blisters from a white soul red.

Resistance is a malignancy; it’s your ego constructing walls to protect itself and destroy you in the process.

And yet you’re still fighting.

You’ll need to face this thing. You know.

Your instinct says rage and battle when you really should relent.

To victory.

Standing breathless in the cold. Or a journey into darkness.

To another side, another life, another dimension. Wherever that is.

A mission to cut out what’s malignant about yourself.

Extracting a part of you that’s been around for decades.

And you’re reeling.

Search desperately for perspective.

A faint light of faith erupts.

But it burns out too quick.

And the stain continues to spread, thicken. Go deeper.

How do you restore your faith when the stain blocks out every source of light?

It’s black pitch from the start. Shaky and sticky underneath. Each step is a blast furnace full force inside your chest.

Lead. Coals.

hot coals

The urge to go back is strong. Where is back? Perspective gone. You’re frozen but moving. Stiff. Halfway. Into the dark. Partially across.

Stumbling.

The red stain is all over you now. It’s forming tentacles. Wrapping you in a crimson vise.

Sweltering.

Look up at the sky.

Catch a breath.

Peace.

For a second. You rise above the stain.

Hope calls out.

Faint. A vibrato that takes over.

It wants you closer. To nurture you.

Pull you in.

Everything feels right for a second.

Then it’s gone.

The light fades.

Did you imagine it?

But you do remember.

What it said.

The voice.

Three words:

Do not fight.

It’ll be better.

But.

You’re not ready.

You don’t believe.

You refuse.

You mock.

This voice.

You don’t recognize the tone.

It’s gentle. Soothing.

Too loving. 

Too real.

It speaks the truth. That you know.

On a blue breeze.

Air around you is clean.

You shake it off.

Fall back.

To the hot red of the past.

When you were told.

You’re not supposed to feel good.

People. Those you trusted – they told you you were not supposed to feel good.

Most of who you love. Gone. You watched them die. You helped a few along.

Questions remain unanswered.

The sharp edge is ready.

Still three

And before you rise to battle once more.

There’s the voice again.

It’s almost musical.

It pleads: Release the past.

Let it burn.

But you can’t.

Still.

Because it’s comfortable to stay where the past lives.

You choose to fight once more.

With alcohol and anger as your weapons.

The damage is self-inflicted.

You raise the dagger of blame.

Blame for everything that went wrong because it feels better.

There’s a tug on you. At you. A thousand magnets. Drawing you away and in.

You reach out wildly to grasp on to what meant everything.

And now means… 

“Why you keeping all that stuff?”

Beth Greene.

burn money

Nothing.

The stain is thickest.

Dead weight.

The past is dead weight.

One more attempt to pull out of internal quicksand.

Last gasp.

A final attempt to return to.

Who you believe you are.

Who you were.

And this time it’s too much.

The puncture is fatal.

It pierces your heart.

Red flames escape; lick at your soul.

red burn lady

You understand. Finally.

No longer will you be able to thin the thickness of the stain.

With resistance.

You shut others out.

The stain shows itself.

And you let it swallow you. Finally.

Surrender.

Then death.

A mourning.

You can no longer return.

The prison that protected you is ablaze.

Gone.

daryl deeper

Accepting the past is a wound you must not run from. You must fall to its blade. Own it. It needs to puncture the third dimension of you. A last layer.

To create and re-direct the light.

To build again.

You must extinguish.

The past that governed your present.

But it will need to drive up to your gates first.

And puncture you and those you love.

And the red-black will bleed out.

Good people in its wake.

Part of you is gone, too.

Still four

Your wounds are exposed.

Your mind is ready.

Open now.

The silence and beauty of surrender dissipates the fog.

The voice is clearer. Louder. Out from the shadows.

You can make it.

You go for it.

It’s strong now.

So are you.

You’re about ready to.

Resurface.

Five ways.

Random Thoughts:

1). Regret is living death. The word “maybe” will destroy you. It’s a disharmonious life footfall. I’ve learned even more so lately, that nothing is by chance. Everything happens with purpose. Good or bad. Be open to the signs of the universe. With ego out of the picture and the red stain fading out, you will believe again and the word “maybe” will never spill from your mouth. It’s a foul word. Maybe leaves a door open for the mental zombie hoard to eat your brain. Maybe is a downhill path for the red stain to roll.

“If you think about it, how much time do we spend in our heads wishing things were different, beating ourselves up, beating others up, crafting a different past, wishing for a different future? All of this is resistance. All of that is pain.”

Kamal Ravikant.

Still five

“Maybe because I gave up.” Daryl Dixon.

Some of the best words (and I’m the fortunate receiver of great words) from friend and mentor James Altucher resonate here.

Remove the dead weight. Daily, I write down one negative thought, one bad habit from the past, and toss it.

“I find that if I dig deep and throw one thing a day (on my shelf, in my head, an ugly memory, in my heart a small anxiety in my stomach a frown, a doubt, an insecurity a person who drains my energy) fewer things upset me, fewer people bother me; I have fewer regrets about things long dead and buried, fewer anxieties about a future that may or may not exist.”

James Altucher

2). The reddest stain of finance. Is the worst of damage inflicted. A foreclosure. Lost savings on an investment that went sour, got suckered in by a “Nigerian prince” because greed got the best of you, the hot babe needed new dresses. Whatever. I have a section of a notebook I document all my bone-headed financial decisions and purchases (yes financial advisors do stupid things with money). Some of them include – flowers, beanie babies, more shirts and ties than I’ll ever wear in a lifetime, so many watches. All the investments I ever lost on, all the people I invested in who turned out to be a bust. Lessons I never forget. They stay with  me. Teach. The red stain abhors knowledge and acceptance. If you don’t accept you messed up, you’ll continue the mistakes.

3). It’s acceptable to give up. Throw in the towel. Say fuck it. Burn it. Hell, I’m all for burning things. I’m Italian. I do dramatic crap all the time; it’s in my DNA. Buy me a gift and I don’t see you anymore I’m sending the shit back or carting it to a charitable organization. Somewhere in Houston there’s a bunch of homeless souls who are walking around in nice t-shirts and jackets emblazoned with the logo of my former employer. It’s beneficial branding for them. Not really. Good.

4). Be the last man (or woman) standing. How? It’s easy. The best solutions come down to a single, present action.

A personal stand that cuts through the smoke.

And helps you rise above who you were.

Your middle finger.

Yep.

That’ll work.

That’ll work just fine.

Don’t go back inside.

Open your window. Your mind.

There’s the place.

Your heart is lighter now.

Lift.

The weight is off.

I opened the back door.

Finger is up.

I thought I heard the squirrels.

Cheering me on.

The red stain is a spot.

Contained.

Outside of me.

I gave it the finger, too.

Your turn.

Still two

Two Depths of Red – 5 Ways to Score Salvation.

“Red is love or mean, nothin’ in-between.”

Renee – Fourth grade.

She gasped at the trickle.

Maroon and warm. And it cast a cold chill down my back.

Hurts inside when a crush observes you getting crushed.

knocked out

My best friend at the time (who is now an award-winning NYC playwright, director), told me after class how they all watched. Stunned. Subsequently, several classmates became victims to teacher bully.

Although I believe I was the one special enough to donate blood to the cause.

Bullies are always red, by the way.

red bully

A pin dropped in science class. Quiet. Like liquid-flooded ears. Sound proof, lead-drenched painted walls of a New York City public school insulated my shame.

Dead silence within a late afternoon when classes are anxious for the 3 o’clock to bell to cut through the noise of nothing.

A trickle of rosewood warm from the left corner of my mouth.

Splatter soaked up chalk letters on the board, pooled under a white “e” and dripped streams, now purple in color as red and black of board blended.

I felt her green eyes on the back of my neck.

I observed the blood of shame, too.

And did nothing.

But take the hit.

“Look you little shit – you bled all over my shirt!”

little shit

I vividly recall.

The score in my head.

The rhythm of rage that pulsates in the brain.

Sharp flares of electric crimson. Deep within a place. A red space.

consumed

The one teacher whose name I’ll never forget. Evil who physically and mentally abused several kids, including me – and we never told. Nothing was ever done to stop him. We didn’t talk. It was best to remain silent about these kinds of things back then.

A Tuesday I was afraid to answer a question, stuttered, as he dragged me over a desk by my left arm, to the front of the class and smashed my face against some scientific chalk scribble.

Hot anger burned me.

It’s cooler now. Frankly, what remains after decades, is smolder of a thought scarred by embarrassment; although memory of the event is a tinder I work to contain.

On a positive note – The devil died last year.

Too bad it wasn’t sooner.

To lessen the weight of the fire-brick in my head, flames were contained. Focused on other things.

I needed to convince myself the abuse wasn’t my fault.

And actions I’m not proud of, were taken.

To move on.

To dilute red.

To right a wrong.

black red

“What the $)@)% is up with the front door?

Dad – 1971

Poor Leon the superintendent.

He was so gracious (and super). A man with a heart of gold. A janitorial giant.

When my mother insisted the front door of our tiny Brooklyn apartment be painted shiny deep red as opposed to blackish-green like everyone else’s, he reluctantly obliged. He was like that. Couldn’t say no to people smaller than him (and most were smaller).

He should have said no.

I asked him. Pleaded.

No, really.

We didn’t require the attention.

For someone who said she didn’t like the spotlight, mom sure did love the shiny-bright conversation red created.

red door

Rows of dark ways on hinges. Suddenly: A lust-red pop of color.

The red door with the golden peephole became talk of the neighborhood.

Red seeks attention, too.

And once red is released, it leaves embers that dance around you like fireflies which never lose their glow. When red lands on you, you’ll wince. For a second. Then you’re ok, again.

Although a second can turn to years. Decades.

Random Thoughts:

1). Red is love or mean, nothing in between – Red represents the best and worst  inside us. It’s an orgy of love demons, the dancing cadre of hate devils we need to recognize as red forms from the strongest of emotions. I’ve learned to befriend my reds,  consistently acquaint them with cooler cools to direct impact. I’m human. I fail a lot. I’ve learned to recognize red-flames rising; now I know where to go and how to channel the heat. Best to pick up on the teachings of those who drench lives with cool colors like Kamal Ravikant.

2). Red is passion. Or a prison. You choose. Best to direct energy to passions which will take you to new highs, lighter shades. In Random Thoughts, I deem Kevin Carroll a muse, a motivational force. Kevin is the author of Rules of The Red Rubber Ball. The ball is a bounce of passion, the stuff that drives you, the lessons that attach you to the teachers who elevate (and not bash your head in).

Kevin writes in such a fun way. His words explode in the ruby-red of passion.

I carry his book in my computer bag. I purchase copies for those in my inner circle (still in expansion mode). When I’m discouraged, pissed off,run over, his sentences inflate me. They add pure oxygen and life.

Red was different in Brooklyn, 1973.

For my mother, the apartment door was a prison. She kept closed, locked and tight behind red.

Afraid of getting smashed by the world, so never experiencing it. The door seemed to experience quite a bit, however.

Tough choice.

Yes, red is a prison, If you allow it to be.

Don’t let it be.

red prison door

3). To grow, you must bleed. The words of the great James Altucher. You’ll bleed to move forward, learn, become aware of the present, shed the past, not worry about the future. No avoiding the blood. You must admit and share your failures, your pain, to grow, help others grow.

Red is also the blast-furnace of fear, anxiety. High blood pressure.

James:

“Sometimes I feel like I’m engulfed in red flames. I don’t want to be afraid or anxious any more.

There are two banks to the river: on one bank are all the regrets, guilt…past.

On the other bank are all the worries, anxieties…future.

I lived most of my life on the bottom of the river, clinging to my fears of being swept up by all the currents. It’s hard to let go. I was afraid to crash into the banks. Everyone else around me was scared also.

But the only way to get to the ocean is by letting go of the fears and anxieties. By not clinging to what was stolen so you can enjoy the energy that is yours forever.”

You must allow red to roll over, swallow you. Awash in it. Then let red spit you out. Don’t fight. Resistance does not help – it creates small slits that become gaping wounds. Big damage. I know.

Once you’re aware of red, let it hit, smash your face.

There, there. It wasn’t so bad.

red face

4). Red in doses. Not so bad. A bit of anger won’t destroy. Actually, it may motivate you. When I found out that devil teacher died, I made it my business to call his family and explain how glad I was he was dead. I shared with them what he did. How he inflicted pain on others.

I know. Horrible.

But necessary.

I thanked them.

Because the anger for this man pushed me harder. When I was young, I needed to prove him wrong. When he told me I was stupid and wouldn’t amount to much, it stuck like a red sharp in my gut. He never knew when I succeeded. I did. That was enough.

His black nature created red motivation.

5). The red in your portfolio can mislead. Investors dislike the red of loss; many become frustrated when investments don’t work out. Understandable. As we hate losses twice as much as we enjoy gains, red signifies lost money, dwindling net worth. This year, there’s red in bonds and emerging markets which means frustration. Don’t overreact. Examine and adjust. With bonds, make sure your duration (a measure of interest rate risk) is three years or less. An objective financial partner can help you prepare for a rising interest rate environment (which can cause deeper reds in ’14 depending on your mix of bonds).

Emerging markets have not worked. Emerging markets bonds are priced attractively but have been my red stain in ’13. I will consider adding to them in the new year.

Michael A. Gayed, CFA, Chief Investment Strategist and Co-Portfolio Manager at Pension Partners, LLC., makes the case for emerging markets in a recent article for MarketWatch.

Great Convergence of 2014: U.S. and Emerging Markets.

Red saves, cleanses, burns out. Burns up.

But be careful.

Because red can kill.

Or save.

Pick the path.

Red is a winding road,

Coveted by flame.

A color that sets your mind ablaze.

For the good. Or the bad.

You’ll be glad to tame the dread,

And channel the turmoil,

the red in your head.

red road

Ribbons of Green – 5 Ways to Wrap Yourself In Green and Find Happiness.

The wind of positive change swirls green around me.

In circling ribbons of warmth and awareness.

Acceptance.

acceptance

Green gets it. Green believes even when you refuse to. Green is faith undetected but always present. Green knows you’ll find your way out. To the green.

Green shoots live in the actions you remain steadfast to pursue, even when they feel tiny and worthless. In the small daily rituals to find a clearer path the genesis of a spark appears in the spring of green.

Green is tenacious. It never gives up.

Every action was (is) progress.

It moves to its own rhythm. It pulls you forward. A big strength in the small. Every move is important. Counted. Your mind pulsates to the beat. A ribbon from heart to mind. In a flowing cadence of green.

When green arrives or returns, outcomes don’t matter anymore. Finally, it hits you: You can’t control the uncontrollable. The ego has fooled you all along, laid a trap.

Fooled you.

FRIEND

You’ve been duped.

And green knows it.

Green doesn’t laugh at you.

Green is a teacher.

Not an emerald temptress.

And then.

A warm entrance to a moment.

A clearing.

A sign.

Here.

In shiny-bright green shades of now.

Green – the late arrival of calm.

Green – physical and mental reward for finding methods to slay fear and anxiety.

Green guides thoughts.

Green uncovers methods designed to turn the tables.

Gain control over enemies.

Yourself.

And now – an inner peace I haven’t experienced in years has returned.

I’ve turned back to the green page.

After so long. Years.

The next chapter of me has arrived.

New & improved (beaten lightly).

A wiser presence standing. Sharper around the edges than the shadow of who I was.

Broken free from those who mastered over me.

Green is robust. Thick. A fighter.

I am no longer the reflection in a mirror.

I’m me. In deep-green three dimensional color.

green ribbon

Green is a complete acceptance of what is.

How things are now.

It’s not the path that got me to the place.

It is the place.

Although I’m tempted by the past, which is yellow.

I won’t go back.

To the stain.

I’m armed with silk ribbons of Chartreuse.

Encircling. Ever engaging me in the present.

Green prevents me, guards me from the mistakes of the past.

And I don’t want green to leave again.

I still remember when it disappeared. Bled to white in 2011. Gone forever.

I was sure.

Without green.

It was all over.

And after the fall.

A white winter never arrived.

A shade of green emerged.

What an interesting trip back to now.

Floating on a color.

And green is happiness in many forms. Self-defined.

Find your green.

Here’s the wrap.

Random Thoughts:

1). Green Is Not A Destination. It’s an arrival. As you focus on your daily actions, green grows. Friend and mentor James Altucher found his green, created a Daily Practice. Start a daily practice of your own. Whatever it is. Pick your battles. Then do the work, do the work, do the work to succeed. Train your mind. Every day. Repetitive, positive actions ignite green. Choose the words to yourself carefully, they will set the pace of the day. The words you hear inside will prevent green from leaking out.

2). Green Assures. You are finally back on the right path. New growth seals your progress. You start to recognize who you are, not who others expect you to be. The rules created are your own and if they’re true, honorable, then nobody can take the green away. It will be sealed inside so deep others won’t penetrate. Those who say you can’t succeed, I don’t love you, your rules are unusual fold into the shadow of who you were. Not who you are. They are hidden entities now. Camouflaged in blends of green. And gone from the path. And you’re now grateful.

3). Happy money is green.  Clean green. Let’s face it: What is money? Dirty paper steeped in salmonella. The authors of the book, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending outline the robust green of money. Spending doesn’t lead to happiness, at least not long term. Short term spending is designed to stroke your ego; when the excitement fades you’re back at it. A slave to the high. The art of smarter spending is based on the authors’ research into what I call “green-satisfaction” spending.

Five principles that can lead to monetary bliss:

Buy experiences, not stuff: Spend on memories that will enhance your life colors.

Make it a treat: Keep buying junk you don’t need and the novelty wears off. Research reflects that the category in which people spend the least becomes a greater source of happiness. Track your discretionary spending (fun stuff) for a month. Determine where you spend the most. Do you still derive as much happiness from the spending activity? If not, cut it back. Make it special.

Buy time: Sure, buy that nice house in the suburbs. Get a better bang for your buck. Now sit for four hours a day commuting. See how much you care about all the money you saved. It’s not worth it. Time is worth more than money.

Pay now, consumer later: Studies show paying for an item, service now but consuming later creates happier, greener money than doing the opposite. For example, I love being able to purchase music immediately through ITunes. However, when I pre-order a movie, album selections and receive an e-mail a week later from Apple notifying me that my “pre-order is ready for downloading,” I get more excited over the purchase. Yes, we want everything now, we’re Americans; purchasing and waiting may be a greener way to go.

Invest in others: I love purchasing gifts, giving more than I enjoy receiving. It’s is the basis for research into this principle. According to the authors, a Starbucks gift card provided the most happiness when people used it to buy coffee for someone else.

Happy money is green. Unhappy money is well, bacteria-filled fiber.

dirty dollars Ew?

4). Never Force Green. It will arrive when you’re ready to arrive. Not before. You’ll be driving. At the mall. Wherever. And boom. It’ll hit. I can remember day, time and where I was when green re-engaged. Focus on your daily practices and before you know it – Green. Don’t rush it.

5). Green is victory. You reached a goal, lost the weight, made the bonus, fought the enemy. And you won. All the hard work has paid off.

As I fight a corporate giant seeking to strip me of everything including my career, I see with each move, my green is growing deeper. And I will spend the rest of my life making sure they know it. Others will know it, too. Many others.

I will fight a terrorist, lying organization.

For as long as it takes.

In private. In public, eventually.

And humble them to the green of honesty.

For as long as it takes.

No matter how many organs I sacrifice.

For the right.

For the truth.

For the green light.

To keep on rolling.

green light

Life in Tangerine: Five Ways Orange Can Color Your World.

Orange has been a special place for me. Always.

It’s the reflective light of sunset sliding across blue spruce. It’s a color of calm – self-actualization. Colored peace painted in quiet.

My grandmother believed there was this energy connection. I never truly understood until I was much older. She said it was strong enough to forge a heart to the soul. She would lament about this cryptic stuff relentlessly when I was a kid and I’d chalk it up to her old age (40) or her hatred for my grandfather or overcooking the meatballs. I shook my head  a lot. In private. I adored her too much to be disrespectful. I thought she was corny most of the time.

Not anymore.

She was funny/strange that way. Nellie believed the genesis of any positive energy was born in the heart. Passion, love.  It didn’t matter how good your head was. 

If your heart wasn’t in whatever you did, it wasn’t worth shit. I spent much of my life believing in the false energy of ego. A shade of shit. Masked as orange. 

And we all know the color of shit. 

It isn’t orange.

Well it can be orange. Like at Halloween in the early 70s when I felt it was my duty to eat a dozen Entenmann’s Halloween cupcakes every fall. I recall the “by-product” of overconsumption being orange.

entenmanns cupcakes How can you not want to devour 12 of these?

“Grandma, what’s the color of this energy.”

You guessed it.

 orange rose

As a child, happiness danced the color of Princeton orange sparks. And that shade of hope, thank God, hasn’t changed. It disappeared for an extended period. I live with that colorless mark on me. Unfortunate events drain the juice from the orange, quick. It’s never too late for the colors of your life to return.

My ongoing challenge is to continue to experience the orange as a beat-up (and still kicking) adult. And it’s working. The process is slow, but I’ll take it at whatever pace it wants to re-ignite me.

I would dare to say orange has been my pumpkin of joy. All the good things in my life, and I need to count my blessings more often, consistently burst in slices of orange.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way about pumpkin. Or orange.

Starbucks understands pumpkin power!

How do you focus on expanding the orange vibe of your life?

Some have figured it out.

Orange can color the happiness and warmth of your world, too.

Here’s how.

Random Thoughts:

1). All the best lessons from my teachers and mentors burst orange-red. I have applied their lessons to helping people make better financial decisions. Their written and spoken words have elevated me to be a better money manager, empathize deeper with clients and influential people in my field.

Through continuous guidance from James Altucher I have learned to forgive and choose myself. And every time he reminds me to do so (and he’s there a lot for me) I can smell, feel, touch, the fire of orange.

From Kamal Ravikant my orange glows spiritual. His words are always there, reminding me to live my truth, drop the false seduction of ego, control my efforts every day, create the orange on a daily basis and not to worry about the possible black of an outcome I cannot control. I lived in the dark of outcomes, my failures, for too long.

Srinivas Rao‘s words have encouraged me to form my own instruction manual, color outside rules I’ve created. I’m allowing them to breathe in orange, In the spirit of originality. A mental heat, emblazoned deep in orange flame, has helped me break the rules-based chains others have forged for me to follow.

The path I created, the one I now follow, is emblazoned in orange. The boundaries around those rules are mine to own and if the intentions are true orange, the rules will take me to a new shade of success.

Remember the lessons from your teachers and mentors. Write, highlight them, burn them bright orange into your brain. Thank those teachers for the words as much as you can. Never tire. Never forget. Help them. They need you, too. 

2). The best memories I have of my loved ones are tangerine-toned. What I choose to remember – the good things about my family – lessons they’ve taught through imperfect action, the ability I possess to make the best Italian spaghetti sauce (thanks nana), my dad’s flair for dress. The birth of my only daughter. It’s funny. She loves everything orange too. Perhaps it’s genetic.

Never let go of the best of the ones you love. Ones who are here now, those who are gone. Honor them in orange as much as you can. They’re looking out for you. Spirits are orange.

3). The limited shades of genius formed outside my comfort zone glow amber. And when they work, I can feel the flame ignite another flash of brilliance until each step I take bursts in shards of orange.

Always remember how society will seek to force you to follow their version of you. 

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.”

Steve Jobs

4). The ability to make a difference feels like orange to me.  When clients follow my financial advice, when I can help investors overcome an emotional bias, when I know I made an impact to someone’s financial well-being, my faith in orange returns.

Make a difference through your expertise, life experience. We are all experts in something. Even your pain can teach others. How can you share your skills, knowledge in ways that shapes or improves others? Think about it. You already have  touched others positively. Now build on it. 

5). Orange is sweet, it’s got spice. The environment you live, the people in your life can either add to the sweet and spice of you. Or take it away.

Choose carefully. Say no to an environment and people who suck the sweet and spice out of you. James Altucher has helped me understand the power of “no.” After you say “no,” after the first time, it gets easy. You’ll get good at understanding when to use “no.” Repeating no to yourself is just as important. Are you worthy of saying no, drawing the orange line in the sand? 

You are.

And orange will be there.

Orange is autumn.

And autumn reminds us how shedding of the old, transitions us to further growth.

Orange means to live in the present.

Orange is now.

It’s you.

At your best.

At. This. Moment.

orange color

Yep.

Emerged in Indigo – 5 Ways to Ride The Blue Spray to Better Mental Health.

“Yo, listen up, here’s a story. About a little guy that lives in the blue world. And all day and all night and everything he sees is just blue like him. Inside and outside. Blue his house with a blue rear window. And a blue corvette. And everything is blue for him. And hisself. And everybody around.”

Eiffel 65.

I woke up super early then. A teenage responsibility. To deliver New York’s “picture newspaper.” The Daily News. Sleeping residents would stir in a couple of hours expecting their papers. Along cement apartment grids. Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn.

It was one of the largest routes in the borough and I traveled it all on three-speed bicycle. I pulled a contraption rigged to handle 100 daily morning editions and the heaviest of Sunday’s news.

Before the sun was aware of its duty to Earth. Before the blue sky broke to orange. A first birth of light.

When the world was quiet. Stay quiet longer. A calm so loud it caused a ringing in the ears.

Not like this morning at 4.

News stations begin broadcasts at ungodly hours now. Roads are semi-clogged at 4 with volumes we once experienced two hours later.

I dislike how the world moves frenetic. So early. Stress. In the dark. Before the black dies to blue then blue surrenders to bursts of orange.

blue orange day

The world was simpler. Black to blue at a slower pace. Long ago you could enjoy the present. Appreciate atmospheric neon. Now – well, it’s different. 

Does it need to be?

world blue

Four in the morning was mostly test pattern territory in the 70s, accompanied by an awful buzz generated to scare the shit out of viewers and blow out mono-sound RCA television speakers.

What the hell was the significance of a test pattern anyway?

test pattern And what was with the Indian?

Seriously. Some young television producer seeking fame got lucky with a Spirograph and fooled a generation into thinking test patterns were something important. The noise that went along with them only added to the mystery. I always felt these test patterns were serious.

Like I needed to do something.

No sleep.

Seek shelter. That was it.

Evil was transmitted through black and white.

Through test patterns.

spirograph

Throughout decades, no matter who we are, where we’re from, colors have stained us. Monochrome, Technicolor. Some colors horrify. Others soothe. Many inspire. A few suffocate our spirit or maybe worse. Colors saturate memories, thoughts; alter our sense of smell, taste. Sex, lust, love, hate, anger, life, death, empathy, apathy – all just splashes of color.

Colors haunt us. Colors explode in our souls. Ignite brains, shut them down.

And once a color is attached to a thought, a moment, it’s impossible to change it. Although I’ve learned the shade can indeed, change.

The color that sticks, stays however. That’s the rule.

When I a kid. Really young, when my senses were newer and more alive, as early as five years old, the vibrancy of spectrums overwhelmed me.

In the spring, the smell of new grass glowed lime green – in summer, the aromas were windblown ribbons of yellow. Colors shaped the hours. Every day had its own color and every moment was a shade of that color.

Unfortunately, I had many gray days, too. And they puzzled me. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized they were my depression days. Depression runs deep black in my family. Both sides.

Back to blue:

blue dude A blue one for the ladies. 

When I left the corporate cocoon (broke away, forced out, whatever) after 23 years, I lost my colors. My sense of security, sense of self, all I was. Gone. At least I thought. And after a colorless adventure physically, financially, mentally, I am beginning to not only see, but feel colors again.

As I lost the ability to live in the present, worried incessantly about my future, the blue evaporated from my spirit. I was able to recall, even as far back as five years ago, how I would stare at a blue sky and wonder what the color was. My blue was definitely closer to Prussian. Dark, heavy. I thought that was the way it was supposed to be.

Life was supposed to be well, colorless. I chalked it up to low T, a demanding, lifeless boss, a publicly-traded financial services company with draconian demands. So much out of my control. All of it designed to drain my blue. I see lots of blue-drained people now. They try to paint themselves true blue with new televisions, more toys, car payments. 

Long ago, I would close my eyes, before the paper route journey began for the day. When the air felt clean, before daybreak. I could freely bask in the present, breathe deep. I remembered that.

I was sad my blue disappeared.

Blue was my color of hope back then. A spray of Azure, I think.

And now it’s coming full circle.

Black is fading to blue. I see it now.

How can you ride the blue spray to sanity? To better mental health.

Random Thoughts:

1). Try. Hard. Try. Hard. Not. To. Lose. Your. Force. In the first place.  At the first sign of color loss, even a slight fade, step back and examine the origin. It’s a warning: The color of joy, hope, is fading from your soul, reducing your life force. Recognize and say no to people, ideas, fears that cause your positive colors to bleed light and your dark colors to deepen.

It’s not easy.

This year proved to me it’s tougher that I would have ever believed.

As I look to the past, now in the present, I observe the shifting wave of blue spray. It’s right there. Ready to wash over me. Hope is returning. The shade is different however; I’ll need to examine why as I move forward down the blue road.  Once I recall hope as Azure; today it feels more Brandeis.

2).  Surround Yourself with Spirits Who Share or Enhance your Color. Now that the spray is in my grasp, how do I contain it, bold it up? Move the spectrum to blue, or dark blue? I’m learning to surround myself with blue spirits. I’ve gotten so good I can see a blue glow around the right teachers. The blue spirits come in all forms – human, animal. Young, old. They’re awash in the spray.

I can pick up on the color of a prospective teacher in a few seconds. The “fade shaders” as I call them, or the color absorbers are immediately discarded. They are removed from my mental space. Their sprays are lethal and tough to lighten once they hit you. 

3). I Feel the Blue in Those Who Eliminate Big Debts. Recently, I met with a son of a client who just paid off $30,000 in credit card bills through a strategy we worked on together. When he told me he was released from the massive debt, I could feel his blue spray return. And it felt good. It enhanced my blue. The progress which allowed him to reach a financial life benchmark changed his world for the better. He was more hopeful, powerful. A bluer world for me too.

4). Blue Signifies Cool. Cool can cleanse, preserve, enlighten, awaken. It’s that first exhale of fall when the air is cool and your breath is warm. Deep breathing allows blue spray to wash over you.

5). Batman’s Cape was Blue.  As a kid I would run around the house with a blue towel safety-pinned around my neck. Blue was the color of hope and strength. It represented helping those who needed it the most.

Naturally, I ran into shit like a dumbass and once knocked our 12 inch black & white television off a poorly constructed aluminum stand. Helping those without asking for anything in return will deepen your blue spray, embolden consistency.

Blue is indeed honorable.

Good friends are Cobalt.

Your teachers, your mentors are Sapphire.

Your spirit once black, is ready to burst Electric Indigo.

In a colorless world.

Allow your blue to emerge.

And anticipate the orange.

Of your ever-emerging life force.

batman cape

The Colors, The Times, of Your Life – Will You Remember?

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We were free. Moving quick in a white hot breeze. 1977. When the world flew by in lime green.

Slit through a black bowel of public housing. Deep in the middle of the aged carnival colors of blueviolet, aquamarine and bisque. Coney Island. A narrow way forged between the metropolis, slick brown with rot. The summer New York heat penetrated, bounced from dead, white alley cats forming a yellow haze floating neon pungent sluggish slow in still heat. Bright orange, with a burst of unhealthy steel-gray around the edges, like a healthy pink hue that hesitantly abandoned its soul, was there too. Cats and garbage rotted just that way in July. In 1977. In Coney Island. I remember.

The odor scorched the outer part of our pink nostrils until they flared red. But we didn’t care because this moment was designed to be fleeting. The clear blue of escape from a place we should not have been, was near. And as long as that moped motored us out  in one piece, alive, all the Sunday ritual – staring at the newly-painted off white walls behind the rich, marbled altar of St. Simon & Jude’s Church would have been worth it.

Until.

black out NY

Boom! Black.

The lights went out. A deepest black seeped in from the edges. Beige smoke rose above. From everywhere. It suffocated us like a color. Purple maybe. Stopped us dead. Frozen.

Then.

Restless white noise. Muffled sounds of agitated souls. Blood-red anger.

Frenzied, white round bursts of bright. Scattered. Flash lights cutting through, getting closer, like silver shards.

In the dim gray mist of yesteryear, when lapels were wider than a McDonald’s Happy Meal and Mayor McCheese still held power over us.

“We need to get out of here. In there,” I pointed. And kept pointing and she knew what I was pointing to. What I meant. Like she could see through midnight blue.

“Fuck no,” she said. A spanish, italian, puerto-rican fire mix of black-coal eyes, deep brown bouncy curls in red spandex and cherry-red heels.

“If you don’t get in the dumpster you’re getting raped and I’m getting robbed,” I said. Heels off. She moved. The color of imminent danger was crimson with dark-red daggers.

We dove boldly into the acrid stench of the mix. Eggplant in color, wet, with sticky blotches of yellow green. The lime-green Puch Moped that was to take us into the wild blue now secured behind the jungle-green metal coffin for the discarded muck public housing didn’t  want. Too much green. We puked. The gagging color of cloying hot crimson arose in our noses and throats.

A city summer. In the blackest of blackouts. 1977. I remember the gray shades of memories. The colors brought me back. To an alley. When looters almost discovered a boy, a moped and a girl’s saturated skin with Love’s Baby Soft (always smelled cotton-candy pink to me). All this clear vision from a lone lime-green bicycle I barely noticed. In a driveway. Yesterday. In Houston, Texas. A million miles away – faded into a lemon chiffon of time.

love's baby soft

Oh the colors, the colors. Perfect.

Colors have the astounding ability to anchor you back to a time and place for as long as you live. No matter how far to the past you venture. Colors are seeds that blossom the past to the present, immediately. Sort of like songs. Sort of like a person you love, or cherish. If you remember the colors, you’ll know what you feel about a moment is true. And real. Even when others doubt you. Even when you doubt you. The colors make it true. And true is slate blue.

Random Thoughts:

1). How will colors conjure up the past? Today I re-lived the memory of a first dinner. I smelled the thick tapestries of dark & tomato reds. The rich browns of hair and delicate tan of lines, of form, of grace. I’ll never forget the fire-brick colors of what ignited in mind and heart. The reams of gold in the conversation. I re-live those pigments every day.

2). Red & green are the colors of money. When stock markets are green, as they have been since the fiscal cliff (version 1) concluded, I use green to trim growth and profit. When there is red again, a trickle of crimson in the streets, I’m motivated to buy. Use the reds & greens to make smart financial decisions.

3). How will today’s colors form your future? Be careful with the colors you use today to form the thoughts that move you forward. Today I’m staring at coral, firebrick, and forest green from my windows. All soothing, positive colors to me. I’ll make it my business to avoid true dark shades today.

4). What colors will propel you to thank someone today, love someone, be grateful for a communication, a note, one positive word. Close your eyes. Think of those colors. Shamelessly relive the good memories tomorrow of how you changed someone’s attitude. For the better.

Like it’s 1977.

Because times were good.

Because we lived to escape.

The blazing yellow sun eventually showed us the way.

To the blue.

Back on course and lime-green.

Once again.

Like you.

And your memory.

Lime Green Puch Moped