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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Practice makes...

Hello, my friend!

Today's post will be short, but I will be here more often again! I've missed you!

I hope the holidays treated you well. I'm terribly sorry that it's been so long since I last posted. Every time I asked Spirit if I would be posting I got a clear and resounding "no". I even argued! "I have so much to tell them!" Still received the same answer—no. Spirit made it clear that this is not my personal blog, where I document every detail of my life. No. This blog is for me to share with you my journey of developing my mediumship. Yes, that involves sharing bits and pieces of my personal life, but that is not the focus or purpose.

I was surprised this morning, when I received a "yes". 

You see, the holidays made for some very hectic days. Hell, hectic weeks! Sadly, I became distracted from my purpose and was operating in a fashion where I was just getting from one day to the next. I had lost sight of my daily grounding, my prayers. And it has been MONTHS since is did a proper meditation session.

I'd been getting more and more frustrated because I felt like I was getting conflicting messages when I was communicating with my guides. I felt like it was harder to hear them. I was beginning to feel like they had "left". 

So, guess what? I actually meditated today. On my mat, with my chakra stones. I grounded, cleansed, cut cords, bubbled. The whole shebang. I even put a bubble on the house! Then afterwards, as I was talking with Hank (much more clearly, thank you!), he reminded me that I should be doing this regularly (not necessarily daily) and showed me clearly a time when I was much more regimented about doing this and how much better I felt. Physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Today's message is that practice doesn't make perfect. It makes us perfect today. Practice makes us better than we were yesterday. Regular practice builds forward momentum. If I am to develop, that requires forward momentum. 

I still have a few things to talk about from what I've already accomplished on this path - but I'll save that for another post. 

Spirit is insistent that today's focus be about the importance of a regular practice. Whether that is yoga, meditation, grounding, etc. - it needs to be done on a regular basis. That doesn't necessarily mean daily (although  you certainly can if that fits your schedule). But it's important to carve out time for yourself. 

Carving out time for myself is what I've lost sight of recently. 

I'm grateful that Spirit is here to remind me.

I hope you have enjoyed today's post, perhaps even feel inspired to practice some self care. I am sending you lots of light and love.

With much love and gratitude,

πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello, my friend!

I'm so happy to be with you today, even though our time may be short. I'm sure you have lots to keep you busy today. I know I do!

I know it's been a few weeks since I posted. I'm sure you're wondering if I've given up on this whole blogging thing. Trust me, I have not! 

Right after Halloween, I went on a weekend trip to Madison with my BFF. We had a lovely time crafting, eating, and chatting! Boy, did we talk a lot. We refer to this annual trip as our Birthday Extravaganza. Well, her husband refers to it as "Tattoo Weekend". But we didn't get tattoos this year. We DID go to a tattoo parlor, but we got piercings instead. She got her nose pierced and I got daith piercings in both ears. Overall, our 3rd Annual Birthday Extravaganza was a total success! I love that we get to have these trips every year.

The weekends after that, I have been consumed with editing projects. My business has really taken off and I couldn't be happier! I love, love, love being a part (even a small one) of a story's journey. It's amazing!

In today's post, I have two topics: Thanksgiving and my mom.

First, today marks TWENTY years since my mom passed. Officially, she "passed" on November 27th, but based on her ex's confession—shit went down on the 26th. But, they found her on the 27th, so that's what's on her death certificate. It's always been hard, having her death be so close to Thanksgiving. My mom was a rock star at pulling off a wonderful Thanksgiving. She would get up at three in the morning to start the turkey and would be in the kitchen from then until it was time to eat. Didn't matter that some of those years it was just the two of us. She always made the holiday special. Now that I'm the "mom" with a family of my own, it's hard to be alone in the kitchen. I know that she would be right there with me, chatting and juggling the different tasks. 

I went through a few things and found this amazing picture of her. I'm pretty sure she was in high school when it was taken. Maybe as part of her senior photos. There's no date on the back and that was my dad's best guess. 


I am grateful to the retired serviceman who found her. But it's more than that. I'm grateful that he stopped and called to report what he'd found. I'm sure that wasn't easy. But that one action made it so that we didn't spend our lifetimes hoping we would find her—or that someone would confess. As horrible as it all was, I was (then) and am (now) beyond thankful she was found.

The second thing I want to talk about is Thanksgiving itself. While the method in which we celebrate may look different than we're used to (thanks, COVID-19), what's important remains the same: to reflect and give thanks for all that we DO have. I hope you'll join me in doing just that today.

Personally, I am grateful for SO MUCH! To list everything would be an extremely long post. And, let's face it... ain't nobody got time for that! But, I'll do a short list...

I am grateful for the friendship, love, and support of my husband. For my kids and all the love and lessons they provide me. For my BFF who always knows just what I need. For my soul sister, Jade, who has helped me to accept myself and my abilities—and who gave me a message from my mom a few years ago that helped me understand a few things. For my circle of friends on Twitter, who accept me as I am, love me, encourage me, and support me (listing them one by one would take a lifetime! They know who they are). For my editing clients, who took a bit of a chance on me, given that my reputation has not yet been totally established (the stories I've edited are AMAZING-I can't wait for them to be out in the world!). For YOU! Your engagement in this blog has been more fulfilling than I had imagined. Lastly, but certainly not least, I am grateful to Spirit, who guide me, teach me, love me, and protect me. I can't imagine NOT having such a close relationship with my Spirit team. 

What are you thankful for?

I hope you have enjoyed today's post. I wish you the loveliest of Thanksgivings, whichever way you celebrate, full of light and love and laughter.

With much love and gratitude,

πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween! +pics...

Hello, my friend! 

Happy Halloween! I'm so happy you're here with me today. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. When I was little, my parents used to go all out for Halloween, and that excitement has stuck with me through the years.

What are your plans for Halloween this year? 

I mentioned last week that I would be dressing up and participating in a virtual Halloween Party, hosted by my lovely friend, David Voyles, and his wife. It was so much fun! David and his wife have been hosting themed Halloween parties since the late 70's. During the party, they showed pictures from their previous parties and told us who was who, some of which were participating in the virtual party as well. We also got to watch a couple of very short horror films. I dressed up as Little DEAD Riding Hood. I read a poem that I wrote that went along with the costume, which was super fun. The whole experience was great. Especially with COVID-19, this was a great way to enjoy the Halloween festivities, while still being safe. 

If you missed the event, and want to check it out, just click here to see the recording of it.

I've also decided to give you a treat (ha ha!) and have included pictures of my costume as well as a snippet of me reading my poem.

Here's a closeup of my makeup, applied by my lovely daughter. She tried to make me look more "dead".

Don't worry! I'm not actually dead. And, no, I'm not wearing contacts—although that would be really cool! The white eyes is just a mark up on the photo afterwards. But, I think it came out pretty neat.


Here's the snippet of me reading my poem about Little DEAD Riding Hood. Enjoy! :)


When I first decided on my costume, back in JULY, I thought to myself, "It would be so cool if I could write a short story to go along with this costume." But then days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and before I knew it, the party was almost here. I was feeling kind of bummed about it, but figured there just wasn't time to put anything together by then. A couple days before the party (it actually might have only been the day before—it's such a blur, I can't quite recall) I asked my Spirt Guides to help me. I told them I wanted to be an active participant in the party and wanted to contribute something of my own, but that I was stuck. Next thing I know, this stuff starts pouring out. 

Now, you should know that poetry and I don't typically get along. On my own, I hardly ever write poetry. It's always felt awkward to me. But this time, it was coming out faster than I could write it down. There was no hesitation, no looking for words that would go together/rhyme. It just...happened. I showed it to a few trusted people and got wonderful feedback. So, I was ready to go! Thank you, Spirit!

Just another example of how willing Spirit is to be helpful - all ya gotta do is ask them.

I encourage you to give it a try. Then, come tell me how it worked out. I can't wait to hear about it.

I hope you found this entertaining and helpful. Light and love to you and yours, my friend!

I look forward to hearing from you soon, either on this post, on Instagram, or on Twitter. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 

P.S. - If you're looking for something spooky to occupy your Halloween, I have two audiobook recommendations. Turn down the lights, grab some popcorn and candy, and settle in for some spooky stories! 

Haunted: True Tales of the Paranormal - "Ghost" stories, told by the people who experienced them (I have one in here, too!)

Witch-Works - Fictional story, audiobook set to dark ambient music; start with Witch-Works, Episode 1: The Witch-Works

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Lots of pictures and how spirit helps

Hello, my friend!!

It's been a little longer than I'd have liked between our visits. Things were, well, hectic. But I thought I'd catch you up on a few things and show you how I believe Spirit is working in my everyday life.

First things first! As always, I am here to learn through teaching, so if there are any questions you have, please do! You can comment on this post (anonymously, if you'd like), find me on Twitter, or find me on Instagram. Any of the above are totally welcome. I look forward to hearing from you.

Now, normally, I would write my posts on Saturday mornings. But then, for some reason I can't remember, it got pushed to Sunday mornings.

Well, last weekend, neither day was working for me. I was preoccupied with an editing project. You might have seen me mention this project before, but here it is! 


Not only did I edit the printed companion version of this audiobook, but I have a story of my own in there. So, if you get the audiobook, you'll get to hear my story, told by me! Not only that, but you'll get to hear twenty-six other awesome stories! Not all of them are scary, but they are all GREAT. If you're interested, you can click here for the link to get a copy for yourself. Oh! And the print companion comes with interviews from each of the storytellers, plus lots of pictures. I'm really excited - It's so cool! It's just what you need to get you in the mood for Halloween. And let's face it, we all need a little extra oomph when it comes to Halloween this year, right? 

Speaking of Halloween, tonight I get to participate in a Virtual Halloween event, hosted by my very talented friend, David Allen Voyles. In the past, David has always hosted very elaborate haunted houses at his home. This year, with COVID-19, he has graciously decided to host this event. AND I have been invited to be a GUEST!! I am so fucking excited. I have my costume all ready, and I wrote a poem to go along with it.


Can you guess what my costume is going to be? If you guessed "Little Red Riding Hood" you're only half right. But you'll have to tune in to the event and see for yourself. But, be warned...it's a little dark, a little gory. View the event and interact with us by clicking on this link... https://youtu.be/-G3LY3N4UJS

Party starts tonight at 8pm! Hope to see and hear from you then!

Lastly, remember my stupid fucking oven? Ya, the one that tried to burn my face off? 

Well, we finally got that resolved! There were a few hitches...as I've mentioned before, we live in a small town, so options for appliance stores are limited. I don't know if you've needed to buy an appliance since COVID-19 started, but apparently, the shipping times are super-duper long. So, we ended up at one of the only appliance stores in town (besides Lowe's and Best Buy - neither of which had what we needed, in our price range) and....well, see for yourself...



Isn't it gorgeous?! Now, the issue was with the price. As we walked into the store, we knew that our comfort zone for this whole project was going to be about $1,000. We could swing probably $1,200 or $1,300. But, nothing more than that. And, guess what? Even though the oven had a ticket price close to $1,100, we got it for about $800.

That just left us with installation. That was another $400.


So, total for the project? $1,200. Pretty sweet, right? AHHHH....so relieved.



Bye-bye, piece of shit oven!

So, that's all I have today - I have to get ready for the party!! - but I wanted to demonstrate, that in each of these instances, I specifically asked my Spirit Guides to come to me and help me. I asked that they come to me and remove the nerves from my voice, so that the recording of me in Haunted would be acceptable. I asked that they come to me and help me with my editing project. I asked them to come to me and help me to write something—anything—to go along with my costume (and I'm quite pleased with the results!). I asked them to come to us and help us find the oven and someone to install it that would work with our budget.

Spirit loves to be helpful. You just gotta ask them and tell them what you want or need help with.

All right. I gotta run. But, I hope to see you tonight! 

I hope you found this post helpful and entertaining. Light and love to you and yours, my friend!

I look forward to hearing from you soon, either on this post, on Instagram, or on Twitter. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 




 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Story: The Purpose of Relationships

Welcome, my friend!

This week, I want to talk about relationships, and the purpose they serve. Doing so will require me to tell a story. Shame, I know. 

I recently accepted a management position at my job, which made me really nervous. Before coming to this employer, I'd been at a different employer, working in an extremely toxic environment for far too long—eight years, to be exact, which was seven and a half years too long. When I left there, I swore I'd never take a management position again. And yet...here we are. 

I thought today's post was going to be about how my new position is so different from my management position at the last employer; how listening to Spirit can help guide your life. But, that just goes to show that what the human/ego part of me has in mind is not what is meant for this blog. In case you can't tell, this happens frequently. That's why I'm always sure to ground and open to the guidance before I start writing. Because, honestly? If it were up to me, and me alone, I probably wouldn't write this blog at all. But, Spirit wants these messages out there...so here I am.

What Spirit does want me to talk about, is an experience I had even further back in my past, but also in the management realm.

You ever hear that saying, "You'll have friends for a season, a reason, or life"?

This is totally a thing and has quite a bit to do with the reason YOU are here. Your life plan and purpose, the lessons you are here to learn, as well as the life contracts you have with people. Kim Russo does a fantastic job of explaining this in her book, The Happy Medium. I hope you'll give it a read. Now, sometimes your interactions with a person have more to do with them, than with you. What I mean is, sometimes it is more about what you can teach them. 

Oh, sure, it won't be some obvious thing where you're handed a lesson plan of material you're to deliver to that person. But, in hindsight, if you think about it, you'll realize that you were the one helping them. Often times, even in those situations, you'll still learn something yourself.

We'll use this scenario to explain the point I'm making:

Just as an FYI, I'm using fake names, for the people and the company; out of respect.

I had just been promoted to Manager at ABC Company. I am a certified medical coder in the medical billing field; have been for about 20 years now. Back then, I had just gotten certified, and was made Manager of a very tiny Coding Team. There were only three people on my team. 

Within this company were two other Managers, Amy, who oversaw the Collectors, and Jenny, who oversaw the Chargers (the ones who entered the charges into the system). 

Now, everyone in the company knew that Amy and Jenny were lifelong friends. As in, they grew up together, had their first job at Baskin Robins when they turned sixteen. They were very close. But everyone also knew that they had some kind of falling out. Perhaps other people in the company knew what the falling out was over, but I did not. I still don't.

Now, being a new Manager, Jenny took me under her wing and we sort of became friends. It was nice at the time, we'd go to lunch together and we'd cover for each other if one needed a day off. We began to hang out outside of work, here and there. Our husbands seemed to get along, well enough, and we had kids the same age that enjoyed playing together. We got to a point where she threw me my baby shower when I was pregnant with my daughter.

But, she never talked about Amy. Never told me what happened between them. Occasionally, her son would mention her, or talk about something they used to do together. But Jenny never would.

As time went on, I got more and more uncomfortable with the situation. I noticed that Jenny was increasingly cold and...nasty...to Amy when we were at work. It started to feel as though Jenny was only being friends with me so that she could flaunt it in Amy's face. 

Around this same time, I started having this overwhelming urge to talk to Amy. I kept hearing that I should talk to her about my mom. At this point, my mom had been gone about four or five years. I still was not "open" with my abilities, and hadn't fully accepted them myself. But when I say that 'I kept hearing that I should talk to her about my mom', what I mean is that when I'd have the urge to talk to Amy, and then I'd wonder what the hell we'd talk about, a thought, clear as day, would pop in my head: I'll tell her about my mom. 

I hesitated for very long time. Probably more than a month, if I'm honest. I still feel bad about that.

Finally, one day at work, I was so distracted by these urges and thoughts, and the internal argument that Amy didn't even like me so why would she want to hear about my mom dying. I probably didn't get anything accomplished the whole morning. Finally, I just did it.

I walked up to Amy at her desk and said, "Is this a bad time?"

"No, what's up?" Her aloofness indicated that she assumed it was work related, and she would tolerate me only as long as she had to.

"I won't take much of your time, but I had to come talk to you for a minute." She raised an eyebrow at that. I took a deep breath and plunged on. "I'm not here to get involved, or get in the middle, and I certainly don't want you to tell me any details. I'm not looking for gossip. I just want you to listen for a minute."

When she gave a tiny nod, her shoulders losing just a fraction of her pent up hostility, I continued, "I don't know what happened between you and Jenny. I don't want to know what happened between you and Jenny. What I do know is that you two were really close for a very long time. And from where I stand, you are both miserable without each other. Now, I don't know if you know anything about me, but I want to tell you about my mom." I tried, in vain to keep the hitch in my voice under control at that last bit. 

Amy was still guarded, but definitely less hostile. I picked up my monologue, "My mother and I were always close, but had sort of a rocky relationship. She died in 2000—" 

Amy cut me off. "I'm so sorry, Alain. I had no idea. What happened?"

"She was a victim of domestic violence." That was the nicest way I could say that she'd been murdered. "Her boyfriend...strangled her. There's more to the story, but..." 

"Oh, my God! That's horrible. Is he in jail now?"

"Yes, for a long time. But, what I wanted to tell you, was that just before she died, my mom and I were, more or less, not speaking. My reasons for having being upset with her, and having less contact with her, were very valid. But, in hindsight? I wish that I'd told her how much I love her. I wish that I'd had a chance to tell her that I forgive her." 

 Amy was no longer guarded and her hostility had vanished. By this point, we were both teary eyed. "Oh, no. I can't imagine."

"Neither did I. She was here one day. We had plans to meet up in the morning, but that never came." I sniffled and got to the point. "I didn't know why it was important that I tell you about my mom. But, now, I think it was to share with you an example of how something can change so suddenly. And then they are gone. Just gone. So, whatever it is that happened between you two, ask yourself how you would feel if she was gone tomorrow. Is it worth it? Is being hurt and upset going to change anything?"

By now, we were both full on crying, and getting a few side-eye looks from people passing by.

"I don't even know if she'll talk to me."

"And you won't, if you never try. But if you do try, and she doesn't, then you know that you did all you could to make things right. And, if you do try, and she does talk to you, then you might just get your best friend back." I gave her a watery smile.

"I don't know if it's that simple. I'd like it to be, but it's up to her." Amy sighed, then looked at me. "I don't know what possessed you to come talk to me, but I'm glad you did."

And then, she hugged me! Shocked the shit out of me...my eyes were probably big as saucers!

After I left Amy's desk, I went straight to Jenny's desk. I knew that some of our co-workers had seen Amy and I talking—and crying—and when it got back to Jenny, which, let's face it, office gossip? It was only a matter of time. Anyway, I didn't want anymore drama. I wanted Jenny to hear it from me first.

When I got to Jenny's desk, it was obvious that she knew Amy and I had been talking. It was also clear that she assumed we were gossiping about her. Which was just stupid, let's be real. What were we, in high school? FFS. Anyway, I said, "You gotta sec?"

"Sure," was the nonchalant reply.

"I'm sure you've heard by now that I was talking to Amy..." She gave a small shrug to neither confirm nor deny this. "...and I wanted you to hear it from me directly. I went to her. I wasn't trying to gossip or get in the middle. I didn't ask her for details about whatever the hell is going on between you two. I just asked her to listen to me. Then I told her about how my mom died." Jenny was already quite familiar with the ins and outs of the story. "I told her that I know the two of you were really close for a long time and that it's obvious that you two are miserable without each other. I said that she should think about whatever it is that started all this and whether it's worth losing a friendship over." I took a big breath and plowed on, anxious for this to just be over. "I said that you can lose someone in the blink of an eye, and how would she feel if you were gone tomorrow, with all of this unresolved crap between you two." 

Jenny blinked like an owl, her mouth a small little 'O'. I delivered my final piece of advice, "Personally, I think you should do the same, because relationships are two way streets. If the relationship is over, fine. But if it's not, then think about the way you're treating her, and whether that's really fair. I don't know if she'll come to talk to you or not, but if she does, you might want to listen. And if she doesn't, then think about going to her. Real friendships are hard to find. Don't throw this one away by mistake."

I turned around and went back to my desk. After that I was finally able to get some work done. I no longer had any strong urges to talk to anyone about anything, thank God. I also didn't go to lunch with Jenny that day. I stayed at my desk and did my own thing. I was done being social for the day.

After that day—I'm not sure how long after—Amy and Jenny started talking again. I know that Amy approached Jenny and that it was stiff at first. But there were apologies from both ends. Then, they started seeing each other outside of work, again, and hanging out constantly, just like they used to.

I can't remember if this went on for a couple of weeks, or a couple of months. Obviously, during this time, Jenny and I didn't have a whole lot of contact, having sort of drifted apart a bit. But then...

Amy was killed. She was in a car accident, t-boned by another driver.

The whole office was devastated and shocked. We closed the office for her funeral services. Everyone was a mess. Jenny held it together better than I thought she would. I was a mess, myself, wondering if I did the right thing or just made dealing with Amy's loss harder for Jenny; whether I wasted too much time before approaching Amy in the first place.  

A few days after the funeral, I went to the site of the accident, and pulled off on the side of the road. The location was on my way home—if I took a different route. I didn't set out to take that route, I just remember ending up there. I walked to the spot where her car had ended up. I could see so clearly in my head her car being hit and her dying on impact, so fast that she never saw it coming, never felt a thing. I didn't understand at the time that this was happening in my mind's eye, that my belief that she never saw it or felt it was actually a digital download of what actually happened. I assumed that those were just my imaginings of what it must have been. I've grown a lot since then. 

Standing in the spot where her car was found, with traffic rushing by, I felt a sense of peace and calm. I began crying, gently, and spoke out loud. "I'm so sorry, Amy. I never meant to bring you two back together, only to have it taken away so soon. Maybe I should have just left things alone." 

Just then, more butterflies that I could have ever imagined took flight from the grass where I was standing. They were everywhere. I was shocked—how could I have walked through and past all of them without startling them into flight? I had no idea they'd been there at all, let alone so many of them. One landed on my right shoulder and another on my right hand. They stayed for a moment, and then they flew away, too. 

After that, I knew that I had done the right thing, talking to Amy and Jenny. I also knew that I didn't bring them back together, they did that themselves. They put the work in, and approached each other with open hearts.

After Amy died, Jenny and I went back to hanging out, outside of work. But it was never quite right. Our friendship mostly drifted away and then we had a falling out of our own. I had just discovered I was pregnant with my youngest son and called to tell her. It was exceptionally exciting for me, because this was the only pregnancy we didn't have to "try" for. In my previous pregnancies, it took many months of trying before I'd actually get pregnant. So, with this one, I was happily surprised. But, before I could tell her, she told me that she and her husband had just decided to have another baby. I was excited, thinking she'd be happy for me and we'd be able to be pregnant at the same time—sharing our highs and lows together. She saw things differently. She felt that I was trying to "steal her thunder". We haven't spoken since. 

I don't feel any great urge to rekindle that friendship.

I'm certain that the lessons we were meant to learn were delivered already, and the purpose of the relationship has been served.

Whether she is happy or grateful that I meddled in her relationship with Amy, I don't know. But, from that experience, I learned that all relationships have a purpose. 

My relationship with Amy, albeit short, served to teach me about my abilities. Granted, it took me years to understand the lesson. But, indeed, a powerful lesson. 

My relationship with Jenny taught me that sometimes, in a relationship, we teach. And sometimes we learn. I am told that I taught her to hold on to the things that are truly important to her—because you never know when they'll be gone. And she taught me the same. But also, that when the purpose has been served—whether it lasts a season, a day, or a lifetime—it's all right to let it go.

So, as you go about your day, take some time to think about the relationships in your life. Has their purpose been served? Have the lessons been learned? Are there benefits to having these relationships in your life? Are you holding onto relationships that would be better let go? 

You have permission to send these relationships off with light and love. If you are keeping them, make sure you do so with an open heart, from a place of love. If  you do this, all things will go as they are supposed to.

I hope you found this post helpful. Light and love to you and yours, my friend!

I look forward to hearing from you soon, either on this post, on Instagram, or on Twitter. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Silver linings and being optimistic...

Hello, my friend!

I'm so happy to see you again. Now that my face has fully recovered from last week's shenanigans. insert eye roll. Oh, and by the way, my oven is working again! I mean, WTF, right? Don't worry, I'm still trying to get someone to come take a look at it. Backup plan after that is to buy a new one. 

Alright. Down to business. So, this week, Spirit wants me to talk about what it means to be optimistic. Why you should and how you can get there (if you aren't already).

If you follow me on social media, you know that my username is always "HopelessOptimst". It's an accurate nickname. One I've been called in real life. I honestly can't remember for certain, but I'm pretty sure it was my BFF that first coined the nickname. She used to marvel at my ability to focus on the positive, to let go of things so quickly, and to be so "sunshiny" (as she termed it). 

I am the person who, no matter what, will always find the silver lining in a situation. I know several people who, if you told them they'd won the lottery, would complain about how much they'd have to pay in taxes. I'm the opposite. I entered my short story in a writing contest and had I been told I'd lost, I'd have been grateful for the opportunity to practice the craft and for all of the new connections I'd made. (P.S. I'm over the fucking moon that I won that contest! The short story will appear in an anthology soon. I'll keep ya posted on that.)

My BFF, and others besides her, have asked me how I can be that way, having had so much in my life that was negative. Before, I never had a good answer to that question. I used to say, "I don't know. I'd guess I'd just rather be happy than sad." Which was true. But after a lot of self reflection, I've come to realize that it was my way of coping. It was my way of holding onto hope. 

Even before I lost my mother, things were...hard. Everyone has their difficulties. I certainly don't think mine were any worse than another's, so please don't misunderstand me. My parents divorced when I was twelve and my parents split me and my younger brother up. Before they divorced, they were either going out to bars and doing things parents should not be doing when they have little ones at home (and leaving me taking care of my younger brother). Or, they were at home, fighting. And, I mean the screaming, yelling, things-are-getting-physical kind of fighting. Now, my brother and I were never abused. Just so we're clear on that. But, it was not a calm household, that's my point. 

There were good times, and good memories. Fun times that we had as a family, and also times I remember with just me and my brother. 

I know my parents were just doing the best they could with what they had. I've made peace with all that happened before. 

But after they divorced and it was just me and mom...things were even more difficult. She jumped from one bad relationship to another. I was only important to her when she was between "guys". Then, I was her moon and stars. I'm sure I was important during the other times, too. But, it certainly didn't feel that way. Needless to say, she and I had a contentious relationship and I pretty much moved in with my boyfriend (later to become husband) when I was sixteen. Now, I didn't move all my stuff there, but I spent more time at his house and with his family than I did with her. Then, she got sick again (from Crohn's Disease) and guess who was super important again? This girl. It was a lot to juggle: By then, I was trying to go to college and work and start a life with my fiancΓ©. 

So, when I say it was my way of coping, I mean it was my way of COPING. Without having the ability to FIND and FOCUS on the positive in the situation, I'd have been clinically depressed, unable to function normally within society. For example, when my mom announced, in the middle of the night, that we were moving in with her newest boyfriend and I would have to change schools (again!), I was upset for a few minutes, but then quickly started focusing on the positives: I'd get a chance to start over in math (and maybe get a teacher I connected with and maybe get a better grade); maybe we'd stay there long enough to finish out the school year (we did!) and I'd be able to make some friends (I did!); maybe I'd be able to have my own bedroom (my mom and I had been sharing a bedroom since it was just a one-bedroom apartment) and could decorate the way I wanted (I did!); maybe the new place would be close enough to walk to school (it was not, I had to take the bus-boo!). 

Maybe the above will provide a bit of an example of how my brain operates. I don't tell it to switch into silver-lining mode. It just happens. I'm guessing it's from years of practice. But, I love that it does it. 

I did go through a HUGE learning curve with it, though. There was a period of time where I pretty much annoyed the shit out of everyone I knew. And, I mean, annoyed to the point where I lost friendships over it. For a time, I thought I'd lost my BFF. But, I didn't (thank GOD). I had to learn that most people aren't wired the same way I am. Most people need time to vent. They can't automatically flip into silver-lining mode. Perhaps the discussion can go in that area once they've had time to get all the venting done. If someone brought a problem to me, I'd automatically go into fix-it mode or silver-lining mode. I had to learn that sometimes people just need to vent, they just need to talk things out. Then, after that, if they need cheering up, we can move into silver-lining mode. If they need help finding a solution it's best to ask if they need help before moving into fix-it mode. But, boy, were those hard lessons to learn.

Now, don't get me wrong. Being optimistic is NOT easy. It doesn't magically make all my problems disappear. No. Shit still goes wrong. What changes is how I decide to deal with it. Do I get upset and frustrated. Hell yes. Do I vent sometimes? Of course! Do I dwell on it and focus on it and complain to my spouse, my kids, my friends, then my neighbors, then blast it on social media? No. To what end? It wouldn't change what happened. No one has that ability—there are no magic wands in this life. 

How to get there....

There's a super easy way to flip your mindset. All you have to do is focus on gratitude. 

What are you most grateful for?

That's it. It sounds super easy right? Yep. So easy that it's easy to forget to do. We walk around all the time worrying about all the things that we don't have, the things that didn't go well, that we forget to appreciate the things we DO have, the things that DID work out well. 

So, to change that, simply state three things you are grateful for. Go ahead. I'll wait.

See? Doesn't that feel nice? 

Okay, now my turn. Today, I am grateful for clean water (that doesn't smell like rotten eggs-we just got our well treated), my blog readers, and the opportunity to edit for other writers. 

I'm not gonna lie. On really shitty days, those gratitude moments might sound more like, "I'm grateful for being able to breathe, for fucking coffee, and for my job that pays the bills." It can be as simple and basic as you need it to be. On other days, it can be more in depth and specific, something like, "I'm grateful for the health and happiness of my children, for the opportunity to give them a life better than mine, and for the loving, supportive spouse that I have been blessed enough to find in this lifetime."

If you have trouble remembering to do this, you can add it to your planner/journal (yes, thank you, Spirit, message received!) or you can even download a gratitude journal app. Yes, they have apps for this. And, they look really cool, too. Check out Three Good Things, Grateful, or Five Minutes of Gratitude.

I hope you found this post helpful. 

I look forward to hearing from you soon, either on this post, or on Instagram or Twitter. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

My son, his birthday, and a late post...

Hello, my friend!

I'm so happy you've returned. I realize my post is a day late; thank you for your patience. I have a really good reason, I promise!

My oldest son is about to celebrate a milestone birthday. This Tuesday, he'll be turning 18!! I still can't believe it. 

This is also the same kid who told me about his "other grandma" when he was about 4. 

Yes, he was talking about MY mom. The grandma who died before he was born. 

I had thought I was going to tell the story here, myself—but this story is included in an audiobook, titled "Haunted: True Tales of the Paranormal". (Pretty sure printed companion copies will also be available.) It will be available this coming Thursday, October 1, 2020. Check out the Gestalt-Media website at https://www.gestalt-media.com/ to get your copy!

Also, be sure to keep your eye on Gestalt-Media. They are an independent publisher/imprint, with an eye for supporting independent writers and creatives. Not only are they publishing the anthology that my own short story "I Did This For You" will appear in (and, soon, too!) but they really are about creating a diverse, supportive community. Their newest project is launching a subscription book-box, but for e-books. It's affordable and will be sure to deliver new names in the writing industry—names that might otherwise be overlooked by the Big5 publishing companies for a whole slew of reasons, none of which having to do with their caliber of writing. This company is going places, and I can't wait to see how they develop!

Back to my son, his birthday, and the reason my post is late.

I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. No, I'm not going to get into the gritty details. Gross. Anyway, we decided to celebrate his birthday this weekend (yesterday, Saturday, to be exact) with the meal and dessert of his choosing. He requested Little Caesar's pizza (NON-gluten-free—for him—thank you!) and a lemon cake. However, my husband hates lemon. Okay, cool—I'll make a yellow cake with chocolate frosting for anyone that doesn't want lemon. I got this! 

I contacted a friend I met through Twitter, Amy Lyle, who connected me with HER friend, Lisa Ode - an amazing baker! Lisa hooked me up with fantastic gluten-free lemon cake recipe. I couldn't wait to try it.

Well, let's just say, "I think we can all agree that shit just went sideways in the most colossal way." Thank you, Deadpool. Love ya, man. 

Let me explain. 

Buckle up. I have pictures.

Things were off to a good start. I had all the ingredients...brand new cake pans...plenty of time...


All seems fine, right?

Um, no.

My oven...the pain in the ass, piece of shit that it is, decides that TODAY IS THE DAY it is going to completely balls-to-the-wall break on me. Now, I don't mean, "Awe, the oven won't come on!" Nope. I mean, it's completely confused and thinks that it's in CLEAN MODE, even though the ever-blessed-door is OPEN! So? What does that mean?

It means that my oven operates at 1,000 fucking degrees. Ever baked a cake at 1,000 degrees? Me either. Yesterday, I baked six layers. Most people would have just given up, gone to the store and bought a cake. 

First of all, I'm not 'most people'. I thought we established that. Second of all, I live in a small town. Do you want to know how likely it is to find a gluten-free lemon cake? Let alone on short notice? On a Saturday? Try not at all. I called six bakeries. SIX! Only one had anything gluten-free and it was a chocolate cupcake. Not exactly what I was going for.

So, we're soldiering on.

"But, Alain, what does this story have to do with being Spirit Sensitive or developing your abilities?"

Well, for one thing, I would not have survived the day without my guides, given that I ALMOST BURNED MY FACE OFF. No. I'm not joking. I have a very minor burn (think minor sunburn) to my face. Meh, whatever. 

Also, somehow, someway, I managed to remember all of my...training, I guess you could call it. When I realized that I couldn't find a bakery, I grounded, did some box breathing for a little extra patience, called my guides in for help, and really listened. Lydia, my guide who is especially adept at all things homemaking, cooking and baking above all else, assured me that things could be salvaged. I questioned her because I was ready to just walk away. I had already warned the soon-to-be-eighteen-year-old that he *may* not get a dessert, and he was cool with it. But, she was insistent. 

I tell, ya, I had to do my box breathing a FEW times.

Like when this happened. The recipe told me to evenly split the batter between THREE layers. But, I split it between FOUR. I couldn't understand, at the time, but trusted and went with it. Well, now we know why, right? 

But believe me, when this landed on the floor, I threw a spatula and almost walked away from it all. I'm not fucking kidding. Guides or no guides. Breathe, Alain. Breathe.

The process to get these to bake was...ridiculous. Since it was stuck on CLEAN, the top burner inside the oven was on. You know, the one that comes on when you set it to BROIL. Yeah, not the bottom one, when you set it to BAKE. UGH. That meant that the tops scorched and the bottoms were still gooey. So, my fantastic husband gave me the idea of covering the top and working them like a waffle maker.

Which worked, except that required me to sit in front of the open oven. Hence the 'sunburn'. 

All right. Fast forward several hours later, and we have...success?


I mean, sorta. 

Sigh. 

I figured they were baked all the way through, and I practically burned my face off for them, might as well frost them, right? Right...so...


I mean...not bad, all things considered. I will say they TASTED absolutely AMAZING. 

Did they look as nice as I would have liked? hahahahahaha No. But I made lemon(cake) outta lemons, so I can't complain there. 

Did I cuss like a trucker? Fuck. Yes. Am I still a bit annoyed? You betcha. Will it be a really funny story some day? Sure. It's a little funny now, to be honest, so how could it not be a lot funny later? My kids said the lemon cake looked like a "boulder". They aren't wrong. They were nice to me and we did giggle about it a bit. 

So, do the techniques I have described in my previous posts work? Well, I certainly think so. Tell me honestly, without using them, would YOU have been able to get through something like that? Would you have even tried? I don't know that I would have. LOL

I hope you found this post helpful (and entertaining). 

I look forward to hearing from you, either on this post, or on Instagram or Twitter, soon. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst