555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 114

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 114.

Time Awake: 8:58 a.m.

I’m in Union Square today among the hustle and bustle of New York City to celebrate returning to my project.

I was away for a bit because I became dissatisfied with the format and I allowed myself to get all caught up in my personal nonsense.

This project is going to feature some exciting changes, elements I have never tried before. These will be fun, if only just for the experience. And I was kicked in the ass to create again by an email I received from Tumblr wishing me a happy three year anniversary.

To which I vocally responded, “What tumblr?”

I’d forgotten that I started one three years ago called Mike Writes About. I picked a relevant topic to the day, weaving in some past experience. There were only two entries. But being reminded of this blog got my creative juices flowing once again.

The topic of today, if there needs to be one, is that everything that happens in Life is your fault. Whether through actions or the response to circumstances.

Everything that happens in my Life is my own fault.

I’ve spent almost the entirety of my Life living passively, “seeing what will happen” instead of actively taking this one and only Life I have by the throat and making the best happen for myself.

It’s my own fault but living fully can be my fault too.



555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 113

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 113.
Time Awake: 8:13 a.m.
I am still digesting Miyamoto Musashi’s “The Book of Five Rings.” There is one chapter where he describes various stances and techniques for fighting with swords.
As I mentioned previously, if you take the words “Martial Arts” and replace them with the word “Life,” the principles can be applied to actual living.
There is one area where he talks about “One Strike.” It’s very brief and he doesn’t even go into details about what “One Strike” means. He says to keep it in your mind and in your soul and your actions will follow, but he doesn’t describe what “One Strike” is. He says it is something you will know via practice.
Okay. So what is “One Strike” pertaining to Life?
To me, the answer to that is clear: Everything you do in Life should be done with the most direct method. For example, if you have the option of sending an email or going to a place in person, you go to the place in person. You will encounter people in person and have a better chance of actively getting the thing done that you need to Do.
This is better than sitting back, passively, waiting and hoping something is going to happen.
Every single thing we Do should be active. We’re only going to be alive for so long. We only get so many breaths. We only get so many words. We’re going to be here for as long as we are. So get done what needs to be done, when it needs to be done with the utmost quickness. You then have more time to enjoy everything else in Life.
One Strike, for a sword. One Strike, for all that must be accomplished in Life.

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 112

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 112.
Time Awake: 7:36 a.m.
Possibly one of the most important words. It’s certainly a major focus of this project, as well as my previous one.
DO. It’s an active word. It says that you are doing the things in Life that need to get done. Doing is important because it is active and is not just sitting around letting Life happen to you.
But DOing in itself is not enough. To just DO becomes routine, and routine does not necessarily involve change or improvement.
Siempre puedo hacer mejor. It’s a true statement. It’s not a statement of inadequacy. It’s a statement of reality. I can always do better.
Yes. Do better in everything you are doing, all the things that you’re learning, all the things that you’re going to learn. We continue to learn and do so for our entire lives. We don’t stagnate.
We do better. Every day.
The Japanese call that “Kaizen” — a little better, every day.
We do better.

To trying new things. Thank you.

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 111

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 111.
Time Awake: 9:26 a.m.
I sat outside in the sunlight today, reading “The Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi.
The book is about his martial arts and the techniques involved, but the words he uses are equally applicable to Life itself. And modern Life itself, especially when you go into his guidelines for using his martial arts.
I share an excerpt:
“For those who would study my martial art, there are rules for putting in into practice:
1. Think without any dishonesty.
2. Forge yourself in the Way.
3. Touch upon all of the arts.
4. Know the Ways of all occupations.
5. Know the advantages and disadvantages of everything.
6. Develop a discerning eye in all matters.
7. Understand what cannot be seen by the eye.
8. Pay attention to even small things.
9. Do not involve yourself with the impractical.
Generally speaking, you should put your mind to these principles in this manner and train yourself in the Way of the Martial Arts. In this Way alone, if you do not take a broad field of vision towards what is true, it will be difficult to become an accomplished martial artist. If you are able to learn these rules, it will be a Way in which you should not be defeated, even alone against twenty or thirty opponents. If you will first and foremost keep your attention unfailingly on the martial arts and exert yourself in the correct Way, you will defeat others with a strike of the hand or overcome others by the power of perception.
Again, if through your training you can freely move your entire body at will, you will defeat others with this body. And if your mind becomes trained in this Way, you will defeat others with your mind. Extending yourself this far, how could this be a Way for your own defeat?”
Substitute the words “martial arts” for “Life” and he’s basically saying to be prepared in all things in Life, to be well-rounded in things, to be fully aware and involved in all that you Do. By knowing the things and being prepared, you can live Life to your fullest, and without surprises or being taken unaware. Living at our best.
Mushashi wrote about it in the 1600s and it still applies today.

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 110

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 110.
Time Awake: 7:00 a.m.
The process of becoming Mike 2.0 involves change and has to involve change if I want to improve myself from where I am now to where I want to be.
I’m not sure what part of that I wasn’t expecting. Change I expected. The volume of change? Maybe the sheer volume of change all at once.
All I know is that what I have been learning recently is that people who were a part of my Life aren’t necessarily fitting anymore. Hobbies don’t fit anymore. Habits. None of these fit anymore.
And for a bit I was taken aback, “It’s all happening at once.” But via talking to someone else I received the perspective: Yes, Mike, this is what happens when you are bettering yourself as a person. So accept all of the change that goes on.
Maybe it’s a lot. What I’m learning is that what is not changing is my foundation, the fundamentals. My kindness, my compassion, my love. These factors are Me and will always be Me, regardless of how long my hair is or what shirt I wear.
That’s Me. That’s going to stay.
And then there will be days like today, full of contentment, enjoyment. I’ve come to realize that part of this change is you take the difficult and the great. It’s all part of the same journey that eventually will lead wherever it is I am going.
It’s all a journey anyway, a forever journey. Venture on, Mike. Venture on.


555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 109

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 109.
Time Awake: 10:21 a.m.
The video is recorded indoors today, as it is raining cats and dogs outside. Or more accurately, it is a heavy downpour.
The topic is stress. We all experience stress. Stress levels aren’t really comparable per person because events of different magnitudes affect different people in different ways.
One person’s stress can be over a breakup while another’s can be that he is on the front lines having artillery shells dropped all around him. But the body reacts with stress.
You feel pain. You feel weighed down. And that’s okay because the stress brings awareness. You look at the situation and ask yourself, “Is this something I can change?” or “What can I do about this situation?”
A lot of times our stresses are, in fact, things that we can change by taking certain steps. They may be uncomfortable steps, but they are steps nonetheless so we must make them happen.
In other cases, the stress is something that is out of our control. You make the best out of situations that you can’t change; find some positive in the midst of what is going on. You take the time to grow and when you can change the situation, you Do.
The whole point of stress is not to lay in bed all the time or have a woe-is-me mentality and lament. Stress is good when utilized properly.
It’s important for me to remember. It’s important for all of us to remember. Utilize stress as the tool that it is.

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 108

555 Days Towards Level 9000: Day 108.
Time Awake: Roughly 9 a.m.
The morning started out slow and calm: sitting outside, soaking in some sun and fresh air. Talking to my sister on the phone about my niece and nephew, which was wonderful.
Now I will see where the rest of this day takes me.
It’s good to have some slow, flow-y days.