Monday, December 27, 2010

Building An Environment of Learning In Your Home


As a tutor, I find myself in the trenches of educational warfare, daily. There isn't a person I meet, who, after learning that I tutor or hearing of my work with other kids, doesn't open themselves up to me and 'let me have it' with all their concerns for their child and the multitude of reasons why their child is failing, isn't learning, or doesn't care enough to try, etc., etc., etc. Being a parent myself, it breaks my heart and also fuels the fire to develop better, quicker, more insightful and more creative means to inspire children to learn. At the end of the day, the reasons why I tutor revolve around my inner desires to serve others, in conjunction with a purpose and vision for helping parents master learning at home, to establish what I call: an environment of learning. Here are a few tips, things I do when I work with parents who are in desperate need for immediate results.

1.) If its important to you, it will be important to them!
Its easy to say or fall into the trap or misconception [that] "my child's education is important to me, that's why I make them do their homework!" You have to first consider what message is being relayed here and understand that children, in their wonderful, free-spirited youth, are natural renegades, born to rebel against any system that would make them do anything. So, to avoid falling into the trap or philosophy of "do as I say, not as I do", then you will need to show them how important education is, by participating in their learning.
Does this mean you will have to miss some of your favorite shows, skip out on happy hour or cancel a few engagements during the week? Yes! But before you get upset as a parent or become uncomfortable, ask yourself this: What's really and truly important to me? This is a question of values and even though you might say you believe in your child's education, unless you are participative, you are really sending a mixed-signal. You are basically telling your child to "do it because I said so" and really, when did we ever respond to that as children? With this type of attitude, it won't take long for your child to see that you 'proclaim' to believe in their education, just not enough to actually 'do anything' about it.

2.) No Peanut Gallery!!!
When I was in the Marine Corps, you could find any table, in any barracks of any base where Domino's or Spades are being played (among countless other games) and if you listen quietly, you can hear the words "No Peanut Gallery!" being shouted from any of these tables when someone is getting upset because their concentration is being broken or if someone is interrupting the game from the 'outside.' The Peanut Gallery is essentially the external voices that cause interruption in the play of the game. Its equivalent to the back-seat driver. Annoying huh? Well, if you want your child to learn and you want to build that environment of learning in your home, you, as the parent, are going to have to quiet the Peanut Gallery in your home and turn OFF the television, put the cell phones away--yes, even yours as well, and get to work! If you can't keep focus for longer than 5 minutes without updating Facebook, replying to a text or changing the channels, how can you expect a child to do it? Lead by example and schedule some time, 1 to 1.5 hours per night, to studies, together.

3.)Work Hard, Play Hard
Just as we look forward to and count down the days 'til its Friday', so too can--and should--your child(ren). School is school and its an important requirement as much as its a nuisance in America for each of us. It takes a very short period of time to amaze us and let us down, but that's not for  you or I to fix, as much as it is our requirement to work within the educational system and move on with life for the sake of our children. One thing you want to do is establish a routine that says, we work hard, Monday through Thursday and Fridays, we take the night off! I encourage my parents (as well as utilize) the attitude and approach to learning that says, we study every night, contrary to whether your child has homework or not--there are a ton of things that can be learned every night as follow-up), Monday through Thursday and Friday is our NIGHT OFF! No books, no studying, no homework, nothing...just relax and celebrate the end to another successful week of learning.


The list can go on and on, which it will in time, but for now, these are great starter points to begin implementing in your home. Remember, attitudes of others reflects the attitude of the leaders. If education is so important to you as the parent, then start learning with your child, together, learning from them as much as you share your experiences with them. Attitude is critical to learning. The wrong attitude and the best teacher will still produce poor results. A great attitude and poor teacher will produce poor and limited results as well. A willing child and a willing parent, can learn and master anything--together. It starts with a desire to learn, is carried over in the attitude and willingness to learn and it comes to fruition with attempt.

As I tell my students: "You are never wrong if you try, even when you answer incorrectly. You are wrong for not trying."


Bobby Ozuna
Literacy. Creativity. Learning.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Not Everything Happens For A Reason

I've never been a fan of the adage, 'Everything happens for a reason.' I believe this statement condones acceptance more than it fuels the fire to fight for what we want in this world. I prefer instead to say:

"Sometimes, things happen because you aren't sure of your reason."

No one is immune to struggle or adversity, they are a desperate part of life, critical I believe to the growth and development of our character. Accepting certain struggles however, is dangerous. If you are unsure of what you wish to obtain, or what you want to accomplish, or overall, what you want from Life, then it is easy to fall victim to the notion [that] when bad things happen, 'they were supposed to happen to you.' Worse still, if something doesn't happen the way you wanted it to, you immediately believe 'it wasn't supposed to' or 'wasn't meant to be.' I believe this attitude only hinders your ability to ever fight for what you want and end up where you want to be. Accomplishing a goal is hard work. Creating success is possible for any one of us, not just a few limited people. I believe the people who accomplish more in their life are simply people who appreciate adversity and have a clear vision, or overall direction, for their future. Knowing what you want from Life is essential to personal accomplishment and adversity is the critical component to helping you change. Change is necessary because we cannot appreciate what we work for, being the people we are when we set sail on our quest. The Hero in a story doesn't return home the same as they did when they first set sail to embark in the unknown; just the same, we should expect to develop and grow during the course of our life quest. The only thing however that truly brings about a change in character is adversity. 

The next time you face struggles or are set back from accomplishing a goal in your life, don't be so quick to give-in because you believe the adversity, struggle, setback, etc., "happened for a reason." Instead, make sure you are clear on what you wish to accomplish and determine whether its worth fighting for. For those who have a limited picture of what they want from Life, it will be easy to quit when struggle arrives at their doorstep. I believe, had they known more about themselves and what they wanted to accomplish, they wouldn't have given up so quickly.

Be sure you have a clear picture of what you want from Life. Protect your dream and be willing to fight for it, at any costs, contrary to what you face in your life journey, because not having a reason, value or purpose, sometimes, can only force you to accept pathways that were never intended for your life.

...serving the soul of humanity...

Bobby Ozuna
Author | Motivational Speaker | Teacher

Friday, October 22, 2010

Our team, the Texas Rangers, are going to the World Series!

Our Team is going to the World Series!



I was sitting in the living room on the night of Game 4 in the American League Championship Series between the World Series defending champion, New York Yankees, and the most unlikely team to be participating in the 2010 championship series—my home team—the Texas Rangers. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched the man who first instilled the love and joy for the game of my youth expel his enthusiasm for the team who first taught me what it was to live and die with a team. And watching that game as the Texas Rangers put an exclamation point on their victory, excelling them 3 games to 1 over the team who has put an exclamation point on the assurance that our team never claims victory to any post-season dreams, I couldn’t help but recall the years I spent with my first hero—my father—and the game of my youth.




So many years I learned life lessons between playing catch with dad or discovered tactics for studying homework between ground balls and even more so, learned a bit about becoming a man while learning how to work a pitch count behind the plate. And through those years, despite growing up without the privileges of more well-to-do kid, in a neighborhood where no one was better off than anyone else, and in the home where ten of us shared three rooms and one bathroom, Dad found a way to get us to the ballpark to cheer our team. As a kid you never worry about what seats are best, because being at the ballpark with Dad was more than any ticket could ever buy. In those old steel bleachers where it was BYOB, we cheered the names that epitomized a potential dream of becoming world champions, names like Oddibe McDowell, Pete O’Brien, Pete Incaviglia, Cecil Espy, Julio Franco, Rafael Palmeiro, Ruben Sierra, Juan Gonzalez, Nolan Ryan, and Jim Sundberg. Years later, when a new stadium was built and with it, new hopes, we cheered the likes of my baseball greats, like my hero, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez.


The seats were cheap; for less than five dollars we had a place on a long aluminum bench, shared with a band of other Ranger supporters who couldn’t keep track of who was batting by the time we all sang and danced the Cotton Eyed Joe. And, with a used canned soda, we saved more than a dollar per ticket. We packed sandwiches and a few canned sodas and we enjoyed the game together, as a family, and we cheered our team between the wave and slaps of high-fives. And through those years, we had good moments and we celebrated small victories and we envisioned a day when the Texas Rangers would be a real baseball team, contenders against those baseball gods like the team who today has had to tip their hats to the new era of hero’s that now comprise our team.

In the backyard and the lot in the yard across from one of my best friend’s houses, I played the game my father taught me and secretly pretended to be a big leaguer, mimicking the men my father so eloquently described in the old Arlington Stadium. As the years went by, I learned more about the game from my father while he coached my teammates in a rickety baseball league that today is replaced by overrun grass off Interstate 35. I played this game through my high-school years, played a bit more while in the Marines and upon my return home and after I started a family of my own, I passed on my father’s legacy to my own children, coaching my daughter and both my sons.

This game has become synonymous with love. It runs through the veins and hearts of my family and it represents more than just hits and outs, but relationships and reason, purpose and dreams, desire and ambitions. And tonight, away from my children, but close to my father, I witnessed history in the city where we once believed and only dreamed of saying the words: World Series. I couldn’t imagine a more fitting conclusion to a wonderful season of baseball, shared with the man who first told me he would never let me quit, no matter how hard life came and used baseball as the justification for effort.

I am honored to say I have been a fan of the team who is now on their way to a first World Series for the city of Arlington and the fans of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. I am honored to say that we have suffered through the heartaches of many bad seasons and suffered a bit more each time we got a glimpse of greatness, only to fall short like a ball that just passed over the white chalk of the foul line. I am honored to say I witnessed this moment with the man who made sure I played the game with honor and taught me how to spread the legacy of the game that defined my childhood.

On behalf of all my childhood dreams and on behalf of a family of baseball fans, lovers of the game, we salute you Texas Rangers and we wish to say thank you—one family, to another. 

...how about them Texas Rangers!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

You can help sponsor a child for the READ3Zero Creative Fort Worth, Texas Creative Writing Workshop!

READ3Zero will be sponsoring a Creative Writing Workshop for the children and community of Fort Worth (Tarrant County) Texas on Saturday, September 25th, 2010. The cost of the one-day workshop is $50 per child and parents/guardians have an option to participate and attend the workshop for only $40. You can now support this literacy foundation by contributing $10 via PayPal to help fund a child to attend this workshop!

Every $50 obtained via donation will sponsor one child in Tarrant County to attend this workshop. Our goal at READ3Zero is to have more than 20 children attend this one day class. 

By donating $10 today, you can help furnish a creative outlet, offer hope for a child with a creative passion and present them with an opportunity to discover a means to not only create a literary masterpiece, but discover ways to get their story published as part of READ3Zero's short-story anthology, dedicated to children, "I-Write!"

The DONATION link is available on my the top right-hand side bar (--->) to this website. Or, you can click HERE to be directed to the PayPal page for LongTale Publishing.

Partner with us today and take a stand for literacy, creativity and learning in our youth. READ3Zero offers hope, encouragement, mentorship and opportunity for our youth.




***




You will never read a book, write a story, or watch a movie the same after this workshop!



The Archetypes and Roles Characters 
play in Award Winning Stories
 

Instructors:
Children's Author, Melissa M. Williams
Author/Writing Coach, Bobby Ozuna

(This class will be available to adults and in additional cities in the future)
Saturday September 25th 10:00am-4:00pm
Grade Level: 5th-12th
Location: Holiday Inn Express (WESTERN CENTER) Meeting Room
6351 North Freeway
Fort Worth, TX 76131
(817) 234-9033 (Hotel Number)


Class Details:
Learn specific character development techniques used in your favorite books, movies, and stories! Students will learn basic Psychological Archetypes/Character Roles critical to the development of effective fictional characters and how to place them in an original storyline. Heroes, Mentors, Villains, Heralds, Threshold Guardians, all have a special role while helping move memorable stories from one act to the next.

Learn the fundamental Story Layoutthe 3 Act Story Line and effective transitions between story acts, including character trials, story climax, and character change.

Learn how to discover an effective Theme for your story, including tactics to apply emotion, imagery, and utilization of the senses, while connecting to your audience. These skills can all be used in and out of the classroom.


***Lunch will be Provided***Price per Workshop: $50***

CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE WORKSHOP
REGISTRATION FORM

Email ME for questions and details.



(This particular class is GREAT for Parents who would like to learn creative techniques for their own writing. Parents may attend this class with their child for a reduced rate of $40 each.) Please note if you will be attending on your child's registration form.

Bobby Ozuna
Literacy. Creativity. Learning.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Essence of Growth

"Believe that you can, despite having heard you cannot.

Have the courage to pursue, despite having no means to obtain.


Accept when you have been given, despite feeling you are not worthy.


Share what has been earned, despite having never had before.


Be thankful for what you have accomplished, and remember the time you could
not."


~Bobby Ozuna | Aug 2010

Literacy. Creativity. Learning.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Creative Writing Workshop for Kids--Fort Worth, Texas


Creative Writing Workshop
DFW Texas Area

Presented by Read3Zero




You will never read a book, write a story, or watch a movie the same after this workshop!



The Archetypes and Roles Characters 
play in Award Winning Stories


Instructors:
Children's Author, Melissa M. Williams
Author/Writing Coach, Bobby Ozuna

(This class will be available to adults and in additional cities in the future)
Saturday September 25th 10:00am-4:00pm
Grade Level: 5th-12th
Location: Holiday Inn Express (WESTERN CENTER) Meeting Room
6351 North Freeway
Fort Worth, TX 76131
(817) 234-9033 (Hotel Number)


Class Details:
Learn specific character development techniques used in your favorite books, movies, and stories! Students will learn basic Psychological Archetypes/Character Roles critical to the development of effective fictional characters and how to place them in an original storyline. Heroes, Mentors, Villains, Heralds, Threshold Guardians, all have a special role while helping move memorable stories from one act to the next.

Learn the fundamental Story Layout: the 3 Act Story Line and effective transitions between story acts, including character trials, story climax, and character change.

Learn how to discover an effective Theme for your story, including tactics to apply emotion, imagery, and utilization of the senses, while connecting to your audience. These skills can all be used in and out of the classroom.

***Lunch will be Provided***Price per Workshop: $50***

CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE WORKSHOP
REGISTRATION FORM

Email HERE for questions and details.


(This particular class is GREAT for Parents who would like to learn creative techniques for their own writing. Parents may attend this class with their child for a reduced rate of $40 each.) Please note if you will be attending on your child's registration form.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Its been proven [that] if you walk with your head down, you are more likely to "think" or focus on issues & problems. But if you walk with your head up, you will be less likely to do so. Try it. See what happens when you pace looking down, and then see how you feel when you walk with your head up.
*
"You never know what... opportunity is awaiting you...you just have to keep your head up long enough to see it!"

~Bobby Ozuna  | 08.12.2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Go West Young Man, Part I

Life has a funny way of revealing itself sometimes. The vast majority of times we are confronted with moments that seem to be directing our fate or destiny, it is emotional--a feeling or emotion of 'can do' or 'should do'--and yet the rest of the time we are faced with more obvious and physical reminders--subtle hints and 'signs' that help confirm or deny our journey. For me, Life has once again presented herself, but this time symbolically, in the form of a final trip, to close out yet another period of transition within my life.


I have experienced many transitions, some self-induced and others, purposed. I have decided to write about the final two weeks I will spend on the road, before I transition to yet a new phase and chapter of my historical life, and close out on another aspect of the journey and quest that has epitomized the essence of my soul. We shall call this series of articles...Go West Young Man.

Of the many hats I have worn in my life, from son, brother, friend, baseball player, to Marine, Husband, Father, Computer Technician, I have gained experience. I have had the priviledge to taste waters from many wells and in the course of my short period of life, I have lived more than most men years older than myself. Some of the things I have experienced have become remarkable reminders of the goodness of life and others, foul reminders of what not to do. The most recent span of attempt, accomplishment and taste has come in the life most people have come to know on a greater, more personal aspect--that of author, radio host, publicist and writing instructor. I have dedicated the last five years of my life to learning everything there is to know--and do--within a professional literary capacity--and although, like all the other hats I have worn before, I gave my all--sometimes, we are but to experience a sample of something we want, to use for something greater down the road. Ironically, I am actually on that fare-thee-well road as I write this article, the final mental and physical push towards closing out a great aspect of my life, and like the miles of road I will leave behind me on the highway, a means to find resolution emotionally.

I recently shut down Ozuna Publications and with that, my novel, Proud Souls, will come off the 'viral' bookshelf. I am attempting to sale the last copies, leaving only a handful behind, one for me, and one for each of my children. I accepted an invitation to perform some conference and class work for my client in Houston, Austin and San Diego and getting there means miles and miles of driving. And as I sit in this quaint little motel in Flagstaff, Arizona tonight, I can't help but think how fitting it is that I close out my literary career with one final trip across miles of America, as I have done thousands and thousands of (miles) times before...alone...with plenty of time to prepare mentally for the next phase of my life--student and teacher.

It is my hope that upon my return I will begin work as an adjunct instructor with a local community college, and also my hope to begin offering writing classes for both students and adults in the city of Arlington, Fort Worth and the North Richland Hills area. In the meantime, I am returning to school to complete a task I started in 1993, some seventeen years ago. I will begin my junior year in August of this year, working towards completing my Bachelor's in Psychology, while also working to complete four more history classes to help validate my historical/educational knowledge as I work towards becoming a high-school history teacher and baseball or softball coach. So, as one chapter of my life comes to a close again, a new one begins...that of instructor, teacher, and student. I will dedicate the next two complete years of my life to completing my degree and working to gain the necessary hours of experience to enhance my ability to teach, so that one day, I can become the well-rounded, fitting teacher your children deserve.

I leave for Los Angeles tomorrow, stopping to see the Grand Canyon on the way out of Flagstaff, Arizona. I will post more pictures and updates of the previous 48 hours of travel tomorrow. For now I felt inclined to offer a snippet of backdrop--what can I say? I'm a writer--for this new series of articles which will cover the next two to three weeks of my life on the road...for yet the last time, for some time to come.

To Be Continued...

Bobby Ozuna

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Life Is Like A Puzzle


"Starting Over" is means starting from scratch--nothing, barren, like a hole in the earth waiting to be filled. And Life can be viewed like a 2-sided puzzle, one side representing your former life and the other, representing the new beginning. It takes time to sift through each piece, but one step at a time, one piece at a time, you can start new again, and within the building process, you will discover I believe, more about who you are than you ever would have, had your Life not been cut into a million tiny pieces.

So long as you have breath within your lungs and a mind to learn and a heart hungry to live and love, there will always  be opportunity to create a better, more enriched, cultured and learned tomorrow.

We each have a choice, to view the pieces as they are scattered across the plain of our world as an unwelcome guest, or, we can learn to appreciate the cluttered mess as a chance to build our life the way it was intended, the way we once envisioned it. Having a past that you are ashamed of, or perhaps, having a life that at times was determined and dictated more by the actions of others, can be hard to appreciate.  I speak from experience when I say it hurts, to feel lost and abandoned, unknowing of who you are to become, after having  lost all you thought you once were. But you can  find light within the dark pieces, of the puzzle that is your life and within each of them, determine the lesson learned and use that insight to benefit others. For, it is within the service and approach towards helping others, that you learn to discover your greatest strength and asset: Experience.

As life may have seemed to abandon you, so too should you abandon the past. You will never be your former self and the liberty in that process is knowing you have the power to build the life you always dreamed of, the one you always aspired to become, but may have never reached even a glimpse of that reality. So long as you have breath within your lungs and a mind to learn and a heart hungry to live and love, there will always  be opportunity to create a better, more enriched, cultured and learned tomorrow. And by taking a chance on yourself and finding the strength within each day to complete your Life's puzzle, you offer your  soul liberty. Take joy in knowing you control the pile of pieces that once were your former life and within the sifting and organizing, you can build the life you always wanted...one day at a time...one moment at a time...one piece of the puzzle, at at a time.

...serving the soul of humanity...

~Bobby Ozuna

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Midnight Disease

It’s the unbeaten path I walk, this long and lonely road

Where truths within my fiction, reveal confessions of my soul

No I don't create it, fantasize, hope or dream

Every word and every sentence, within my life, is what I've seen.


I know the shadows of the darkness, each of them by name

They call to me in whispers, it’s time to play their game

I've seen your hurts; I have felt your pains,

I know your secrets that you hide, the ones that bring you shame.


In the late hours of the night, I've witnessed mankind’s demise

The torturing, haunting hurt, the one he will disguise

Cold steel upon my forehead, I could end it all today

But who would finish the story; would they know just what to say?


Of two wells, I've drank the water

That of Good and that of Evil

I can identify with all of you

For all of you, are the same people.


You wish me well, you wish me love, and you wish me nothing but the best

But in secret you lay waiting, hoping again I fail this test

You told me not to jump, not to dare to chase the dream

And now remorse and regret you swallow, with every sad song that you sing.


At the oceans break I'll jump, I hear the calling of her deepest seas

I will test the waters, to show you things you've never seen

My words will Sink or swim, for failure is not my option

I will testify your truth, at the moon, you shall hear me holler.


It’s in the late hours of the night, that I witnessed mankind’s demise

The torturing haunting hurt that can never be disguised

Yet within the dawning of the day, his full potential will arise

It’s the scars of yesterday, that you must learn to cast aside.


For I am not what you believe, witnessed, wanted or seen

I am but the symbol of the life, my words are yet to dream

But you love me when I'm broken, you watch me rise and watch me fall

You cure me when I'm sick, but you do not want me fixed.



Like a sponge I absorb the pains, of my world upon my back

My words I think can help you, find yourself upon that track

I tell you this much, don't fret, for you do not stand alone

For I have been down this road before, its one I've come to call home.


At the crossroads of life, once upon a time, but not so long ago

I met the man who changed my life, He asked, a token for you soul?

I said yes without a thought, then learned to sing His song

I began to sway the world, with words that identified with all.


I spent many years in darkness, blinded by the rainbows of life

Though he fulfilled every single promise, inside, I knew something wasn't right

Though I pressed on ever onward, gaining all life had in store

Now years later here I stand, having lost so much more.


Now it takes one day at a time, to earn each piece of my heart back

I am no longer him from yesterday; I carry all I own upon my back

Still I wouldn't trade a moment, of the world that I have seen

I accept this calling of mine, forever bound to the midnight disease.


So, at the witch’s hour I write, transforming pains of yesterday

Give me time and I will show you, how to start a brand new day

My story is my testament, a new life of faith, which is my beacon

Of a light that can't be seen, I'm victorious and I am beaten.


I fight this fight, I walk this walk

It’s the piper I've paid, of him I talk

I rise, I fall, I bellow and I call

I do not fear tomorrow, I'm a writer, with my words I build my wall.

I build tomorrow with every sentence, every phrase and word you see

I love this life that I've been given, a life stricken with the midnight disease.


~Bobby Ozuna | April 21, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Search Engine Optimization Services Now Available!!!

I am moving forward with my online marketing services to now offer low cost, highly effective SEO ready websites at a fraction of the cost of other web service/design companies. I am in the process of revamping this blog to reflect the various services I am able to offer your business, as you work to gather greater online visibility, online marketability, credibility and of course, a growing fan-base for your business and business services...because remember..."your business is a reflection of you...and your work ethics and what your business represents is a reflection of you."

Services

  • Website Design
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Ghost-writing / copy & content writing
  • Press Release services 
  • Video & Image editing/upload
  • Social Networking Implementation
  • Link Exchange

If your business is in need of redesign, please, contact me here and we can discuss rates & services to fit your needs...



~Bobby Ozuna
Online Marketing Consultant

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"The Hero & His Mentor"--Feb 11, 2010

“Go in search of your Gift. The more you understand yourself, the more you will understand the world.”
~Paulo Coelho, from Brida


Every person believes they are born with a Gift and many people struggle within themselves for lack or inability to discover this elusive concept of one thing that should identify who they are. To say you are looking for a Gift is an illusion. We aren’t necessarily born with Gifts, but rather with Passions that are shared or given to the world, for the sake of others. This act of sharing your Passion is the Gift.

In my time spent studying the human condition I have discovered many people suffer with the notion that they don’t have or at the least, aren’t aware of their Gifts. Because of the nature of my work as a servant and contributor to the Soul of humanity, I am often asked questions such as these: How do you know what your Gifts are? How did you discover your Gifts? How can I tell or determine what my special Gift is? Or, they say things that give the impression they aren’t as special as others for not having any mystical or magical Gifts. My answer and explanation is this: The Passion and enthusiasm that sparks life within everyone around you, either when you do this one thing, speak of it, or act on its behalf is the physical and external representation of your Souls inner voice; that which brings you pure joy is your Passion and the manner by which you share it with the world freely is your Gift.

These two concepts of Passion and Gift go hand in hand and the mistake lies when people try to separate the two, searching for one, without understanding or appreciating the other. Each represents a variance of expression of your Soul or your spirit—your true self. The ability to share your Passion is a Gift; what you share is your Passion. Each of these aspects—one being physical and one being emotional—are components required to create a balance or harmony to your spirit, because they are together a direct representative of your Soul—or your spiritual being. The three—your Passion, your Gift and your Soul—together comprise you as the unique individual. One cannot survive without the other. A greater concentration of one will tip the scales and bring an imbalance that causes distress and confusion within your Soul, which then births turmoil within your mind that is then expressed in the physical form. This is a form of unhappiness. It is not your duty to find your Gift so much as it is your responsibility to discover a means to share your Passion. To discover your Passion is to discover your true essence—who you are as the spiritual being—not what your Ego or mind has led you to believe of yourself. To discover your Passion you have to learn to silence your mind or ignore the Ego and listen to the subtle whisper of your Soul. Your Passion does not come from within your mind, but only from your Soul.

The mind is the palatial seat of your Ego, and the Ego only represents what you have experienced already, what has been conditioned to be your truth of your past experiences—culture, religion, traditions, etc. And the Ego also uses those experiences to create chaos or struggle with who you were purposed to be. This is the duality of individuality—the struggle between who we think we ought to be (Ego) and what we believe we were purposed to become (Soul). This can be viewed as the inner struggle between thought and action, good and evil or responsibility and dreaming. In short, you are your Soul and your Soul or spirit is what births your Passion and your Gift is the manner by which you share your Passion, or the thing or things special and unique only to you. Your Ego is the hindrance to your personal discovery because within the Ego or mind lay the guilt of your past, the fear of the future, the anxiety to act on behalf of your Soul and the doubt to ever move forward or break loose of what or who you have been led to believe you are. When you learn to separate yourself from what your Ego has convinced you to believe of yourself, and thereby allow your spirit to become the dominant force or representative of the self, it is then you will discover your Gift, which is simply the manner in which you share your Passion.

Your Gifts aren’t something you conjure within your mind nor are they subtle inclinations and momentary desires, but an ability to share a Passion, which is the voice of your Soul. Understanding this means you cannot find your Gift, but learn how to share your Passion. I cannot stress this enough. You can discover your Passion, and learn how to share it, and this is the Gift. To give something to someone is to give them a Gift. What you give is your Passion and your Passion is the representation of the voice within your Soul. As an example, I can write stories and I have an ability to share the written word. This is my Passion, but how I share it with the world is my Gift. If a person said they can sing, but wouldn’t dare sing before others, then they don’t have a Gift to give, but a Passion they will not share. And because the Soul is dependent upon both Passion and Gift to act together, by not giving away your Passion you are thereby creating turmoil within your Soul. This again is what we call unhappiness. Joy is the feeling or emotion we get when we give to someone else. Joy is the feeling or emotion we get when we give to someone else freely, without expectance of something in return. To obtain greater joy or happiness in your life, you must first have the courage to share your Passion, or simply give the Gift of your Soul.

Do not let your mind destroy your Passion. As an artist I understand the necessity for solitude, the much needed requirement of silent time alone, away from the masses in a moment of stillness and peace. Creativity is born when the mind is at peace or when the Ego has been silenced or altogether ignored. Some people call this process of quieting the mind prayer and others call it meditation. As an artist, I call it both. It is in the late hours of the night I create my best written work, because it is within the silence of the night and the quieting of my mind I am thereby able to discern the subtle whispers of my Soul, which spark pure creativity. This desire to write and find balance within myself is my Passion. To cease writing would suffocate my Soul. For others, to quit playing a musical instrument, quit cooking, singing, dancing, painting, drawing, etc., would destroy them internally. This is because to refrain from doing these things, is to ignore the Soul, which is to ignore your true self. By spending time alone every day, in silence, you will be able to better understand your Passion, and then when you discover a means to share it, you will find that which you thought you were looking for—your Gift.

Your mind or Ego will work to convince you that you are not worthy of helping or serving others because of your past (Guilt). Your Ego will scare you away from the adventures of those uncharted waters within your future (Fear). Your Ego will convince you to belittle your own abilities within the present moment (Doubt). Fear, Doubt, and Guilt are tools of the Ego which create anxiety and within them, physical pain or outward expressive unhappiness. Your Soul is the part of you that wishes only to give. Your Soul is the part of you that represents the light and all the good of who you were purposed to be. Your Soul is your true self. Have the courage to listen to your Soul and you will discover your Passion today and have reason and cause to share your Passion as a Gift tomorrow. In this process you will discover a greater sense of purpose, reason and more importantly, happiness. Writing these words is my Passion. Sharing these words of encouragement with you is my Gift. I look forward to seeing what Passions you will share as a Gift to the world tomorrow.

~Bobby Ozuna  | Feb 11, 2010
Author of PROUD SOULS
www.OzunaPub.com
“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.”
~Paulo Coelho, from Eleven Minutes


I began my writing career some thirteen years ago, which is to say I began the work of learning and mastering (if there is such a thing) this craft around 1997 after my return home from the Marine Corps—a place that contributed to some of the most powerful aspects and characteristics of my life to this day. It was a time in my life when I gave way to a darker force, surrendering all of myself for a chance to learn how to truly master the power of the tongue. In a foreign land across the ocean, somewhere around 1995 in a dark piece of South Korea (where I will not further divulge) I met a stranger and in casual conversation I made an exchange of my soul for ideals and philosophies that today I struggle to peel away, one piece at a time, one day at a time. I became so acclimated with the darkness that it became part of my mind, my body and my soul, so thoroughly engrained, that to remove myself from that life has been similar to trying to erase memories of my existence. It has taken me many years to get to a place where people see a greater light where a shadow once loomed. When the time came for me to remove myself from that certain walk of life, I struggled dearly to save my own life. I experienced aspects of a spiritual world so frightening that I can’t help but laugh at someone who says there is no such world, for I have witnessed things that would scare a non-believer onto their knees if not for anything but to beg for a means to pray. These experiences would forever play important roles in my life as a writer. The more in touch I became with my abilities as a writer, the greater the complexity of pull from both sides. The whispers which have become my muse started almost to the very moment I surrendered my life to God, and at the same time, my gift of discernment flourished and transformed into a life of its own within a gift of written words. Today I better understand what I had stirring in my soul as a child. Today I better understand how to provide an outlet for the darker side of my soul, whereas the shadow thinks I am giving it life, but in reality I am masking the truth behind the power of fiction.

Dreams have always been a part of who I am, visions and premonitions tormented me as a child, leaving me awake many nights to cry under the covers, on sheets that would be soiled before the morning sunrise. I thought perhaps it was only a phase, but not long after going overseas that same shadow, the one that haunted my early childhood, reappeared in the orient and I knew it wasn’t a coincidence but a revelation of who I was or what I might become. I fought it which is to say I ignored it and shared this with no one, and when I got tired of feeling abnormal, I surrendered to it—to him. This lasted for approximately five years before another powerful force entered my life, dictated and determined by signs that were unavoidable. My desires to write exploded when I converted my life in service to the Lord God. All I learned from my days in the shadow were not erased or replaced, but enhanced, with a heightened sense of purpose now replacing a desire for the self. It was not long after making this choice [that] I began this quest as an author, writer, artist and contributor to the soul of humanity. I set off on the road less traveled—the street of dreams—thinking I was doing it for myself, but realizing, now many years later, that it was for you.

Since setting sail on this journey, beginning this quest to fulfill a literary dream, I have learned more and discovered more of my true self. My patterns of work, the principles and virtues that have bound me to my decisions and my fate and the philosophies of life as an artist are a direct reflection of the journey I set out to participate within and become consumed by. I have surrendered much and lost much more along the way. If one were to evaluate my life on paper, then I believe they might say I don’t have much of a life at all. If you instead measured my life by what I have acquired in terms of self-discovery, then for as hard as it has been to obtain, I have acquired much. But for every ounce of wisdom, there were pounds of pressure I had to endure on this struggle to see my dream become a reality. For every grain of knowledge I acquired in experience, I spent hours becoming the fool.

I have lost the faith and confidence of family members, time with my children I will never get back, a place to live or a consistency in anything called home, clothing, material items, a steady diet, sleep, money, bank accounts, credit and friendships in pursuit of this dream. Yes, there was a time when I would light up with excitement at the very idea of sampling a taste of this dream. Today, that is gone, replaced now by the reality of truth that anything worth having will be hard to come by and patience is acquired when you are forced to sit still, with nothing in your possession to occupy that space of mind called desire. I have discovered that the realm of desire and fantasy or the world of dreams isn’t far from the abyss, but actually rather close to it. Because the closer you get to see your dream become a reality, the darker the clouds, the heavier the rain and the less shelter there is to shield your body from the elements that are purposed only to destroy you. There is light at the end of the tunnel, that is for sure, but you must remember you are in a tunnel, a tunnel that oftentimes does not have light and a tunnel that has many holes, cracks and alternate pathways.

I have in my favor the memories of the shadow and my darker days, which ironically have given strength to my ability to represent the light. I have traveled far enough on this road that I cannot go back, for I have lost everything I started with and I have nothing but the road ahead. Some days there is sunshine but on most days it will rain. The difference I think is having the ability to look past the storm clouds and use the wisdom obtained to know it is only water—and water is symbolic of the life force that comprises who we are, where we come from and how we survive.

Yes, the traveler who ventures out to pursue a dream does so with a youthful naivety, excited and encouraged by what they may become, but upon arrival, wherever and whenever that moment may be, they are different, weathered by a storm not familiar to most, as most of us will only know the simple rain, but never witness the storm whose archetypical function is to destroy you before you reach the roads end. How long you participate within the travels of such a road will be determined by what you set out to achieve and how much you can emotionally, physically, and spiritually endure. Just when you think you left with nothing, you realize what nothing truly means. Just when you think you understand humility, you are humbled on the side of the road. Just when you think you are appreciative, you learn the value of the smallest things. And just when you think you knew yourself, you come face to face with who and what you really are.

It is my life now to live and maintain my youthful spirit, a spirit who wants to do well with the opportunity it has been given, and it is my mind and my wits that will help me survive the abyss, which is always on the other side of this road less traveled. 

I will forever have one foot in the fairy tale and one foot in the abyss, for they are one and the same, and they are me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Intimacy Between Author and Reader

I have a gift. I am a writer of souls. I pay attention to everything. I understand the intimacy between me and my reader as the reader is the recipient of my passion...the reader is my lover.

I have a gift of discernment that allows him to hear more than I should--an ability to read the souls of people through their eyes. No, you cannot hide from it and your desires to know more are what keep your focus, and your focus is what allows me to see within your soul. This is inevitable.

I can see things, hear things—those tiny whispers and pleas and cries for attention. I study people, all of them, each of them and their souls tell me the truth, the truth of reality, of life and of our existence. Your soul tells me your story.

I pay attention to everything, to all my lover has to share, as the reader is my lover and my reader is both hunger and prey to my intimacy.

I study my reader as though she were my lover. I study the movements of the body, every twist and curve of her body, the subtle sounds she makes, the sounds of her body calling to me, searching for truth within the pressure of my being. I know her tastes, her smells, her desires; I know and recognize the pulsating beats of her heart as she sways in unison with my force as she is taken, taken to solitary places with the power of my words—through doors and hallways within her soul she would never admit to, never share. She will never confess to their existence. She will lie to the world to keep them safe for all of us cling to that one sweet vice.
She, my reader, is my lover and my lover is my reader. I watch her, study her, taste her, smell her, hear her, and listen to her until my words become all she was longing for.
My words are that thing you search for when walking aisles and aisles of cover, in search of the book, not the one you want to read, but the one you need to become, to fulfill that void that brought you there to that place to begin with. They are the fulfillment of your desires. My words are the cotter to that hole in your heart and that confusion within your mind—the answer to those elusive questions.

You ask how I can do it, how I can know those tiny little secrets? It's because I am watching you, always watching you and listening when no one else will pay you that attention. I touch you with only words when you are sleeping and my words are the restlessness of your nights and the soft quench of thirst in the morning dew. I have become a part of your soul now and my words will not escape you. You cannot avoid it. This too, is inevitable.

Your desires to be taken somewhere new are fulfilled within my words. You cannot deny them or escape this truth. All you have waited for is written there on the pages. They are the calming of your soul, the petting of your patience and the warming and comfort of your sleep. You don’t have to play small to suit those around you any longer, for a void has now been filled. Keep me to yourself and turn my fiction into your truth and their truth into fiction.

I am a writer, an author born with a curse that has become my gift. You have only to lay down your guard and find the intimacy and power of the written word within my pages. I know my reader...and the reader is my lover. That which you seek, you have found.

I am the writer…and you are my reader…and the reader is my lover…and the lover knows his reader.

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