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Photo Credit: Marius Zierold

It’s been close to eleven years since I last wore a gi and was thrown over someone’s hip, but I still practice Aikido every day. Not in a dojo, and not on a practice mat, but in the office and in my home.

What is Aikido?

Aikido, for those of you unfamiliar, is a martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba that rose to prominence after World War II. It’s influenced heavily by both Jujutsu and Kenjutsu, and those can both be clearly seen in the techniques. Whether it’s in the joint locks and throws so similar to jujutsu or the emphasis on seeing the hands as blades as it incorporates the sword techniques of Kenjutsu. …


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iStock.com/carlotoffolo

Let’s face it. Things are bad right now.

Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s hard to be happy about anything at the moment, unless you’re, I don’t know, a bridge troll, I guess? You need something to take your mind off things for a bit so that you don’t spend your nights and weekends staring into the Void. Sure, there are innumerable excellent podcasts about history, news, and politics that you could consume, and perhaps you should. But if you want to keep your sanity, you occasionally need some time away from them.

I’ve hand-selected nine podcasts below that I listen to regularly, and are exceptionally good at making you laugh, helping you grow, or simply giving you a reason not to choke on your own rage. I’ve also included a recommended starting episode for your enjoyment. Your mileage may vary, but if you happen to be the same kind of nerd as myself, you’ll find these worth your time. …


It’s easy to forget what’s important to you.

It shouldn’t be. It should be easy to say “no” to the unimportant. It’s counterintuitive that we so easily set aside our priorities in the wake of the new shiny. But we do, and quite often. I’m as guilty of it as anyone.

Why do we do it? Is it that we don’t believe in ourselves? That’s one possible answer. But I think more than anything that we often live subject to the tyranny of the urgent. An opportunity floats our way that’s time sensitive, attractive, and challenging, and we look at our own work and say, “I can get to that after this.” Sometimes those distractions are actually profitable. It’s even easier to justify setting aside your personal goals then. …


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Photo Credit: Lynn Friedman

I’ve been thinking about kindness a lot lately. As anything, it’s the result of the juxtaposition of several events, but without a doubt I’ve been mostly thinking about it in the context of raising my daughter. Emotions can be difficult for humans to manage, and a huge focus for us with our three year-old daughter has been teaching her the skills to handle them. Anger, sadness, and frustration can easily overwhelm a little person, and having the tools to deal with them is important. Often, I tell my daughter, “It’s ok to be mad. Being good isn’t about never getting mad, it’s about how quickly you can get yourself back under control when it happens. …


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I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons again for the first time in over ten years. It’s been a lot of fun, and challenging as well. When I started playing again, I elected to begin by being the DM for my group, which is quite a bit of work, but very rewarding. As we have played, I’ve found myself spending a lot of time thinking about what D&D means to me, and how important it was for me growing up. …


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Let’s talk about regrets, shall we?

They tend to haunt us through the years. Sometimes they are the things we wish we had said (or could be unsaid), and sometimes they are bigger than that, a path you didn’t take, or one you abandoned only a few steps along the way. It’s the second type I’d like to focus on today, and I’d like to start with one of mine.

Blues for Guitar

I have always had a fascination with the guitar. From an early age, I remember my father’s subscription to Guitar Magazine and our annual trips to the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival to see live performances. …


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Photo Credit: Joel Montes de Oca (edited from original)

Do you keep a journal? I often wonder.

It’s something we’re told we should do. Any simple search on the internet, or any self-help book you care to pick up, will suggest that there are numerous mental health benefits to journaling. Yet, when doing informal polls of the people around me, it seems that few do, at least not as a discipline.

The Practice in Question

I’ve written before about the practice of morning pages, and how I think they are an important writing discipline. However, morning pages may contain a much broader swath of material than I’m focusing on today. …

About

Daniel Andrlik

Writer of speculative fiction, VP Product at Ecolane, and Minister of Intrigue. Opinions my own. http://www.andrlik.org

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