Nightly Advice from Alexzander: A late conclusion

Your best work comes later. I mean later in life yeah it usually can. I just have a different meaning to focus on.

I get thrown off and stressed about finals weeks as much as anyone. They’re hectic, they’re trying I know. My final week in December of 2015 was a height of stress and work for me. Dealing with multiple family deaths, an expiring housing lease, and no way around it, finals week started for me. I had like two actual tests to take, that area was covered. I had research papers to do. 100 pages worth of honors college material I had to write and submit to be reviewed. The three separate projects I were all different. One was a research piece on some sort of pre-10th century piece of architecture of my choosing.

I’m a comm arts major.

One was a investigation into Detroit’s Food system to prove whether or not the FDA was right in dubbing it a food desert. I told my group I’d do the writing if they found the research. They didn’t find things I wanted so I doubled down and researched. And I had to prove to my Marx-sympathizing ‘woke’ professor that Detroit wasn’t a barren wasteland, an established opinion of his. I hated him talking down about my hometown. And I hated even more than he had an uninformed opinion. My grandfather made himself and my family a living by starting a food company inside of Detroit.  So I wanted to call his bullshit.

I’m a comm arts major.

Last project was supposed to be my autobiography. Which seems doable, you know. I’ve lived with myself my whole life. I know how to answer these questions when someone asks. But I found myself staring at the 30 page minimum requirement. That professor said to us, “This is essentially meant to be a complete story of your life. If you die young, I’m making sure that your story can be told and not forgotten.” Whoops. He wanted everything.  I found myself realizing that I had completely tell everything. And yeah I knew all the events pretty well but how do you explain everything to someone who’s never met you but just reading about your obituary?

I skipped review sessions in other classes that week. I started Tuesday morning typing and I got out of my chair three times in the next 50 hours, once to eat, once to sleep, and once to turn in my papers. I spent 18 hours stretches typing. The only thing I would listen were compositions that gave me power. I listened to so much Sergei Rachmaninoff that I considered myself a savant regarding his life by Friday. I’ve never been pushed so close to the brink before. I could of spaced out my work and been finished by November. But I did this intentionally. Why? Because the best work comes when you’re under the gun. Your finest material comes in the last hour. When your back is against the wall, you have only one direction… and that’s absolute victory. That’s what needs to be touched on when you need a win. That’s where you need to go to to reach a new level.

Nightly Advice from Alexzander: Giving Up and Really Strange Advice

I could really write so much about fellowship. My favorite topic, probably the biggest thing I focus on in life. The latest strive towards fellowship came this past weekend going on another retreat. Pretty common behavior for me. The retreat was with a household I recently intent-ed for, Ahim Adonai. We had about 24 hours worth of plans that mostly involved being around a fire. We had plans to hammer stuff out by the fire, that’s the type of conversation we wanted. From these conversations, we expected to learn and change ourselves: A nice refined goal. The learning and changing that occurred for me focused on an idea of giving up. I had set goals for the year, things overall to focus on. My social goals especially I focused on/attacked in a set manner. I had the way of going about it, and I went after it. I was thinking about a trip I took recently back home. When I was around old friends, I could really see how much I’d changed. I realized that I wasn’t achieving the goals I wanted to achieve at the start of the year. The style I was using, that I was absolutely bent on using because it was ‘authentically me’, wasn’t me at all. As I sat around that campfire, the conversation made me realize this. I remembered my previous conversations and I watched my new ones. I had to change my ways. The concept of giving up came into play. Giving up doesn’t mean losing hope or complete retreat. But I had to let go of certain close things in order to get what I needed to achieve. I had obviously given up part of myself in the past to achieve the previous goal, that landed me here. Evolution was necessary to achieve.

Strange Advice

My godfather Carl was the second oldest in my dad’s family of five boys. He went through a nasty breakup with an apparently serious girlfriend right around the time I was born. He proceeded to not have any romantic relationships for 15 years. Growing up in a stable household as a child, I always pondered why he stayed single. It seemed to be the norm to be married in your 40s. He had a line that he’d always use whenever I asked him: When the student is ready the teacher will come. Backwards advice. I always just assumed it was a smart ass comment. He would mouth on about something like he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship at the time–completely fine and understandable. The part that always got me was when he’d try to explain that once he was ready, women would just appear to him. The idea of them coming out of the wood work like it was the end of their hibernation? Wasn’t feasible.

Carl owned his own business. Around when I was 10 he became close with a worker from his business. This seemed like first non-family friendship he had for years. The employee, Joe, was a cool guy. He just hung around, never really a hassle. Joe moved to China to study abroad around the time I started high school. Carl told me that was basically his first new friend in a decade. He was just so focused on his introverted life and business, this was the first thing to come naturally. He then proceeded to begin dating after. It took me until his next relationship ended, about two months ago, to understand the depths of what he always said. One thing I failed to look at the entire time was the readiness of the individual, and how they worked themselves. In anything in my life, if I wasn’t ready internally… I’d have to compensate so much that it simply would not work. Once Carl was internally ready, he was able to have his best success in that field. This doesn’t mean that there were no dateable 30-45 year olds in the Algonac area for the first part of the century. Because there definitely were. None of the relationships he would of gone after would have worked as well as after he was ready. The student became ready, and the teacher came.

Nightly Advice From Alexzander: Weekend Edition

This past weekend I had the pleasure of going on a retreat for the young adult group AGAPE, a product of the Archdiocese of Detroit. I was introduced to this group through a teammate of mine from high school, his mother happened to run the group. The group was essentially a hub for the Detroit area: Connecting local small groups with each other while providing them with aspects/resources that they couldn’t afford or support logistically. The first experience with AGAPE was a retreat I attended in winter 16′. The retreat was in the middle of quite a rough time last year; a handful of situations made receding to a sanctuary in the woods the right decision for me. The chance to just recede from stresses and challenges to go be at peace with my religion provided for me. It was enriching. This wasn’t backing away from my problems in life.

No. Nothing like that.

What was accomplished on this weekend moved far beyond any mere academic knowledge. I didn’t learn any bible verses or anything from the catechism. What was given to me was a chance to unwind. A chance to refocus, hell, just a chance to focus in general. Everything was so pent up in my life at that moment that I barely had the chance to breathe. All of my power was spent focusing on these problems, that I had no time to think about my basic human emotions. I had no time to progress myself in different ways, I was stuck trying to fix the past while working on the present. I had no leeway, no ability to work on myself. This retreat provided me a way to touch on points that my body was clearly ignoring. This was the case in all my experiences with AGAPE. From the first retreat to summer events. From summer events to current events. It was the chance to regather my thoughts and make corrections. I was enabled in so many different ways through this group, that this was the only way that I could think clearly in tough times.

Each retreat I’ve taken was satisfactory. I had no major epiphanies, no crazy surreal 1st hand experiences of burning bushes coming down from Heaven. Just time away with myself. While I had the time alone, I shared time with people who have similar goals as I. Every retreat has featured group a distinctly different and vastly cultured group united under similar premises. That was the Catholic religion. I can’t find adults who want to share in the Catholic Faith now-a-days. It’s a fleeting area. But I could encounter genuine Catholic fellowship on these retreats. That is worth so much more, genuine religious fellowship, that anything I could offer.

My advice to you would be to take time to participate in your local community groups. They do provide enriching activities to everyone, even those who seek nothing. Outside of the fact that you could have a life changing experience, you’re given precious time to adventure and time alone. In our ever-ending lives, we have too many experiences that are normal, common. Too many things that we’ll say we did a thousand times. Well, I’ve only been to the Capuchin retreat center once. Or the Michcindo camp grounds. Even the YPMC grounds in Northern Michigan that I’ve been to 6 times, I can promise you each time was too different than the last to say it wasn’t worth it. Take the time to let something like this change you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It did what it was meant to do.

Nightly Advice From Alexzander 10/4-10/10

It’s pretty much your own fault.

 

[sic]. People can’t handle fault. They can’t handle losing or being told they’re wrong. They usually can’t handle not getting what they want either. It’s a terrible biproduct of our culture. It’s appropriate and almost expected to have a scape goat for every situation. One area this is so common is relationships. They never end cleanly, or else they wouldn’t of ended. And it’s just not ok to peacefully conclude things currently. You can’t have a disagreement without the other person offending you on an ‘interpersonal’ level or have an amicable arrangement to simply focus on the issue at hand–not dragging in their character or what they did to you last month at lunch. There’s a common thread in all of the scapegoats though, they seem to all steam from you deciding how to feel. You see, no one can make you feel a certain way. They didn’t make you angry when they called you a name, you decided to be angry. The waitress didn’t ruin your day, you ruined your own day. The idea behind it is that most things in life can be affected by your internal thoughts. The mind controls the way you feel. Your decision to handle things smooth or coarse is your own choice. It’s controllable. If a situation goes south, I have to remind myself to step back and look at what I can control. If I can prevent it from going further by staying upright and positive… then the onus is on me to make sure it goes that way. I have a duty towards positive works at that point. I’ve come to find that most of these situations don’t become unfixable until after we submit our own biases and negative internal thoughts. This is further reminder that we can control part of our destiny by being aware.

What can you bring to a table that isn’t lacking?

When we plan our courses of action we can be stricken with dehabilitation upon seeing a table that isn’t lacking, a situation that already has an answer. I woke up that following morning and wrote that statement down. The answer I came up with involved you rearranging the table.

A wonderful Frank Underwood quote from Netflix TV show House of Cards. Creating a new situation. Changing something not about yourself, but of others. If you throw the plates at the wall then it’s lacking again. It’s a marketing scheme. You make yourself more enticing when you can create availability to be needed. The sign of chaos can be frightening, yet, arises a chance to change a previously static situation.

The items on your bedroom wall should be something strong enough to motivate you.

I own fifteen posters and 3 flags. They’re all hung up around me as I type. The walls are filled with varied images from Dave Grohl wearing a “Jesus is my airbag” sticker, Gordy Howe memorial cards, to snakes actively demanding to not be tread on. The two most important posters are the first ones I see every morning. Ones of Frank Underwood and Tyler Durden, main character of Fight Club, staring intently back at me. These men mold my actions daily. They remind me of the goals I have set for myself, the ambitions I have yet to achieve, and the world that needs to be affected. They stare at me as living things seemingly. They hold me accountable for my actions. They are strong enough to motivate me.

 

 

 

Nightly Advice From Alexzander 9/28-10/3

Always talk to your professors after class

I’ve never not talked to strangers before. I’ve always been the person who goes up to someone and asks. Speaking with people is one of my favorite things. In turn, this helped me develop a habit of speaking with judges, referees, doormen, or bosses outside of our sanctioned activity. There’s the initial wonders of mere conversation that arise. The glories and beauty of being able to communicate with any individual from any culture or corner of the world arise. You experience one of the most tangible ways to express the human conscious: talking. All of that is really cool. When you speak with someone a bond is simultaneously created. You have now added yourself and your words onto the tapestry of that individual’s life. They now have an experience with you. They have a memory. That’s even cooler. All of this applies to your professors or bosses when you speak with them, especially the last part. You’re creating a life experience with them. My professor will lecture to hundreds of students in one day. All faces in a crowd that ask the same questions, learn the same material, and generally have the same purpose for being there. They have to be there. When you speak with them after class, the rapport being created bases itself on a separate idea. You’re not here because you have to be here, you are here because you want to be here. I desired to make that connection after my class with renown Catholic theology expert Scott Hahn. I made it a point to introduce myself and shake his hand after his 100 person lecture. I believed that this would create a memory for him of me. Weeks later I approached him after another lecture. We had been working on the ideas of the Via Antiqua vs Via Moderna. I went up to Dr. Hahn after class to ask compliment him and ask further about the lecture. The past few weeks the intricate details of the unit had flown over my head. That day he hosted a phenomenal lecture and explained it perfectly. It felt like he had finally hammered the nail down far enough to hold on. We further discussed the idea and his philosophies on it for twenty minutes. It was a splendid conversation with a famous theologian. I really think it changed the way I look at things. Incredibly enriching experience that came from just speaking to my professor.

The line between fancying someone and dancing with someone is courage

This line is a reference to a very powerful song called “St. Ides” by Macklemore. The original line goes “I know the devil fancy me, but that don’t mean that m*********** gets to dance with me.” A deep cutting line that from a song that discusses spirituality and his alcoholism intensely. This is first indicated by the first words of the song “I think happiness went the other way//sometimes you just have to wait// I never believed in God, but things got so f*cked up that I had to pray.” The song, very harsh indeed, has been an inspiration in my spiritual life. It serves as a reminder that other individuals are struggling and fighting. Considering the falls and battles we have to face in living, I believe it can inspire courage in others. Courage to put down a bottle, start a prayer life, regain a positive lifestyle, or even just asking someone to dance. The courage we expel when we act is one of the strongest forces in the cosmos.

Furthering on the idea of moving between ‘fancying and dancing’, the courage used is almost always required to succeed. When we think about our goals and these highly touted acts or achievements, sometimes the only separation is a mental boundary. These boundaries often require incredible strength to overcome, yet, it was constructed by us internally. Anything we create within us can certainly be destroyed, right? These obstacles are only propped up by us.

Tranquility>most things

Brought about by a night filled with peaceful things from my past–mainly sleeping in my old queen tempur-pedic bed. The further I go in my life the more I long for slower things. The less I look for crazy exciting events, the more I long for smoke breaks on porches. The less I look for attention from wild people, the more I seek stoic and listening individuals. The less I want to have a ‘good time’, the more I want to have calm time. Because the calm time turns out to be the good time. After college I’d like to think I’ll miss only a few things, and I really hope they were the calm times on those porches with listeners. I certainly need excitement, I cannot deny that at all. I’ll always enjoy thrills and need ways to boost me up, who doesn’t? I just come to recognize how functionally great and under appreciated watching cars drive by can be. Or green tea in a park. Or people watching with the right person. It’s one of the things that can neutralize everything and bring you back to zero. Reset you in the right direction. If we forget about this things, then our psyches really suffer. We have to be able to unwind. We have to be able to see the importance in that. We have to be to live our lives looking towards tranquility as a positive experience, not a lifeless night.

Nightly Advice From Alexzander 9/22-9/27

If it’s absolutely needed, don’t feel pressured, run.

We’ve been taught by society that aspects such as failure or weakness aren’t acceptable in any form. Society shows this side by saying males aren’t allowed to cry; That they only are only allowed to show stoic or rage as emotions–which ironically are the same two emotions society doesn’t let women show. These functions of the standards did serve purposes of maintaining order or tradition. I understand it, you don’t want to teach your soldiers, entrepreneurs, or children to be weak in order to not set it negative habits. Yet, we ignore that failure is an instrumental and intricate part of  life. It’s an instrumental and intricate part of success. Failure is quite possibly our greatest motivator. It allows us the rare chance to revise and resubmit our answers. Failure is literally always an option. It promotes growth and maturing. We only achieve our greatest accomplishments due to the lessons learned from our worst defeats. Only then are we able to change, only then are we able to grow. I spoke on this after a split second, heat of the moment decision to step down from a junction in life. Could I have bettered myself if I ran forward with a high chest and soaring confidence? It’s plausible. It’s entirely likely and in hind sight, might of been the better of the decisions. But I refuse to let this decision go to waste. You have to chose to recognize the opportunities, seize the new actions available to you after your choice.

When you experience a moment at a heighten state of yourself, you are able to craft your outcomes.

This touches on the effect that awareness carries. Awareness has to be the most beneficial aspect of a self-actualized being. You’re able to digest, comprehend, see, or perform at such more efficient levels. Everything improves when you have increased awareness. When you can tap into these developed traits, situations around are more in your control. You can handle emotions and responses previously unchecked. You can calculate and strategize faster and with more precision. These put yourself at an advantage in any situation. Over time you can continue to exercise yourself and continue to perfect your growth. With these enhanced traits, you can truly start to steer more situations towards preferable outcomes. It the chance to test and rebuild your situational abilities.

Patience and positivity are still the most valuable concepts to grasp.

Patience isn’t an exclusive trait. Lots of people claim to not have it. Patience really is evolved from more than just waiting for something, but allowing yourself to be calm and ready for the moment. There some things in life I refuse to wait for. If I’m deciding what to eat at my university cafeteria I really first look at the lines. If the main meal line has a 20 minute wait, I will always chose something different that has no line. Even if it’s the fourth day in a row I’ve ate soup, I still have beat the non-existent societal chains or the systemically oppression that “the man” keeps trying to stick to me. That is not an example of true impatience that can harm you. That’s simply choosing a quicker option.

This evening I had to film a project for my university’s broadcasting program. Two minutes before our start, we blew a circuit and lost power. The entire control room flipped out, frantically running around attempting to fix the issue. Took us almost an hour to get operational again. During that time, plenty of individuals panicked and stressed out over a situation that was beyond our control. I realized that nothing would get accomplished with petty arguments, nervousness, or complaining. I stayed firm in my job of fixing what needed to be fixed, even though my role was small and probably not going to solve the entire issue. That was fine. I just kept looking forward and not letting the situation bring me down. That was the last route I wanted to take. Even after we became operational, we had major hinderances and will likely have to reshoot most of the project again. This is simply perspective at this point. Do we chose to be upset, lashing out against the issues that weren’t entirely controllable? One of our producers held this attitude that was completely embodied in patience and positivity that transformed the situation. He stated that because of this, we’d probably have to reshoot. Yet, this reshooting allows us to further perfect our craft. We could fix the mistakes that were overlooked due to time constraints. Yes we have to take extra time with it, but we’re able to have a revision towards this major piece. He reminded us that this situation was entirely a blessing. Our entire crew had their spirits lifted. We were now incredibly excited to film next week. We couldn’t wait for another chance to conquer success. The amount of things that are editable with a change in perspective is shocking.

Nightly Advice from Alexzander 9/14-9/21

 

Pundits now base their knowledge in emotivism rather than rational entities/laws… The culture is changing.

In today’s society, we are flooded with talking heads and celebrities that are role models and experts. They speak and expect to influence on fields that they decide. Using your platform to speak on issues is ideal, it’s certainly should be the goal. Yet, there comes an issue when society looks at someone like Kanye West as an expert on random popular topics. These men hold prestigious positions of being world class at what they do for a living. But these men are now considered experts on all topics of life after they open their mouth. Society looks at Kanye as a god–you think he pushed his nickname Yeezus by accident? This position on these celebrities changes if they present information that is logical, well thought out information that is backed by research and facts–not a popular opinion just to appease or gardner attention. I learned this lesson after reading an online feud between Fox News Anchor Sean Hannity and MSNBC Media correspondent Brian Stelter. Both are wildly in support of their preferred presidential candidate, Hannity for Trump and Stelter for Hillary. Both engaged in a series of back and forth tweets that played out like elementary recess. Both responded with videos the next day after each insulted the apposing candidate. They blindly supported their candidates, not giving any light to the real issues and concerns brought up. They brought their feud, crafted off pride and pettiness, on their respectable journalist avenues. It’s within their right to speak and write how they please, just it’s now a common place object that touted and highly watched individuals run off of emotion rather than logic and facts.

Extemporaneous words will be expertly said and believed if the necessity that evoked it requires your finest

One of my greatest skills is extemporaneous speaking. I’ve always felt comfortable speaking and adjusting on the fly. It’s a trait that I inherited from my father, yet is always being worked on and perfected. I frequently strive to explore ways to make myself more comfortable when speaking extemporaneously. Simply, I have found that the more tranquil and calm I am, the better I seem to speak or perform.

This past week I was asked by a good friend that works for the Archdiocese of Detroit (AoD) to film a short video. The message was regarding the aspect that impacted me the most on a Diocese retreat I attended last winter. Easy seemingly, I’ve spoken on camera hundreds of times and given public talks about similar topics before. I even spoke about this same prompt to the AoD during a separate video months prior. I sat down last Saturday morning and attempted to determine out what I was going to say. I had the three or four points written down in prep for the 90 second video. I shot about 8 videos that morning and couldn’t get through one without mistakes. Whether it was mispronouncing a word or saying something that didn’t sound good, I was performing awfully. I took another go at it the next day with strikingly similar results. I simply wasn’t speaking well at all. That night, I ended up going to a friend to hash out the video. She gave me a pep talk and the future lawyer hammered down points I should put emphasis on. I went into an enclosed room to try to create something and I was shut out again. She came in after a few minutes and tried talking it out more with me. I told her when I followed script, I wouldn’t have many physical blunders. But my words seemed generic and futile. So I naturally would go off script in attempts to forge a more polished product. Nothing I said sounded right, though. She asked me why I felt the need to go off script. I realized that if things weren’t of a good quality, my brain would jump into extemporaneous mood and attempt to salvage it by adding on a stream of words. It was like adding a caboose onto a train to make it longer. The individual carts seemed average in length, but when combined together made the length impressive. When I felt the need to go extemporaneous, my words were probably just average. I added on a few more statements that focused on hitting points previously untouched, adding emphasis and emotion where needed. And I was able to craft a quality statement that seemed fueled by brilliant improv. When in reality, I was just taking a scouting report of my previous words and adding on where I thought would of worked previously. This only occurred in situations that required my finest, if it didn’t, then my initial statements would of satisfied. This was a completely new way of seeing my conscious streams of thought. After the renewed vision, I refocused my words in attempts to hit the quality level required without any extemporaneous speech. I was able to craft up a video worthy only after I realized the situations expectations for me.

This is all deeper than classes or money or impressions. Focus more on your self and your health/sanity.

These words came actually from a text I sent to a group chat that was bickering over nonsense. The group message was composed of all first year students I had befriended during the first few days. The argument was petty and lacked real angry, but began to take personal shots at a student who frequently skips class. A few individuals stated it wasn’t smart to skip classes he paid for. The rebuttal from the defendant stated that he’s paying for an education and if a class doesn’t contribute to his education, no money is loss. I began typing in a statement about how through my experience last year at college, it was beneficial to skip classes when needed. I wouldn’t go to a class the morning after I stayed up until 3am writing a term paper. I promptly would let the professor know an hour before class of my absence, and we moved on. They’re professionals but they’re also people, they’ve lived through many of these circumstances. My friend who skipped paid for so much more than a simple class. Things like friendship, learning how to live with a stranger, learning how to write in all fashions, learning how to fend for your self in situations, becoming a functional adult, professional connections that lead to internships/jobs/careers/lifestyles, stay in shape, discovering yourself at what many consider to be your life’s peak, and gathering how to attack your hopes/dreams are a few things that aren’t on the syllabus for most classes. A University is supposed to teach you how to live with a person that you discover more about every day (yourself). Both of the groups were right, no you shouldn’t skip classes and yes this is more than taking notes and listening to lectures. At the end of the day, everyone is not only an adult, but paying their own tuition: how they act is of their own accord.