1001 Life Lessons…

15th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: What is a life lesson you feel everyone can benefit from learning?

The Answer: Always include a number in your blog title.

Ok, I’m being just a pinch sarcastic on this one, but tell me it isn’t true. No, please tell me. It feels like so many blog titles are following a recipe that calls for a numbered list. All this math is exhausting. Anyway…

I shared my perspective on this topic already in the very first post of this series, however it received very few reads as I was just newly onboard this WordPress platform and hadn’t built up an audience yet. So I highly encourage you (beg of you), to check out Dear Monty (1st post for #bloganuary). Don’t miss out on this life lesson!

Be well,


The 6am Job Interview

14th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: Write about a challenge you faced and overcame.

Facing challenges, overcoming some, learning from all, has been a central theme in my writing. Earlier this month, I wrote about my journey of recovery from chronic pain and living with depression (Discovering Hope). I won’t repeat myself. So, I’ll share with a you a simple story about the challenge I faced this morning and how I approached it. Life is not always about the big challenges and events, sometimes its just about meeting the little challenges of the day.

At 6am this morning I had a job interview. I’ve got a good job already, and this company had reached out to me, so it wasn’t a high pressure situation. However, this was my second interview with them and the during the first interview I kinda started to get my hopes up about the potential opportunity. I really liked the line manager and, if there is one thing I’ve learned after a quarter century of working in industry, a line manager can make or break a job experience. There is nothing worse than having to go to work everyday and face someone that doesn’t trust you (or you them). Anyway, I started to get excited about working for this new company/line manager and it got my mind speeding up, building up expectations, and stress.

Last night I tried to calm my mind by jotting down a few key points that I wanted to make during the interview, but I still slept restlessly and awoke at 5am tired. What to do?

I did the same thing I’ve done every day for the past 30 days and off-and-on for the past few years. First, I rolled out the mat and did a simple 20-minute yoga session to wake my body up. Starting the day with a self-care activity is the best way for me to remind myself about my priorities. Starting off today, like any other day, helped remind myself to keep the day ahead in perspective.

Following the yoga session, I sat for a 10-minute guided meditation to get my mind in synch with my body (doing the yoga first is key for me as otherwise I’ll tend to fall back asleep when I try to meditate first thing in the morning). This morning, my mind was on fast-forward and I really struggled with staying present. I was so fidgety that I laughed out loud at myself at one point. But I sat and did my practice. It’s more important for me to do the work, than how well it goes on any given day. In fact, I would say that the practices that are more rough tend to be the most valuable for building my emotional resilience.

At this point, it was about 5:40am and I only had a bit of time before my interview. Not enough time to take my coffee, but too much time to just wait. I decided to try something to release my nerves. There was an exercise offered on my meditation app (Calm) called “Daily Move” and today’s movement was focused on dealing with strong emotions such as anger and fear. While I wasn’t feeling these emotions, I thought it could still release some of my nervous energy. The guide had me in horse position punching the air. I really got into it. Maybe I was feeling a bit of anger after all? Haha. Not sure, but it felt great.

With 10 minutes left, I needed to get set up and take a quick look at my notes. I logged onto the video conference at 5:59am. I felt energized. I felt calm. I felt confident. While it will be some time before I know the results of the interview, it doesn’t really matter for today. Today, I took care of myself. Today, I’m feeling good. I’m ready to face the next challenge of the day.

“Namaste” by Monty Vern

Be well,


Aging Grey-fully (a Paint Chip Poem)

No Love For Fatties invites us to join in on her Paint Chip Poetry by creating our own poem inspired by the paint chip colors of the week. I think this is a really creative and fun idea so I’m giving it a try. Check out her original post and join in too if you feel inspired.

Paint Chip Poetry

Aging Grey-fully

I never planned to age gracefully;

I never planned to age at all;

But with every attempt to abort a failure,

I’m still here;

Well, most of me;

I find myself disappearing top down;

Almost nothing left on my crown;

So, it’s a shopping day;

What shall I go with?

There are so many choices:

Silver Ash?

Whitewash Oak?

Arid Plains?

Something more macho,

Battleship Grey?

Or, perhaps one for each day?

A day-of-the-week toupee?

Yes, that’s it!

I’ve gotta take a pee, but I’ll be right back;

And I’ll take the multi-pack!

Be well,


Weird Science

13th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: What does your ideal day look like.

The Answer: Frictionless.

I dedicate this post to all of my fellow science nerds.

Originally Published on MontysScribbles.com


If: Work = Force x Distance
Then: Work = Effort × Progress
Therefore: All Effort plus no Progress equals no Work

However, without work there is no progress
Therefore: No Work = Effort × 0 or Effort = No Work / 0 = 0/0 = 0
Therefore: Effort is worthless

Reality check:
“Work” (i.e. this here poem) is clearly worthless yet took a lot of effort
Therefore: Conclusion confirmed!

1) I made an ASS(umption) of myself and /or
2) Physics is bullshit and /or
3) What the %$&@?

I’m gonna go with all three…I’ve discovered three new natural laws!

Wait?! Then evidently this poem is not worthless.
It must be priceLESS…oh no…not again.

Be well,



12th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: What emoji(s) do you like to use.

I make my own.

How I first felt when I read today’s prompt:


But then I realized I could showcase some of my previous masterpieces:

“tantrum” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts
“on-fleek” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts
“not laughing!” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts
“outsmarted (by self” – originally published in Thirteen Words (vol. II)
“shh” – originally published in Thirteen Words (Vol. II)

I fully expect this post to translate into a spike in sales (and I will notice as I haven’t had a sale in over three months…haha). Happy emoji-ing.

Be well,


Living Courageously

11th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: What does it mean to live boldly?

First let’s get grounded…


(1) in a confident and courageous way; showing a willingness to take risk.

(2) in a way that is characterized by having a strong, vivid, or clear appearance.

– Oxford Dictionary

Ok, so based on this literal foundation, I’m going to reframe the question for today as “What does it mean to live courageously?

Living Courageously

Living courageously is being open, honest, and vulnerable.

Living courageously is admitting to my mistakes and making amends.

Living courageously is loving myself with all my faults.

Living courageously is loving another unconditionally.

Living courageously is changing the things I can.

Living courageously is accepting the things I cannot change.

Living courageously is choosing life even when I don’t want to.

Living courageously is finding joy amidst the pain.

Living courageously is simply,


What does living courageously mean to you?

Be well,


Sun, Happiness, Coffee, Writing & Gratitude

10th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: What are five things you’re grateful for today?

1) The morning sun. While it’s not a sunny morning per se, the sun is doing it’s job and lighting up the morning sky. Reminding me to appreciate the improbable wonder of life.

“Life” – originally published in Thirteen Words (Vol. I)

2. Happiness. I chose to feel happy this morning. I’ve been making this choice more and more in life. I think this is what they call wisdom.

“Happiness” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts.

3. Coffee (and a sense of humor). Hehe. I make myself chuckle.

“Coffee” – originally published in Thirteen Words (Vol. III)

4. Writing. Writing saved my life once…and every day since.

“Wild Writing” – originally published in Thirteen Words (Vol. III)

5. Gratitude.

“Rebirth” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts

Be well,


An Uninspired Post

9th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: What do people incorrectly assume about you?

Well, sh*t. I’ve been on a role (in my not so humble opinion), but I feel wholly uninspired by this question. This could just as easily be written as “What do I (incorrectly) assume that people incorrectly assume about me?” I feel all this assuming we do about what others are really thinking that causes such ugliness in our world. I don’t want to contribute to more of this unhealthy assuming. All we know is how others behave and all they know about us is how we behave. It’s that simple. Don’t get me wrong. I’m just as guilty as all of us in attributing others intentions and meaning behind what they say and do. I think it’s human nature. But it’s not helpful in most cases. Whether we are making positive or negative assumptions about others we are missing the opportunity to listen openly, to inquire curiously, and to trust vulnerably. We are missing the opportunity for true connection and love. So, uninspired by this question, yet inspired to do better, today I choose to share myself more openly and listen to each of you without judgement.

“Judge” (Originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts)

Be well,


Discovering Hope

8th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: What do you like most about your writing?

Ok, this time I’m going to have to twist the prompt a bit. I’m not so inclined to write about what I like about my writing. For me the act of writing is much more important and interesting to me then the resulting work itself (that is not to say I don’t enjoy my finished works, but by comparison the writing itself is much more the point). So I’m going to change the prompt to: What do you like most about writing?

I’m glad you asked! The short answer is writing has saved my life. It’s hard not to like (appreciate) something that has saved your life, right? I’m not exaggerating. This isn’t hyperbole (I think…maybe I should recheck the definition). To explain, I think it would be helpful to first provide some background and context. Let’s look back at a personal essay I wrote last summer, ‘A Monster Named Me’.

A Monster Named Me

Originally published July 15, 2021 on Monty’s Scribbles.

All it took was the slightest sharpening of the sword in my eyeballs or the tiniest cinching of the vice upon my temples and I knew the Monster was arriving. There was no guessing involved. If the Monster peaked out from the closet then it was guaranteed to come out to terrorize me. The monster, a.k.a. my migraine, was a constant presence in my life. It was always there. Sometimes a low level threat hanging out in the closet. Other times, more so than not, a dangerous and angry force out for destruction.

My ability to predict the onslaught of pain was uncanny. It was like I had perfect clairvoyance, but only in this one aspect of my life. How could this be? The answer was simple. The monster was me. I wasn’t predicting its arrival. I was conjuring the monster from within me.

A Monster Named Me

What I had thought was a wild and uncontrollable force was in fact a well-trained and obedient pet doing my bidding. This was non-obvious to me though. I spent years, decades, feeling like I was at its mercy. I could try to placate it. Manage the intensity of its anger by avoiding certain triggers or curling up in a dark room, but these measures were of minimal effect. In fact, it seemed as if there were more and more triggers. More and more of life that I had to avoid if I wanted some peace. Instead of living life I was avoiding it. I felt hopeless.

There is a name for what I was doing. This “reading of the tea leaves” and predicting (i.e. calling) the onslaught of pain. It’s called “catastrophizing”, which is the mental process of constant negative thinking and emotional responses to pain that can lead to pain becoming worse in intensity and duration, i.e. chronic pain. Essentially, I was programming my brain that when I did something ”dangerous” (e.g. a trigger) the pain was inevitable. I was programming my brain that, if the pain started, it was unstoppable. That the pain would escalate in intensity until I needed to escape with sleep and medication.

Some people confuse this concept with meaning that the pain is somehow ”less real” or ”made-up”; “all-in-the-head”. Well, the reality is that all pain, whether it be from a broken bone or a mysterious migraine, is a mental process. Signals in the pain being interpreted as pain. So it makes sense that negative thinking and emotions can influence how we experience pain. And because our brain is amazing at learning, it starts to program itself. To learn that a specific cause (e.g. trigger) will lead to a certain result. That a specific experience (e.g. eye-pressure) will lead to a full-blown migraine. We essentially train our brain to experience chronic pain. But this pain is very real. No less real than the pain from a broken bone.

When I learned this, I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I also thought that it was an absolute tragedy. The brilliance came in the form of realizing that if I’d programmed my brain for chronic pain then I could also, possibly, reprogram it to something more pleasant (like “not pain). Suddenly, I realized I had the potential to control this wild monster that had ravaged me for so many years. That’s where the tragedy came in. How did it take me 35 years of suffering to become aware of this? I’d taken hundreds of different medications and procedures to “manage my pain”, some to address emotional distress associated with the pain (e.g. anti-depressants), but none of my doctors ever let me know that the power was within my own hands (or brain, I guess I should say). The answer, of course, is that they didn’t know about it themselves. It’s not part of the main curriculum for pain management (at least in western medicine). Oh well, better late than never, right? But this is why I’m sharing my story. Perhaps there is someone out there suffering as I was that will read this and discover hope like me.

There are many mind-body tools and techniques for reprograming our brains for pain. Catastrophizing is just one of the many aspects that need to be addressed and everybody will have their own personal journey. And of course there is every possibility that there is an underlying physical/physiological cause for the pain that needs to be addressed medically. But there is hope. There are tools that can help us.

Today, after over three decades of suffering migraines, I’m pretty much pain-free. I have pressure in my head sometimes, actually quite often, but that pressure remains just pressure. In the old days I would have viewed that pressure as a bad omen and boom the pain would come. These days, if the pressure starts to intensify, I pause, acknowledge whats going on, perhaps do a breathing exercise, and get back to life. In essence, I’m cured of my chronic pain.

I’m currently writing my full length recovery story which I will be sharing as soon as it’s ready. It’s called “Discovering Hope”. I’m pretty excited about sharing my story and sharing my hope.

Work-In-Progress (estimated arrival in December 2021)Work-In-Progress (estimated arrival in December 2022)

Briefly, I used self-help techniques including cognitive-behavior, mindfulness, and expressive writing exercises. The specific program I used is called CURABLE(R) (CurableHealth.com). It’s an online, digital health program and available as an app on your smart phone. If you experience chronic pain then I encourage you to check it out [this is not an advertisement, I’m just sharing what worked for me]. Your also more then welcome to reach out to me with any questions about my personal recovery journey. There is hope, and I’m happy to share it.

Well, that was a quite a long write-up on background, but I think it was important. Now let’s get back to the question at hand. What do you like most about writing?

As mentioned in The Monster Is Me, part of my recovery journey was expressive writing. It’s a mind-body technique that helps with working through unresolved emotional issues. Although most of those expressive writing sessions resulted in torn up scraps, they planted a creative seed within me to explore my life-experiences through the written word. Making sense of my life through writing, and later drawing, has been a running theme throughout my work. Sometimes seriously. Sometimes with a much-needed sense of humor. Writing has continued to be a self-care practice for me and the main driver for me even writing this piece.

Along the journey I’ve found my words and my people. Check out my About Me page for more explanation including links to all my major (self) published works.

Be well,


Seriously Unserious

7th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: What makes you laugh?

Answer: Me. And I mean that seriously.

Seriously Unserious (a serious essay about silliness, seriously!)

(originally published July 25, 2021 on Monty’s Scribbles)

Silliness is not a frivolous exercise for me. But rather a battle for some semblance of sanity. My brain tends to drain into downward spirals. Things tend to get pretty damn dark after awhile. The facts don’t matter so much. The dream house. The loving wife. The healthy kids. These are just idiosyncrasies in a life too good for me. Emotionally, I feel unworthy.

So what to do when I’m feeling blue? It makes no sense so there is no amount of evidence that will support a winning defense. A logical argument just gets twisted and warped within my noggin. I’m wired for self-flogging. The answer is a cliché. Let me explain my way. The best defense against my negativity is a seriously unserious offense. Truthfully, it’s quite silly. Literally.

“Haha”, I force a fake laugh. “Hehe” I yelp, hoping it will help. Sometimes I speak in garbely gook, a language of nonsensical sounds that usually have a rhyming hook. Once I’ve found my sound, It becomes my dance track. My body starts to move like a moose that just lost its rack. Unburdened. Clumsily leaping and lurching to freedom’s beat.  Never looking back.

Onlookers may call me crazy. Except young kids. They understand me. They join in with their very own whoop and holler. No need to fake their laughter. They’ve yet to forget that silliness is a sure-all cure-all to the doldrums. Kids are wired for play. That’s why they are so resilient against all of life’s trials thrown their way. Then we “grow-up.” We forfeit our silliness for seriousness and life becomes injurious. 

But usually this is a solo affair. Just me flailing strangely in the air. Starting off forced and fake, a true laugh starts to overtake. I twist and turn in a mental dance. My downward spiral spinning into an upward swirl. Silliness lifts my spirit. I don’t know why I keep forgetting this. That’s what this essay is for. A reminder for when I’m feeling down and unsure.

Silliness, my drug of choice. Yes, some side effects. Most notably strange looks. But trust me it’s worth it. I’m speaking to me as much as to you. For I’m in a moment of need. “Haha”. “Hehe”. Off I go. This is going to be one hell of a weird dance show. Let’s get up while getting down. It’s time to go to silly town.

Be well,