Fears Are Challenges

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I don’t think anyone can change who they are for very long, before they go back to their core self.  Challenging yourself is a part of life, but the core self can be sustained.  Inside the core, there is good and evil, and like anything else in life, whatever you feed, augments.  To hate yourself is to hate what you’ve been feeding yourself; nothing is static.  You have your ancestors, your environment and culture, and what you do with it depends on what you are attentive to in your own personality and nature.  Man is not what he thinks, but what he entertains, and even then, that is only for a time.

“Don’t stare too long into the abyss, or the abyss will stare back into you.”  What you focus on, comes to life in a meaningful way, so then I want to focus on meaning and hope.

Honesty:

When you meet someone well for the first time, they are giving to you what is true to them, who they recognize as themselves.  This is usually based on what society wants or who they want to be, not generally based on action or sustainability.  But honesty is dependent on introspective capacity and protocol under pressure; therefore, all honesty cannot be equal.   There is a lot of nuance in behavior – for instance, pride can resemble confidence.  But if you want to know what lies behind what you see, what you accept of yourself, then you just have to look at your actions and the things you are drawn to.  Actions do not define you — habits can be moved somewhat — but these are reflections.

Home Is the Heart:

Your values are your True North.  Even if you are not to blame for what has fallen down, placing the blame anywhere else is pointless.  How can you ask a tree to shed its leaves for you?  People have their temperaments, and they are either agreeable with yours or not.  Maybe a tree will lose its leaves in the winter for a time, if you are patient.  There are many sides to a person and to life.  But you can’t ask a tree to lose its essence.  Only water nature, appreciate its comfort, or walk past.

Up or Down:

Most people do not lie to others, but lie to themselves, then it will called being mistaken.  For some, going deeper inside is not necessary, as they’ve already unraveled a lot of what belief and hope are built on, but mostly for me, protocol was easier than finding what I did not want to.  A lot of deeper things are inconvenient.  What there is no point in believing, is still worth seeing, because it gives you humility and depth.  If pride is the side effect of introspection, then the depths have not been penetrated; introspection is not necessary to have humility, it could lead to self-absorption.  But I go the long way, so I don’t have to come back again.

It was because of what I wanted of me, that blocked me from seeing. I did not want to let myself down.  How could I be ambitious, or rigid like my father?  I threw myself against the things I wanted to be to prove it to myself.  But extremes can’t be sustained. It’s not problems that cause suffering, but denial or lack of acceptance of what is.  The denial meant that it would be hard to ebb and to flow.  In the end, flaws are forgivable, but pride, absorption, and denial are the parts of nature that cause suffering.

Nature:

Fear is nothing to fret over.  Anger and sadness are a part of being human; why fight them?  If you know that everything that is meant for you, is going in a similar direction as you, with similar concerns, how could you worry?  Structure is important to preserve your essence and your health, to not stare too long into the abyss.  With structure — to preserve values — humility, and optimism, you will always have a place to be.

My values are clear: endurance, consideration, and knowledge.  Anything that left had to.  I always look to the future.  People with different priorities have to follow who they are.  They found the places and people, the ideas suited to who they were.

Like goes with like to survive and to thrive.   A droplet joins a bigger stream.

Fire purifies.  Purification and thought burns and burns slowly, and that means a lot to me.  Some will not see the point of your values, but they are not for them.

You are everything you need — you are all parts of nature, the good and the bad — everything that matters and that can be sustained is internal.  What is similar finds its way home.

The Top Place to Declutter

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The best place to declutter is a tough call, but I always recommend to start with the small categories. These really pay off. In that way, progress builds momentum, which makes the rest a lot more effortless. There are a few areas to declutter that show the biggest results immediately: wallet, glove box, medicine cabinet, condiments, and cleaners. But the best place to start is the medicine cabinet.

The reason for this is because it is the one place you will use every day, no matter what. Lazy days and sick days, you will still come to this place. Opening the door to your most useful possessions can cause dread, confusion, or it can look like a spa and produce a relaxed feeling.

Medicine cabinet tips:

1. Prime real estate goes to the essentials. Store everything that isn’t used on a weekly basis somewhere else. In a clear box under the sink, in the closet – anywhere but crowding your daily used items. The spa look is an elegant and spacious look.

2. Go label-lite. Take off labels on anything that is not medication. This is possible because you will use it all the time. Minimalism is a highly pragmatic and elegant lifestyle. Bottles look so much better when the polished glass is gleaming back at you.

My essentials:

bamboo eco-friendly toothbrush – decomposes in the trash faster than plastic, bamboo is prolific and affordable
reusable glass jar floss – very compact for storage and travel, very beautiful
unscented bar of soap – rose water has a scent, but I prefer it if my cleaners do not
sensitive deodorant – lavender and orange

If it is the summer, you can also prepare your own deodorant with Everclear alcohol (3 oz) and about 30 drops of an essential oil like orange and grapefruit (both or only one). Shake it and spray it on to your skin. You can put this under your regular deodorant.

Other ways to smell clean:
wipe before applying deodorant
eat more green vegetables, drink more water

How to Store Fruit/Vegetables to Make Them Last

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Here are the fruits to keep separate from others, because they give off ethylene gas, which cause other fruit to ripen:

avocado
banana
papaya
pear
tomato (fridge)

cantaloupe
honeydew

kiwi
mango
nectarine
plum
apricot

In the fridge, I store these with a paper towel to help them last longer:

cucumber
greens
carrots/celery (same container)

Julia

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When I was 17, I took a clerical job and received my own office and autonomy.  I had hoped for a job like this for a long time.

I had a hard time considering others or hierarchy at the time.  I was eager to prove myself, coming from the bottom.  I remember the first day.  The woman I was replacing was retiring.  I had so many improvements and enthusiasm, and I loved showing them to management.  They were well-received, but the woman leaving, this was her life’s work, and I could not appreciate her institutions or be cognizant of how she was feeling about fear of being invaluable.  It was ironic because I was feeling the same, but I couldn’t see past myself.  

A Cell in a Bigger Body:

We’re in something bigger than ourselves, and it can take a lifetime to see it’s not about us.  It’s a work in progress for everyone I think.  She passed away about a year ago, and I never got to say goodbye or thank her.  

I had to learn to consider, to put people over causes and ideals.  Everybody appreciates appreciation.  Many things should be analyzed, but people should be respected and loved.

Authenticity:

Even though authenticity varies from person to person, unfiltered authenticity after the past has refined, often looks ordinary.  There is minimal drama and self-gain to it.  There’s nothing praiseworthy of failure.  Reality is brutal and sometimes hard to come to terms with.  But know that the brutality is part of the beauty and part of the whole.  Integrity remains under pressure.  Integrity requires us to see what is involved, in whole.

We honor our past by recognizing our part in it, and improving where we feared.  The fire refines and burns away impurity, and fire is pain.  So much time is spent on what makes a good person, but there is less need for deliberation with humility.  By being present, it may engulf, but we can’t help but want to avoid hurting others because they become more valued when we give dignity to ourselves.  Belief is halfway to realization:  You have compassion and value.   You can develop protocol to not let yourself down, and you can find an environment in which fosters the values that you do.  

It becomes clear when we come to, that we mattered just as much as everyone else.  We impact each other’s lives, so let our impact be pure.  

5 Boards: Use Pinterest To Organize Your Life

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Pinterest has helped me to greatly reduce the amount I keep in my notebooks.  You can also use Google Drive, but if you are visual, then Pinterest works excellently.  I’m about 50/50.  Some lists are just so much better on Pinterest.  Although I do use Pinterest for pleasure as well, I try to utilize it practically first.

There are five boards I keep separate on Instagram.  I label these boards in capital letters with an asterisk in front of them, so that they cannot be confused with random boards.  Each asterisked board has roughly 10 pins.

The way I add information to these boards is very deliberate, and that’s the only way to make these practical.  If you pin whatever pops into view, your Pinterest boards will soon become cluttered and functionality will decline.  Rather, I gather pins for these boards from around the internet on my own time, usually not from Pinterest.  It works a lot better like this, if I curate what I add carefully and if I focus on quality over quantity.

My 5 Boards:

 

IMPLEMENT: ideas to implement immediately – articles of green living tips or things I will buy/create

RESEARCH: practical articles to summarize in my notebook, on topics very important to me

STYLE: specifically for my home or wardrobe, an aesthetic that inspires

WISH LIST: since this list is small now, I’ve combined it with the Implement board

WORDS: if I’m drawn to a word, I look it up on Google and pin it

 

Other Board Ideas:

Business Ideas

Working On – whether woodworking or personality typing, specific boards, again carefully curated

Movies – favorite movies, to look for patterns or so you don’t forget one

Food – favorite places to eat or recipes to try

Beauty Ideas – YouTube videos (you can pin videos)

Funny Reddit memes

Dream board – although the Implement board serves this function, perhaps if you have big dreams or are still a teenager or in college, could be useful, especially to look for patterns in what you are drawn to

 

 

 

Best App of All Time

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Probably the three things that have changed my life have been my cordless vacuum, my clear notebook, and the Daylio app.  I have never found such a perfect app, and I’ve tried hundreds.  It is not only completely customizable, but every feature you could think to want has already been implemented.  It even backs up all your data to Google Drive, so you have it on all computers and never lose it.  It can functional as a journal as well, and you can lock the app if you’d like.

Most of the categories are self-explanatory, but for the ones that are not:

ww (woodworking)

dot (period)

E4 (moody)

notes (writing in notebook/planning)

sm (social media)

practice (15 minutes of steno practice)

water (65 fl oz of water)

flowers (new flowers)

 

 

The #1 Minimalist Tip: Inside First

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My vice had always been anger, and I have gotten better at dealing with it, by recognizing what causes it or feeds it, and by meditating.  Nobody in my life saw me angry, but that’s because I had a lot of shame for feeling.  I learned over time that the violence that I experienced, encouraged violence in myself.  Nobody really knows.  When you come into the world, there is no baseline for what is healthy and what is not.  That is learned or felt, and the lessons often have to be sought.

The anger wasn’t destroying me, it was the debilitating shame I had for it.   How could I work on what I couldn’t face?  I never ran away from anger, but I only tried to take the edge off shame.  Shame can cause you to check out or turn to other vices, or to lean on others because you can’t trust yourself, or to continue in arrogance because you already believe you’re too far gone anyway.

Home life was unstable and violent, school life was rigid and controlling.  They tried to keep us from drinking, promiscuity, drugs, swearing, frivolousness.  My weakness had only been anger, but the more that I was controlled, the more angry I became.  The more angry I became, the more shame, the more distraction.  Pride or checking out takes the pain away, or finding a scapegoat the handling becomes too much.  But it only makes you feel worse in the end for losing yourself, more shame, and it becomes a full-blown problem.  To feel defective is the original problem; fighting yourself is the Sisyphean task, a losing battle.

Change occurs the best with a level head, not through self-loathing.  To truly hate yourself, you have to check out or denigrate yourself.

But the reality is everyone is human, no matter if they look it or not.  You are not any less than anyone you follow or admire.  Because value is in purity of heart and peace, and that requires very little, only being simple again.

Courage:

I think the only antidote to pride is transparency.  Every intention gets corrupted by desire after a while, but introspective honesty is our saving grace.  There is courage in transparency and in protocol, to do what is right despite what we feel.  My protocol is to live according to my values and to reject shame and manipulation, to treat people with consideration.

Dignity:

I learned over time that (1) no one size fits all.  Everyone is dealing with something differently and has a unique temperament.  The more objective a person is, the more they will know how subjective they are.  The people that introspect the most don’t want to control others, because they know they aren’t any better than anyone else.

But (2) never encourage guilt or shame, as that’s manipulation.  If you want something, ask for it, but don’t try to convince someone it is the right thing to do or that’s what they wanted all along, because that’s how children begin to mistrust.  Children can sense something is off, even if they can’t defend themselves.  They have a taste for the way they dealt with reality as children, whether through checking out, running away, or indulging, and those are truly deep habits that they will have to have compassion for one day.

Love:

Love is not an excuse to do what we always wanted, as we’ve seen of it.  Recognition of motive and where we hurt others, accepting of our needs and even small desires, is honesty and beauty.

The best minimalist tip I have is to enjoy yourself first:  I worked on my possessions because I didn’t know how to fix what was inside.  When there was nothing else left to touch, then I moved inward.  But simplification of life comes so much easier if you work on the reasons why you collect or why life spins out of control, what affects mood, and by accepting peace.

Maybe you think you could never live minimally, well, or in harmony with your environment, or that you’re too far gone anyway.   But I am here to tell you that if there was a way for me, there’s a way for you.  You alone are enough as you are.  You had value before you did or said anything in this world.  One life has infinite value.  All lives have value, no matter what they do.  Set up a structure, and don’t be too hard on yourself.  Neither procrastinate, nor rush.  Take everything in balance and enjoy the changing seasons, the highs and the lows, the inconsistencies.  Nothing stays the same:  There are many sides to a person and to life.  With patience, a new side emerges.

Mind matters:

Working on the mind is grossly neglected, and we see depression, abuse in homes (1 in 3), and addiction.  People are disillusioned with the brutality of reality, but there is beauty in suffering and joy.  All has to be accepted.  If you numb yourself, there is almost no joy left as well:  We’ve died, but we’re not dead.  There is depth in death, but don’t stay too long.

When a man returns from war, he is not the same.  He knows he’s not on the battlefield, but his body’s cortisol drops and can’t signal to the stress hormone that he is out of danger.  So his body is perpetually bathed in a higher level of stress than normal, causing hypervigilance, insomnia, and fatigue.   So it is in pets that have been abused, when they hear a loud noise, they return back home, whether the home is safe or not.  Pets that have been severely abused will not walk out of an open fence if they are set free.  They cower in anxiety or become aggressive, but they stay in the same place.

The way to improve society is through encouragement and camaraderie, seeing ourselves in each other by knowing ourselves and accepting ourselves fully.  Integrity is wholeness.

Restoration:

All we can do is take forward the best habits of the past.  All we can do is refuse to make people suffer on one hand and comfort them on the other, causing them to disbelieve in humanity.  Honesty of our motives and limitations, that is our saving grace.

In a way, we leave the past when we take care of ourselves.

Healing only comes from fully knowing yourself and your actions, and admitting to what you want out of life, not rejecting it because you don’t believe it’s attainable or other things have to be attended first, to be worth the little things that bring joy.

There is a better way, and it’s simple: giving back and being at peace with life.  We have compassion for the people that hurt us.  In the end, your compassion is not complete, until it includes you, for all the things you’ve done, thought, and wanted.  It is okay to be human, and it is okay for everyone around you to be as well.

 

Importance of Health

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It is very important that we take care of our health, and this is because everything that we are and give is colored by our personal health.  No matter if we give care for love, inspiration for love, or authenticity for love, all of this is colored by our internal and external states.  For instance,  if authenticity becomes an excuse to be purely selfish or lazy, then it’s lost its value.  If favors are just a way to get needs met, then they lose their beauty.  If inspiration is just a way to feed our pride, then it loses its impact.

Everything heightens – favors, inspiration, authenticity – with a healthy soul and mind.  But a healthy mind, soul, and body is not an easy task.

Solutions:

Perhaps the two biggest reasons these may elude us is (1) we are not consistent and (2) we do not believe in ourselves, we are fighting ourselves.  No man is the antagonist of his story, but his mind may be.  But you have to fuse your conscience with what is, for true cohesion and wholeness and integrity.  There is no integrity with constant cracks.  So if a conscience drives people to wear out sooner and takes away a level head, which aids good-decision making, then it has lost its value.  Just as authenticity can lead to selfishness or stagnation, so too can a rampant conscience.  It can drive people to break, then come back to remind them of the break.  So there is no win in fighting yourself.  You have to merge what is.  And what is, is that we are human.  There is no perfection in this life.  How can you accept or love others, if you cannot love yourself?

Being consistent:

On constancy, it takes more than an exercise once a month to have a healthy body.  I knew in court reporting school that I had to do a little every day.  It was more important that I did 30 minutes of practice a day than 10 hours of practice on one day, which some students tried to do.  Habits are slow.  This is why minimalist living makes so much sense.  It encourages you to do less, more slowly.  This is important in building behavior.  In our childhood, behavior and trauma was set, and it takes years to move it back, but it’s worth it.  You’re worth it.

Examine beliefs:

Maybe you don’t believe that you have value.  All you can see is your worthlessness or your self-loathing, or overcompensatory pride and arrogance, or partners and beliefs that stand in for yourself, because you don’t feel that you alone have much value.  But you are all you have.  You come into this world alone, and you will leave alone.  You don’t own anything forever, and you cannot own people.

Mind over matter:

On the topic of mental health, you cannot practice meditation once in a blue moon, or have one day where you relax after 50.  It has to be a lifestyle in some way, of listening to your body and your mind, and adjusting.  The key to overcoming, is to not put yourself around negativity in the first place.  So much anger is caused because people put themselves around those that they cannot trust, or because they depend on someone they think they can.  So much is caused by not becoming healthy and giving back, and letting the rest come to you.  I saw the world, and it was good, and it is only we that complicate it.

Minimalism comes into play in allowing you the time to develop good habits, based on the highest priority.  I don’t know if that is your mind, body, or soul.  I don’t know what needs the most work right now.  But it carves time and space, my two favorite things.

Some things worth considering when it comes to the mind:

living in a warm place if at all possible, spending time in nature

meditating, breathing deeper at least

10 minutes of working out

drinking more water, eating less sugar and carbohydrates

being more creative (like watercolor painting)

choosing your five closest friends carefully – friends influence friends

taking time every night to do something you love, like light candles

adding in luxury and variety every now and then – a cup of rose water in the bath or steaming your face

petting an animal

participating and giving, spending less time inside yourself

 

3 Reasons Why You Will Accomplish Your 2018 Goals

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January 12.  That is the day that most people give up on their goals, but not you.  We dig deeper inside of ourselves.

Because we don’t give up.  We re-evaulate.  We ask the right questions, pay attention to the right data points.  We are either not following our passion or we are not doing what works, but both are things to investigate.  

Important Questions:

1.  Is the goal in question in line with my skill set or values?  

Is it just a means to an end, a seeming necessity, pressure from society, age, or someone important?

For instance, my goal is to not have a to-do list longer than 5 things if at all possible, while still fulfilling my purpose.  This is important to me and doable.  I will not give up.  I will try to automate as much as possible and not put myself around situations that involve so many errands.  I can move on to the next question.  

If you are unsure if your goals go in line with who you truly are, think back to your childhood, what you enjoyed and what you excelled at.  Were you athletic? Studious?  Organized?  Nurturing?  Is that where your passion and goals are?  It is a habit to focus on what we think we should be focusing on, instead of focusing on meaning or passion in the things that we do.  Once you lose sight of purpose, it can become drudgery.  Meaning makes the days flow.

 

2.  Am I being too hard on myself?  

If you are trying to lose weight and you keep trying the same things you’ve always tried, it probably won’t work.  You have to get to the underlying problems.  If you talk down on yourself all the time, it makes it likely that you will break your dietary rules, morals, boundaries – anything worth having.  So be realistic.  Treat yourself as well as you treat other people in your life.  Some people treat their pets better than they treat themselves.  

Also, if you don’t have a track record for discipline, it is not a good idea to set yourself up for failure by making your goals extreme or rigid.  Adjust.  Always adjust.  Never give up.  Just be flexible.  You either adjust or justify, but always adjust.  Take time to relax, always.  Reward yourself and be reasonable.  Draw up a schedule until it works well for you: Try making it more fluid, more relaxing, more enjoyable – try different methods. 

Identify problem spots: distractions, clutter spots in your house, apathy.  Always focus on what is holding you back.  Is there a workaround?  Can you focus more energy in that zone?  Can you knock it out earlier in the day?

 

3.  Are my goals visible?  

Have you minimized so much that you cannot see what you want or need to do?  Visible cues are very important.  Use Post-Its as reminders of only the top priorities (always prioritize). Use notes as encouragement too.  Don’t become so eco-friendly that you can barely make it through the day.  Be pragmatic, always.  Keep water bottles around the house if you’re trying to drink more.  Keep more fruit visible if you’re trying to eat better.  Buy an apple corer if you eat a lot of apples.  Keep your timer separate from a distraction like a phone or laptop.  The key to avoiding setback or anger, is to not put yourself in the situation that will cause it in the first place.

Best of luck in 2018.  I’m glad to be joining you in this year.  May you never give up on yourself.

Hope is Diplomacy: Listening is Loving

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There is no beauty without hope.

Diplomacy can be very important in helping and encouraging people that are particular.  My father is a very intense, high-strung, and caring man.  He doesn’t take care of his health, and he rarely considers how much his childhood impacted him.  He never had the time.  Besides, even if you think back, you’ll remember very little.  He is extraordinarily hyper vigilant, tense, and prone to despair or black-and-white thinking.   On the other hand, he is pure and wise.  Nobody is harder on him than he is, and nobody carries more than he does.

I once said, I don’t know why ancestors were unemotional or ruthless.  I feel it was necessary, to be sturdy or untrusting, to survive.  We live in a safe time statistically speaking, but these behaviors can still bring us back to that reality all the time in our mind.

Catch-22:

I never knew what my dad needed growing up.  My mom couldn’t handle emotion, not of her dad or mine, so she did all that she knew how to – she checked out. I know that people usually marry people similar to their parents.  The people they choose have the same deficiencies of at least one parent.  I don’t know if this is a bad or good thing.  Sometimes it’s easier and more efficient to know what’s in front of you, but sometimes bold risks and going into the unknown is the more logical choice, if things were truly bad.   The problem is those with a rough time, are less able and less likely to take risks.  Every man has to choose for himself.  But within that choice, understanding.

What I know now is that my dad was never going to take care of himself.  He never watched his parents take care, or communicate to each other well.  He gave up on himself, and everyone around him gave up that anything would ever change.  To some degree, change is very slow, and only so much change can be had.  Many people just need more love and care, and less advice.

Activists are frequently frustrated, but it is their idealism that frustrates them.  Change is meant to be slow.  There are so many variables, and humans are drawn to what feels like home.

Time:

If you have a parent who is wise like my dad, or just pessimistic or worn out, it is good to remind them to take care of themselves.  But people have heard all the criticism and advice before.  Sometimes the best you can do is remind them they are loved.  Send salts, unscented candles, books – whatever it is you know they enjoy.  Maybe even if they never use them, they can see someone cares, and that matters more.  Time matters, presence matters.  Perspective matters.

For me, what has encouraged my dad the most was to remind him that my brother will have a hard time taking care of himself one day, if he doesn’t watch my dad do it now.  Sometimes realizing how our behavior affects others is enough for us to start taking care of ourselves.

There are many things that bring sun to people’s lives — a listening ear, gentle advice, love, encouragement — and if one thing is not effective, then surely another is.  There is a difference between optimism and positivity, and what my dad wanted was hope grounded in reality, which is what optimism is.  Hope is pure.