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Five To Midnight

Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to used during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course? Each of us has such a bank, its name is time. Every morning, it credits you 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off at a lost, whatever of this you failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against “tomorrow”. You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and life. The clock is running. Make the most of today.

-David Wolfe

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Tuesday Wisdom

“Never presume to know a person based on the one-dimensional window of the internet. A soul can’t be defined by critics, enemies or broken ties with family or friends. Neither can it be explained by posts or blogs that lack facial expressions, tone or insight into the person’s personality and intent. Until people “get that”, we will forever be a society that thinks Beautiful Mind was a spy movie and every stranger is really a friend on Facebook.”

― Shannon L. Alder

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This Is My Wish For Myself

That I may be true to my heart and myself without fear that I won’t be understood, or at least with a fear I completely disregard.
That I can be okay in my own skin even if no one gets it or gets me or likes it or likes me.
That I can laugh at my own jokes even when no one else does, and acknowledge my own beauty even if it’s lost on them, even if it looks different than what they say it should look like.
That I can be agnostic towards approval, ambivalent towards disapproval, not change to make myself more or less of what I am for anyone else.
That I may risk time and time and time again being what I’m supposed to be for what I am meant to be.
This is my wish for you, too.
This is my wish for all of us.
May we all just fucking risk it all for the sake of our truth.
May we all be brave enough to Be who we are called to Be, no matter what.

-Hip Sobriety

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A Mistake

I am wild if you like; but I stayed in my burrow a long, long time, – nibbling your straws and snapping at your fingers, but always just a little out of reach. Until at last, I got to trust you so much that one day I ventured out for a minute, – and you threw rocks at me. And I will never come out again“

– Edna St. Vincent Millay

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How Pile of Books Taught Me to Let Go

Spring has sprung, and my 2017 quest to live mindfully, with less clutter, has continued.

I was inspired by an article to try the popular KonMari Method of cleaning. The basic idea is to collect all items of a similar nature from around the home and place them in one pile.

Once gathered, it is much easier to decide what to recycle, give away, or keep. One should start with items with little attachment, like magazines. I easily gave them all away. Then, work toward others with more attachment, like for me, an English major, it is books. I wanted to keep them all forever, no matter how dusty they might be.

Picture this: a tall stack of books with different shapes and colors. How high is the stack in your mind?

Make it grow, so much so that the image from Shel Silverstein’s poem, “Sara Silvia Cynthia Stout,”comes to mind. From the smaller sized Life’s Little Instruction Book and Talking Dirty to the Queen of Clean, to the larger Book of Awakening, there they stood staring at me. It became immediately evident that these books offered a reflection of my life. The titles mirrored the many sides of me and my changes along the way.

Books like KonMari Method and The Minimalists held my hand when I resembled a potential mad woman: cleaning, scrubbing, and purging relentlessly for days. Those titles taught me about my tangled emotions caused by our overload of things.

I faced the fear of perceived judgment; thinking others would judge my ability to be a good wife or mother by how clean my home was. By sorting and clearing, I did the same to the thoughts in my head. As Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Change your thoughts, and you change your world.”

Less stuff in the house equals less stuff to pick off of the ground. I looked forward to more time focused on life’s joys.

Some of the books reminded me of when I acted like a pig in a pile of corn. What was happening in life that I couldn’t slow down and taste my food? When life threw too many lemons my way, I needed to be taught how to sit and sweetly sip lemonade instead. So, I read. Guidebooks like Eight Weeks to Optimum Health and collections of recipes came to the rescue by Alice Waters, Mark Bittman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and much more. I found better foods to crunch and reminded myself how nice meals are at a slower pace.

The lost athlete inside me was in that stack, too. I went from having fun playing sports every day to being injured and idle. Looking back, why did I smack so many tennis balls? Why did I walk at a pro’s pace? Why did I cycle for hours on end? Books like the Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance and The Power of Now helped me center my thoughts when I needed focus. Now in my hands, I wondered if I could let those titles go. I wanted to gain all of that back after my knee surgery and rehabilitation.

I thought back to what I needed when I started participating in the 30-day hot yoga challenges over and over again. Meditations from the Mat and 40 Days to Personal Revolution walked me through my quest for self-care. They brought me closer to an inner knowledge and some peace. Those might be the titles to hang on to as my new knee may need a gentler approach.

Lastly, I saw in that stack books my sense of wonder and thirst for something greater. Awareness, How to Have a Mary Heart in a Martha World, The Urban Monk, Ethics in the Real World, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, Love Wins, Tao of Pooh, Kids are Worth It, The Four Agreements, Living Beautifully, and multi-colored prayer books stood out from the crowd. They were among the cherished titles that I have highlighted, scribbled upon, and stained throughout their time in my hands. Each one graciously guided me as life ebbed and flowed.

How was I to know which books to keep and which to toss? The KonMari Method encourages the reader to hold each individual item collected in their hands and feel the response. Does the item bring joy or a memory of joy? If it truly brings joy, one may decide to keep it. However, if it brings up memories or other emotions, let it go. Memories are already with us: We don’t need the tangible reminder collecting dust.

I imagined all of those books in one backpack that I needed to carry for the rest of my life. Then, I laughed—I’m still a book nut with genuine joy in more than a few works. So, I imagined all of those books in a larger roller bag instead.

As I began the next phase, I did it. I, literally, let go. Goodbye to the melancholy. So long to the search for something more. I was happy in the present moment and did not need the crutches that got me here. I kept more than I had originally intended, but most of the stack is gone.

Hopefully, they will now help someone new.

Are there items weighing down your space, thoughts, or life?

Do they look at you as a reminder of what was?

Why are they still with you?

Do you still need them?

If you are ready to make changes, try the KonMari Method. I highly recommend it.

Seeing everything thing you own of one item in a single pile certainly made an impact on me.

~Author: Kate Fleming 

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Quil

Never I have seen so broad meaning of one word. Some of them are enough to make a seasoned girl like me blush to the roots of my hair. Okay, forget I have said that. Just Goggle it and see for yourself.

Oops… Made a mistake there. It supposed to be with two “L” not one. But then again maybe not. Damn that urban dictionary. I should have not look into it. Anyway, at least I’ve learned a thing or two today which is not bad because life is a never ending learning process. There is no such thing as too much information. Well- informed is better than intelligent ignorant. I think. I don’t even know what I’m saying. Too little sleep (again) and no food (yet) can make an old girl like me hallucinates. TGIF and have a very good weekend despite the forecast of rain and the temperature going down by more than five degrees. We are still in the 20s at least. Good for the plants to have the much-needed burst of rain showers. In fact, I can use them too. Off to eat now. Till next time.  

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Dash

My father used to say that if you are hurrying move slowly and with care. In that way, you can achieve more in a short period of time, avoid potential accidents and spare yourself from a lot of unnecessary stress. I believe this to be true. I experience it time after time. If I concentrate too much on getting there or do something on time, I ended up running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  Remember all those cooking programs where the candidates have to prepare three or four-course meal in a restricted amount of time? They fail when they lost focus. 

It reminds me of the time I was watching an episode of Expedition Robinson where two people tried to gather sea water using buckets with holes while standing on a narrow makeshift bridge consisted only of one bamboo pole. They had to lower the bucket, fill it with water and run to the other side of the bridge where a bigger container was waiting. Whoever fills the container first without falling down from the bridge will be the winner. The battle was between an athletic male and a skinny female model and everyone in the room thought the fight was over before it even begins. She was moving slowly, treading carefully, waiting for the bucket to be thoroughly filled before bringing it up while her opponent was dashing mad all over the place, running up and down barely waiting for his bucket to be full and because of this he often ended up with an empty bucket when he reached the other end of the pole which only fuelled his desire to hurry some more. In the end, it was the woman who won. Her rival fell off from the slippery bridge. His impatience rendered his triumph impossible and his mad attempts futile. 

I saw this happened countless of times with people in the same situation, they let themselves be consumed by the thought of limited time span and lost concentration often resulting in failure. Moral of the story: It’s okay to keep track of the time but whatever you are doing especially if it matters to the end result, do it carefully and steadily and you will see that you will achieve more…

Let me leave you with the wise words of Earl Monroe. He said: Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry. 

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Truth slap

I can’t wait for the day when life finally makes sense, when we find the silver lining in every tragedy, when we learn the lesson from each mistake and when we understand why our hearts needed to get broken a few times to let love in.

I can’t wait for the day that we understand why we met the right people at the wrong time or the wrong people at the right time and why our lives didn’t align to bring us together.

I wonder if it’s because they’re the wrong ones for us or because we still have a lot of growing up to do and we’re meant to be with someone who understand who we’re becoming not who we were.

I can’t wait for the day that we understand the lesson behind every struggle. Why we struggled to be successful, why we struggled to find love, why we struggled to reach our dreams and why we lost people who meant the world to us. I wonder if we needed these lessons to learn how to appreciate life and feel the pain of others or we just needed to learn that there is no living without suffering.

I can’t wait for the day that we understand why we had to hate ourselves to love ourselves, why we had to destroy ourselves to build ourselves up again and why we had to start over just before we got to the finish line. I wonder who saved us or who inspired us to save ourselves.

I wonder if we are meant to be reborn a few times so we can learn how to truly live. I want to know what triggered us to change and how we can no longer recognize who we used to be.

I can’t wait for the day that we understand why we keep falling for the wrong ones over and over again, why we can’t forget those who hurt us and why we sometimes can still forgive them and take them back. I want to understand how our hearts operate, how they function, how they move us to do things we would never do and lead us to places that we know we shouldn’t go to.

I’m curious to know why we listen to it, why we follow it blindly like it never got us lost before, why we trust it even though it left us broken and why do we always go back to it for questions when it keeps giving us the wrong answers. I wonder if there will come a day when we stop listening to it and if we’ll ever be truly alive without it.

They say everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that, but I also want to know what this reason is and why it chose us. Why some reasons keep recurring and why some reasons leave us even more perplexed. I want to understand why we go through certain things, what’s the message behind it and what if we never respond to this message, what if we just ignore it and keep living, what will happen then? Will our lives get lost in translation?

I can’t wait for the day that life makes sense – some days I understand why certain things happened and others I’m not so sure, but all I know is that somehow we’ll connect the dots and someday we’ll complete the puzzle, until then, we have to learn how to live our lives without trying to understand it and we have to learn how to be comfortable with the irony and uncertainty of life; otherwise we’ll lose our common sense trying to make sense of the life we’re living.

~ via facebook

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To The Beautiful Woman Who Is Striving To Be Skinny

I see you everywhere.

You’re on my Facebook, posting selfies of your latest workout as sweat drips from your brow, words like dying, puking, exhausting are hash-tagged underneath.

Punishment.

My Instagram is filled with pictures of you, sporting your Lorna Jane as you burn away the calories of the cake you shouldn’t have eaten, but were too weak to resist.

Penance.

You sit opposite me, order your salad, no dressing, and berate yourself for being a kilogram heavier this week.

Self-loathing.

You are fraught with comparison, with how short you fall next to the mothers at the playground you’ll never be as fit as, the group of women at the gym you’ll never be as strong as, the bodies in the magazines you’ll never be as sexy as. You beat yourself up. Promise that tomorrow you’ll eat less and work out more. No excuses, no matter what. Push yourself, purge yourself, pressure yourself.

I was once like you. I obsessed over the number on the scale, lived by punishment or reward, survived on protein shakes, and applauded myself for staying under 1,000 calories a day. I worked out, no matter what. No matter how tired my body was, no matter how run down, exhausted, or unwell. I worked out until I almost threw up, head over my knees, rebuking myself with slogans. Go hard or go home. Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going. Excuses are for people who don’t want it bad enough. I pushed past the pain and worked out when my muscles were fatigued, when my body screamed for me to stop, when I injured my knee, my shoulder, until I eventually tore a disc in my back.

And that changed everything.

In an instant, I could no longer work out. My world ended. There was no worse fate that could have happened to me. I laid on my stomach for a month, unable to do anything. I cried with frustration, beat myself up with failure, drowned in self-hatred. I feared. I feared getting left behind, losing all the work I had put into my body. I feared people thinking I was lazy or weak. But mostly, I feared getting fat. Because in my eyes, that was the ultimate failure.

And so before my body was healed, I started to work out again. Each time would see me back where I’d started, in pain, on the floor, unable to walk. I did this for months until I just no longer could. Until I had to listen to my body, to surrender to what it needed. Rest. Recovery time. Gentle walks. Stretching. Yoga.

No more sweat-pouring, fat-burning, muscle-aching workouts.

At first it killed me, this surrendering. It yelled defeat, poked and prodded into my deepest places of insecurity and challenged my self-worth to the core; I was more bound in my body image than I realised. It’s subtle, the infiltration of what we are programmed to believe is beauty—we don’t realise the way it creeps into us, the way we yield to society’s standards even when we think we are immune to them.

Eventually, it became easier to surrender, easier to let go of the demands I had placed on myself to look a certain way. I stopped seeking my value in the number on the scale and found it instead in my mind, my heart, my character, and my contribution to the world. I shed lies, so many lies, of what I had come to believe beauty should be. I realised I had nothing to prove to anyone. Every day, I practiced kindness and spoke to myself the way I would speak to any other woman.

Beautiful woman, who you are, right now in this moment, is perfect.

I know you don’t believe me. I know you fill your head with your prerequisites of beauty. A flatter tummy. Toned arms. Size 10. Lose another five kilograms.

But I understand now.

Beauty isn’t measured in centimetres, my dear.

And the moment you understand will be the moment you find freedom.

You’ll begin to exercise because you love your body, not because you hate it. You’ll eat food that brings you life and health because your body craves nourishment, not deprivation. You’ll run in the sunshine because it brings you joy, not because you’ve earned punishment. You’ll let go of striving, of negativity, of guilt and frustration and failure.

But mostly, you’ll come to realise how beautiful you really are. How strong, how brave, how kind, how intelligent, how clever, how funny, how generous, how thoughtful. How much you love. Not how much you weigh.

Beautiful woman, stop.

Stop striving to be skinny, as if that’s the only measure of your worth.

Instead, strive to change the perception of beauty, the lies we have been told.

Strive to empower women, our daughters, through the truth of their worth.

Strive to see how beautiful you really are, right now, exactly in this moment.

And then watch the world become more beautiful, because of you.

Author: Kathy Parker

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Create

That’s my personal fix_ creating something. I am addicted to it – better even- I was born with it in my blood. If you ask me where did I get or inherit the fix, I would say I don’t know. I don’t remember my parents creating something aside from us. They were not even able to provide a proper home for us or a proper upbringing. What the heck they didn’t even managed to have a decent relationship with each other. It could be also that my memories are clouded with emotional and physical traumas brought by regimented fostering I cannot remember things correctly. 

Not that they don’t have the talents for it. My mother could draw anything beautifully and her aquarelles were legendary, or could be if she has dared to do something with it but as far as I can recall, I only saw her once doing it. She kept a sketchbook in her chest of clothes though full of inspiring images she I suspected created from imagination because they didn’t look like anything I’ve seen around or perhaps she might have seen them before there were us. Anyway, aside from that one occasion when she had drawn me a cow for a school project, I never witness her doing it again.  Maybe real life was difficult to combine with her art (that I can understand) maybe she had enough work with the six of us. Maybe that’s why she hated us (except one) Maybe I am exaggerating again. I don’t know. My father… my father could build a shack, on his own, using whatever available materials he could find. And he once turned a bog into a proper garden. Yes, the two of them had talents to create, if only they set their minds to it instead of… too many and too painful to mention.

Back to me.

A day without creating something beautiful and preferably tangible is a day wasted for me. I love to see things materialize before my eyes by the power of creation. I enjoy the process of designing anything that will produce beautiful results. That’s why I love gardening and why I got into design business. Mind you, I can draw and paint as well. Even better than my mother. She could not draw portraits, I can. All of us can draw but only me can do portraits. Why I didn’t do something with it? Nerves. Nerves and self-confidence. Don’t ask me. It is a long and complicated story and I hate long and complicated stories that’s why I dislike myself. I think.

Anyway, creating sits deep in my soul and has me on its grip from the cradle on. I remember finding a broken truck front light when I was young and bringing it home turning the glass upside down and made the thing into an aquarium complete with fish and water plants. My father scolded me for it saying the fish belonged in the pan not in my far-fetched vision. It didn’t stop there. I created playhouses wherever possible and decorated them with the things I could find lying around. I filled big shells with water and floated colorful flowers on the surface, collected bottles of shampoos, powder, lotions, anything I fancy that have washed up on shore and I could use to beautify my private place. I made handbags from scraps of fabrics nobody wanted and filled them with paper money I fashioned from old newspaper and pretended I was shopping or going to the bank. The pink piggy bank I bought from my Christmas money was doubled as a vase for the wild flowers I gathered from the side of the road. I see beauty in everything and believe in endless possibilities of re purposing materials. Nothing is impossible. If I can think it, then it must be doable or otherwise how can I come up with the thoughts in the first place? 

Once I was so despaired about our crumbling little shack I tried to elevate the place by planting colorful wild plants in empty milk cans I gathered from the neighborhood and put them on the front of our house at eye level so they were more pleasing to the eye. I also planted creeping ground cover in shades of purple and green placing them just under the eaves so I didn’t have to water them much for water where we lived that time was a precious commodity. Even then without proper training, I instinctively know what goes together. When it comes to design I have only one motto: If it looks good, then it’s good. I don’t care much about the process, what’s important for me is the result. Rules can go to hell, as long as the end product achieve what it needs to achieve then breaking design rules means nothing to me.   

I would like to say more about the topic but duty calls. First thing first. I will come back and edit this piece if necessary and perhaps add a sentence (or a paragraph) or two to complete the thoughts. But for now I have to go. I really, really have to. At least even with this incomplete monologue you got ideas already what create (or creating) means to me.

BRB

(first time I wrote this abbreviation and it sounds like the things those pretty girls who are working on cam will write on a piece of paper and prop against the back of a chair to let their viewers know they don’t disappear forever only indefinitely. Maybe I will tell you sometime how I come to know this. Signing off for now)  

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I’m Back

Been a while since I write my own thoughts. I’ve been away for almost four weeks basking in the  sun soaking the atmosphere enjoying the weather admiring the views immersing myself in different culture and generally doing nothing but what I love to do in that moment. I crisscrossed the island on foot, drove around, swam in lagoons and tasted the food. I’ve been in a hospital also. Costed me a fortune but my health insurance will pay me back only  I don’t know when. They say it may take a while since it is a large amount of money but I see it as a savings; money I don’t have in my hand so therefore I can’t spend.

I’m home now with tons of laundry and lots to do in the garden. At least the slugs and snails didn’t devour my entire population of plants like I expected them to do. My chocolate mints died. D. said he upended small bottles of water in the pots but he said it was not enough to lasts for the entire time we were gone but I suspected he had forgotten to do it because I didn’t see any indentation on the soil next to the plants. So, today I drove to the garden center to get new ones but like always I purchased more than I needed. Believe you me I will have second thoughts buying anything for myself but will not hesitate acquiring something for the garden or for the house. I’m crazy that way. It gives me so much joy to shop for both and see them transform a space. The plants which are damaged by late frost are struggling to survive. They are still there but most of them become sort of bonsai, little miniature examples of their former selves. I hope they will totally revive next year. 

I reckon it will take me a week to go back to normal. I will return to writing after everything settled. But first I have to attend two big parties. One is the silver jubilee of a company and another is a retirement event of my father -in-law. The first one calls for a dress code. ‘Future’ is the theme we have to abide. Lots of shining garments dominated by silver and white in casual attire. I don’t know yet if I’m going to attend since parties are not my thing but let’s see when it’s time to go. Maybe I will and then again maybe not.

I wrote this piece without pause and without edit so if you spy some mistakes, look the other way. Till next time and enjoy the warm weather.  

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