😀 The Inner Citadel

My internal mental journey transformed into words:

I’m not sure when it happened but I’m settled into this state already (California), yesterday the sofa of my grandpa’s house got thrown off the balcony into a 1-800-Junk truck along with two truck loads of trash, it felt so monumentous. I was with my grandmother when she bought that sofa about 16 years ago and she passed away about 13 years ago. Our family has been hoarding for longer than four generations and my sister and I were the first to stop. First we stopped with our homes, than my dad’s home, now our grandpa’s home. We all thought he would die before we decluttered, but he is 100 now and living to go through the process. A fire happened a few years ago as a direct result of the hoard preventing normal matienence and repair, that was when my grandfather became emotionally ready for change. Since that fire happened I can’t stop thinking of fire as a symbol for emotional renewal. A forest needs a fire to thrive and grow, it’s not the end of a forest, it’s a part of the process. Since we had a bullet making room bullets were flying in the fire and we are really grateful no fire fighters or family members got hurt. Sometimes in life true events seem more dramatic then fiction, that was a big even for us not even because of the fire, but because before that our family was locked into the past and after we all began to see how much material things were coming at too high a cost and holding too high a priority over other people. I’m not able to help with the main clean up, but I’m going through another Kon Marie clean up here in our California winter home. Unlike what the book says I’ve done many, many cycles and still need to do more. I think Marie Kondo living in Japan didn’t know how much new material cycles into American homes. So did my clothes, the kid’s clothes, doll clothes, books, mementos, toys, and started with papers. Even though multiple cycles are needed, they are reduced by 90% each time in the time and effort it takes to get through a given catagory. πŸ”₯ (November 16th, 2019)

Started a side site today via Google Sites, Bubblegum Monkey World to try to work around button limitations in my free WordPress.com blog site. I had always intended to do that project first, but since I didn’t I have now gotten to the point where one visitor is asking for better navigation and I’m going to start working on organization once a week instead of just writing. I could pay $300 to upgrade, but I just don’t want that kind of pressure to have to justify that kind of spending to myself when I know writing is a labor of love vs profit for me personally. πŸŽ‰ (November 12th, 2019)

It’s not Kwanzaa yet, but since it’s my first year I am both excited and also mentally prepairing for the holiday. My husband bought me our family’s first kinara, which represents all the ancestors from Africa. I am very slightly of the same DNA as Africans, but like everyone living today I am decended from Africa, from the first mother and first father of humanity, therefore Kwanzaa is my birthright as much as anyone and Africa my soul’s distant home. A few years ago I had a dream where a woman told me to go back to a river in Africa to seek the roots of my problems, I don’t quite understand it yet, but I feel like for me honoring the Kwanzaa holiday is going to be a deeply healing celebration of life and humanity. I’ve learned things that work for people emotionally don’t have to sound rational, we can be embarresed to cuddle a bear when we are sad or do whatever we need to do to grieve, I don’t fully understand why, but Kwanzaa is a reconnection of me to my roots and to all of humanity. I’m going to break the rule of not integrating cultures into Kwanzaa, because that is my reality. I am born out of Africa, I am mixed with europeans and neandertals, mixed with asians from China and Japan, who traveled accross the bering sea and all the way down the coast to Mexico and beyond. My entire life has been a mix of cultures that people don’t neccisarily accept, yet it is my reality and I am going to use a rainbow candle in my kinara instead of a black candle, because allthough I respect the founder of Kwanzaa and african solidarity, my reality is that of someone with mixed race, mixed culture, mixed nationality, mixed ethnicity, I use the rainbow candle to say “we as humans” are one, we are all either africans or lost africans, we are one even if not everyone reconizes it or accepts us, we were once from the same mother and father. The first day of Kwanzaa lights the unity candle (usually black), but I will use a rainbow candle and send love and respect to all humans. I feel like each culture has interesting wisdom to add to the quilt of humanity and though it feels awkard to acknowledge when we find great peace or wisdom outside of our own culture, it seems like now is the time to cast aside the feeling that we can’t share the good of all humanity. I think it’s time to abandon the emotional concept of nationality and race, even without abandoning it economically or medically. There are some differences within the races that mean medical treatment is aided by acknowleging them, yet there is no reason that love or ideas need to be limited in that way. So I know I’m going to be breaking one of the Kwanzaa rules, but I just consider it adding a new branch to the tree, I’m not of the african american branch, just as they changed it from the traditional african first fruits festival I again change it to fit our family of Mexican-Japanese-Hawaiian american in a way that allows us to connect to our true African roots, but also to who we really are as well. I just adapted the Tamshi La Tambiko for our family.πŸ•―οΈ (November 6th, 2019)

It hasn’t been very long, but things have come together again. Everything that was bothering me yesterday seems small today (but that could be since the problems actually got resolved instead of repressed). I think it was the consistent gratitude habit that helped the most. Today is Halloween and for the first time since having kids I’m not stressed about it, also not stressed about Day of the Dead, nor the upcoming winter holidays, looking forward to my first Kwanzaa. The change is we are just doing the main bullet points, not shooting for perfect, yes we are doing trick or treat, but I honestly I don’t care about how the costumes look, how I look, I’m not scared if my child gets addicted to candy, not worried about diabetes, not worried about razor blades in apples, not worried about getting the perfect pictures, it’s just us taking our kids to have fun with their cousins. πŸŽƒ (October 31st, 2019)

I lost my gratitude today, there was mold in my bedroom, my husband invalidated my truth, needs, struggle, my “good” baby was fussy all day, I got everything done, laundry, cleaning, educating my daughter, two doctors appointments, voting, a writing class, yet I hated the day, hated my home, hated my life. I am allergic to mold, so maybe the allergy caused the anger, but I don’t want to blame that. I noticed my daughter is entitled, she is rude, and she lacks perspective, perhaps all those things are true of me as well. We, unfortunately, had a leak of a swamp cooler onto our bedroom carpet, I’ve been dabbing it up for the past three days, yet because of my daughter’s birthday the past three days many other things are getting swept under the rug. It’s been a much more concentrated version of my normal reality. Making myself do what I hate in the name of doing what my daughter wants to do because I feel like I owe her something. When my son cries when I leave him in safety, to carry his laundry, I still feel responsible, instead of he is crying because he is uncomfortable in some mental or emotional way I feel “he is crying because I’m a bad mom, I should be able to be with him.” Yet even if I let the laundry wait, it can’t wait forever because my laundry is his diapers, even if I let there be some mess, mold can’t wait too long before making me sick and making my face itch. My husband came home and held my hand and told me he believes in a future where we are happy together and it put things in perspective. I yelled at my daughter for asking “but why” after I already answered nicely why she couldn’t take the popcorn kernels to the sofa. I always wish I hadn’t yelled, but I apologized after, she forgave me, I asked if she wanted a kiss or hug, she did, I kissed her forehead, and I realized it had been a long time since the last time I yelled. I wonder if rushing was what made me forget the gratitude habit that was going well, I wonder if lack of gratitude shifted my perspective from positive to negative the past three days? What I do know is that I’m going to restart a consistent gratitude habit tonight. A weird thing is that I’m more able to know how I feel after being angry then either while or before being angry. Maybe the true purpose of anger is to get an unwelcome truth messege across from the heart or soul to the mind? (October 29th, 2019) πŸ€Ήβ€β™€οΈ

I am so happy and grateful that I decided to celebrate Kwanzaa this year because I do so many little things that take effort throughout the year such as questioning who I am, my values, and they are already rolled into the Kwanzaa holiday on the last day it’s a meditation of “Who am I?” “Am I really who I say I am?” and “Am I doing all I could be?” It feels like such a load off my shoulders to still ask those things, but just once a year. Kwanzaa was adapted from the First Fruits festival and uses seven candles to celebrate seven principle values: unity (Umoja/Lōkahi), proactivity (Kujichagulia), responsibility and collective work (Ujima/Lau Lima), purpose (Nia/Kuleana), creativity (Kuumba/Aloha ‘Δ€ina), faith (Imani). Before deciding to celebrate Kwanzaa, I had nine autumn/winter holidays to celebrate and I was so overwhelmed I hated the whole holiday season. As I was reading about Kwanzaa today, I found out what the kinara candles represent: three red candles represent the struggles of life, three green candles represent hope, and one black candle represents the unity of all people. I think it’s really cool. Even beyond my bad memories of Christmas, there is still a complete void of any personal resonance. Kwanzaa is about celebrating the good in life vs Christmas, which as far as I know, is said to be about “goodwill towards all” (that I don’t have), “presents” (that I can’t often afford and find little meaning in) or “a link to Jesus” (that I don’t have). Not only do I not like the materialism, or religious dogma related to modern Christmas, I don’t even like the social obligation to have “goodwill towards everyone.” Ever since reading and being touched by the Goethe quote “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least,” I pride myself on having priorities that protect my most important things, over my least important, and that means using all my patience and affection with my kids and loved ones or where I see fit and letting “the entirety of humankind” be out of my hands with emotional serenity. For me, Christmas wants to cross a boundary that I choose not to have crossed, but I wish only the best to people who can and do enjoy it. I’m so glad I have Kwanzaa now because it wraps up three holidays I do like into one, and it makes me feel empowered to celebrate all the proactivity that I have been able to live with as well as encouraging me to continue a values-based lifestyle more in line with my personal values than any other holiday I’ve come across yet. Having Kwanzaa empowered me to let go of three holidays, downgrade two and merge three so that maybe just maybe I’ll have my first stress free holiday season ever. (October 24th, 2019) πŸŽ‰

Recovering from travel (4223 km), I’m still on a mission to accept how I feel. It’s hard still when I don’t feel happy I tend to want to wait until I do feel happy to pin down how I feel, yet that misses some information. Today I’m staring at the moon instead of dawn, it’s 2AM and I’m fully awake because I changed time zones, so it would be 5AM where I was living, but now it’s 2AM. I had been trying to “pre” adjust to the time change but I find that I failed. The weather was horrible yesterday, it was 30Β°C and I had been in steady 21Β°C for a long time. I kept trying to deny I was hot, I didn’t want to believe it, I took my daughter for a walk, she was hot too, we decided to check the weather next time and walk at a different time of day so it wouldn’t be so hot next time. I’m trying to get rid of my negative expectation that I will hate life here in the desert, yet it’s not helping me live a good life to invalidate my own feelings when I do hate living here in the desert. I think other people have to deal with worse than me, so I shouldn’t complain, but acknowledging what I’m not comfortable with, in my own mind, isn’t the same as complaining. Just because other people are either stronger than me or more miserable than me doesn’t matter when it comes to me acknowledging my own truth. I’ve made a lot of good habits lately, specifically gratitude, but not only that, also not rushing, appreciating my loved ones by slowing down to look at them and watch them grow without doing other things… but I made those habits in Hawaii, I’m scared to lose them now that I am in California. I’m trying not to return to who I was now that I have returned to where I was. I’m trying to take ownership of my behavior instead of saying life here is rushed ext. (October 22nd, 2019) 🎈

Accept It! Radical Acceptance

I finally replied to a deep inner question I think we all face, whether it’s best in the long run to put on a smile and brush past our internal truth or accept how we really feel to learn what our emotional pain is teaching us. I’m sure you can guess from the tone what I picked, but it’s a comlicated lesson. Sometimes it’s not the right time to grieve, yet the grief, I think will wait all our lives until we face it. It started with reading a post by Sweet Bliss about leaving toxic spirituality behind that says the bad things that happen to us are our faults, because of our mental vibrations. It took me a long time to sort out my reply, I had wanted to thank the author for speaking out against what is now the status quo about emotional repression and victim blaming instead of goal setting due to a popular movie called “the secret” mixing some great ideas like setting intentions and introspecting what your best life is with some toxic ideas that the entire world revolves around your thoughts and ideas at all times. My response became a post within itself. But I would like to write a deeper one about the four tendenies later, about how questioners and upholders are opposites that benefit from balancing action and thought differently sometimes. (October 9th, 2019) πŸ•ŠοΈ

Just read a short, but cool, post by Lovie Prince about labels, and going beyond labels to embrace ourselves light and shadow sides it inspired me to try to make my own cohessive narritive about who I am, that kind of a thing is usually to overwhelming too tackle for me, but Lovie’s example helped make it seem achievable.

How I currently define myself:
I am a writer.
I am a teacher, gardener/farmer, martial artist, reader.
I am a parent, granddaughter, sister, daughter, etc.
I am a roommate & friend.
I am an artist and a blogger.
I am a minimalist.
(these are things others can easily see)

Let’s move on:
I am healthy,
I am sensitive,
I am unconventional,
I am introverted,
I am connected to the Earth,
I am a stoic.
( these define how I feel and what drives my reactions to things)

I am impatient,
I am rude,
I am careless with money,
I am forgetful about birthdays,
I am a frequent leaver of many unfinished projects.
(these are the things I believe about myself that are not positive)

In the ways I would like to change I accept that I am absent-minded and hot-headed and I’ll try to manage those things better out of love for my family and love for myself. (October 6th, 2019) 🌻

It’s a really hard thing to leave here, even though I’m coming back next year (hopefully). My daughter has a real best friend now, I have friends, there are a lot of other home schooling teachers here too. I have a support network that works for me, that is easy, that is accepting, that is inspiring. Life is good here, but my husband is still working out of state, so my kids and I are headed back to the desert at the end of the month to rejoin him. Like all year, today I’ve been wanting to get more done than I was actually able to get done… my son got his teeth in and has wanted more to be held, he also is getting more aware and wanted to be danced with and played with. So, at least I’ve been putting people first, loving my kids before gardening and gardening after, but not much is getting done other than taking care of the kids, repairing my relationship with my daughter, while at the same time disciplining her, educating both kids as much as I can, laundry, dishes, Tuesdays at the park with the other home schooled kids and Wednesdays at parent and me preschool. I watched an interesting video today with John Medina explaining scema, I haven’t always explained to my kids why I am teaching a certain lesson because they were babies when we started, but perhaps I should have started explaining some time ago? (October 1st, 2019) πŸ₯€

I’m getting a little sad to think I’ll be leavig Hawaii and my garden in about a month. It seems like everything could still be done in the garden before I go, a new green house to set up, the first one to finish setting up, both the tomato garden and the square foot garden to fix, green tea to plant, weavers bamboo to plant, a ton of morning glories… weeding the moss lawn, clover to put in, compost to set up, ext. If I could do one thing or one peice of a big task everyday until I go I think I could leave the garden in great shape before I go… I think tomorrow will be setting up the new green house. Well, I made a list of 20 things to get done in the garden before I go. I may stop writing for this month to get the garden in order as much as I can. (September 17th, 2019) 🀺

It’s great to read last week that I was ever ahead, last week the kids and I got sick and my left eye was swollen halfway shut and painful. I got better, but the kids are still sick, so starting this week low energy, behind in parenting homework, behind in the things I like to have done around the house and in self-reflection as well. (September 16th, 2019) πŸ•ŠοΈ

I just started taking a beyond the book parenting class/book club session around “Whole Brained Child,” yesterday. It’s been really helpful so far. If I had to admit why things haven’t worked out for me writing or gardening in the past, it was because I couldn’t put my house in order (ie find peace in my marriage or discipline my daughter). In the past few days, I’ve learned about assertive communication, when to walk away instead of arguing and how to discipline my daughter fairly. It’s so surprising the way so many things I couldn’t fix in the past five years are magically coming together lately. I also saw a double rainbow for the first time recently and am finally able to shed the last five pounds, not that those are important things, but it’s just as if all of life is somehow finally fitting together beautifully. (September 10th, 2019) 🌈

Just read Rumi’s “What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle,” for the first time in an article by Dr. Jurisharma about grieving, lost in thought about it… (September 9th, 2019) πŸ€”

This year my heart is very unsteady, my emotions and mind are unsure, it’s a different world for me this year. In March I had my second and last (intended) child. I never knew a love like this before. My daughter brought me a different kind of love, a lot of joy and sweetness, laughter and tears. Failures and successes, an emotional rollercoaster. My husband brought me a feeling of safety, a feeling of being known and cared for by someone, being special to someone. My son is different, he brings me such a profound inner peace, he brings a harmony to all of us that is really difficult to put to words. I believe we all bring something different to the family, to the world. My world is better than ever before, but also shaken up and upside down. (September 8th, 2019) πŸ‘Ό

Another week gone by, bittersweet, bitter because I’ve been snapping at my daughter lately. I feel bad about it, she is very tough, it seems to energize her and not traumatize her, but it brings me down… anyways, sweet because I’ve been feeling succesful as a human being again. Gardening has gone well, 174 papayas got potted in 10cm pots between Friday and Saturday. I don’t know what will happen to them (males don’t fruit, bisexuals give non-GMO fruit for sure, females give regular fruit that can be pollinated by stray GMO trees…) but I hope what will happen is that I will be able to farm them on our property to produce all the papaya my family eats. My dad likes to eat one a day, my daughter likes to eat one a day, that’s over 600 (I don’t think 730 because occasionally we go out or eat something else). I grew up with my grandfather eating half a papaya everyday in the morning, he is over 100 now, I hope that if we eat papaya we will live long healthy lives too. I haven’t been writing as much this week, because I was so behind in the garden, but it was actually nice because I was questioning if writing was worth the time it takes in my life and having not done it I noticed that I did miss doing it. It’s worth a lot to me, even though I don’t know why. (September 6th, 2019) 🌱

I turned 34 today, it was a special day because I didn’t rush for the first time in a long time (five years probably). I didn’t do any “birthday” celebrating today, I do that on my wedding anniversary January 29th (to celebrate my rebirth), but I am celebrating today day as I do everyday, as a day I was alive and with my kids and able to write and work on this website. It’s a fledgling habit and a fledgling website, but it gives me clarity to think things out via writing, it gives me joy to choose the images and it gives me hope to think that I could help other people with their struggles that are similar to mine or also get help and wisdom from others by having a safe place to ask. I’m suprised and happy that people from China are reading my blog (as well as Singapore and the UK)! My grandfather’s mother was Chinese, I got married in a Chinese wedding dress, and studied the language, but I’ve never been there, however now my heart and words have been heard by a person there. That’s incredible exciting to me. I’ve noticed most of my readers have been other stoics, which is beautiful to me because if people who accept that their life is temporary and extreemly valuble take the time to read what I have to say, it means to me that I’m doing something right as a writer, and as a person with thoughts to openly discuss. I’m very grateful to each and every reader, even those who may not like my writing, just for giving me your time and consideration, I wish you all the best in this life that we all share on Earth! (September 1st, 2019) ✌️

The end of week two restarting the website, the laundry of the house was taking over, the summer beach items were in a pile on the livingroom floor and I was being confronted by my sister about why writing or gardening mattered at all (so she could understand, not because she was being mean), literally at the same time as breastfeeding my fussing son with my left hand and wiping my daughter’s butt with my right hand. For me it was a meaning I was trying to find myself, not something I had prepaired and it was unpleasant. My old values had come crashing down this past month, and there was a deep grief as who I used to be died. Today I was reborn emotionally, yet again, as someone who is ready to face life again today. Yesterday I faced that I don’t like the hecticness of my life (which I created) and that I need to reenigineer a new life for myself (or no one will), that I needed to reconnect with the values I want to work towards and realign my goals with my values, so that I can have meaning in my life. Some people get happiness from different things than I do, like service, or things, I get happiness from the action I’ve taken towards my values times how strong I hold the values in my heart. So when I loose my values as they change, the process throws me into a deep depression, because I know in my heart in that moment life holds no happiness for me, there is no meaning for me, there is no personaly significance to me in my life at that moment. It’s a kind of hell, but I’m glad I recognized what caused it, and spent the time to reasses my values quickly (the day I realized I needed it). If you’re going through hell, keep going right? So my new values for this year are, people care (aloha), earthcare (malama), fair share (kuleana), assertiveness/sincerity, gratitude, cooperation (laulima) and humor. That is the way I relight the internal flame in my soul and make life worth living, it really works for me. There is an easy to use worksheet and list developed by Russ Harris for anyone interested in trying it. (August 31st, 2019) πŸ•―οΈ

It’s a week later, I’m sore from the flu and behind in gardening and writing, but I’m still enjoying working on articles and on the website and that’s something I’m happy about. In the past I’ve moved from one project to another and not been able to sustain my initial interest. I think it was caused by perfectionism. For instance, if I couldn’t fix my sidebar error I didn’t want to write any more posts, and I never actually was able to fix it, so I didn’t write for years. This time I’m taking a note of the technical things to either get help or do myself when I can, but it hasn’t stopped me from writing. I’ve been working on a new article about digital decluttering all week, but since I decided to live a people first kind of life a few months ago I have to stop a lot. Have to see my dad off at the airport, have to nurse my son, have to not bring the laptop to the tea party with my sister, have to take my daughter to play with other kids at the parent and me preschool we go to once a week. I would love to write an article everyday, but what would be better is doing what I can and still being able to say I put my family first and also that the quality, whatever it is, doesn’t drop in an effort to write “more.” (August 29th, 2019) πŸ’—

My thoughts on aloha: Sharing the breath of life was one ancient meaning of the word “aloha,” alo – meaning presence and ha – meaning breath. It also meant start by teaching ourselves to love our own being, and then spread the love outward. It has come to be used to mean “hello, good bye, or I love you,” yet the traditional action was to inhale the shared air near someone’s nose, on both sides, sharing that moment and that air. For me it symbolizes that we are going through life together, not in a vacuum, as it can feel like sometimes. (Sometime in August, 2019) Aloha! 😀

I’d like to know what kind of topics you are interested in reading on this site, I made a poll for anyone interested in voting (August 23rd, 2019)! πŸ—³οΈ

I was shocked and suprised to get my first two followers the first day I reopened the website, I thought it would take a lot longer for the site to even show up on people’s computers, and I also thought nobody cared what I had to say, it was a really encouraging feeling. I know I’m supposed to rely on my internal motivation, but I think that the power of encouragement we get from other people, is quite powerful and understated even to a non-codependant individual. Thank you to all my readers, for spending your time reading my thoughts, I’m very grateful that you gave me the respect to see what I had to say. A few minutes of other people’s lives were spent reading my words, that’s something that actually thrills me and it is something I did not expect to happen for a long time. Yesterday, I read a beautiful post by Nomz, about celebrating our true happy moments of acheivement (“Boldly Celebrate Yourself“), that inspired me to allow myself to celebrate this moment instead of being shy about it! I think celebrating when we are truly happy is what reveals to us our own true passions and values vs the passions and values of the other people in our lives and I also still struggle with doing it on a daily basis. (August 22nd, 2019) πŸŽ‰

I’m a slightly bitter, married, slightly overwhelmed, mother of two, who teaches at home, seasonally migrates and I’m starting a new life as a writer today. I tried this once before, but had so much trouble with technical side, that I never finished the set up and never started writing. Now I’m going back to the drawing board for a completely fresh start, with a very simple website to host my honest thoughts about the things that truely inspire me (books, gardening, martial arts) and share some of the most helpful mental tools I’ve come accross for things like habit change, learning emotional intelligence, taking charge of the day, developing gratitude, increasing self awareness, ascribing meaning to life and balancing productivity with self care. (August 18th, 2019). πŸ•ŠοΈ