βš’οΈ The Challenge of Gratitude

Since I first read it, over 20 years ago, my favorite poem has been “Harlem” by Langston Hughes:

“What happens to a dream deferred?

      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a soreβ€”
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar overβ€”
      like a syrupy sweet?

      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Today I found out he has another poem by the same name:

“So we stand here
On the edge of hell
In Harlem
And look out on the world
And wonder
What we’re gonna do
In the face of what
We remember.”

Langston Hughes, “Harlem” from The Collected Works of Langston Hughes. Copyright Β© 2002 by Langston Hughes. poetryfoundation.org/poems/46548/harlem

I’ve been struggling to be grateful, my whole life. I’m a thoughtful person, I’ve become significantly more aware and more mindful in recent years, but not significantly more grateful. I’ve been told that the benefits of gratitude are more happiness, I know people enjoy being around grateful people, yet it’s not an easy or natural thing for me.

I’ve been struggling to be grateful, my whole life. I’m a thoughtful person, I’ve become significantly more aware and more mindful in recent years, but not significantly more grateful. I’ve been told that the benefits of gratitude are more happiness, I know people enjoy being around grateful people, yet it’s not an easy or natural thing for me.

It’s not something that I’ve never done or known, but it’s really strained when I try. Spontaneous gratitude happens for me, gratitude at the light of the dawn, the soft sway of bamboo in the wind, a cup of coffee gone right, the smile of my baby son, yet forced or expected gratitude is no easier than a dental visit for me.

It’s so hard that I wonder if it’s just not part of who I am?

I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t have a typical mother-daughter relationship or not. My mom suffered heavy postpartum depression, so she didn’t want to be close to me, she didn’t enjoy feeding me, didn’t enjoy life around me, my dad was also suffering, suffering from depression and anxiety, overworking and a failing marriage. The moments I can remember my parents being happy in an honest way when I was growing up are extremely few. My mother later left my life and my father has become happy since owning dogs, both of which are good things for me, but I wonder if I didn’t learn gratitude because I didn’t see it?

My daughter is sleeping in the corner right now, at this moment I am grateful for her, but when she wakes up and demands many things she knows I will not give her (sugar cereal for breakfast, when we always eat oatmeal, toys she wants when she just got six new toys last night at the big music festival, attention when her brother needs to be fed and she already ate and was cuddled) I know it will be hard for me to be grateful to her at those times.

When I am multitasking I get angry, I get frustrated when two or three people talk to me at once, but now that I have two kids and am living with my dad and sister I am multitasking and multiple people are talking at once to me all day long. Except for dawn, for a few hours I am alone, then my son wakes up and that’s just fine, then my daughter wakes up and for a few minutes I’m fine, then the day is a downward spiral of me serving her, myself and the baby, my family vying for attention in their own ways and it’s completely overwhelming for me, I get more and more impatient and tired and more and more rude as the day goes on, until night when I am bitter and exhausted.

I’m taking a parenting class about being respectful, I’m doing a personal challenge to try to be more grateful and reading a book, “Only Love Today,” to try to slow down and expect less of myself, but so far no mental reframing, no perspective shift, no change in me has been able to resolve the fact that people want more than me every day than I am comfortable giving and that I hate multiple people talking at once.

I don’t want to ignore my daughter, I don’t want to be rude to her, I don’t want her to think her words and questions don’t matter, but I will not enjoy a life where she screams over anyone else talking to be heard constantly, I will not enjoy a life where she gets to spend all my mental energy and time having my answer her “why” questions whenever she feels like it without really listening or trying to remember what I tell her. I wish I could tell my family to stop talking when they hear other people are already talking, but I feel like I can’t phrase it in a way that wouldn’t offend them and even if I did they don’t take suggestions from me about how to live.

I guess I can stop talking over people myself, I guess I can write my daughters questions down in a notebook and have a time I will answer them, I guess I can tell my family “I feel overwhelmed” when they talk at the same time, I guess I can ask for help teaching my daughter to stop interrupting before I get so mad at her I want to punish her for it.

So, I’ve been failing to be sincerely grateful a lot during this gratitude challenge, but I wanted to keep going as non-judgementally as I can and gather information about myself.

To me, gratitude is a feeling (it can also be an act) and feelings are not easy to turn on and off like a switch. It’s also similar to love for me, most of the people I have been grateful towards I have loved as well.

One problem I have is that I have no words for gratitude, the ones that English has “thank you,” have been required for me to say as standard social interaction (when I didn’t mean them), all my childhood. Now that I’m an adult it’s up to me, I could stop saying thank you, but it would be hard.

I think I will try to stop saying thank you when I don’t mean it. Or I will start looking for another way to say it when I really mean thank you.

I have the words in Japanese, ζœ‰γ‚Šι›£γ„ arigatai (life is hard/thanks for making β€œthe difficult thing I asked you to do” happen), γ‚γ‚ŠγŒγ¨γ† arigatoo (thank you), γ©γ†γ‚‚γ‚γ‚ŠγŒγ¨γ† domo arigatoo (really, thank you), γ‚γ‚ŠγŒγ¨γ†γ”γ–γ„γΎγ™, domo arigatoo gonzaimasu (really, thank you so much).

I have the words in Chinese too, ζ„Ÿθ°’ gǎn xiΓ¨ (real gratitude) and θ°’θ°’ xiΓ¨ xie (for common thanks).

But in English, the power of gratitude has been lost for me by thousands of forced thank yous given and received with no meaning.

So I haven’t found gratitude much in this gratitude challenge, but I’ve found curiosity and forgiveness.

My dad, for example, I’m unable to be very grateful for him, even though he often supported me in my life financially and physically, and I would mentally/logically expect myself to feel grateful towards him, I can’t force my feelings to be that way. But I was able to forgive him for not being the perfect dad, for being too depressed to come out of his shell and nurture me emotionally. I was able to be curious about why he is depressed and what that was like for him. He was more open with me about his childhood this year than ever before, he hated his dad, who hated his dad, so even though I don’t hate my dad, I can start to see why he didn’t have a role model of a father being open with his kids, because his father was not very close to him and my grandfather (who is 100 now) had a horrible relationship with his mom’s husband and possibly didn’t know his own father.

I know we don’t always copy what we see, sometimes we overcome the past, but it seems like because my grandfather was so distant from a father, my father was as well and I as well. But things are starting to change for the better this year.

So I mention this just as an investigation of a possible reason that I’m struggling so much to be grateful, just because I wasn’t exposed to gratitude growing up in my particular family. Even though they tried to force us, and succeeded in forcing us, to say thank you, without showing true feelings of gratitude, I didn’t learn that aspect of humanity until much later in life.

Perhaps someday I will be better at being grateful or perhaps it’s not something that will ever be my forte, but I’m giving it a chance for a month and seeing what the journey tells me about myself.

I’ve been struggling to be grateful, my whole life. I’m a thoughtful person, I’ve become significantly more aware and more mindful in recent years, but not significantly more grateful. I’ve been told that the benefits of gratitude are more happiness, I know people enjoy being around grateful people, yet it’s not an easy or natural thing for me.

It’s not something that I’ve never done or known, but it’s really strained when I try. Spontaneous gratitude happens for me, gratitude at the light of the dawn, the soft sway of bamboo in the wind, a cup of coffee gone right, the smile of my baby son, yet forced or expected gratitude is no easier than a dental visit for me.

It’s so hard that I wonder if it’s just not part of who I am?

I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t have a typical mother daughter relationship or not. My mom suffered heavy post partum depression, so she didn’t want to be close to me, she didn’t enjoy feeding me, didn’t enjoy life around me, my dad was also suffering, suffering from depression and anxiety, over working and a failing marriage. The moments I can remember my parents being happy in an honest way when I was growing up are extreemly few. My mother later left my life and my father has become happy since owning dogs, both of which are good things for me, but I wonder if I didn’t learn gratitude because I didn’t see it?

My daughter is sleeping in the corner right now, at this moment I am grateful for her, but when she wakes up and demands many things she knows I will not give her (sugar cereal for breakfast, when we always eat oatmeal, toys she wants when she just got six new toys last night at the big music festival, attention when her brother needs to be fed and she already ate and was cuddled) I know it will be hard for me to be grateful to her at those times.

When I am multitasking I get angry, I get frustrated when two or three people talk to me at once, but now that I have two kids and am living with my dad and sister I am multitasking and multiple people are talking at once to me all day long. Except dawn. For a few hours I am alone, then my son wakes up and that’s just fine, then my daughter wakes up and for a few minutes I’m fine, then the day is a downward spiral of me serving her, myself and the baby, my family vying for attention in their own ways and it’s completely overwhleming for me, I get more and more impatient and tired and more and more rude as the day goes on, until night when I am bitter and exausted.

I’m taking a parenting class about being respectful, I’m doing a personal challenge to try to be more grateful and reading a book, “Only Love Today,” to try to slow down and expect less of myself, but so far no mental reframing, no perspective shift, no change in me has been able to resolve the fact that people want more than me everyday than I am comfortable giving and that I hate multiple people talking at once.

I don’t want to ignore my daughter, I don’t want to be rude to her, I don’t want her to think her words and questions don’t matter, but I will not enjoy a life where she screams over anyone else talking to be heard constantly, I will not enjoy a life where she gets to spend all my mental energy and time having my answer her “why” questions whenever she feels like it without really listening or trying to remember what I tell her. I wish I could tell my family to stop talking when they hear other people are already talking, but I feel like I can’t phrase it in a way that wouldn’t offend them and even if I did they don’t take suggestions from me about how to live.

I guess I can stop talking over people myself, I guess I can write my daughters questions down in a notebook and have a time I will answer them, I guess I can tell my family “I feel overwhelmed” when they talk at the same time, I guess I can ask for help teaching my daughter to stop interupting before I get so mad at her I want to punish her for it.

So, I’ve been failing to be sincerly grateful a lot during this gratitude challenge, but I wanted to keep going as non-judgementally as I can and gather information about myself.

To me gratitude is a feeling (it can also be an act) and feelings are not easy to turn on and off like a switch. It’s also similar to love for me, most of the people I have been grateful towards I have loved as well.

One problem I have is that I have no words for gratitude, the ones that English has “thank you,” have been required for me to say as standard social interaction, when I didn’t mean them, all my childhood. Now that I’m an adult it’s up to me, I could stop saying thank you, but it would be hard.

I think I will try to stop saying thank you when I don’t mean it. Or I will start looking for another way to say it when I really mean thank you.

I have the words in Japanese, ζœ‰γ‚Šι›£γ„ arigatai (life is hard/thanks for making β€œthe difficult thing I asked you to do” happen), γ‚γ‚ŠγŒγ¨γ† arigatoo (thank you), γ©γ†γ‚‚γ‚γ‚ŠγŒγ¨γ† domo arigatoo (really, thank you), γ‚γ‚ŠγŒγ¨γ†γ”γ–γ„γΎγ™, domo arigatoo gonzaimasu (really, thank you so much).

I have the words in Chinese too, ζ„Ÿθ°’ gǎn xiΓ¨ (real gratitude) and θ°’θ°’ xiΓ¨ xie (for common thanks).

But in English, the power of gratitude has been lost for me by thosands of forced thank yous given and recieved with no meaning.

So I haven’t found gratitude much in this gratitude challenge, but I’ve found curiousity and forgiveness.

My dad for example, I’m unable to be very grateful for him, even though he often supported me in my life financially and physically, and I would mentally/logically expect myself to feel grateful towards him, I can’t force my feelings to be that way. But I was able to forgive him for not being the perfect dad, for being too depressed to come out of his shell and nurture me emotionally. I was able to be curious about why he is depressed and what that was like for him. He was more open with me about his childhood this year than every before, he hated his dad, who hated his dad, so even though I don’t hate my dad, I can start to see why he didn’t have a role model of a father being open with his kids, because his father was not very close to him and my grandfather (who is 100 now) had a horrible relationship with his mom’s husband and possible didn’t know his own father.

I know we don’t always copy what we see, sometimes we overcome the past, but it seems like because my grandfather was so distant from a father, my father was as well and I as well. But things are starting to change for the better this year.

So I mention this just as an investigation of a possible reason that I’m struggling so much to be grateful, just because I wasn’t exposed to gratitude growing up in my particular family. Even though they tried to force us, and succeeded in forcing us, to say thank you, without showing true feelings of gratitude, I didn’t learn that aspect of humanity until much later in life.

Perhaps someday I will be better at being grateful or perhaps it’s not something that will ever be my forte, but I’m giving it a chance for a month and seeing what the journey tells me about myself.

Perhaps someday I will be better at being grateful or perhaps it’s not something that will ever be my forte, but I’m giving it a chance for a month and seeing what the journey tells me about myself.
I’m grateful for all the people taking the time to read this. Maybe because I don’t feel pressured to be grateful for you I can be? I know it’s hard to be grateful for my parents, my husband, my sister because I feel an intense pressure that I should and guilt that I can’t yet.

Perhaps someday I will be better at being grateful or perhaps it’s not something that will ever be my forte, but I’m giving it a chance for a month and seeing what the journey tells me about myself.

I’m grateful for all the people taking the time to read this. Maybe because I don’t feel pressured to be greatful for you I can be? I know it’s hard to be grateful for my parents, my husband, my sister because I feel an intense pressure that I should and guilt that I can’t yet.

I’m grateful for Langston Hughes’ “Harlem” (both of them), his words gave me words for my feelings at a time in my life (I think 4th grade, or age 8) when I had never had words for my true feelings before. My family told me to say I feel excited when they spent money on me, instead of dissapointed and invisible, happy for pictures, instead of embarresed and angry, sad when they got divorced instead of happy there would finally be less fighting, they told me how to feel and I tried to follow their advice, but in the end I never could do and be the way that my family and my countries social norms prefered for me to feel. I think it was this poem that caused the idea of trying to be what people told me to be to explode inside my heart. The dream of fitting in so people would like me, eventually exploded. Many years later, the people who matter to me, who I need, who I like, still like me, without me pretending and those who don’t, didn’t even when I pretended.

I’m grateful to the musicians at the hoolaulea music festival last night, I don’t know all their names, but I really appriciate the music. Music is something that has lifted me up when I’ve been the lowest. Words lift me from normal to inspired, but music lifts me up from half dead to alive again. I don’t really know the intentions of the musicans, but it felt like they were trying to give the world some love to make it through another year’s challenges.

I’m grateful for two books. The first is “The Pain of Challenges,” by Steven Turikunkiko. This is a book written by someone who lived during a time of genocide and is an orphan. Sometimes I feel bad that I didn’t have a family with two loving parents, yet it’s very common, I’m not alone and other people get through it and are able to live with hope and gratitude, so it inspires me to keep trying to let go of the past and move towards gratitude little by little. The second book is “How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult: A Path to Authenticity and Awakening” by Ira Israel. I don’t agree completely with either book, but both were helpful in my personal journey of forgiveness and my journey of forgiveness was neccesary in my journey of gratitude.

I’m very grateful for two boggers today. The first is Nomz, the writer who started this gratitude challenge and was the first person to encourage me to challenge myself to boldly celebrate myself, her writing is a constant source of inspiration and surprisingly eloquent and powerful for a “younger writer.” The second is Dr. Jurisharma who wrote a beautiful post about 5 situations when walking away is healthy and helped me grieve in another post about emotional healing where I first heard Rumi’s “What hurts you blesses you. Darkness is your candle,” which has really helped me to allow myself to go through the grieving process when I’m hurt instead of running from it or denying it.

Sometimes I wonder if it matters to write, for me or for readers, and if my time would make a difference somewhere else, I’m still not sure, but since it matters to me that others write, since it makes my life better, maybe it matters for me to write as well, maybe it will make someone’s life better also, maybe mine or maybe someone else’s? Maybe. 🌻

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⭐ Life Improvement Fourth Week

Aloha! This is the week four, it’s been a great, yet busy week (started a gratitude challenge, still doing an extra parenting class, preparing to leave the nursery for the year, redid the kid’s homeschool curriculum blocks) checking in a day late for the second week in a row…

Pono & Mind:

πŸ—Ή Be the change you want to see happen instead of trying to change anyone else. -Arleen Lorance “Did this by giving a lot of love to my kids and behaving well as a mom (teaching and spending some time with them) instead of expecting them to behave well, and being respectful to my sister instead of expecting her to be respectful to me.”

πŸ—Ή Create your own reality consciously. -Arleen Lorance “I found a phrase where Canada appologizes for expanding into the North with an absense of awareness, somehow it helps me and gives me courage. The U.S. where I live would never appologize in a meaningful way for stealing land and commiting horrible acts of violence on the natives, but just a little bit away is a country that is willing to admit the truth and change how they view and run things, that’s inspiring to me. I was inspired when the gave back native lands before, but thinking that they are doing the best they can to do what is right strengthens my resolve to be fair and respectful to my kids as I take a respectful parenting class and try to shift my mindset to fix the relationship strain that has been going on for the last two years between my daughter and I.”

☐ See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance “I didn’t do that this week, my son got a bad hair cut and I grieved it as a bad hair cut, I didn’t find a way to enjoy being sad that I missed his first hair cut or that I didn’t like the way he looked now.”

πŸ—Ή Have no expectations, but rather, abundant expectancy. -Arleen Lorance “I did well with that, I am trying to change the way I parent, yet not expecting the new changes to help, hoping that something changes for the better, yet not expecting any specific instant fixes.”

πŸ—Ή Read books. Do puzzles. Brainstorming. Drawing, painting, and/or sculpting. -Demitri Martin “Did coding puzzles with my daughter, brainstormed a lot of curriculum with my sister, disciplined a lot of discipline and conflict resolution issues, thought deeply about what life I want to live and raising awareness about what my choices are and how much I can get done with the time and energy I have and how to accept my limitations.”

πŸ—Ή Gratitude Challenge – Consistent gratitude for 30 days. -Nomz “It wasn’t easy for me, because I won’t let myself lie about what I really feel. I for some reason struggle to be greatful for the big things, my husband supporting me, my kids being in my life, my sister helping me, but I can be grateful that my sister wore a silly pizza hat that made me feel happy, that my son’s hands pressed together at the finger tips resting on his chest look so cute and peaceful, that my daughter said it was the happiest day of her life when she realized I do love her still, that my husband bought me a greenhouse to keep my papaya tree sprouts alive. I’ve been trying to be consistently grateful, it’s been taking a lot of effort, but I’ve been learning a lot about myself in the process. It feels like my brain is broken when it comes to gratitude, but I’m just doing my best, exploring and determined to finish at least the 30 day challenge.

πŸ—Ή Respectful Parenting – The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else. The fact that we are human has value in itself. If a person is an end-in-themself it means their inherent value doesn’t depend on anything else – it doesn’t depend on whether the person is enjoying their life, or making other people’s lives better. We exist, so we have value. “I’m starting with respectful parenting, but after the class is over I plan to expand slowly towards the rest of my social connections, my birth family, my husband, my friends, everyone I meet, people I don’t know… Due to the parenting class I have really started treating my children’s feelings with more respect, even though I don’t agree with their logic, I can respect that they feel however they feel.”

Mālama & Body:

πŸ—Ή Eat better. -Demitri Martin “My dad made home made poi and my sister grew home made mung bean sprouts so I actually ate better this week.”

πŸ—Ή Exercise. -Demitri Martin “I did T25 lower focus and started integrating martial arts into exercise time.”

Aloha & Relationships:

πŸ—Ή Did you let people help you/provide others with opportunities to give? -Arleen Lorance “I accepted an invitation to a birthday party and had the best time I’ve ever had at a party. There was a beautiful black cow (Malu) who lives right on the ocean and it gave me hope that maybe my life could be as great as that cow’s life someday.”

πŸ—Ή Did you receive all people/someone as beautiful exactly as they are? -Arleen Lorance “I’m so much closer, at least I can do that for both my kids now and almost my sister and myself.”

πŸ—Ή Did you help a friend/stranger? Uplift those around you? Do something nice for someone? -Demitri Martin “I was nice to my daughter a lot this week and also started a ritual of dancing and singing to my son once a day.”

☐ Practice Confidence: Be forthright and proactive in your life. -Demitri Martin Boldly Celebrate Yourself – Nomz

πŸ—Ή Walk Away: From anger, ego, people who put you down, fear, the past. -Dr. Jurisharma “Walked away from anger at having my ideas called stupid, walked away from fear that if I don’t discipline my daughter she will not find her own way safely in the world.”

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

πŸ—Ή Did you set weekly goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, here, changed three of my weekly goals.”

πŸ—Ή Did you take daily steps toward achieving those goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, it’s not everything everyday, but it’s something everyday.”

☐ Money: Keep careful track of your income and expenses. -Demitri Martin “I didn’t keep careful track, I did keep track more and still don’t spend a lot, but I hate focusing on finances so I didn’t really keep careful track.”

☐ Errands: Do your cleaning, marketing, and pay your bills on time. -Demitri Martin “Dishes were all washed, but put away late, laundry was all washed but folded days later, it’s not like me, but all the other things I am doing take time, the parenting class happens right when I usually clean, gardening takes extra physical energy, looking into finances drains me emotionally, everything else I did took away from the energy that feeds the cleaning…”

14 Points of 18 Points = 78% for the third week of September. The system feels really right, not too easy and not too hard. I am glad I did the things that most reflected my values and put the most important things, my kids and my well being first, yet I would like to not have the clean laundry laying around in a basket all week next week also… There has been a lot of change, the gratitude challenge, the parenting class ext, but it’s been really good change. I’m glad because the early part of the year felt wasted when I was sick with pregnancy and just surviving taking care of the newborn. I’m ready to have things get back in order soon hopefully.

What really happened the next week?

⭐ Life Improvement Third Week

Hello! This is the week three, it’s been a hard week (swollen eye, whole family sick), checking in a day late…

Pono & Mind:

πŸ—Ή Be the change you want to see happen instead of trying to change anyone else. -Arleen Lorance “Did this by starting rushing a lot less and putting my family ahead of the garden (still not natural for me – kind of painful).”

☐ Create your own reality consciously. -Arleen Lorance “I may have done that a little bit, but at the end of the week I got overly tired and failed to live the way I wanted to, failed to have the energy to even see it as an option.”

πŸ—Ή See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance “I did that while I was disciplining my daughter, using some of the unpleasant times as learning opportunities and others were just failures, but those were opportunities to forgive myself as human.”

☐ Have no expectations, but rather, abundant expectancy. -Arleen Lorance “I didn’t do that, I was sad that while caring for my sick kids I wasn’t able to clean, write and garden, I was bitter at the time my family spent talking to me that I much much rather would have caught up on keeping the house clean.”

πŸ—Ή Read books. Do puzzles. Brainstorming. Drawing, painting, and/or sculpting. -Demitri Martin “Read Dinosaurumpus, Only Love Today. Worked on a digital drawing.”

Mālama & Body:

☐ Eat better. -Demitri Martin

πŸ—Ή Exercise. -Demitri Martin “I did T25 today body circuit, cardio, and stretch.”

Aloha & Relationships:

πŸ—Ή Did you let people help you/provide others with opportunities to give? -Arleen Lorance “I got help from my family to get through the days with the sick kids and swollen eye.”

πŸ—Ή Did you receive all people/someone as beautiful exactly as they are? -Arleen Lorance “I did that with my baby who was sick, but that was it, better luck next week.”

πŸ—Ή Did you help a friend/stranger? Uplift those around you? Do something nice for someone? -Demitri Martin “I think so, nothing big, but I think I made it this week.”

πŸ—Ή Practice Confidence: Be forthright and proactive in your life. -Demitri Martin “I wasn’t perfect this week, but it was actually more often than not.”

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

πŸ—Ή Did you set weekly goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, here, still working on aligning my values and nature’s principles with my goals. Made some cuts (putting away dry dishes and brushing twice) because it was too much for me to really do.”

πŸ—Ή Did you take daily steps toward achieving those goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, cutting the excess goals helped a lot, I actually didn’t get behind what my plans were, but still didn’t feel like it was enough. Still trying to shake the feeling of wanting to do way more than I really can in a given day or week.”

☐ Money: Keep careful track of your income and expenses. -Demitri Martin “I didn’t keep careful track, I am getting more mindful, yet haven’t made it a priority just yet.”

☐ Errands: Do your cleaning, marketing, and pay your bills on time. -Demitri Martin “Behind in cleaning, most things are getting done, but with kids, that is something challenging.”

10 Points of 15 Points = 66% for the second week of September. I wasn’t sure if the point system would give me too much or too little credit compared to real life (it is arbitrary after all) but it’s perfect so far. Since I checked out due to my swollen eye not being able to use the computer or do much of anything for about three days, I’m not surprised that I hit a below-passing score. I’m not trying to beat myself up, yet the unpleasant feeling I had about not living life the way I wanted to, pretty exactly matches the 66%. It takes a lot of mental effort to do well on this point system, not physical effort and not time, but a ton of mental and emotional effort and I didn’t have the capacity to be where I wanted to be this past week, but I’ll try to cut the loss, grieve the pain and move forward persistently the rest of this week.

How did the next week go?

🌱 Love and Tomatoes πŸ…

I am just a novice gardener, but my hopes and dreams have been entangled in plants for quite some time.

I moved to Volcano, Hawaii this year after visiting twice, I fell in love with the moss, the trees, the sky, I live an hour away from the beach and the beach that is there is hot and rugged. It’s Hawaii, but it’s like a different world from the Honolulu hometown I grew up in during the 1980s. Anyways, it’s a great place to garden, up on a mountain, it doesn’t frost, but it does get much colder than Honolulu. There are almost a dozen different climate types in Hawaii, from snow to cool on Mana Kea, hot and arid in Kona, wet yet cool here in Volcano, wet and hot in Hilo ext.

I’ve got a problem, with my daughter, she never feels loved enough by me. I’ve been around her almost everyday since she was born at home. I worked a bit with her, but didn’t leave her, I took her with me. I don’t know why she is a cup that can’t be filled, but that’s how it’s always been with us. For years I carried my daughter in a carrier, I did many of the things reccomended to avoid this kind of a problem, yet the problem remains. I don’t know if it’s something to be fixed or just the way our life will be. I don’t know if she needs to find self love in her own heart or something I don’t know about, but changing the way I try to let her know I love her hasn’t helped so far. She clings and clings and clings and yet is never fuller of love and affection. My father, my sister, my husband, her God father, her God mother help me lover her, yet it’s not enough, not nearly enough for her. I don’t understand it, I’m not uncaring, not unnoticing, yet I have no solution so far.

It’s gotten so bad between us at times that I can’t feel love for her, yet I do love her. I told her my truth, that I do and will always love her, but when I am very angry or frustrated I can’t feel the love that is still there in my heart.

Last summer I planted two cherry tomato vines, this summer it fed my daughter nearly everyday, we went out together and picked the ripe yellow and red tomatoes. It was a handfull of tomatoes, but they are expensive here and they have always been her favorite food. The vines were overgrown and the fruit was hitting the floor in a tangles mess, caught up with spiky Hawaiian rasberry vines in a way that was difficult to protect from pests. At night I took many semislugs infected with rat lung paracite off the tomato vines and besides that my elderly father couldn’t be expected to harvest from the floor height vines when I wasn’t around during our winter trip. So, I decided to remove the tomato vines, with a very heavy heart.

When I placed the vines on a trellis I was planning to throw out I noticed the fruit still ripened, offering us more sustinance even after death, it touched me in a deep way.

Maybe like Michael Pollen I am just projecting imagined emotions onto plants, but maybe that’s fine.

I have trouble expressing deep emotions, noticing them, I am broken in many ways.

I don’t know exactly how my feelings, that I should have for my loved ones, became instead invested in plants, that logically don’t provide for me. I’m not a farmer, nor a famous gardener, nor is my garden even well kept or particularly beautiful… yet it’s where my heart lives.

My dad and my sister prefer dogs to people, dogs don’t hurt people often, they don’t critizise, they don’t usually leave, I get it…

But for me it’s plants.

I have a husband, a daughter, a baby son, a very helpful sister, a generous yet shy father, but it’s difficult to be excited about them to share my heart with them. It’s easy for me to do that with plants. I can care about the sprouts, be excited by seeds germinating, be in love with moss, find common ground with the trees, feel amazed by the ferns here, supposedly over a thousand years old. Loving plants has become as natural as breathing and loving people as hard as calculus.

I recognize how perverse that is for a social species individual and inopportune for a parent and spouse. Yet that’s the way my heart is.

So, I have a problem, we all have problems right?

I was in the garden trying to take out all the weeds this summer, when my sister who was baby sitting for me, asked me “what are you hopping to achieve, what’s the end goal?”

And it bothered me, it burrowed into and occupied my mind all summer and until this day I haven’t sorted it out or been able to stop trying to sort it out.

I suppose I should live a people first life, “love people, use things,” but that wasn’t how I was raised, I’m not that framiliar with doing that.

I try to be a good mother, but it’s not very enjoyable, I don’t feel unconditional love towards my violent, needy daughter very often, but one time when I did was when we picked tomatoes together during the summer this year.

I have planted the seeds of our tomatoes hoping they will grow well so we can pick them again next summer, but I know I should also find a way to actually love my daughter more often.

The slugs in my area have a paracite deadly to kids, my whole adult family hunted them for two weeks in June and July to try to make the garden safer for my kids to eat out of… I wanted my daughter to know the connection between nature and food at a deep level, not an intellectual one, yet after two weeks of not sleeping after coming back from hunting my worst phobia I didn’t really know if it was all worth it or not.

Months later there are still some slugs, but nature is on my side, wasps have moved in, lizards, skinks, and frogs are on the way that can all help eat the small slugs, we even found one snake here in Hawaii… a blind snake. Thought there weren’t any, but was wrong. Found a hammerhead worm, never knew that existed, walking down our pathway… in summary nature is headed back to balance where there won’t be a ton of slugs on our property anymore like there were this year (that’s my current hope and thought anyways). Even when there are less, there will be that low, yet horrible risk that if my unruly daughter does eat a slug, she will most likely contract the rat lung paracite that there is no cure for and is almost always deadly in children… so how can I risk her life because I want her to eat fresh veggies from our garden?

I have a hard time explaining that to myself.

Officials say washing produce is enough, yet people are getting the paracite without knowing how, that worries me… slime has low amounts of the disease, slime that could be anywhere outside… right on our door, our patio, in our kitchen once, on our welcome mat irronicly (slugs are unwelcome on our welcome mat)… it’s very scary not knowing how some people get sick, it’s scary that if my child eats a slug she will almost certainly get the paracite and almost certainly die, so why not find something else to do?

I don’t have a rational answer for that. Not really.

I don’t want to live in fear, I don’t want to not do the thing next year that gave me the most happinest this year, I don’t want to pay the high price of cherry tomatoes every week, I don’t want to give up my dream of having an amazing permaculture garden so soon or so easily. Those are part of why, but I think the real why is deeper and harder to define.

I think gardening is my ikigai, reason for being. I don’t know why it isn’t raising my kids, or writing, which I also enjoy.

Something about waking up and seeing what’s sprouted, watering the plants I want, slowly removing the weeds respectfully, dreaming of future pathways and microgardens, beats writing and taking care of my kids.

It seems messed up, and it’s a little beyond my comprehension or explanation, yet I think it’s the truth.

Raising my kids is significant to me, yet to be honest my sister or father could do as good a job as I could and my husband (if we could afford him to stop working) could do better. I’m not very good at raising them overall. I keep them safe, I love them, I feed them, I stimulate their minds, but it could be done equally well or better by others if I had others available.

Gardening is something less significant, yet it can only be done by me. My gardening can only be done by me, it’s kind of a living sculpture, a botanical painting of my soul. What I do for my kids may be my legacy, may affect the world, and my decendents more, yet it’s almost not at all personal, it’s me supporting their natural growth, it’s them being them. Gardening is me being me. Maybe someday I will change, maybe people will fascinate and inspire me someday, but right now they really don’t.

Right now gardening is my ikigai, it’s the reason I am passionate about life instead of just resigned to the never ending laundry, dishes and discipline I couldn’t really care much about eventhough I have tried for years to find satisfaction and meaning in service.

So, my daughter’s awesome school is featuring love (aloha) as the value of this month and for me love is picking cherry tomatoes together, washing them really well and watching my daughter enjoy her favorite food that the land gave to us so generously. I hope it happens again next year.

I hope some year in the furture I will say that my daughter is at peace, because of herself or something I changed or that we have too many things we do where I feel unconditional love towards her to even write about, but this year, it’s picking tomatoes. That’s the only time I’ve felt that way with her and something so precious to me that I’m now overly emotional about tomatoes in general. Tomatoes have become my symbol of unconditional love.

I was planning to discuss growing up in a horde of trash, broken items and broken dreams and how that might have affected my ability to love people or not love them… but perhaps that will be another time. I wanted to put down my feelings about the tomatoes. I never want to forget the smile on my daughter’s face, how I faced my phobias for what seemed right, the sweet taste of the tomatoes, the shared sunlight, the shared happiness that we don’t always have together. I never want to forget that there are moments when I love my daughter with all my heart as much as I’m “supposed to” be able to do/would like to do, all the time. πŸ…

⭐ Life Improvement Second Week

Hello! This is the week two, it’s easier to do this the second time, it almost feels like a habit already to reflect on and learn from the past week on Sunday. I’m grateful that I jumped on someone else’s momentum, but I could still be rushing to get things done, instead of doing what matters to me, if not for upholding my own values, so I am celebrating myself too!

Pono & Mind:

πŸ—Ή Be the change you want to see happen instead of trying to change anyone else. -Arleen Lorance “Did this by starting a parenting class – The Whole Brained Child: Beyond the Book – to try to change the way I communicate during melt downs ext.”

πŸ—Ή Create your own reality consciously. -Arleen Lorance “I’m doing this by changing my values and beliefs as painful and energy draining as it is, until I enjoy life and am satisfied I am living with integrity, why not keep changing the life I’ve made for myself?”

πŸ—Ή See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance “I did that by taking a chance for a free video lesson by Rachel Stafford Monday, that focuses on the problem of distraction.”

πŸ—Ή Have no expectations, but rather abundant expectancy. -Arleen Lorance “I did that because I’m not expecting any particular behavior or dynamic to change in my family due to the parenting class, yet I am open to improvements happening.”

πŸ—Ή Read books. Do puzzles. Brainstorming. Drawing, painting, and/or sculpting. -Demitri Martin “Read The Book Thief, reviewed took notes on The Whole Brained Child. Did a ton of brainstorming about discipline, what makes a well lived life and gardening. Worked on a digital drawing.”

Mālama & Body:

☐ Eat better. -Demitri Martin

πŸ—Ή Exercise. -Demitri Martin “I nailed T25 Ab Intervals, and was very sore afterwards.”

Aloha & Relationships:

πŸ—Ή Did you let people help you/provide others with opportunities to give? -Arleen Lorance “I got help from another writer in the form of a life lesson I needed about gratitude. Thank you to Nomz for another inspiring post about Sunday reflection!”

πŸ—Ή Did you receive all people/someone as beautiful exactly as they are? -Arleen Lorance “I did that with my baby, and I tried the hardest I could with my daughter and sister. It seems like acceptence isn’t all or none, I feel myself starting to approach embracing my sister and daughter, who are different than me, a little bit more everyday.”

☐ Did you help a friend/stranger? Uplift those around you? Do something nice for someone? -Demitri Martin “I don’t really know, I want to believe that this writing will do that, but since I don’t know I won’t cheat.”

πŸ—Ή Practice Confidence: Be forthright and proactive in your life. -Demitri Martin “I can’t believe I’m doing this, it’s maybe not 100% smooth, but I am communicating with respect what bothers me or what is on my heart and mind with those that I love instead of staying quiet believing that it will stir up trouble or that no one will understand.”

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

πŸ—Ή Did you set weekly goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, here, monthly on a note and daily on Habitca, everything isn’t perfect, but I am getting my goals on paper and working on aligning everything with my values and nature’s principles over time.”

πŸ—Ή Did you take daily steps toward achieving those goals? -Demitri Martin “I did take two scary steps, paying $24 for a parenting class that might help my current worst problem and signing up for a video class given by my favorite author, which is free, yet still scary.”

☐ Money: Keep careful track of your income and expenses. -Demitri Martin “I didn’t keep careful track, I am getting closer though, I kept loose track of finances this time.”

πŸ—Ή Errands: Do your cleaning, marketing, and pay your bills on time. -Demitri Martin “I did my basics, as I could, even though I didn’t upgrade them.”

12 Points of 15 Points = 80% for the first week of September. A little less than last week, but that makes since, I had a little less to give this week. A little less sleep, a little more sick. I think the point system has helped me to be mindful of what I really want in life, but not really sure yet…

The next week I got sick and my eye was swollen halfway shut for three days…

πŸ•―οΈ Winds of Change 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.

For the past few years I have chosen values and tried to live by them for a long time before changing them, but this year feels very different, it feels neccisary to change my way of being distracted and busy, it feels neccisary to change being passively dissatisfied with a life out of balance doing too much for others until I’m an empty shadow of a human being, it feels neccisary that I change my consioussness to create a different life than the one I have come to hate (even though I made it myself). In my new life I want these value changes:

Proactivity replaces entitlement.
Resilience replaces complaints.
Perseverance replaces excuses.
Authenticity replaces courage.
Mindfulness replaces persistence.
Humility replaces wisdom.
Serenity replaces power.

It’s a lot at once and I don’t like that, I don’t think it’s easy to make a lot of changes at one time without falling off good habits, yet I feel a kind of emotional momentum to complete a larger metamorphesis than normal. I feel inspired to give myself and my kids a different life than they would have with me the way I was before.

It’s not that many changes in our physical life, but so many in our actual life, in the way we live. I was rushing so much before, that the habit I am trying to form of “not rushing,” becomes a thosand real habits. Don’t rush through morning, don’t rush through meals, don’t rush to clean, don’t rush people who are talking, don’t rush while you brush your daughter’s hair, don’t rush as your kids grow up, don’t rush as your life passes you by without reaching your dreams, don’t rush as you reflect on the week, don’t rush so that you don’t ever tell your husband that he matter to you, it becomes millions of habits.

Which is why I like having the free habitca app, it lets me add daily habits, regular (but non-daily habits), to dos…

Some daily habits I’ve made since my son was born are “Live my Best Life Possible,” “Don’t Rush,” “Check Email in the Morning,” “Mindfulness,” “Communicate Assertively,” “Brush Teeth Twice,” “Dry Dishes at Night.” Some other habits I’ve made are “Authentic Acceptance,” “Notice My Kids,” “Work on Blog,” “People Care,” “Teach School,” “Home Care – Laundry and Dishes,” “Plant Care,” “Earth Care,” and “Fair Share.” The one habit that has stayed from before my son is “Stoic Meditation” on Coach.Me (an online positive habit community).

My life is in flux in a really positive way, but it’s very turbulent and challenging to try to rise to meet internal challenges and be honest about failures, re-evaluate plays, seek solutions instead of being bogged down by problems.

The year started with the meditation, “problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them” (Einstein) and it has become “do what you can today, with what you already have, find a way.”

It was the book The Power of Habit, that first inspired me to take a hold of my own mind and live the best I could in real life, before that book it seemed impossible to seperate who I am from my good and bad habits and make the changes I dreamed a reality. Much gratitude to Charles Duhigg for writing such a empowering, truthful and useful book. Since reading it I became interested in neuroscience and habit formation, but also in becoming emotionally proactive and healing my heart’s wounds enough to be able to have the resilience to face life with my heart on my sleave, take the pain of failures and continue trying to do the best I can everyday.

I think it’s going to take sometime to sort out my action plans and rationals for changing my value structure that thus changes my mindset, attitude and habit plans, but I wanted to write something as a declaration of my intent to be a better person, in part in thanks for the pressence of my son in my life and in part to be able to die in peace when I finally do so.

The quote that keeps me inspired when I bite off more than it seems like I can chew is “change is possible, if you seek it,” (- author unknown) that’s what the featured image represents to me.

πŸ“• Week 1 of the Whole Brained Child Beyond the Book

Week 1 Questions: Introduction – Survive and Thrive

1. How often do you find you find yourself just trying to survive moments in parenting? “Estimated: 3-5 times a day.”

2. What are your β€œgo toβ€œ survival techniques? “For non-stop screaming the room AKA prison (happens once every other week or so) until we both calm down enough to talk, if I feel like hitting my daughter her room (happens once a month or so when she hurts her tiny baby brother) until I calm down, for violations of known rules her room or prior punishment such as take away item for the day onto fridge if she hit someone with it – then we talk on her bed about the family value that was violated by the behavior, what I want to see and ask if she understands, yelling is just a failure that happens when I am overwhelmed once every other week or so, threatening happens in public where I want to let her stay somewhere fun like school or the library, but she is breaking rules such as running far away in the parking lot after other kids, running in hallways where it is not allowed ext. Consequences are not called consequences, we refer to them as “if,” “then” and choices, (ICC: inform, consequence, choice) if you do not share the doll with the little girl who is crying, then I will not get you shave ice after school. I do a lot of positive rewards with affection, words of affirmation and food treats, but I don’t consider that to be “bribes”, I consider it positive incentives and I think it’s been a good thing for us. Ex we practice languages in the morning, she tries to say new words and gets m&m mini’s, I think it’s the attention she likes the best, but I do give candy. She gets paid for helping with laundry and helping protect her brother, $4/week, I don’t think of that as a bribe, living in a country where workers get paid, I think it’s modeling the world (imperfect although it is) we live in.”

3. On page viii it asks what you really want for your children? What qualities do you hope they develop and carry into their adult lives? “Emotional control, resilience, empathy, eq, leadership, boundaries, integrity, ethics.”

How much time do you spend intentionally developing these qualities?
“Emotional control 1-5 hours/week, resilience 10 min-3 hours/day, empathy 3 hours/week, eq 1 hour/week, leadership 10 min-2 hours/week, boundaries 3 hours/week, integrity 7 hours/week, ethics 4 hours/week.”

4. What skills and abilities do you think will be easy to develop in these survive and thrive moments? Which will take more effort? Independence? Problem solving? Compassion? Empathy? Anything else? “None are easy, it was extremely hard to do this in real life.”

πŸ“• My Experience with Whole-Brained Parenting

Overall I enjoyed the book Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, I read it when my first child was a baby and found it somewhat unsuited for her tempermant.

I just started Kelly Meier’s “Beyond the Book” book club to try and apply the book towards my real family life, even though I failed in the past I’m excited to try again. Sometimes failure is not the opposite of success, but part of the path of success (and sometimes it’s not).

One thing about the book is it says that the child’s brain will mirror the parents, that doesn’t seem real to me. I have been super calm, while my child was screaming and kicking… my calmness just bothered my daugher more and more. It feels like I’m not able to validate her emotions and she isn’t able to down regulate. It’s not that I don’t want to help her, but I never found a way so far. I believe in her ability to self regulate and I think it’s fine for parents to co regulate also, but somewhere between her and I as individuals is some kind of problem doing so. I am able to face my emotions, I am able to calm my actions, yet I am helpless to help my daughter who is way more intense than I am. She reminds me a lot of her father, he doesn’t let me co regulate him, if he is very sad or mad he leaves the house and comes back. That’s the way he was before I met him, that’s his choice, but it seems to me that my daughter and him are very naturally different than average.

It’s my hope that I can help my daughter learn to calm down enough to handle her emotions well, not ignore them, not repress them, but also not be a slave to them.

The book says “everything that happens to us matters to how the brain develops,” that’s stress provoking for me, it made me want to control “everything that happens to my daughter’s brain” ie “everything.” That’s not a very realistic expectation, with one, or especially two kids. It also makes me frustrated when, not everything I try seems to have any effect on my child. From my experiences, I don’t believe that it is true. I believe that there are certain really important events, like “core memories” from Inside Out,” that for subtle reasons, are much more important than other events. I have come to find that a lot of events are outside of my control as a parent, and I have to accept and surrender to those events emotionally to face reality as it comes.

I also have doubts that squabbles are caused by lack of brain integration, I think they are part of human nature. I don’t know any adults who don’t squabble… I think heart to heart comunication breaks down and squabbles occur at all ages.

I have more doubts that brain integration can live up to it’s promise of helping people to thrive “emotionally, intellectually and socially,” maybe it does help “improved decision making, better control of body and emotions, fuller self understanding, stronger relationships and success in school,” but I don’t believe all the introductory claims are true. I personally know the “achademically best” student in my sisters school (her best friend), who struggled with relationships. I know many people who shine is one area of life, without brain integration. I think brain integration is worthwhile, but I think the claims of what it improves are inflatted or wrong. I think brain integration probably does improve day to day well being. I think success in school is somewhat determined by fate, some people can’t even afford to go seriously… I think relationship success relies on people outside of your control, not on your brain integration… I think intellect is heavily genetic or determined by nutrition or early education outside of brain integration. But even voicing my doubts, I believe brain integration has something beautiful and worth chasing at the end of its journey.

I think brain integration probably helps ward off depression, I was in the same place intellectually and socially, before and after working on brain integration, but I did end at a slightly elevated emotional place. What I can say about my daughter, is that despite getting more “enrichment” than her peers she is intellectually average, socially superior and emotionally poorer. I’m not sure if that is due to genetics vs enviornment, but I know she isn’t superior across the board, to her friends who’s parents don’t read parenting books or visit museums, learn sign language ext., instead she has peaks and valleys that I think are semi-perminant markers of her unique mind, heart and soul.

More to come…

⭐ Life Improvement First Week

Hello! This is the first week since reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a few years ago that I’m actually able to think in a weekly block. I was convinced I should try it, some time ago, however it took a lot of personal growth to stop asking my husband, family or kids for “permission” to design my week or to give myself time to reflect. It’s really hard to make time to do this, but Sunday feels like a good time to reflect on and learn from the past week.

Pono & Mind:

πŸ—Ή Be the change you want to see happen instead of trying to change anyone else. -Arleen Lorance “Did this by printing an assertive communication list of notes from Dr. Sharon Galor’s book about assertiveness, which I intend to use to communicate in a warm and honest way with my family instead of arguing with them.”

πŸ—Ή Create your own reality consciously. -Arleen Lorance “I’m doing that by making this life improvement system based on Demitri Martin’s one, but infused with possible corrections to avoid divorce and also to align with my own values”.

πŸ—Ή See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance “I did that because of frequent arguments in my birth family I decided to change my assertiveness level to not engage in unpleasant arguments, but also reach out personally to all my family members to let them know I love them and I’m ready to talk pleasantly with them about solutions if they are respectful.”

πŸ—Ή Have no expectations, but rather abundant expectancy. -Arleen Lorance “I did that because I’m not expecting anyone else to suddenly change the way they talk to me, even though I am going to change how I talk and when I am available to listen.”

πŸ—Ή Read books. Do puzzles. Brainstorming. Drawing, painting, and/or sculpting. -Demitri Martin “Read the Four Tendencies, reviewed How to Win Friends and Influence People, Never Split the Difference and took notes on Be Assertive. Did a ton of brainstorming about discipline, coconut milk and gardening. Finished a digital drawing I’ve been working on for a month.”

Mālama & Body:

☐ Eat better. -Demitri Martin

πŸ—Ή Exercise. -Demitri Martin “I nailed T25 Total Body Circuit, and I tried Last Minute Abs from Rock’n Body.”

Aloha & Relationships:

πŸ—Ή Did you let people help you/provide others with opportunities to give? -Arleen Lorance “I did ask for help with my baby and happily recieve some from my family.”

πŸ—Ή Did you receive all people/someone as beautiful exactly as they are? -Arleen Lorance “I did that with my baby, even when he cries I respect that he isn’t happy and appriciate who he is, someone who has empowered me to dare to try my best in a way words can’t explain.”

πŸ—Ή Did you help a friend/stranger? Uplift those around you? Do something nice for someone? -Demitri Martin “Sent an actual card to my bestfriend and hope/think she enjoyed it.”

πŸ—Ή Practice Confidence: Be forthright and proactive in your life. -Demitri Martin “I would have trouble doing this except for a blog post “Bodly Celebrate Yourself,” by Nomz that really touched me and let me get outside my normal shyness for a little bit these past few weeks.”

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

πŸ—Ή Did you set weekly goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, I did that with the Life Improvement System. I set weekly goals that seem like a good start towards living in a way I won’t regret on my deathbed, but without expecting an unrealistic amount. Prioritizing relationships over productivity, but not crucifying productivity either.”

πŸ—Ή Did you take daily steps toward achieving those goals? -Demitri Martin “I did take a lot of small emotional and mental actions leading to major changes in the structure and schedual of next week.”

☐ Money: Keep careful track of your income and expenses. -Demitri Martin “I fixed my budget in Mint, but honestly didn’t keep careful track of it this month.”

πŸ—Ή Errands: Do your cleaning, marketing, and pay your bills on time. -Demitri Martin “I had one late bill simply on accident, did most of the cleaning on time.”

13 Points of 15 Points = 87% for the last week of August. I don’t have a lot of feelings about it yet, but I do know that I honestly tried to be mindful of what I really want in life, the other people in my life, and being realistic about what I can achieve in real life while caring for my two kids.

(See how week two went.)

🌠 Weekly Life Improvement System

Just watched “If I,” on Youtube (Demetri Martin’s stand up comedy show about examining life). It reminded my of his point system. I like the idea of his point system, but also he got divorced in that time, so it makes me think it needs some tweaking. I inserted Arleen Lorrances love principles into the mix and aligned the catagories to my family values (which we just voted on this past month). This is my version of the Demitri Martin’s life improvement system:

Pono & Mind:

☐ Be the change you want to see happen instead of trying to change anyone else. -Arleen Lorance

☐ Create your own reality consciously. -Arleen Lorance

☐ See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance

☐ Have no expectations, but rather abundant expectancy. -Arleen Lorance

☐ Read books. Do puzzles. Brainstorming. Drawing, painting, and/or sculpting. -Demitri Martin

Mālama & Body:

☐ Eat better. -Demitri Martin

☐ Exercise. -Demitri Martin

Aloha & Relationships:

☐ Did you let people help you/provide others with opportunities to give? -Arleen Lorance

☐ Did you receive all people/someone as beautiful exactly as they are? -Arleen Lorance

☐ See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance

☐ Did you help a friend/stranger? Uplift those around you? Do something nice for someone? -Demitri Martin

☐ Practice Confidence: Be forthright and proactive in your life. -Demitri Martin

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

☐ Did you set weekly goals? -Demitri Martin

☐ Did you take daily steps toward achieving those goals? -Demitri Martin

☐ Money: Keep careful track of your income and expenses. -Demitri Martin

☐ Errands: Do your cleaning, marketing, and pay your bills on time. -Demitri Martin

(check in on my first weekly evaluation)