🌟 Be the Change Project 🌟 II

Mission: restore harmony to my mind – myself – my life by breaking it down into the three arenas of 1. how I treat and enjoy people, 2. how I treat and enjoy myself, clearing my mind and accepting my emotions “as is” with no justification, 3. my service to the world, currently coaching martial arts, tutoring my kids, cleaning my physical home ext, and 4. the balance between the three areas of life and how to spend limited energy, time, and money with awareness.

This Week I Feel Inspired and Uplifted by the People in my Life (Thanks that Includes You!)

Arena 1: Interaction with Human Kind – Life Time Goal: Learn to Treat Myself and Others with Dignity and Unconditional Positive Regard. Tools: Assertive Communication, Tactical Empathy, Observation, Sports Casting, Look Up, Look In.

Tiny Plan: Use problems as an intentional time to connect with other people.

πŸ—Ή Connect with Other Humans – “I’m surprised at how well it’s been going. A few years ago I hadn’t talked to my father person to person, almost ever, now we have a Friday video call that’s getting less and less difficult. I’m surprised that the wonderful support of the readers of this blog has made me feel so welcomed as a writer and more optimistic about humankind in general. I sometimes worry that I shouldn’t rely on the kindness of strangers to make me feel good, but why not? People will sometimes rob you and make you feel bad, why not just accept the good when it is handed to you? I write even if no one cares or listens, but the reader feedback I get, makes me feel like I’m touching upon common threads that intertwine all our human lives, like this simple and small act of communicating is impactful, and there is a component of connection in this process of blogging. Although critics will say there isn’t connection and interplay of minds, ideas, people, it really feels like there is. I’ve been sick this week, but I’ve been sick with a good attitude instead of a bad one and that strangely has something to do with the support I’ve received since I’ve been writing.”

πŸ—Ή Read books or Articles – “Reading “Talking to Strangers” (listening via Audible actually that seems to be easier with kids, though I actually slightly prefer reading). It is the first book I’ve read after “How Emotions Are Made,” that references the new science that indicates there is no such things as universal emotion, sadness, happiness ext, but it varies across culture and across time and across people as the rule not the exception, the way I get angry isn’t the same as you or anyone, the old standard of an angry face ext was based on faulty experiments where the testers told the answers to the subjects in the instructions. “Talking to Strangers” is a rather unpleasant book to listen too, but it may help me process the normal news events of today so I can even start to think about how I will explain them to my kids (pedophilia, murder, school shootings, police shootings ext) when I don’t profess to understand these things yet myself.”

πŸ—Ή Seek and Discuss Healing, Reunite that Which has Been Broken into Unity, and Awareness (in Short, to Renew) – “I’m in the process of trying to start a writing buddy accountability group of some kind, I think it’s an important step in my artistic journey to form some kind of “artist’s cell” for writers.”

This Week I Feel Like Progress Is Really Slow but I’m Doing My Best

Arena 2: Spirituality – Life Time Goal: Think about Balancing Serenity, Proactivity. Tools: Gratitude, Kaizen, Kon Mari, Minimalism.

Tiny Plan: Keep Clarifying My Dreams, Intentions, Goals, and Plans with this Check-In.

πŸ—Ή Malama Pono – Be forthright and proactive in your life. – “When I started getting frustrated I was able to take a step back pretty quickly, think about what I wasn’t able to get done (why I was mad), and apologize to my kids for getting frustrated so easily. I didn’t have a lot to give this week, I was sick, tired, my head was foggy, but I was so intentional at checking myself fairly quickly, and being proud of what I was able to do, instead of what I couldn’t, that I’m happy with myself overall. There was an article about Fall I was trying to write and I just couldn’t focus enough mentally to feel like there were clarity and cohesion in my mind enough to express the concepts well.”

πŸ—Ή Radical Acceptance – “It feels good at the end of the week to just let it go, it’s painful realizing the year is so far gone, but it’s better to face the truth and accept the truth instead of hiding from it.”

πŸ—Ή See problems as opportunities. – “Somewhat, definitely understood that in teaching math or music or reading problems were a good place to change the approach, I haven’t made learning fun as much as I originally wanted to, but at least when things don’t work I change what I’m doing.”

πŸ—Ή Create your own reality consciously. – “I was able to be bravely and happily sick instead of miserably sick, but I sure wish I could have done many more things than just dishes, laundry, feeding the kids, teaching the kids, those things don’t nourish my soul no matter how hard I try to do them with gratitude, love, and honor.”

πŸ—Ή Clarify my Dreams, Intentions, Goals, and Plans Here – “It still isn’t perfect, but it’s much more streamlined today than ever before. More like a puzzle than a pile of puzzle pieces.”

This Week I Feel Like I am Enough as a Martial Artist and a Human Being

Arena 3: The World – Life Time Goal: Responsibility to Take Action Towards my Inner Callings Tools: Permaculture Gardening, Martial Arts, Stoic Living, Self Leadership.

Tiny Plan: Teach martial arts Sundays 11 AM.

πŸ—Ή Aloha Κ»Δ€ina, Teaching Martial Arts – “Going well, this is the only time all week I’m completely at peace and the only time my husband watches both our kids, is it a coincidence or related? I don’t think it’s just that, I’ve always felt completely at peace on the mat and nowhere else.”

This Week I Feel Like I Couldn’t Have Reasonably Expected to Do More While Sick

Balance Between Arenas: Harmony – Life Time Goal: Resolve Imbalance Between Productivity and Rejuvenation to Safeguard Resilience.

Tiny Plan: Keep Kon Mari decluttering. 

☐ Money: Keep Careful Track of Your Income and Expenses. – “Nope, spent $90 on reasonable stuff, but too tired to track all of it, laundry soap, guitar wall mount, rainbow jelly boba topping, jasmine tea from Hong Kong, it sounds lavish, but I hadn’t spent much in a long time and it’s also for a good cause of rewarding myself to get a little more consistent with article writing, step up the game of wordsmithing in cohesion, clarity, style ext.”

πŸ—Ή Cleaning – “Amazing, vacuuming while sick, ext, the bathroom gets cleaned about once a week, the fridge is clean, dishes get not only washed but put away, things that were once super daunting are now just business as usual even when I am sick. I also don’t hate it anymore, one day I started washing dishes “in the name of good” to be a force of good in the world and as silly as it sounds that has made cleaning much easier. I prepared for medical school and now just do medieval peasant chores most the time, but that’s probably a better life for me anyway, and either way, it’s my reality.”

☐ Creative Endeavors: Brainstorming, Drawing, Painting, Sculpting, Writing, Architecture. – “I didn’t do enough, I was trying so hard to finish an article or two and just couldn’t focus even though I created enough time, it’s not all about time, having a certain mental and emotional stamina is really called for to write “well” which I try to do since I’m all about process and writing for the sake of craft and truth, even if I fail sometimes, I’m not about popularity, views, sales, I’m all about trying to write well.”

Weekly Review:

10 Points of 12 Points = 83% this week, not bad, yet it’s almost more frustrating that last week’s failure. I was the silver medalist national champion of Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu in 2011 and it’s such an annoying feeling of “almost.” Me and the other competitor tied but there is no overtime in the nationals so the referee just has to pick someone and although I don’t think I was robbed, it’s frustrating to be so close and yet so far. I guess I had wanted the week to be perfect in my heart, but it wasn’t, and in hindsight, that’s not surprising because 1. real life is never perfect and 2. I didn’t have much energy to bring to the table.

Thank you readers for sharing this journey with me, it’s really interesting seeing men and women, young and old, national and international readers, I hope that there is something in my writing that is human beyond everything else, I hope some of the writing is helpful in some way to all of you, and I hope you all know that you are helpful and inspiring to me. πŸ’

🌟 Be the Change Project πŸŒŸ

This is the same project, last week I realized all of the habits were unified by me trying to be the change I want to see in the world, so I changed the name. The project revolves around restoring harmony to my mind, myself, my life in the three arena of humankind (how I treat and enjoy people), spirituality (for me clearing my mind and accepting my emotions), the world (my service to the world ie martial arts and teaching my kids, my physical home ext), and the balance between spending energy, time, and money between the three arenas.

Arena 1: Interaction with Human Kind – Life Time Goal: Learn to Treat Myself and Others with Dignity and Unconditional Positive Regard. Tools: Assertive Communication, Tactical Empathy, Observation, Sports Casting, Look Up, Look In.

Tiny Plan: Use problems as an intentional time to connect with other people.

πŸ—Ή Connect with Other Humans – “It’s been going well, it felt backward, meaning that I had to set limits on letting my adult family drain my energy. Having intentionally less connection, in order to have a better quality connection, and leave myself enough energy to do the childcare that I have to do for my 8-month-old and my four-year-old. In a word: limits.”

πŸ—Ή Read books or Articles – “Read two articles about self-regulation and co-regulation in regards to babies (from my son’s RIE class) that remind me of the book I read earlier this year: How Emotions Are Made, which explains the concept of a body budget. It’s a great, but very complicated, book explaining how recent neurobiology debunks almost all of what science and popular stereotypes currently think about emotion formation. It confirms a lot of truths, that there is no one static “happiness,” “sadness,” ext, that men and women have a huge variety of being more or less emotional, a man can easily be more emotional (my husband is) and a woman can be less emotional (I am) and vice versa. It’s so easy to jump to conclusions about people and life based on very few examples, “How Emotions Are Made” somehow helped me validate me just being the way I am, even though I would like to become more patient, more open to enjoying life, more proactive in making more breaks for my health, I learned a lot about how and why I am how I am in that book and it was really helpful in finding wonder and curiosity in learning about both myself and others.”

πŸ—Ή Seek and Discuss Healing, Reunite that Which has Been Broken into Unity, and Awareness (in Short, to Renew) – “Today I realized that I prefer doing this with people instead of alone, even though I am an introvert I do enjoy interacting with others in this way quite a bit.”

Arena 2: Spirituality – Life Time Goal: Think about Balancing Serenity, Proactivity. Tools: Gratitude, Kaizen, Kon Mari, Minimalism.

Tiny Plan: Keep Kon Mari decluttering. Keep Clarifying My Goals and Plans.

☐ Malama Pono – Be forthright and proactive in your life. – “There was a lack of being proactive, I wasn’t able to speak up and say “hey I need more time to write, I need more time to think, I need more time for myself, think of something else to do for a short time, because the things I do to maintain my peace and composure and enjoy life matter to this family as well as what you want to do.”

πŸ—Ή Radical Acceptance – “This helped, not every week is perfect and accepting that helped both Friday when I took my baby for vaccines and didn’t do my evaluation on time and also overall that in my human failings.”

☐ See problems as opportunities. – “In viewing problems as opportunities to connect to others I have to view the problems as true opportunities mentally first; first it starts in my mind and then I can take that view to the interaction, but it starts by centering myself mentally, if I try to skip that grounding step it doesn’t work for me to fight the reactivity in the heat of the moment.”

☐ Create your own reality consciously. – “This week I felt like I was living one step behind life instead of one step ahead of it, maybe I was rushing again, I suppose I am a slow thinker and living at a fast pace makes me unable to think about the way I am choosing to live.”

Arena 3: The World – Life Time Goal: Responsibility to Take Action Towards my Inner Callings Tools: Permaculture Gardening, Martial Arts, Stoic Living, Self Leadership.

Tiny Plan: Teach martial arts Sundays 11 AM.

πŸ—Ή Aloha Κ»Δ€ina, Teaching Martial Arts – “Going well, I didn’t know when I started why I wanted to teach martial arts to girls, on a flight I watched “Rise of the Wahine” about female volleyball players, it explained many successful businesswomen are athletes, it’s not athletics in the name of athletics or even financial success, but athletics as a vehicle to give an extra road personal power and self leadership to those who lack it (whether male or female, I don’t exclude boys, I just focus on having the accommodations females would need to feel safe and comfortable in martial arts that most schools lack, boys and men sometimes train with us and are 100% welcome). The school isn’t big, the class isn’t perfectly organized, but my heart is 100% behind it and each week I and at least a few others show up and that’s the most important and meaningful thing (other than taking care of my kids) that I do in life.”

Balance Between Arenas: Harmony – Life Time Goal: Resolve Imbalance Between Productivity and Rejuvenation to Safeguard Resilience.

Tiny Plan: Keep Clarifying My Dreams, Intentions, Goals, and Plans with this Check-In.

πŸ—Ή Clarify my Dreams, Intentions, Goals, and Plans Here – “It still isn’t perfect, but it’s much more streamlined today, than ever before. More like a puzzle than a pile of puzzle pieces.”

☐ Money: Keep Careful Track of Your Income and Expenses. – “Lost and found my debit card, so still a “not yet”.”

πŸ—Ή Cleaning – “Going good, so surprised that I was able to add vacuuming a few times a week without getting tired or bitter, now that my son is crawling there is a good reason.”

☐ Creative Endeavors: Brainstorming, Drawing, Painting, Sculpting, Writing, Architecture. – “I could feel that I didn’t do enough of this, when I do just a few hours a week it makes me feel alive and well, for some reason it’s hard for me to justify taking the time for myself to do these things (maybe hidden fear?), but when I do them just a little I feel differently about myself and about life. I just realized that this is rejuvenating for me.”

Weekly Review:

7 Points of 12 Points = 58% this week, that feels right! I was so frustrated this week, doing all the important checkboxes, doing the things that make my family’s life smooth, but neglecting what makes me feel centered and what I enjoy because I was rushing and mismanaging my time.

Thank you guys for supporting me with your comments and presence via reading, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone as I deal with being an imperfect person who is grappling with managing life in this fast-paced, modern, yet beautiful world! 🌻

UPDATE:

I started last week to try to make a better list of my completed articles, under the menu’s newspaper section: πŸ“° “Today’s Fresh Articles” is a scrolling list of articles in reverse chronological order, and the rolled-up newspaper in the menu: πŸ—žοΈ goes to aΒ pageΒ that categorizes my main topics such as organization, self-leadership, family life, seeking inner peace, but I just started linking the articles to their appropriate categories, so it’s completely a work in progress. Another menu section under the newspaper heading πŸ„: “about me” is a mini-blog within a blog, called my “inner citadel” it has an image of my true emotions for the day (it usually gets updated daily) as well as short journal entries about the meta experience of blogging (my overall feelings about how the 100 blog challenge is going, how my journey as a writer is going or how I’m adjusting to major life changes). I’m planning to fix the main topic article menu in the near future and maybe add a traditional archive page with titles someday, but I’m pretty weak on the tech side of blogging, so it’s a start from level 0 kind of learning process on that end. ✌️

I JUST REALIZED:

I just realized what this system measures, it measures success at living the way I would want to live, which is a direct response to the book “Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More,” the habits that make me feel I’m living my best life are not identical to Rachel Macy Stafford’s in her book, but they are the ones that allow me to keep track of how much I am living my goal of living that lifestyle of overcoming distraction, living a better life and loving more. Whenever I fail to live that way the weekly score reflects that, from the outside people don’t see it or notice it, but it validates my sense of frustration and gives me a tool to check where things went “wrong” ie what important things didn’t get a slice of my time-energy-money that week. Just knowing that allows me to naturally adjust the following week, after seeing what went wrong I don’t make a concrete plan to change, yet the changes unfold once the awareness is there. πŸ’‘

πŸ† Blog of the Month Award – November 2019

Intended as a reply to Lovie Price, the site wouldn’t let my publish this as a reply (probaly because of the amount of links). So instead of figuring out the restrictions on that end, I’m just going to post this as a post here. For those of you who haven’t read her blog, Wake up! Operation Get A Life I reccomend it because not only is it interesting and insightful, but for me it really spawns a lot of deep thinking and helps me draw connections in my own life in a way I don’t really understand.

Your writing is really helpful for me, I wish I could put it clearly and easily why, maybe because you tell the truth in a way that is uncommon and encouraging.

I used to feel the same way about writing (that nobody cared less) until reading the “Boldly Celebrate Yourself,” post by Nomz. There have been other people who encouraged me since then and it helps, but for the first time changing myself to allow myself to celebrate what felt like an accomplishment with myself, by myself shifted all my feelings just a little bit, but in a way that has allowed me to be less afraid of doing creative things. There is some kind of a need for celebration and encouragement to fuel the creative process, it’s fine to accept it from others, but it’s so helpful to learn to be able to provide it for ourselves. To become friends to ourselves. Since I’ve restarted my blog I was really revitalized by noticing how a few writers were going through similar trials in different places all over the world, I tend to think my problems are because of a failing in me, but although it’s partial correct, what I didn’t look at was the universality of some problems because of our shared human condition (of being human). Through reading your writing in particular, it allowed me to see past myself in myself to see the universal human within me a little bit more.

The “Life Improvement System” is really complicated and hard to understand, it started years ago after reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey talks about aligning your goals to not only your values but also natural principles of virtue. He argues that even a thief has values, they value prosperity ext. So that it’s not wrong to align life with values, but that they first need to be aligned with principles of nature, such as truth, diversity, love ext. When I used to set goals I had trouble sticking to them, Steven Covey argues that when the “why” is strong enough you will find a “how,” so that it isn’t just bad time management rather a lack of your soul’s true values aligning with the goals in a succinct way. So I am attempting to align the principles of virtual and what seems good and right with the world (pono in Hawaiian) with my particular values (such as integrity or honesty) excluding the values that are still valid, but not my values, and then use my strengths from the Clifton Strength Finder test, because using one’s strengths rather than trying to skill build your weaknesses is supposed to be more effective. I read the book Strength Finder 2.0 and it said that if your manager primarily ignores you the chance of your being actively disengaged is 40%, if they focus on your weakness it is 22% and if they focus on your strength it is 1%. So as my manager or me, I try to apply my top 5 strengths to my goals and it has really helped me achieve things that I had always dreamed of, but never been able to do. So the system is a very complicated multi-prong approach initially a copy of comedian Demitri Martin’s system, which he explains in the comedy show “If I?” Since he got divorced while living by his system, I felt that since I’m married and don’t want to get divorced I should add some relationship building priorities in and also since I’m not Demitri Martin that the system would need major changes over time. It was just easier to start with his framework than to build from the ground up. I use the Hawaiian system of Lōkahi as my base for natural principles or virtue, it’s harmony/life balance = humankind + spirituality + care of the Earth since that’s what resonates with me. The three major components are 1. Aligning Natural Principles with Personal Values 2. Choosing Weekly Goals in Line with the Personal Values (from The Life Values Inventory and Russ Harris) and 3. Choosing what personal strengths from the Clifton Strengths Test . Everything except the Clifton Strengths Test is free, the test is $50 for all your strengths or $20 for the top five, there is a free version, but it was less helpful because it doesn’t match the book to find out more about the strengths, the test is included with the Audible book: Strength Finder 2.0.

It seems, and is, really complicated, but that’s what it took for me to be able to put my very complicated mental life down in words, which helped get the complexity off my personal mental plate, yet still allow me to use the concepts I had heard of and wanted to try, in order to get leverage on completing the changes that I struggled to be able to keep track of, or accomplish, without having in some kind of a system.

It was never really meant to be public, but since the vast majority of my writing is public it ended up that way as well.

My blog, in general, serves the purpose of organizing my mind, it was meant to be a home to my consciousness, which is why it has my martial arts class, right alongside with my struggles with family life, right alongside with my journey as a writer, because in life they exist that way, influencing and affecting each other, they also exist that way in my blog.

For years no one read my writing at all, that’s just the way the traffic worked, but I switched back to wordpress.com because of tech problems with the theme I ran on a Blue Host site with the same domain name and I wasn’t really aware that switching to wordpress.com would expose me to so much more traffic than having an independently hosted wordpress.org site. It’s been quite nice because it has allowed me to meet really inspiring writers, it seems like only writers are drawn to my writing, but I take that as a compliment. It also allowed me to achieve the only goal I ever had as a writer, freeing me up to be able to think about and set another one at my leisure.

Thank you again for your post “Step#1-Let’s start with Labels,” it was the first time I had been invited to define and redefine myself, it was something so fast and simple, yet emotionally life-changing in a way that many people may never understand. πŸ’

The Lovely Day I Stopped Inconviencing Myself to Follow Traditions that are not Important to Me.

Lovely Day by Bill Withers

When I wake up in the morning, love
And the sunlight hurts my eyes
And something without warning, love
Bears heavy on my mind Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day
A lovely day When the day that lies ahead of me
Seems impossible to face
When someone else instead of me
Always seems to know the way Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day
A lovely day When the day that lies ahead of me
Seems impossible to face
When someone else instead of me
Always seems to know the way Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day
A lovely day

When I woke up today to some tuba music at 3AM, I couldn’t have been happier. I’ve woken up angry before, but it just so happens that today I didn’t. I’m lucky that I tend to wake up in a really good mood, almost always. My sister is the opposite, she may throw something at you if you wake her up too early. But not me, even though I can’t keep up at night and drag through dinner time, I can trust that I will have a good day, at least in the morning time.

The song “Lovely Day” is how I feel about my son Milo, yesterday was his first day with RIE (baby school), he was born in March and he feels like he grew up in a million ways already (not every way, but too many for me). He was singing in class, we do a lot of singing since he was born. I’m happy that both my kids sometimes sing, it’s not about how it sounds, it’s about that kind of joy that they must be feeling to start singing. I hope I remember to tell my daughter I love hearing her sing, her best friend asked her to stop singing while they were riding an inflatable goose in the ocean and she took it really hard, I guess I didn’t help her through it much because she always tells me to stop singing (schadenfreude a bit I guess). I helped a little, I told her it was rude and asked how it made her feel, I let her know she didn’t have to choose to be around that friend, but also that everyone is sometimes rude and we have to try not to take it personally as best we can and grieve the sadness to get through it, but I didn’t yet tell her how much I enjoy her singing on a normal day, that it lightens my heart and makes me feel like everything is okay with the world.

Yesterday I decided not to inconvenience myself following traditions that are not important to me. I wrote myself a note “I won’t inconvenience myself to follow traditions that aren’t important to me.” I didn’t want to forget and I was already sleepy. Yesterday I asked my husband if Christmas was important to him and how much he liked it, he said that it was, he liked it 8/10. But the past few years it hasn’t been that nice, his brother didn’t want to come out of his room and be around, many people were absent who started their own families, the small children have been almost completely gift-fixated and unsatisfied with both waiting and the gifts they get. It’s so unpleasant, mundane, rushed, busy, and irritating to see how materialistic the kids are that I couldn’t even understand what my husband likes about Christmas. I also felt trapped, as if there was no way I could avoid having my daughter grow up to be like that as well, right now she is four and she isn’t like that yet. She told me yesterday in the car that her mommy, daddy, and baby brother were what she “loved” most in life and that all the things she bought were things she “liked,” it was so important for me to hear that from her, so healing, so empowering. It was the second time that something she said seemed to stop time and connect directly to my soul and feed something in me to let me grow immediately, like a miracle grow fertilizer for my heart. Rachel Macy Stafford talks about those moments in parenting and until it happens to you, it may seem irritatingly sentimental, or imaginary, but if it’s ever happened to you, it doesn’t, you know what she is talking about is 100% real and valuable and rare, yet tangible. The first time my daughter simply struggled very hard to say “I love you” but she couldn’t talk yet, so it sounded like when dogs bark “I love you,” it was such a struggle to form the actual sounds, I have no idea how old she was, but I think she was about three months old and the act of it will be with me for the rest of my life, if I don’t remember anything else about her, what I remember will be the time I saw how much effort she put forth to let me know that she loved me.

I’ve been feeling trapped by materialism, that I couldn’t raise my children to appreciate what they have in America. A lot of people are materialistic here, a lot of advertising happens, a lot of people celebrate Christmas via gifts and nothing else, but I don’t have to follow any of those trends. I was thinking about taking my daughter to Mexico for a few months to learn to be humble and grateful, but all I really needed to do was to become humble and grateful because I am what she seems most.

Eventually I will take my daughter to Mexico to solidify her Spanish, to be immersed in her father’s culture, to explore, to learn, to enjoy, but I won’t rely on that to show her she can appreciate what she has and be grateful for life instead of chasing more and more toys and things just because some other people around us are doing so.

We can take our own path without complaining about or changing anyone else’s path or choices.

It’s like level 2 of proactivity for me.

Level 1 was changing my own habits that no one knew about, that no one opposed, that no one saw.

Level 2 has been having to discuss with my husband what traditions he loves and wants vs the ones that are not important for him, he didn’t like talking about it, it was tense and unpleasant, he asked me why I was asking, but it was important for me to be able to respect exactly what he cares about without blindly following a holiday I don’t care about. Example, he doesn’t care about daisy chains, caroling, popcorn chains, ext, he cares about being around friends and family, and that’s beautiful and admirable and I will inconvenience myself to follow the things that directly matter to my husband, because my husband’s feeling matter to me, but what I won’t do is follow any of the other parts of the holiday that no one in my family cares about just because I see it in adds or it sparks joy for someone somewhere or I imagine that I have to because something made me feel like social pressure had a right to dictate how I spend my free time and money.

I am escaping from social holiday pressure and I’m not going back.

I’m not going to blindly turn down any requests from my husband, daughter or son, but I’m going to think about them, how they align with our values and resources and make sure my overall life balance comes first not second and I am going to blindly turn down any kind of purchase or activity that neither I nor my husband, daughter or son is asking for. We are going to forge our holidays freshly as history will be honest holidays continuously undergo drastic changes and holidays never exist unchanged for long. Christmas was a parade of costumes much like carnival, it has been a celebration of the sun God Appollo, it has been a celebration of the celestial sun coming back after the darkest nights of the year, a celebration of warmth coming back, a celebration of debauchery, a celebration of Christianity, shunned by Christianity prior, last year I watched “Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas” and was surprised at how many different ways it has changed, it was illegal in the USA when the country was founded, it is now a holiday that 90% of Americans celebrate and 51% of them religiously (according to the article “How Many Americans Celebrate Christmas? It’s Time To Get Into The Holiday Spirit“). I don’t appreciate the pressure in the title, by the way, today is Sunday, I choose to have a spirit of calm and reflection today and I don’t want that trampled on by other people’s suggestion that I have to “get into a spirit of celebration,” because they said so.

I find it silly society finds it appropriate to tell other people what to do with their spirit and sillier that most of my life I let that stress me out. I think I’m done with being bullied by adds, articles ext.

I’m completely supportive of people finding and doing non-hurtful things that they enjoy for the holidays, but one person’s preference does not need to be pushed on more and more people to validate it. The 90% of people who enjoy Christmas do not need to bully the other 10% to join to have fun, it Christmas is good it will still be good without forcing people who don’t want to participate to join in.

So once I thought I couldn’t live in the USA without feeling stressed, rushed and pressured about the holidays, but then two things happened, one I realized I have control over myself and I stopped choosing to respond that way to the suggestion by other people, advertising, or imaginary views of society and two I connected to my own family about what they enjoyed (which was much less of a burden than the holidays as a whole as presented by advertisements, movies, TV ext) and I decided mindfully what I was willing and able to be a part of in a healthy way.

Some kids may be disappointed this year that I don’t buy them anything, but they were disappointed every year I bought them anything as well, because it wasn’t enough, even if it was right, it wasn’t enough for them, so in a way their disappointment was what freed me emotionally, if I can disappoint all the kids for free, then why spend hundreds of dollars to disappoint them? If they don’t feel loved with gifts, as they shouldn’t, because gifts “are not love,” then do I “have to” do that just because 90% of other people in the country are doing that. I’m not fat and the average American is 17 lbs overweight, do I need to gain 17 lbs just because other people in the country are doing that? I think not. I think it’s my choice and I choose to have a non-materialistic Christmas with very little decoration, overspending, effort or stress.

A look at modern America:

Here’s what average looks like in America, according to U.S. Census data, Pew Research Center findings, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Institute of Retirement Security, NerdWallet and the CDC:

  • The average American household is about $131,000 in debt.
  • The average American spends $69 a day.
  • The average American has $34 in their pocket.
  • The average American watches 33 hours of TV a week.
  • The average American reads just four books a year.
  • The average American works 34.4 hours per week.
  • The average American is 17 pounds overweight.
  • The average American spends 116 minutes a day, or about two hours, on social media.
  • The average American spends five hours a day on their cell phone.
  • The average American consumes 11 alcoholic drinks a week.
  • The average American exercises just 17 minutes a day.
  • The average American has less than $1,000 in savings.
  • The average American makes about $48,000 a year.

I don’t want to say I’m doing better, but I’m doing differently, I’m living with a strong joy in my heart, I’m fit not because I feel compelled to look good to others, but so I can walk places I like to go, play with my kids and teach martial arts, I’m still about $42,000 in debt, but I’m not ashamed by the debt anymore, or crushed by the feeling of having children without owning our own house or being able to afford their future college ext, we may live humbly, but our overall life quality is high, we have love and music and good education, health and good food, very good friends, supportive family, we live in Hawaii for half the year and California for the other half, so we can access the wonderful schools, beaches and nature in Hawaii and the many science activities, friends and family in California. I think I know exactly what a normal American life feels like, I used to work 76-126 hours a week (since I worked in health care it’s legal, possible and common) and still have no money after paying for college. I worked long hours, spent too much and had too little to show for the sacrifice of not having time for personal growth, passion projects or well being. I know what it’s like, the way to change is to know that you don’t have to, you choose to and you don’t always have to take the highest money-making choice or buy what other people have or eat or do or watch what other people suggest that you do, people suggest you try things they like, not out of malice, but because “they like” them, but at a point it becomes necessary for well being to live the way that “you like” to the extent that you can and it’s surprising how far you can make changes that once felt beyond your control when you start dancing in the bathroom instead of waiting, no one stops you, when you smile at the things you love, no one stops you, when you order two of your favorite side dishes instead of the default ones, no one stops you. No one stops you from living your best life more than you do and no one else can give you true permission to start except you.

⭐ Life Improvement Project Week 6 “Be the Change You Want to See in the World”

I think this is the sixth week with this system, I also updated a google slideshow that I was using three years ago to try to replicate the school planners that helped organize homework, goals ext in elementary school (the daily planner). I keep looking for a daily planner that fits me but never find exactly what I want, so I made my own as best as I could. For some reason it felt grounding, meaning I felt like it helped me get my bearings a lot. I integrated the labeling exercise from Lovie Price into the google slideshow naming myself not as people see me per se, but with the identities that most matter to me. Everyone says don’t label people, escape from labels, and I agree about arbitrary ones that fate hands you, however, the labels that describe your soul, it is empowering to find them, name them and claim them. At least it is for me. So I kind of want to merge these goals with my daily planner goals somehow. On my daily planner I have four goals that are kind of immediate and real, but not deep or the most important, here I have the things that really matter to me, yet I am aware my system is a bit over-complicated and unclear still. I’m hoping to integrate myself with these (my long term goals) and my mid-range goals soon, but possibly not today. I realized all these habits were the “be the change you want to see in the world” so I dropped that as an individual habit.

Na Kanaka (Human Kind):

Life Time Social Goal: Treat Others with Dignity and Some Human Respect

Using: Learner Strength

Large Practice: Assertive Communication

Tiny Plan: Become grateful and use problems as a time to connect with other people.

πŸ—Ή Gratitude Challenge – “Going extremely well again, literally powering all my other goals emotionally with this now, it’s no longer hard to do.”

πŸ—Ή Look Up – “Going well, not perfect, but honestly better than last week. What helps is not being always available, if I allow everyone to interrupt me at all times I am bitter and eager to zone out, if I set limits like my dad can only chat with me Friday, my daughter has to play alone at least from 1-2PM, my husband can talk to me when he gets home, but not at his work unless it’s important-ish, then I want to honor the person during the time I made for them, I guess in a word: boundaries.”

πŸ—Ή Look In – “Going good, sometimes I worry about my daughter when I don’t need to, once this week I looked into her soul as best as I could and found she was really into what she was drawing vs being sad because her face was not smiling. “

πŸ—Ή Connect with Other Humans – “Going great, I’ve been honest with everyone I talked to and if we didn’t like each other at least all parties had the benefit of communicating honestly.”

πŸ—Ή Read books or Articles – “Article of the week is: 90 Days Facebook Free!, by Lovie Price, it’s so helpful for me, someone who had problems with internet stalking and just recently, very timidly started Facebook for the first time, doing it backwards to most people (starting when most people have quit) kind of allows me to avoid a lot of the pitfalls, but it’s still been hard drawing new boundaries and I just realized why it’s so hard is because one good friend of mine is a bully online (not to me but to others) I didn’t want to think that one of my good friends was part of the negativity that people are leaving Facebook to avoid, but it’s true. The quick solution is to stop following their feed, but I guess I had been avoiding drawing the conclusion that someone who was a major source of motivation and respect in real life, was the opposite when it came to the internet, or perhaps they have just changed over time?” The second article is “Society and Aging Women,” also by Lovie Price, it’s really beautiful in its honestly kind of like looking out onto a dessert at dusk and noticing the stars above a vast and stark ocean of sand. It’s not poetry, but that’s the way I feel after reading it. There were so many truths that I have lived with, yet never heard voiced, Lovie is braver than I am, I don’t discuss feminine topics out of both a fear to be misinterpreted as a feminist when I stand quite firmly in favor of both/all genders (I wouldn’t open an all-girls school to close the gap in poor areas, I would just open a school, if most families have brothers and fathers supporting just the women is pretending that we don’t all affect one another’s well being, some people don’t have females or males in their family, but overwhelmingly we count on each other as a whole and should work together by tearing down the idea of separateness, that’s my view anyway) but also because I grew up not identifying with females (born and always was female, but didn’t identify with them, hetero ext, married, have kids) so it almost feels like I’m not qualified to speak for a group I never emotionally claimed. Like an American of Irish heritage may or may not choose to learn about Ireland, I haven’t really learned or associated with my gender, but the world has always judged me by it and I have experienced the impact of it, therefore I suppose I am, even though I still don’t feel like it. I was reading Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations Book 2:”

6. Go on, go on, O my soul, to affront and dishonour thyself! The time that remains to honour thyself will not be long. Short is the life of every man; and thine is almost spent; spent, not honouring thyself, but seeking thy happiness in the souls of other men. 7. Cares from without distract you: take leisure, then, to add some good thing to your knowledge; have done with vacillation, and avoid the other error. For triflers, too, are they who, by their activities, weary themselves in life, and have no settled aim to which they may direct, once and for all, their every desire and project. 8. Seldom are any found unhappy from not observing what is in the minds of others. But such as observe not well the stirrings of their own souls must of necessity be unhappy. 9. Remember always what the nature of the Universe is, what your own nature is, and how these are relatedβ€”the one to the other. Remember what part your qualities are of the qualities of the whole, and that no man can prevent you from speaking and acting always in accordance with that nature of which you are a part.

And something between seeking the correct balance between productivity and rejuvenation (ie self-care or leisure) resonated with Lovie Prices’ 90 Days Facebook Free! article and Marcus Aurelius’ writings. He says “but seeking thy happiness in the souls of other men” is a waste of time, Lovie says “There is something very sad about β€œneeding” that type of validation to feel good about oneself.” It seems to me that the same emotional process has been going on since ancient Rome and probably even before, that perhaps the market place gossip changed to Facebook gossip, yet at the deepest level it remains the same. The first time I had the feeling humans haven’t been changed significantly by technology was watching “I Love Lucy,” I didn’t like it growing up, I thought it was silly, then I saw it again after a few years of being married and it had become my marriage almost exactly. Some things were different, I married a Mexican, not a Cuban, I don’t care about fame, but I do want my husband’s attention and he ignores me for his smartphone (instead of the newspaper). I have a feeling that blaming technology for depression and discontent misses the mark, perhaps the way we fall into habits to use it is at fault. Like guns don’t kill people, people kill people with guns. Tech doesn’t kill people, not having emotional boundaries for healthy tech usage does kill people. There were so many interesting points in both of Lovie’s articles that I’m not going to be able to finish ruminating about it anytime soon but they both resonate with books. 90 Days Facebook Free! resonates with The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God which is not a religious book despite the title, it’s a book about connecting in your own soul to your internal validation despite any religion, it’s spiritual, but not religious, I think Steve McSwain did an excellent job of keeping thought experiments and meditations non-religious in this book even though he is religious in his personal and professional life, I think it was a very well done and inclusive book about connecting with internal validation. Society and Aging Women resonates with The Science of Attraction: Flirting, Sex, and How to Engineer Chemistry and Love by Patrick King. I never would have read that book, but someone else bought it and left it near me and I was so surprised that it held so much information that I should have known earlier, it talks in detail about how male and female brains differ in real, scientifically tested way rather than made up ways that are not helpful, it was insightful in knowing how people act and also made me feel more connected to the opposite gender, because although there are some differences, especially in dating and romance, there are so many parallels in reality that society pretends are not there. In my opinion, knowing the differences makes it easier to see how small the differences are and feel a sense of solidarity with both genders.

πŸ—Ή Radical Acceptance – “Going well.”

πŸ—Ή See problems as opportunities. – “Getting better in as much as, I’m taking responsibility if I am rushing, instead of thinking so and so is making me rush, so using the problem of rushing myself in an unaware, frantic, checklist, type A, kind of life as the opportunity to own my decisions, slow down, is not only an opportunity to have the time to enjoy what matters and take care of the most important responsibilities first (prioritize) it is also the time for me to take direct ownership of my life emotionally and grow my proactivity, it’s a time to assume the mantle of self leadership.”

Ke Akua (Spirituality):

Life Time Goal: Live with Serenity, Proactivity

Using: Intellection Strength

Large Practice: Kaizen, Kon Mari, Minimalism

Tiny Plan: Keep decluttering.

πŸ—Ή Malama Pono – Be forthright and proactive in your life. – “Going well, I guess at some point I was told to be quiet to get along with others and my choice was just to avoid others all together, yet as I’m growing I see that all parents make mistakes and it was a mistake of my parents to have and share such a limited perspective on humanity, there are those who will listen and stand with you when you tell your truth and those who won’t, but staying quiet leads to a kind of slow death when no one knows the real you, not even you.”

πŸ—Ή Creative Endeavors: Brainstorming, Drawing, Painting, Sculpting, Writing, Architecture. – “Going fine, just taking a back seat to the kids, yet at least I’m able to do a little most days that exercises my brain and makes me feel like a human being instead of a service animal (specifically a pack mule since I wear my baby a lot).”

πŸ—Ή Create your own reality consciously. – “Going well, I have to keep challenging myself, but every week is better than the last, noticing problems and addressing them instead of complaining or blaming, for the most part.”

Ka ‘Aina (That Which Nourishes):

Life Time Goal: Perseverance

Using: Responsibility Strength

Large Practice: Permaculture Gardening, Martial Arts, Stoic Living

Tiny Plan: Teach martial arts in the non-growth season, farm in the spring and summer. Stoic Quote of the Day.

πŸ—Ή Aloha Κ»Δ€ina – “Teaching is getting more rewarding, my daughter can read “play” that for some reason is much more rewarding than her learning to read and write the letters, not sure how to put words to that feeling yet. It’s a small moment where I had what feels like a large impact on someone. If I didn’t do it someone else would have, but that feeling of teaching someone to read is so powerful for some reason. Maybe because I love words, there is a hidden power to words beyond just identifying items and feelings, words have the power to shape the items and feelings as well, to create concepts that wouldn’t otherwise exist, yet are real in non-physical, yet quantifiable ways.”

Lōkahi (Harmony/Life Balance):

Life Time Goal: Resilience

Using: Resolver Strength

Large Practice: Self Leadership

Tiny Plan: Keep working with this Life Improvement System

πŸ—Ή Seek and Discuss Healing, Reunite that Which has Been Broken into Unity, and Awareness (in Short, to Renew) – “Going well instead of phrasing this goal to teach others I shifted it as it should be to teach myself and now it feels honest and in harmony with where I am and what I can and want to do.”

πŸ—Ή Set Weekly Goals – “Still trying to clarify, hacking away at the excess, while trying not to cut out the part that is working to improve my life, because thankfully the system is working and life is getting more peaceful and beautiful (or at least I am able to see the beauty since I’m at peace).”

πŸ—Ή Cleaning – “Going wonderful, grateful to have a very small house, that makes it easier.”

☐ Money: Keep Careful Track of Your Income and Expenses. – “Better than ever, yet still not careful.”

The New System First Week Review:

14 Points of 15 Points = 93% this week, that feels right, I wanted not to get a good score, but to have a metric for success that matched my feeling that I was either being the best I could reasonably be for who I really am right now or getting distracted and forgetting the changes that I felt and said I wanted to make. This may seem excessive, but it’s been really helpful as an exercise in meta-thinking, to have something I can use to see the way that I think about life and identify sources of discontent and help me rebalance my life as needed. I would recommend this kind of process to anyone who feels overwhelmed, instead of something that makes life more overwhelming it has definitely been worth the time it takes, because it’s one more thing to do, but it helps eliminate so many unnecessary things that it saves time in the end.

Thank you, readers! You honor me by taking the time to share the journey with me and thank you for your help learning new good habits and accepting my failures along the way! A special thanks to Lovie Price for your rare honesty and inspiring consistency, it’s been a pleasure reading your work! 🌻

⭐ Life Improvement Project Week 5

This is the fifth week with the new second system, it’s only been two days since the last post because that post was five days late, but it’s a different time in my life anyway. I was able to declutter my home and shift my attitude back towards gratitude, which changes everything. I realize this system is a little bloated so I’m looking for what I can achieve and what needs to stay.

Na Kanaka (Human Kind):

Life Time Goal: Treat Others with Dignity and Some Human Respect

Using: Learner Strength

Large Practice: Assertive Communication

Tiny Plan: Become grateful and use problems as a time to connect with other people.

πŸ—Ή Gratitude Challenge – “Going so well, not perfect, not by any means, but started collecting a quick note of one moment I loved with my son, my daughter and in general, they are all from today though not recycled from the past.

πŸ—Ή Look Up – “Going well, I caught myself slipping tonight when my husband came home, yet before it was reversed I caught myself being good only rarely.”

πŸ—Ή Look In – “Surprisingly going well, when I vent to my husband about the things I don’t like in my life I wonder about him, how hard he works to give me this life that isn’t what I want still… and how he is doing in general because I am so busy with our two kids and myself that I don’t even usually know or ask, but this last week I have been thinking about how he is and asking, maybe not enough, but more than before. “

πŸ—Ή Connect with Other Humans – “Going well, I’ve been putting my honest self out there and hopefully, I will be able to not get too sensitive when negativity eventually visits me.”

πŸ—Ή Read books or Articles – “Article of the week is: What I’ve Learned About Myself in my Brief Blogging Adventure, by Ebony, she explains the feeling of realizing she wasn’t a nice person, that happened to me about two years ago as well. Many people want to comfort you because it’s not looked at as being fine to be a not that nice female, yet males that are gruff or tough are often lauded… I like myself honest, I like myself responsible, I like myself with boundaries that protect what matters most to me, so sometimes that puts me in other people’s not nice box and I’m fine with that. I’d rather be kind to the people I love than nice to the people who would want me to do their bidding before my own is done. Being nice, in Hawaiian is summed up by the idea of “Aloha,” which means share the breath of life, it means to fill your own heart first, know love and acceptance yourself, then offer it outwards to the world. Very similar to the airplane oxygen mask recommendation, fix your air supply, then help others. I think nicer people were people who received love and people like myself are simply starting from a different origin or perhaps nice is just one flavor of people? Like milk chocolate and dark chocolate. I prefer dark chocolate myself. The article was healing for me because I took too many criticisms of blogging to heart and this article is the kind of honesty that disproves the attacks that everything on the internet is fake or bloggers are all egotistical ext.”

πŸ—Ή Radical Acceptance – “Gratitude helps me, once I have something good in my heart and mind, accepting the bad is so much easier, it changes my perspective though not my circumstances.”

πŸ—Ή See problems as opportunities. – “I’m unprepared for martial art class this Sunday, but it will allow me to let the students design more of the curriculum.”

Ke Akua (Spirituality):

Life Time Goal: Live with Serenity, Proactivity

Using: Intellection Strength

Large Practice: Kaizen, Kon Mari, Minimalism

Tiny Plan: Keep decluttering.

πŸ—Ή Malama Pono – Be forthright and proactive in your life. – “Going well, I told my daughter when she was making me claustrophobic instead of holding it in because I was ashamed to ask for breathing room.”

πŸ—Ή Creative Endeavors: Brainstorming, Drawing, Painting, Sculpting, Writing, Architecture. – “Going well, starting to sketch more freehand just to sort out life.”

πŸ—Ή Create your own reality consciously. – “Going well, I have to keep challenging myself, but I can feel when I am living ahead of life instead of playing catch up and it feels great.”

Ka ‘Aina (That Which Nourishes):

Life Time Goal: Perseverance

Using: Responsibility Strength

Large Practice: Permaculture Gardening, Martial Arts, Stoic Living

Tiny Plan: Teach martial arts in the non-growth season, farm in the spring and summer. Stoic Quote of the Day.

πŸ—Ή Aloha Κ»Δ€ina – “Teaching is getting more organized and balanced.”

πŸ—Ή Be the Change you Want to See Happen Instead of Trying to Change Anyone Else. – “It’s going well.”

Lōkahi (Harmony/Life Balance):

Life Time Goal: Resilience

Using: Resolver Strength

Large Practice: Self Leadership

Tiny Plan: Keep working with this Life Improvement System

πŸ—Ή Communicate and Illuminate Healing Reunite that Which has Been Broken into Unity, and Awareness (in Short, to Renew) – “Going well from myself to myself, myself to my family, myself to my friends, myself to the world.”

πŸ—Ή Set Weekly Goals – “Getting in sync, cutting the excess.”

πŸ—Ή Cleaning – “Going so well.”

πŸ—Ή Money: Keep Careful Track of Your Income and Expenses. – “Finally keeping track of money more, not spending less, just watching carefully.”

The New System First Week Review:

15 Points of 15 Points = 100% this short week, that feels right everything seems to be falling into a beautiful balance without a struggle.

Thank you, readers! You honor me by taking the time to share the journey with me! 🌻