๐Ÿฅš I Also Have a Dream ๐Ÿฃ

โ€œWealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.โ€

– Epictetus

What if the opposite is true? โ€œWealth consists not in having few possessions, but in having great wants.โ€

Martin Luther King Jr said

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

– Martin Luther King Jr 1963 “I Have a Dream.” (The part I can remember.)

…Iย am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have aย dreamย today!

I have a dream that one day,ย down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have aย dreamย today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,ย ย ย  From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day whenย allย of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

– Martin Luther King Jr 1963 “I Have a Dream.”

Reading this today, it was surprising how I missed the spiritual tone as a child. In my school, we all had different religions and the teachers were careful at not favoring any over the rest.

We were shown videos of the riots, nice looking people throwing acid to blind other nice looking people…

We were encouraged to adopt Martin Luther King’s ideas of harmony and equality, but devoid of their spiritual basis I’m not sure they stand alone.

I think it’s hard to divide a person into peices.

Martin Luther King Jr was a reverend, son of a reverend, I didn’t realize that, it wasn’t advertised.

I guess I’ve grown more interested in spirituality after having children, you wonder if you will be gone forever after death or be there watching or guiding them from somewhere or simply transform like a butterfly sheds it’s body again and again and someday the extreme transformation occurs. Many laws of physics seem to conclude that energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed, but are “we” energy? Or what are we? Are we individuals at all or is it an illusion that we have “selves” apart from the whole of humanity, or the whole of life, or the whole of the universe?

I just found out fungi/mushrooms eat rock and that is how soil forms, that they connect the entire forest with a landline trees use to talk… that the red of our blood (the iron) comes only from supernova deaths of stars much larger than our own, that we all had a common human mother and father. Much of this information was available for some time, but it’s only being digested and combined in my mind the past year.

Most of my life I was a student and in being a student I was prevented from thinking or learning what I find relevant by mindless busywork being due. Even if I don’t focus on reading or learning the pace I learn for enjoyment, the amount I learn of myself, my self-worth, my life balance, my life quality, the amount of original thought, the amount of problem solving ability I have have all gone up exponentially since I left school and was allowed to explore “divergent” (a problem may have many solutions) rather than “convergent” (a problem only has one possible solution).

I think the rise in depression in children is related to a danger of toxic beliefs built into conventional schools, I think most traditional schools are idea prisons, that verbal and emotional abuse are inherent and also protected by the systems. The grading system where you are belittled for not knowing the answer is perverse and anxiety causing in itself.

I’m not an advocate of unschooling, but I would give it a second place to the kind of public schooling I grew up with.

We all know schools teach misinformation, lies and punish independent thinking, but no one does anything to help, it’s too big of a monster to go up against directly.

But on a small scale we can, we can support the children one by one, let them know that the school is there to offer them skills, but when they are told they are “wrong” because they have different ideas it may or may no be the case. We can’t fix the whole public school system overnight, but we can support each child one by one and offer information to combat misinformation.

It was only recently that I learned poverty is considered mental, rather than financial, that poverty causes an illusion that there are no resources, no cause for hope, no solutions for problems, no reason to dream.

I grew up like that, mentally poor, financially middle class, but very limited in beliefs of an abundant world.

I began teaching Economics, thus learning it a few months ago, it seems criminal that children are not taught economics when it affects their lives so deeply. Scarcity is part of economics, it’s a reality, it refers to the concept that there are unlimited wants and limited resources (great resources are still limited). Abundance is also a truth of nature, each plant gives so many seeds, so much can be produced, limited combinations and amounts in the future (but what is currently on hand is not limited, it’s finite).

So abundance and scarcity are related, interrelated and true, but imaging either is fake shows a deep misunderstanding of economics.

The abundance of the Earth to grow food in every climate is true, but the scarcity of droughts producing less is true, the idea water can be de-desalinated is true, but the scarcity of clean water available to certain regions and people is completely true. Both are true as left and right are true.

To imagine that scarcity is made up by “negative people” is insanity. Popular insanity. But also the idea that there are no options in life is also insanity, one that I think public school breeds by accident – sit down, quietly, wait, don’t do anything, don’t say anything, pay attention to the teacher – don’t think anything other than exactly the way we tell you to, when we tell you to. It’s really soul crushing for creative individuals like me, I hope I’m in the minority, but if I’m not then that explains why the mental health is so poor in my country. What if there was a soul crushing place, that breeds depression and anxiety, and we legally required all children to go there, if that was true we would have a massive amount of depression and anxiety.

Depression and anxiety have increased over timeโ€œ

Ever having been diagnosed with either anxiety or depressionโ€ among children aged 6โ€“17 years increased from 5.4% in 2003 to 8% in 2007 and to 8.4% in 2011โ€“2012.4

Mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders begin in early childhood

1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2โ€“8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.5

Article

What if depression and anxiety are valid signs that people hate their lives and their lives are unhealthy for them overall? What if there isn’t anything wrong with kids other than constant emotion abuse inherent in the system, which many kids hate, but some can’t cope with at all? What if our shitty schools are killing our kids, crushing the souls of others and diminishing the potential of the ones that handle it best?

Big claims, with not much evidence, but if it was true the result would look a lot like the reality that does exist.

Anyways, in school it felt like there was point to the day, to those years, if you had to write a paper, it had to be unoriginal, meaning you needed to cite other people’s thoughts, therefore you couldn’t write anything original, mostly the topics were controlled, you were given two choices of unoriginal content, you didn’t believe in or want to do, then you had to read books to support those other people’s onions. Rather than enjoying your day or finding a topic that felt relevant to you.

It was horrible for me, most adults that I know who can remember it, remember hating it (not all), but we all kind of expect the kids to have a positive attitude about it.

If 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2โ€“8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder, if they are “cracked eggs” then who cracked them? Maybe school, maybe parents, maybe both, but who guarded them was surely no one.

Bar Chart: Mental disorders by age in years - Depression: 3-5 years: 0.1%, 6-11 years: 1.7%, 12-17 years: 6.1% Anxiety: 3-5 years: 1.3%, 6-11 years: 6.6%, 12-17 years: 10.5% Depression: 3-5 years: 3.4%, 6-11 years: 9.1%, 12-17 years: 7.5%

The even distribution seems to me like an indication of life gone wrong more than a particular problem of a specific mental health abnormality like schizophrenia.

Why are so many kids crazy? Sub-optimal families and or sub-optimal schools.

If your life sucks, perhaps depression is rational, perhaps these kids have phones and money, but if no one really gives a damn about your well being doesn’t life still suck?

If you don’t know you are safe, or know you are not safe, doesn’t anxiety make sense?

If you are always told to be someone you aren’t and be happy in a life you hate perhaps you are angry, defiant, isn’t that ration then?

Are these mental health problems just life balance problems? What does life balance consist of for kids? School and family, maybe church and friends, maybe sports and hobbies, but pretty much always school and family.

Are our schools and families broken profoundly, I think so. But everything can be improved, all life is constantly improving.

One thing that would help is encouraging divergent thinking, and that’s free.

One thing everyone can do is start adopting and modding divergent thinking, it’s contagious (in a good way), kindness is as well, one kindness often lasts a life time to the recipient.

I think it’s a lack of free thinking and kindness killing these children slowly, those are free things, but perhaps they need to be taught in action rather than lecture and who knows when that will happen.

But it does seem like (from Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech) that many good changes take place, however slowly, and we are overall better people now (in regards to tolerance) than we were, but tolerance will never be harmony. Grudging acceptance isn’t team work, there is still room from growth, but like Hitler, I believe change most strongly begins in the minds of the youth and like Hubert Humphrey I believe “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.โ€

I’m trying to allow myself “great wants” again, as I did as a child, dreams of changing the world for the better, doing something that matters to me, being a good enough person, fighting for good, and in doing so, I wondered where and how did I stop being a dreamer, and upon discovering my truth, I found it was easier and less mysterious to find the answer than I thought it would be, I hope my kind of mind, so easily crushed by public school is the vast minority, but I fear that it isn’t, and I hope more creative schools can be made to house the students that need it, whether that is 2%, 20% or 100% of the students. It would cost us a lot in admitting we are wrong and not too much in changing, for in my opinion, we don’t need to buy much, but we need to throw out much of what we already possess.

Clientmoji

๐Ÿ’ฐ Stoic Week 20 III ๐Ÿฆด

โ€œWealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.โ€

– Epictetus (Free Stoic Club on Coach.Me)

Today I’m thinking about hedonistic adaptation.

This morning was beautiful, last night my son was crying all night, very rare for him, he has a tooth half way out of the gum, that must hurt, and also possibly water stuck in his ear from swimming, he keeps rubbing his right ear, and he is just a little sick with a fever and diarrhea that might just be natural due to the tooth coming in. Tuesday night I was up pacing so my son wouldn’t cry, Wednesday I carried him on a walk and all day at home, last night I couldn’t carry him all night anymore.

But I didn’t hate myself for it. I’m practicing a bit more self compassion.

This morning my daughter woke up talked to me about being jealous (because I said good job to her brother) and did her math homework (five rounds of addition) quickly so I could borrow the computer (since we share it). I was so proud of her. I didn’t ask her to do that, it was very thoughtful. She learned to count by fives, using her hands and my hands, or my feet and hands she started counting by fives today when I suggested it to her.

Before our relationship was so bad, if I told her to count by five she would have argued against it… she argued about the day of the week it was, if it was night or day and other obvious things.

But though I was too grumpy towards her last night and yesterday when she put our new soap bar for hand washing all over the feather duster and tried to clean the shower with it… she was still thinking of me being able to write in the morning.

The computer I use to write, is her computer, she got it for her second birthday because her grandfather didn’t want it anymore. For him it was clutter, it had frustrated him too many times and he preferred to just use a different computer, but for her and me it’s been our favorite computer ever. It’s so easy to forget to be grateful towards my children. They give me so much, they do ask for a lot, maybe that’s why it’s hard to remember to be grateful to them.

I was proud of my daughter that she has started counting by fives in the moment it happened and not an hour later I’m not anymore. Such a danger in hedonistic adaptation.

I think my children are my wealth, I didn’t want to think of them as “items” or “possessions,” yet I actually list my best friends (I have five good friends, enough for me) as items in my list of wealth without minding it.

I don’t own them completely, like a dog, I have to care for them, their spirit is free to some degree.

I think perhaps I do own my children to an extent, their bodies are mostly their own, their styles are their own, their souls are their own, but I own something of theirs, perhaps a piece of their heart? Perhaps they split their heart between God, humanity, my husband, the world, and I? I don’t know. I’m finding I don’t have the right words to describe the relationship.

I’m lucky I was able to repair my relationship with my daughter, but immediately I wanted to move onto the next relationship I could repair.

I am proud my daughter is counting by 5s, but immediately I wanted to teach her a higher amount of counting by 5s.

I am grateful she thought about me in the morning, but immediately I wanted to sand off all her bad behaviors.

It would be nice if I found a way to pause, celebrate the beauty of life, make a note of ideas for improvement, but stop rushing for the next thing to happen ahead of its time.

I keep coming back to the idea that I rush myself and my family too much, it degrades my relationships, it strains my loved ones, but then I fall back into it again. But, I guess that’s okay, failure is okay.

As long as there is life there is hope, so I get to try again today to not rush myself and others, because when I rush I don’t enjoy the little victories, which would buffer me for the inevitable pain and defeat that is also part of life.

I wonder how much pain I have caused my loved ones by not letting the good things they do be enough before I mentally check off what happened and tell them what the next step should be? Probably a lot, but to my defense I drive myself the same way and I get a lot done. I hope to find a middle ground today or soon.

โ€œWealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.โ€ Today when I read that I thought of it differently, in “having few wants” of things my children or husband “needs to do or achieve” and “wealth” in the form of joy in the current moment of life, in the good things that happen everyday and constantly go unnoticed. Like the beautiful golden dawn today, like the wonderful blue sky that is there everyday, like playing music all together with my son and daughter yesterday for the first time and seeing them smile and dance with real passion, not a grimace of being forced to memorize a stale piano song to recite in front of people, so many good things get spat out instead of digested in the name of hunting something bigger immediately.

I get to go make breakfast now, but I wonder why when I keep realizing this point I seem to sink back into the bad habit of rushing myself?

morning
Everyday has been better than the day before, but I appreciate it less and less…

๐Ÿ’ฐ Stoic Week 20 II ๐Ÿฆด

โ€œWealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.โ€

– Epictetus (Free Stoic Club on Coach.Me)

Last time (yesterday) I was sad to have stopped my stoic walks with my daughter, today we started again and went to the market and 98c store for the first time in about two months.

It was amazing.

I guess I had been “over quarantining” myself, because I can only go outside as a group of three people, my 1 year old, my 4 year old, and I. So I didn’t know the exact rules about that, we at no time are 6 feet apart. We brought a mask for my 4 year old and myself for the store, our state leaves it as optional now, but I don’t want any problems, and actually don’t mind the cloth mask inside the stores. Anything that remotely makes sense to me I don’t mind doing…

Something that has inspired me a lot lately is Bear Grylls from Man vs Wind. I never knew he broke his back. It’s not the eating bugs and rock climbing that inspires me it’s his good attitude while doing it.

He came upon a jungle where he couldn’t light a fire because of the rain, it was cold (a cloud forest) and he slept in the rain, no fire, with some grass shoved into his jacket, one of the things he said in the morning was how much a single purple flower in tree deeply inspired him.

ย I remember when I was in the Amazon, in the middle of a really dense bit of rainforest, where no human would have ever been or probably will ever go again, and looking up and seeing at the top of a tree a beautiful bright purple flower, and thinking โ€˜Nobodyโ€™s ever going to see that flower. Thatโ€™s Godโ€™s extravagance.โ€™ Even though no-oneโ€™s ever going to see it, he just canโ€™t help but create something beautiful.

– Bear Grylls

I really like that idea of looking for beauty at all times, it seems that beauty almost always surrounds us, but we train our eyes to see the bad, the ugly, the evil, the mess. Probably because we have to do something about those things to survive, yet if we don’t see and do something about the beautiful things can we really ever thrive?

I’ve been working on being less perfectionistic for a few years now, but this week is the best I’ve ever done.

I took Monday off, but Tuesday started mentally regrouping instead of saying, “oh, the week is ruined, I’ll try again next week.”

Each day is a chance at life. Bear Grylls keeps saying each day you survive is a chance to get rescued. But I think (outside of the wild) each day is also a great day to pull my head out of my as is.

It was a wonderful day.

I brought one back pack of clothes to a donation bin that says it turns clothes and shoes into trees. I hope that is true, but I’m just happy to start a new life.

I got rid of my wedding dress and my grandmother’s funeral dress today, among some other clothes. It was an act of love, a promise to remember my grandmother’s example of kindness and let her live through me being patient, rather than a dress in a closet. Also to remember to care and treasure my husband rather than a dress in a closet.

It frees me so much to be rid of those ties to the past. It lets me live so much more in the present.

I hope the clothes have a nice new life! But if not, at least I will move ahead lighter.

So, I left my house again with the intention to be lawfully off quarantine, I left with a backpack full of the past and purchased a backpack full of the future.

Some swim toys, some hot dogs, going to take the kids swimming and have a celebration lunch that we are “free” again over here (somewhat).

Just got vomited on. Shower time. Best wishes friends, much love always.

I’ve Escaped!

๐Ÿ’ฐ Stoic Week 20 ๐Ÿฆด

Epictetus - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

โ€œWealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.โ€

– Epictetus

When the year started, I started taking stoic walks with my daughter, I had 50 quotes to go through (from Willem Van Zyl’s Stoic Quote of the Day Habit List on Coach.Me).

We had some lovely walks, then we fell off.

Like a chess match, sometimes I feel a few moves behind my day instead of in front of it.

Surprisingly this year has been the hands down best year of my life, sure I got a bit side tracked by the magnitude of change that went down this year, but I’m starting to get back up.

One of the things that brought me down was being very drained when my kids scream and not just admitting it to myself and adjusting to it. The reality is I’m not good with screaming, but since it’s just me “on duty” I get through it, but I didn’t let myself have the extra coffee I needed afterwards without shame. Now I am. I read some books that say distress only triggers you if you have internal baggage that needs to be reflected on and learned from, but I don’t agree. I think that is true, but also screaming is pretty draining even when you don’t have baggage, but I’m not sure because sometimes the kids walk right past each other without a problem. I’m not sure if it’s mirror neurons spreading the discomfort from one brain to another or if it is a reflection of internal baggage, but what I am sure of is 5 years into parenting, I’m still not into screaming.

Another thing was a weird side pain that lasted a month until I drank corn silk tea.

Another was obviously the stress of the many changes which happened when society was grounded by the government for the slightly worse flu that we decided to respond to in a drastic way after ignoring all past threats completely… perhaps we should take a week off to stop the flu every year, but I don’t understand taking months off for the corono virus this time and nothing for the normal flu that kills 40-60,000 a year… it doesn’t matter much what I think though, since I don’t have the political power to have a choice in what happens.

Still this is the best year of my life, all year my son has been with me. He was born in March last year.

This week hasn’t been perfect, Monday my daughter was a bit sick with probably the normal flu, which killed nearly 200 children in our area this year…

But it’s been great.

Great doesn’t have to be perfect (ie impossible) anymore.

My husband and I have two bedrooms, a school room, a bathroom and share a kitchen and pool. It’s very small, I never measured the space, but I don’t think it’s much bigger than a tiny home. We moved here, with my daughter’s god father, when I was about 8 months pregnant with my daughter, who is now 4, so about 5 years ago. We will probably find the most affordable house we can and move into our first house later this year (hopefully).

I was hoping we would pare down our things enough here to be ready for a tiny home or a container home, but as of now my husband prefers a traditional style home, so it will probably be something uninspiring to me, but any home is a better financial decision than renting.

Everyday I don’t know when we will return to our summer home in Hawaii, everyday I don’t know what kind of home I will return to when we come back, everyday I don’t really know what will happen to the overall state of the economy.

But once I mentally surrendered having control over other people’s sickness, life or death, the global or national economy, and even if or what house my husband gets, I found a deep inner peace.

And now I’m doing my best to get back to the things I do control.

Monday I was a bit sick, but I did the white laundry, colored laundry and cloth diaper laundry, folded it all, helped my daughter with her “mood meter” app to learn about EQ, helped her with her “Mightier” bio-feedback tablet to teach her how to down regulate her heart rate/fits. I was mindful through ~90% of the day, present through ~75% of the day, proactive through ~95% of the day, grateful through 100% of the day, kind through ~98% of the day. All those things are invisible, yet so important. I’ve come so far in the past 5 years since I’ve lived here.

I delivered both my children here at home, so the tendency to want to stay could be strong, but my husband isn’t very comfortable anymore and I do care, so I understand, and it also will free me to leave the place I delivered them.

Hopefully it will free me to see them as they are, 1 and 4, neither one babies anymore.

Lately I want to get rid of my wedding dress, but I’m a bit worried about offending my husband.

I still fit, I wear it on Chinese New Years, but I don’t want it anymore.

I want to start a new chapter in our marriage and for me, it would help to discard the dress that is a memory of a bad time.

I don’t particularly like the way the dress looks on me, it definitely doesn’t spark joy. It wasn’t too expensive $125.

It’s not a bad dress, but I don’t want to keep it, and it’s a shackle to the past.

There is a holiday I would like to celebrate by putting my dress and my husband’s suit on display on our anniversary, but since we don’t…

Not only do I not want the dress, I actively want to discard the dress. It would be like a butterfly shedding older skin.

I wanted to get married in casual clothes in my favorite place in the world, Half Dome, but my husband wanted his mother there, so we married locally in a hot air balloon that she said she would go into, but then declined to do so at literally the last minute. The dress reminds me of a bad time, of the death of romance and freedom and many unwelcome compromises and cultural clashes that were just beginning between my husband’s Latin and my Asian expectations.

My husband and I are doing all right now, but I still want to get rid of the dress, it just really seems like he could possibly take it the wrong way.

I guess what I can do is give him the dress, as a memento, or save it for my daughter as a memento, and then it no longer counts as “mine”. But I would really rather get rid of it, it seems like the getting rid of my wedding dress would level me up as a minimalist in an empowering way.

When Epictetus said wealth consists not of possessions, but of lack of want, it really sets my heart on fire to discard more clutter.

If I didn’t have kids, I think I would own about a back packs worth of items, the computer, some clothes, some toiletries, a box of photos and letter, perhaps a knife and a pot to cook, a cup, a plate, some glass bowls.

But since I do have kids, permanently home-schooled kids, we have art supplies, music supplies – drums, piano, keyboard, bells ext, a few books, bikes, their toys. They both have very few clothes and perhaps less toys than average, but very nice ones in that they are still “into” them, legos, duplos, dinos, a few stuffed animals, a pop up bus, some foam mats.

When I declutter it is as a person (an individual), a mother (thus I keep my son’s diapers ext), a family administrator (thus laundry soap, cleaning towels) and a teacher (thus the craft bucket, art supplies, music supplies, book ext.

The first special thing I ever let go of was my motorcycle.

I only had a motorcycle, no car, for many years.

It was more than a vehicle, it was a lifestyle choice, an environmental choice, an outdoor life style kind of choice, a statement of ownership of my own life and independence.

I knew an orphan in college who lost their father to a motorcycle accident, I vowed that if I had kids I would be done.

So when I was pregnant, we got a simple care as soon as we could and I sold the motorcycle for exactly what cloth diapers would cost me.

My motorcycle became, white cloth diapers.

A few years later the diapers could have been used again for me son, but the elastic was worn by age, so I decided to let them go and get a colorful print instead. I’m glad I did.

I’ve de-cluttered thousands of things, but only a few have been special to me. I would like my wedding dress to be the third special thing, but only if I can get away without damaging my husband’s feelings about it.

I came from a hoarding family, multi-generational, both sides. For me a lack of clutter is breathing room, literally, I grew up with asthma and allergies.

I don’t advocate anyone to have less than they are “into” but I advocate for everybody to let go of what is beyond what is wanted.

I really enjoyed both “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo and “The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck,” by Sarah Knight, but for me the two are unfortunately linked.

For me meditation is best done physically, by decluttering my actual living space. Perhaps because I had to wait an entire childhood and part of adulthood to be away from my parents who prevented decluttering, perhaps because of the way I am, perhaps because I am extremely visual so everything I see gets to me (or even what I don’t see and know that is there). Perhaps because I don’t enjoy cleaning too much and the less items we have the faster cleaning goes, perhaps because I was prevented from having friends by having unacceptable living conditions I feel it is either one or the other more than it needs to be, whatever the case de-clutteredness is close to Godliness for me.

I thought I could get through the Kon Marie method of going in order through 1. Clothes, 2. Books, 3. Papers, 4. Miscellaneous, 5. Mementos, but each time I got stopped by clothes.

I hated all my clothes, but I didn’t want to go naked…

Since then I have a few dresses that I either like or at least – almost like – and I would really want to get through the first category keeping only what I actually want.

What’s helped is seeing clothes more like towels, I have so few I wash them all weekly, they get worn in a year or two. Which is financially okay since I get mostly affordable dresses, but I find it’s somewhat refreshing psychologically to get a dress with the intention to keep it for a year, possibly two.

It takes some of the pressure off trying to find a perfect dress, trying to look perfect or even off my own eventual death.

I think some of not wanting to let go of items is linked to a fear of death, as if holding onto a pair of shorts that didn’t work out will keep us alive forever…

Mentally taking in my clothing inventory, I have a purple dress I would like to let go off, a blue sun flower dress I love, a green dress with arm ties that drive me crazy that I would like to let go off, a black and green dress I like, a yellow sun flower dress I love, a pink dress that is a bit uncomfortable, a martial arts gi that I like okay, but wouldn’t mind replacing with a pink one, two tank tops, two bras I would like to get rid off and a bunch of underwear the elastic is getting messed up on that I should replace. And one pair of purple shorts that I don’t like, even though nothing is wrong with them at all. So out of 10 items I have (that isn’t underwear) I like at most 30% of what I have and 0% of the underwear.

I have 1 hat, but kind of want another one for writing. I love 100% of my hats.

I have 2 pairs of shoes, but I’m thinking of letting go of the old ones. For some reason my old pink sandals are more dear to my heart than my wedding dress. I love 100% of my shoes.

So, I’m working on replacing my wardrobe with things I like and sneaking out the clothes I didn’t like slowly so my husband doesn’t get too mad about the money lost, but I don’t want to stop decluttering.

That’s why I find I always have to violate the Kon Marie Method order, because I never have enough clothes I like available for purchase at any cost in order to dump the clothes I hate.

For one, I’m an off size, very small, and the second thing, my taste goes in and out of style. It was in stores right before the stores got shut down. Hopefully it is still there by the time the stores reopen.

Part of the problem was taking a long time to know my own taste.

I’m a summer in skin color, kind of ashen, but I only like colorful clothes.

So hopefully I’ll find a silver dress for Monday, red for Tuesday, orange for Saturday and teal for Sunday when the stores reopen, I hate sending dresses back and forth online even more than I hate going to stores in person.

It really is nice to wear clothes I like, basically comfortable, summer dresses all year, especially ones with a bright tropical vibe. It just took me a long time (34 years) to really admit what I like and get it when I find it. I love cute dresses, joyful dresses, comfortable dresses, vibrant dresses. I like something that could be danced in or could be cleaned in, I like not having to change to be able to move freely.

Thinking about my style more I want to get some fake fruit for my hat to let it be silly. I love a silly style. Whimsy and humor have been too scarce in my life so far. If I could get something that makes me smile, it would be worth the effort. I don’t do T-shirts, but Amazon does reasonably priced custom tank tops, so maybe someday I’ll think of something that makes me laugh for a tank top.

I was going through my financial records recently and thinking that for me true wealth is my friends. My family overall, unfortunately is like debt…

I love my husband, my two children, I appreciate my dad and my sister, but all those relationships have become cluttered by emotional baggage and trauma (except with my son). My daughter and I, according to her, have fixed our relationship, so that’s great, but I think it’s a long road ahead with the remaining three relationships that could use repair.

My husband and I are off to a good start, we have kind of got the bullet out so to speak, but I think it will be much harder with my dad and my sister.

I’m hopeful the “Emotional First Aid” book will help me create a relationship that doesn’t create any sense of dread with my father and my sister.

It’s not like they are bad people, but we had so many “bad times” together, so they kind of take me back there emotionally like the Cranberries takes me back to the 1990s.

There was a minimalism documentary by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus that really changed my life forever.

They said at the end “love people, use things.”

I had been doing it wrong my whole life.

So now, even though I’m trying to do the Kon Marie Method of having items that spark joy, I always put people ahead of that.

I have a team of four imaginary friends when I declutter, Marie Kondo, Matt Paxton, Joshua Millburn, and Ryan Nicodemus, actually five, Sarah Knight as well.

And it probably takes that much to let go of the unwanted. That’s how hard it is to silence the voices of the people who lived through the depression telling me I “have to keep everything, in case,” what if I live the remainder of my life with excess baggage though? What if I don’t have energy to play with the kids after cleaning excess junk the older generation never had to deal with though? What if my husband and I divorce over arguments about clutter, space or messes that a little bit of rebuying something I threw out could have prevented though? What if I find my life purpose in the creative activities that empty space I enjoy helped me get in the mood to pursue though?

What is the cost of letting go of some clothing I didn’t like?

If I keep it, it doesn’t mean the sweat shops close down, if I keep it to donate it – the mess doesn’t leave my house for months longer, if I keep it, it doesn’t make a big jump in our families savings, if I keep it, most of the family won’t notice either way, if I keep it, I feel burdened.

In the Q.U.I.C.K. method of organization book they refer to people like me as “tossers” I prefer to think of myself as a “minimalist at heart” in the company of most people who ever lived outside of modern times, in the company of Epictetus and Henry David Thoreau.

It’s not about the number of items, but it’s really about making more room for sucking the marrow of life. I feel like the extra clutter is right in the way of the life I want to live.

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.

– Henry David Thoreau

It seems to me the more “possessions” I have, the less I can accurately discern what wealth is for me.

I know wealth is my friends love for me, the laughter and peace of my children, the beauty of the sunrise, the ability to write and think freely, a kind smile from a stranger, a joke or good song easing the pain of life, the surprise of everyday being different than the last, the company of friends, the ability to take my kids to an open park, or walk as a family on a nature trail, to have peace of mind that we have enough for groceries and rent without double checking, the sound of a song bird, the way images from stories in books can stay with you all your life, the smell of a library, the taste of Hawaiian shave ice, the smell of guavas.

But I want to know more, I want to suck deeper of life’s marrow.

For me I think that means much less visual distraction and much less “stuff”.

Anyone have something special that you let go of intentionally with either a feeling of freedom or regret?

Update: My husband was completely fine with me getting rid of the wedding dress, he kind of understands me by now (after 5 years of marriage). It was nice. I told him it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with him, but I wanted to be with him in a new way, not the way we were. I think he really understood what I meant. I put a lot of the clothes in a bag to toss, I’m torn between taking a few items to donate, but if I don’t “really do it” tomorrow then I’ll throw the bag out Thursday. I wonder if donating something with a negative vibe for me is a blessing for someone else or just transferring a problem. I’m guessing one person’s trash is another’s treasure? It’s weird, but I can’t wait to be rid of the dress, I’m so excited to get rid of it tomorrow.

One reason in particular I wanted to get rid of my wedding dress is because 10 years after my mother cast my father aside like garbage for another man who didn’t love her, she was deeply attached to her wedding dress. She wanted me to wear it. I didn’t want to wear the dress of a failed marriage and I was so puzzled at how she could value a $400 dress so much more than the marriage that cost much more and the human being who loved her faithfully and constantly. It’s an unstated goal to get rid of as much as I can from my wedding, so that what is precious about my wedding is my actual husband, so that he is what I have from that day, to value the person, not the things. I’m not saying a person can’t value people and things, but for me, I’d rather err on the side of caution that my priorities are crystal clear in my own heart and mind.

๐Ÿ˜ฟ Blogging and Mental Toughness ๐Ÿ˜ผ

Values based living, it’s been hard for me and very rewarding for me.

I change my values a lot, not that I abandon them, just that with limited time and focus, responsibilities around me changing and the world changing, things change.

My daughter checks in with Habitca, a habit tracking app, and selects her value of the day in the morning (chosen from her own top 7). Then she can focus on her value. Tuesday was humor and she kept joking until she made me laugh. Monday was fun and she was extra silly. Last Friday, friendship, she hung out with our room-mate a little bit and had a blast.

I’m so proud of her, she is four years old and she knows what her values are, rather than the ones society would like to push on her.

And she finds her own way to live by her values.

It’s good for the prefrontal cortex to plan and make goals.

The Navy Seals developed a mental toughness training course to help more people pass their training, it worked, it changed the passing rate from somewhere around 1/3 to 1/2 (I don’t remember the specifics).

How the Brain Works and How to Become Mentally Strong

But it works enough for me to trust it.

  1. Eat the Elephant
  2. Visualize Success
  3. Emotional Control
  4. Non-reactivity
  5. Small Victories
  6. Find Your Tribe (And Necessity)

I would split number six into two pieces (following rule 1, meaning split up something hard into manageable chunks).

Looking at this list, I realize now that blogging has helped me in all these ways over the past year.

I started blogging for a few reasons, 1. I like writing. 2. I wanted to move on from morning pages. 3. I was really shy and it was a bit of exposure therapy. 4. I wanted to find myself as a writer. 5. I wanted to find myself as a person (I was so lost in fog). 6. I wanted to get better at writing clearly. 7. I read a challenge by Mark Manson to write 100 blog posts before deciding about what to blog about or even if you should blog.

I’m at 82/100 right now, but I can’t really imagine choosing 1 topic, nor trying to monetize. Not that I’m against those things for other people. I feel a boundless freedom in being able to discuss anything, perhaps the most freedom I’ve ever felt or had. It really reminds me of “the Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” Episode 1, where Giordano Bruno is imprisoned and killed because he believes in an infinite universe against what the Catholic Church at the time believed in… was the church too stupid and violent or was Giordano too stubborn? I don’t know. But I’m starting to feel that free floating feeling of freedom and it’s so hard to imagine confining my mental space to an non-infinite range of topics now that I’ve tasted freedom.

I also don’t want to monetize, I’ve never tried to drive traffic, never tried to make my family or friends read my articles that they are not interested, never minded when people don’t follow or like what I write.

Perhaps because my expectations were so low, I’ve always been told I have weird tastes and opinions that no one wants to hear, so that when actually about 1/5 articles I write are liked, that’s infinitely more than I expected or “need”.

Actually yesterday on Coach.me where I also write, I got the first comment that I made a difference to someone in the exact way that was my goal and it felt amazing.

My goal was 1 person.

And I met that goal.

And now, I’ve gotten so much benefits from writing this blog, that I can’t imagine ever being without it, or without some kind of writing.

Thank you readers, I realize now that you are my tribe.

Some will just glance and read something else (1/2), some will dislike (X), some will read more (1/2), some will like something (1/5), but all are acknowledging me as a human being, for who I am. My writing is me, much more than my body ever has been. You can like me, dislike me, remain neutral, but by reading my work, you are seeing me, meeting me, knowing me.

Just like a real tribe, some people in the tribe don’t have much interest in me, but others do, and I’ve found so much support, encouragement, interesting perspective in the blogger/reader/writer’s tribe. The “wordsmiths” if you will…

It’s been nice to find the feeling I belong for the fist time in my life. Even if it’s to a completely open club, it’s still nice to belong.

Hopefully I’ll get a “writer’s jacket” with patches at the elbows sometime soon. My son has one and I’m completely envious of it.

Just started a new book “Emotional First Aid,” it’s wonderful (I always say that right?). This book is water in the desert for me. It’s like a dummy’s guide to emotional problems, which I completely needed my whole life and thank God/the universe/fate that I finally found it (you can tell I’m agnostic a little bit there).

I skipped right to the guilt chapter and it’s nice that there are three main types of guilt, survivor guilt is probably the worst for me, but I think like an ice-cream sandwich bar I have all three flavors! I don’t why that’s exciting, but it is. Perhaps, since reading “Permission to Feel” I feel like I get a gold star every time I notice my uglier feelings? They have become like rare “Pokemon” to collect, rather than things to hide or suffer from day in and day out.

This post makes me want to write about each aspect of mental toughness and link to the posts that helped me most in each area, and also I didn’t even talk about serenity, my new value of the day for Thursday, but I really want to get school stared for the kids, so I think I’ll end this post here and leave some of the “fun” for next time.

Thank you guys so much for being my tribe! Much love and gratitude for you time and presence here.

I feel so free, I let me out of some “prisons” in my mind today. Ironic right?