⭐ New Life Improvement System First Week

Aloha! This is the week six, only two days have passed since I turned in week 6 late, but since the begining I wanted to align this system with my own values instead of using Demitri Martin’s system. I do want to use his system, but I want to localize it for myself, today is the first day I felt like I had time to do that kind of adjustment.

Improving the self improvement system, I stayed up late one night and my emotions came through to me that the values I had been living with were wrong with me and the ones I wanted to live by were:

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

I’ve also been introduced to the idea of “lokahi” (unity, but also making something broken whole) and I want to use it in some way to help me organize my life in a less overwhelming way. I know no matter how I organize my life I have to “do” the same amount of things, but maybe having the “schema” will help reduce the cognitive work load of living by my values.

Lokahi Triangle. Ola (health) as harmony in three key and interconnected relationships. Ke Akua. Ho‘omana/ Spirituality. Na Kanaka. Humankind. Lokahi. Harmony. Ka ‘Aina. Land.

I also know my strengths from the gallup strength finder test: Learner, responsibility, input, resolver, intellection.

Those are the three ingredients I want to work into the improved version of my life improvement system, my values (the ones I want not what I have known or am framiliar with), my strengths and the concept of life balance or “lōkahi”.

Na Kanaka (Human Kind):

Life Time Goal: Live with Humility, Authenticity, Mindfulness

Using: Learner Strength (I’m not good with people, yet, but I can learn), Input Strength (I can swallow my pride, take advice and learn from others).

Large Practice: Assertive Communication

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

🗹 Gratitude Challenge – Consistent gratitude for 30 days. -Nomz “It’s helping me so much to be doing this together with someone, I don’t need a running buddy to run, but for whatever reason having a gratitude buddy has helped me be consistent and stop making excuses about why I can’t do this.”

🗹 Connect with Loved Ones: Look Up – Rachel Stafford. Just look up from the phone/computer/chore ext at the eyes of the person talking to you. “It’s possible to say “I can’t do this right now, but we can talk later,” and then talk later, really talk. When I wanted to always drop everything for my kids, I almost never did, now I’m trying to listen to them 2/3 times and ask them to wait for me 1/3 times.”

🗹 Connect with Loved Ones: Look In – Rachel Stafford. Try to look inside to how someone else could be feeling. “I’m starting by looking at them when they are probably happy (even that is hard for me, most of my life I thought since I can’t really know how they feel why even bother guessing?) and as I get better I’ll try to be able to look at them when they are in a lot of pain or angry.”

🗹 Connect with Other Humans – Check email, direct Facebook message with my friends, look in the eye of people talking to me directly. “The hard part of this is knowing what counts as connection, for me reading a feed isn’t connection, yet a direct messege is, I know because it makes me smile to get a direct messege and reading my friend’s feed makes me feel distant from them weirdly enough.”

🗹 Read books or Articles – “This is a way to connect and respect other people and also learn from them. For some people it doesn’t give a sense of connection, but for me it does. Shout out to all my readers, you guys really inspire me, I read articles from most of my readers and it’s an exchange of ideas where we all grow together, that’s what I believe anyways.”

🗹 Radical Acceptance: Did you receive all people/someone exactly as they are? -“I’m accepted all my readers, young old, male female, it makes it easy to accept others who accept you and hearing my words makes me feel really accepted by others, I’ve also accepted my “willful” daughter more than ever. Still working on the rest of humanity.”

🗹 See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance “I saw all problems between people as an opportunity to connect with people, which is kind of like cheating, but also sincere now.”

Ke Akua (Spirituality):

Life Time Goal: Live with Serenity, Proactivity

Using: Intellection Strength

Large Practice: Kaizen, Kon Mari, Minimalism

Tiny Plan: Get Ready for a Kon Mari week.

🗹 Malama Pono – Be forthright and proactive in your life. -Demitri

🗹 Walk Away: From anger, ego, people who put you down, fear, the past. -Dr. Jurisharma “Walked away from people who put me down by saying that bloggers are people who don’t want to hear other people’s opnions or not real writers.”

🗹 Boldly Celebrate Yourself – Nomz “Doing the new “Life Improvement System” based on my values and strengths is really empowering, it’s me celebrating what I want my life to be and how I can get there instead of living by what works for others or what others value most.”

🗹 Creative Endevors… Brainstorming. Drawing, painting, and/or sculpting. -Demitri Martin “Actually writing should be here too, did do some writing lately. Writing is like painting with words or sculpting with ideas.”

🗹 Create your own reality consciously. -Arleen Lorance “I had a “hot” curry that my sister told me was “mild,” it is crazy but I honestly could not taste the spice, I thought my dad was crazy to say it was spicy. I trust my sister so much I couldn’t perseve the spice she told me wasn’t there until I found the box that said “hot.” Right now I’m trying to fight the feeling I can’t get anything done because I have trouble with my oldest child and it tires me out, I keep trying to prove that even though I don’t get everything I want done I can still do “something” but the feeling is still there, it’s still a struggle to believe the truth, even though I know that it’s true.”

🗹 Have no expectations, but rather, abundant expectancy. -Arleen Lorance “I am, I have no expectations that this system will be better than the first or that either will help my life, yet I’m still trying with an open mind to see what happens.”

Ka ‘Aina (That Which Nourishes):

Life Time Goal: Perservierence

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.

🗹 Aloha ʻĀina: “Planted on grain of wheat today, and was so amused by the way a single grain looks special in a pot when they go unnoticed in a field, of course as a whole they feed more people. The garden constantly brings me new experiences and new wonder.”

🗹 Be the change you want to see happen instead of trying to change anyone else. -Arleen Lorance “Particularly starting a tiny family farm, because in Hawaii most of the food is shipped in and the economy is very negatively impacted by the high food costs that result and also the farmers at the port of origen are somewhat abused by being under paid.”

🗹 Did you let people help you/provide others with opportunities to give? -Arleen Lorance “For me this applies to letting my family help me run the farm without nit picking them perfectionalisticly in a way that makes them not be able to help me and in the months I can’t garden it applies to letting my kids help around the house and with school time, it also applies to accepting money from my husband with gratitude instead of shame after working most of my life it is hard to take his money to stay home and school our kids, but if he will support me I should take the support I need to do the things that matter most to me (schooling the kids and nurturing the kids).”

🗹 Respectful Parenting – The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else. The fact that we are human has value in itself. If a person is an end-in-themself it means their inherent value doesn’t depend on anything else – it doesn’t depend on whether the person is enjoying their life, or making other people’s lives better. We exist, so we have value. “I’m starting with respectful parenting, but after the class is over I plan to expand slowly towards the rest of my social connections, my birth family, my husband, my friends, everyone I meet, people I don’t know… “Recently I read this proberb: if you plant for a month, plant kalo (taro/food), if you plant for 10 years plant koa (tree/shelter), if you plant for 100 years teach the children, that is why these things (respectful parenting and farming related goals) are together now.”

Lōkahi (Harmony/Life Balance):

Life Time Goal: Resilience

Using: Resolver Strength

Large Practice: Self Leadership

Tiny Plan: Keep working with this Life Improvement System

🗹 To communicate and illuminate healing and more importantly, to reunite that which has been broken back into unity, and awareness—in short, to renew… – Dr. Maka’ala Yates “Worked with my dad on the cars for a bit, searching for a paracitic battery drain.”

🗹 Did you set weekly goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, redid the system.”

🗹 Did you take daily steps toward achieving those goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, especially by finding a better schema, it’s not working backwards to cheat it’s working backwards to find a bridge between real life and my heart.”

🗹 Errands: Do your cleaning, marketing, and pay your bills on time. -Demitri Martin “Yes, kept up with the cleaning I commited to do, don’t have marketing, paid the bills on time for the first time this year.”

☐ Money: Keep careful track of your income and expenses. -Demitri Martin “Still a not yet.”

Letting Go: What I Chose to Let Go Off from the Life Improvement System 1

Old Schema: Mind (Removed because my mind is too broad a catagory for me right now). Body (Removed because my body is well). Aloha & Relationships (Removed because I’m so drained already, aloha is about filling your self, grounding yourself and then spreading love, I need to do the first step first right now). Kuleana & Career/Personal Management (Removed because as a stay at home mom, homeschool teacher and non-profit farmer this area of my life is basically sacrificed for a larger relationship and family section and a smaller focus within my balance section more than covers the important aspects of this schema).

Old Weekly Goal Focuses: Eat better. (Removed because my health is good and I eat well). Exercise. (Removed because it’s a habit, but it doesn’t require my focus, it’s already become a life style). Did you help a friend/stranger? Uplift those around you? Do something nice for someone? (Removed because it’s too hard to judge if I helped someone else or uplifted them, I want to do this, but I don’t want to be score keepering it, I don’t want to be doing it conditionally for the point, I want to keep doing it, but not in this way, I want it to be a biproduct of the way I live rather than the goal, and I also believe that me wanting to help others puts me in a place of judgement that they are not already fine the way they are, that life isn’t already fine the way it is, it creates pity rather than compassion and understanding for me. I want to help, but in a free and adaptable way depending on what I can do and in a more intuitve way. I also want to help from the inside out, by bettering myself first (not making a profit, but reaching an inner peace and inner balance and living normal life in that way). Instead of trying to find all people “beautiful,” I’m just trying to accept that they “are” as they are, I don’t think all people are beautiful and I don’t think it’s neccesary that they all are beautiful to appriciate the diversity and harmony of human life (I’m glad you can Arleen, it’s just not in me to do it!).

The New System First Week Review:

21 Points of 22 Points = 95% for the first week of October, even though it’s been two days I wanted to move the evaluation off Sunday so I can relax and relect without worrying about getting this done on that day. It feels really good to have a system I created for myself instead of using someone else’s goals to run my life. I’m glad I used my free time for this today. This is my most like serries, so it was reader inspiration that helped me allow myself to take the time to do this! 🌻

P.S. I didn’t edit grammer yet nor make my own graphic so I will go back for those things another time, I just wanted to get this out there.

The next week I was able to streamline a little more.

⭐ Life Improvement Fifth Week

Aloha! This is the week five, it’s been a really challenging week, but I’ve been steady in making small amounts of progress and keeping up with my priorities and new habits through great effort, my mind has been in a fog.

Pono & Mind:

🗹 Be the change you want to see happen instead of trying to change anyone else. -Arleen Lorance “Started dancing to “Endless Love” and “Just the Two of Us” with my kids, it’s really fun, one of the very few things we all enjoy.”

🗹 Create your own reality consciously. -Arleen Lorance “I started going to the homeschool kids play meet up at the park and it’s really awesome to put myself around people that make me feel like homeschool is fesable and have ideas about alternative teaching methods. Now that most people I know do homeschool I don’t feel like it’s weird and I have to defend it anymore. I didn’t even realise that I was holding those views until I let them go.”

🗹 See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance “I did do that this week, I was super tired and started counting how many times my kids woke me up at night the next day. It was 12 times. Four from the baby, eight from my toddler having nightmeres… so, the next day I accepted that I was low energy and was proud of myself for even doing simple stuff like keeping up with dishes, childcare and school time instead of being upset I didn’t do extra cleaning and gardening. Also in other ways I was able to do this a lot more this week.”

🗹 Have no expectations, but rather, abundant expectancy. -Arleen Lorance “I did have the expectancy that we could find someway to keep the dogs from excaping and attacking the neighboor’s dogs, I didn’t know how, I didn’t expect anyone in particular to buy gates, but I did ask my husband and he said yes and my father also bought other gates, so soon we should have both an indoor and outdoor solution set up for a problem that’s been going on for over a year.”

🗹 Read books. Do puzzles. Brainstorming. Drawing, painting, and/or sculpting. -Demitri Martin “Did simple jigsaw puzzles with my daughter, finished a digital drawing for my emotional diversity serries, read a little bit of “Only Love Today” and “The Whole Brained Child.”

🗹 Gratitude Challenge – Consistent gratitude for 30 days. -Nomz “I wrote a post about how hard it’s been to be grateful, called “The Challenge of Gratitude,” I’ve been trying my best to be grateful most of the day and it’s hard to explain, it hasn’t felt like a light switch turned on, it has been more like a dimmer switch turned up or instead of a dirty tile scrubed clean, a dirty tile scrubed in a way that has less residue, yet isn’t clean yet.”

Mālama & Body:

🗹 Eat better. -Demitri Martin “My daughter made poi in school, it was the best tasting poi I’ve ever had.”

🗹 Exercise. -Demitri Martin “I did T25 total body circuit and abs.”

Aloha & Relationships:

🗹 Respectful Parenting – The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else. The fact that we are human has value in itself. If a person is an end-in-themself it means their inherent value doesn’t depend on anything else – it doesn’t depend on whether the person is enjoying their life, or making other people’s lives better. We exist, so we have value. “I’m starting with respectful parenting, but after the class is over I plan to expand slowly towards the rest of my social connections, my birth family, my husband, my friends, everyone I meet, people I don’t know… I’ve been able to speak just a little bit more respectfully to my family this week, not really where I want to be, but I’ve had two proud moments.”

🗹 Did you let people help you/provide others with opportunities to give? -Arleen Lorance “I accepted an extra chicken I didn’t need, but could use, it made my dad really happy. Even though we can afford chicken, getting gifts from the school really makes my father and my daughter happy, much more than if we just bought the same things.”

🗹 Did you receive all people/someone as beautiful exactly as they are? -Arleen Lorance “I’m accepted all the people I met exactly as they were, but I didn’t have to deal with any child abusers or anything tough.”

☐ Did you help a friend/stranger? Uplift those around you? Do something nice for someone? -Demitri Martin “I thought about helping a neighboor who wanted a ride to the mailbox, but it just didn’t work out logisticly this week.”

🗹 Practice Confidence: Be forthright and proactive in your life. -Demitri Martin Boldly Celebrate Yourself – Nomz I started taking my hat off inside, even though my hair is messed up by wearing the hat (the left side points down and right sticks up) and I started using a sunflower emoji here and there as a reminder of Nomz’s post to celebrate yourself.

🗹 Walk Away: From anger, ego, people who put you down, fear, the past. -Dr. Jurisharma “Walked away from anger many times, not 100%, but many times this week.”

🗹 Connect with Loved Ones: Look Up – Rachel Stafford. Just look up from the phone/computer/chore ext at the eyes of the person talking to you.

☐ Connect with Loved Ones: Look In – Rachel Stafford. Try to look inside to how someone else could be feeling.

🗹 Lōkahi: To communicate and illuminate healing and more importantly, to reunite that which has been broken back into unity, and awareness—in short, to renew… – Dr. Maka’ala Yates “Helped my sister and dad talk about repairing the drier and putting a dog gate up without fighting.”

🗹 Aloha ʻĀina: Clearing out a slug infestation, setting up herb bed for cooking, building grow beds for root vegitables.

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

🗹 Did you set weekly goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, here.”

🗹 Did you take daily steps toward achieving those goals? -Demitri Martin “Yes, it’s not everything everyday, but it’s many things everyday.”

☐ Money: Keep careful track of your income and expenses. -Demitri Martin “I didn’t keep careful track, keep better track, but not careful track still.”

🗹 Errands: Do your cleaning, marketing, and pay your bills on time. -Demitri Martin “So glad my marketing is no marketing.”

18 Points of 22 Points = 81% for the last week of September. I’m doing most of what I say I want to be doing, but somethings feels off still. I enjoy the system having so much diversity of goals from the origional Demitri Martin system, yet I need to totally think it through and align it with my own values at some point in the future when I have more time. Maybe when I get back to California at the end of the month.

⚒️ The Challenge of Gratitude

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

“What happens to a dream deferred?

      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?

      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have the words in Japanese, 有り難い arigatai (life is hard/thanks for making “the difficult thing I asked you to do” happen), ありがとう arigatoo (thank you), どうもありがとう domo arigatoo (really, thank you), ありがとうございます, domo arigatoo gonzaimasu (really, thank you so much).

I have the words in Chinese too, 感谢 gǎn xiè (real gratitude) and 谢谢 xiè xie (for common thanks).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have the words in Japanese, 有り難い arigatai (life is hard/thanks for making “the difficult thing I asked you to do” happen), ありがとう arigatoo (thank you), どうもありがとう domo arigatoo (really, thank you), ありがとうございます, domo arigatoo gonzaimasu (really, thank you so much).

I have the words in Chinese too, 感谢 gǎn xiè (real gratitude) and 谢谢 xiè xie (for common thanks).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

⭐ Life Improvement Fourth Week

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

Pono & Mind:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mālama & Body:

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

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

Aloha & Relationships:

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

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

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

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

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

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

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

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

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

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

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

What really happened the next week?

⭐ Life Improvement Third Week

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

Pono & Mind:

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

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

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

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

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

Mālama & Body:

☐ Eat better. -Demitri Martin

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

Aloha & Relationships:

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

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

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

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

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

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

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

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

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

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

How did the next week go?

⭐ Life Improvement Second Week

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

Pono & Mind:

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

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

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

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

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

Mālama & Body:

☐ Eat better. -Demitri Martin

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

Aloha & Relationships:

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

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

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

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

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

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

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

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

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

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

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

⭐ Life Improvement First Week

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

Pono & Mind:

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

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

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

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

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

Mālama & Body:

☐ Eat better. -Demitri Martin

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

Aloha & Relationships:

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

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

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

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

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

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

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

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

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

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

(See how week two went.)

🌠 Weekly Life Improvement System

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

Pono & Mind:

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

☐ Create your own reality consciously. -Arleen Lorance

☐ See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance

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

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

Mālama & Body:

☐ Eat better. -Demitri Martin

☐ Exercise. -Demitri Martin

Aloha & Relationships:

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

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

☐ See problems as opportunities. -Arleen Lorance

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

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

Kuleana & Career/Personal Management:

☐ Did you set weekly goals? -Demitri Martin

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

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

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

(check in on my first weekly evaluation)

✍️ 100 Blog Post Journey

Who am I?

By kindergarten, I was already a writer. Hunched over my small, desk/chair, prision cell thing, I didn’t have enough lines on the journal page (under the picture drawing area), to say what I wanted to say. Once prompted, I had something to say. I was so integrated with my internal voice, that I felt like I was running downhill, as the words cascaded onto the page, filling the front, side margin and then the back with my thoughts converted to lines of graphite. Over time my voice was silenced by the rules of academia, forced repetition, citation of all ideas, essentially killed any chance for me to communicate any of my own original ideas in any of my own style. Love eventually turned to hate. But after getting my degree I’m not beholden to the shackles of acadamia, I can start a sentence with the word “but” if I damn well please, and my paragraphs may have a completely crazy number of sentences if that pleases me, and it does.

Why Did I Start This Blog?

So I started this blog to be my white, armchair sitting cat, who I stroke for the hell of it, as I laugh (to not cry) at the joy, beauty, pain and ugliness of life. I plan to make this mental space a fun and safe place for my creative self to live. For me, this place is more than a blog, because it will host my Audible Book Fight Club and the blibary. This is a digital representation of my mind, heart and soul, my experience as a human being on Earth. I’m specifically writing 100 free form blog posts, in response to Mark Manson’s personal challenge to me (yeah it’s personal, because I took it personally…). So here I am at middle age, finding my lost voice as a writer, with the time I have since I didn’t get into medical school as planned (the new plan is to get in as a donated corpse).

My Inspiration to Write

I deny being insired to write, for me, writing is instinctual; A natural part of being alive, which I have to block if I don’t want to do it. It’s my soul’s path of least resistance to get to a state of flow. I think writing is the natural digestion of thoughts, which readers ingest mentally. Writing feels right to me at this point in my life, for reasons yet unknown.

How Did I Get My Shit Together?

I’ve always been a writer, but I’m just starting right now (this very sentence) to be serious about actually producing writing on a consistent basis. Now is the time because, I’ve got my shit together at a higher lever than ever before, and also because I learned to stop doing everything my loved ones would roll downhill for me to do as I slowly die inside. Initially I accidentally purchased a year of Instacart, food delivery, instead of just trying it (which I was trying to do), so then I thought, what if instead of the hassle of cancelling, I use that saved time to do something worthwhile in my life for this year just to see what happens? And what came to mind was writing. So I made the jump between observer/planner/wisher to doer/writer/jumper. Later my husband took over the shopping and more and more mundane things I stopped doing, which is awesome, but he never picked up any burdens I didn’t set down first.

Guiding Lights

There were a few things that made a difference to me, the book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” was the first step towards defeating my deep fear of failure and imperfect, the guiding light was “The Power of Habit,” which let me know I had the power and the responsibility of living my life how I wanted to live it. I had two years of proactivity denial and time management struggles, but I changed and have been living my best life the best I can for a few weeks already, which for the most part means living by my values first, not as an after thought, on a daily basis.

Isn’t Living by Your Values Everyday Too Hard?

Yes and no. Not every value everyday, not an essay and a drawing about how it happened in my journal everyday, but living by one or two of my values each day kills that horrible “did I do enough” feeling I get otherwise. If you never read another post, please take this knowledge with you: there is a free website http://www.lifevaluesinventory.org, which lists a lot of values people don’t talk about in everyday life, it helps you rank them based on how significant they are to you, and then helps you troubleshoot difficulties between values and how to fit them into your life harmoneously. In six seconds a day, you can live by your own values, and it will make you feel better about yourself and your life. I’ll detail the steps of value based living in further posts, but it’s also on http://www.lifevaluesinventory.org totally free. If you only used the internet once in your lifetime, I think finding your soul’s unique value mosaic is the most significant thing you could do with a half hour of your time.

Summary of Life Value Invetory’s Guide to Living by Your Values:

Part A: Recognize you are in control of your own life/destiny.

Part B: Learn about different values.

Part C: Pick which value from your own heart to live by today.

1. Think or Write: What do I want to do today to live by my value of _?

2. Think or Write: What can I do today with what conditions (time, money, help, ability) I actually have?

3. Do That, As Best You Can

4.  Think or Write: What you appreciate about what you did do (let go of anything you didn’t do).

5. Write: One thing you learned today, that can help you through tomorrow.

My Journey

It took me a lot of trial and error, what sounded good, what I thought my values were, didn’t really resonate with my soul, but letting go of what doesn’t fit freed me to reinvent myself and learn how to ascribe truthful meaning and satisfaction in my life and the past few years have brought me more satisfaction, with who I am as a person, and my own integrity, than anything else has. I found a deep well of satisfaction, previously missing from my life, when I uncovered and started living by my values.