Friday, March 25, 2016

Life On Hold

Life happens. It causes more stress than we care to deal with. So today, I'm placing my projects on hold.

Advancing this site.
Business ventures.

I'm focusing on one thing at a time, just as I focused on inbox zero for the entire week. I accomplished something that I thought was so impossible (eliminating 2,000+ emails to be exact). I cannot simply produce quality if I'm giving attention to multiple projects. So here's to focusing on what's important right now.

My Grandmother ▪ Simplicity ▪ My Body

That's it.

My car has been full since I left Florida and only a small amount has been reduced. Today, those items I'm wanting to let go of will be traded/bartered for smaller lighter items for my coaster project. I'll continue that project at a later time, but I'll have more room with other items removed.

I need to finish scanning papers to reduce them to create my other project, handmade cards. While I'm not creating them at this time, it'll allow me to have my items fully separated, reduced and ready to go when I have the time to start.

Being on the road, you lose track of your health and eventually stoop down to what's available. Fastfood. It's horrible! You run out of life's most precious gift. Time. You feel like garbage. Too lethargic to make something, so you grab a burrito or a KFC bowl to help nourish yourself, only to wake up feeling worse and more lethargic. Unmotivated. Unable to get up and actually create something healthy for yourself. I'm stopping that too. I can feel it. My teeth, my cardio, my fatigue. It's awful.

Yesterday was my breaking point. While it wasn't fastfood, I sat down to eat at a diner and found a hair in my food. After eating the entire plate and coming across a pubic looking strand, I became nauseous. What else could I have shoveled in my pie hole? I left in disgust and realized I need to get in control and cook again.

Cooking delicious food for myself will allow me to eat simpler as well. I struggled the past month with buying too much food and accidentally letting it expire. I want to reduce waste. Not contribute towards it. So I will be working on mindful eating. And eating for sustenance rather than comfort as well.

This brings me to my next project placed on hold. Miniature aquaponics. Because I travel so much, gardening is not always an option. Or is it? When life is in control, I will be attempting this adventure as well.

Until then, slow down.

I'll see you on the other side.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Seeing the Light

I'm finally beginning to see the light at the end of my very long journey as far as minimalism goes. Most of my belongings have been reduced and my life is more meaningful. I've been fortunate to have wonderful experiences and awesome support along the way.

What I have found:
Less stress. Happiness. Time.

I couldn't have done it if I didn't have others that I looked up to for inspiration. The Minimalists that I've been following all live very simple lives and I've been walking in their footsteps focusing on areas that bother me most.

What I've learned:
Take your time getting to your goal. Be aware of yourself and your interactions while trying to achieve it. You'd be surprised what you learn in the journey about personal thoughts and how others react. It's okay to feel stuck when trying to obtain something intangible. As long as you're moving in a forward motion, you're still accomplishing something. Writing down numbers for goals didn't really help me. Even though I had over 1,000 emails at one point, the thought of having nothing in my inbox drove me harder. The thought of doing less laundry made me stick to it longer. Physically not having to carry an abundance of belongings and worrying about objects gives me mental relief. This is not an overnight walk in the park. I've been exploring this concept for almost 2 years and I've only now begun to see the final results. Choose one area to improve on. If it becomes tiresome, find another subject to improve on, then go back to the original plan. Start with small achievements and move to the larger daunting ones. When you do, split it in to chunks.

Examples of splitting tasks in to chunks:
Laundry - 2 piles. What you wear and what you don't. Or start with a specific type: shirts, pants, undergarments.
CDs - what you listen to and what you don't. Take a step further then start scanning in those favorite CDs. Once scanned, either toss or keep.
Paperwork - again, two piles. The pile to toss and the pile to keep. If you have an abundance of forms in your keep pile, scan them, then toss them.

It's been almost a month that I've had all of my belongings in my car. Not all are reduced but as long as something is accomplished every day, it's moving in the right direction.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Love From Far Away

I've had many people come and go in my life. In 2014, I was asked by someone close to me if it was possible to love more than one person. Flipping through the pages in my head of memories, at first I thought No! That's a preposterous mentality! I took a step back and realized, you can. Though not everyone is loved EQUALLY.

You can love your parents, you can love your siblings. You can love your friends, and you can love multiple partners. Generally, they are loved one at a time. Not at one time - if you know what I mean!

I hit a wall when a relationship fell apart in 2014. I didn't have depression, but convincing myself to get up everyday was a common occurrence. I also didn't mind if a bridge collapsed while driving on it. I was in love and was heartbroken. I didn't want to go to work, knowing he would be there. The pain didn't go away for a very long time.

In that time, I learned you can care without staying in love and you cannot love without caring. I also learned you can both care and love someone far away.

Love does not simply stop. That's why there is so much pain involved with the ending of a relationship. We are hurt. In turn, we do things we don't mean. We just want to be heard, even if it's negative.

With this in mind, I had another failed relationship. I thought I had finally found "the one". The one that would go on crazy adventures with me around the world. The one I could look up to for guidance. The one that wouldn't mind growing old with me.

I realized, I cannot be in a relationship. I cannot be in one if love is not EQUAL. I cannot be happy, if they are not happy, another cruel lesson I learned in 2013.

It simply does not work.

After crying, I collected my thoughts.

I needed to look back how I stood on my own two feet after 2014. I wiped the tears from my cheeks and told myself it's okay to love from far away. I love my grandparents from far away. I love my parents from far away. I cannot be hurt from far away.

They say if things are meant to be, it'll work out. I'm going to follow through on this theory and go home. Remove myself from the picture. Work on myself and accomplish other goals I've set in place. Maybe then, it'll be new, after being separated for some time.

This is not goodbye. This is not the end. In my mind,  it's only temporary. I'm sad because I'm still in love. Only time can change that.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

It's Saint Patrick's Day

I'm in a local bar to Wilmington, North Carolina before 8am. The name, The Harp. There's something free about the atmosphere especially being here on such a festive day.

Before pulling in to the parking lot, I had expected to be by myself and maybe one or two customers, have a delicious breakfast, and be on my merry way. To my surprise, this little community is alive and wearing all sorts of green! Green glasses, kilts, painted faces, spring hats.

A cowbell jingles, the shuffling of feet, and waitresses scoot past my table for two. Though, I'm observing quietly in my own little bubble.

I made the decision to try a geek omelet with a side of hashbrowns, buscuit, bacon, and sweet tea to wash it down. The tables are beginning to fill up, the conversations are getting louder. Riverdancers are warming up their feet on TV.

I feel pure joy.

Not because it's a holiday. Not because I'm devouring this delicious breakfast. Because I can finally stop, and take in all of my surroundings. This is a moment I've missed being consumed by the MAN and working my precious youth away.

I'm taking small steps to get there, but I like what I'm feeling.

Slow down.

Enjoy the present moment.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Challenge: Live Digitally, Live Passively

Recently, I just completed my inbox zero challenge. The next phase of my personal challenges include living paperless and passively. This is a difficult feat considering my job requires me to continuously fill out applications and constantly travel. Before traveling to North Carolina, I packed my car with all of my belongings to get rid of them. Slowly, but surely, I'm almost where I want to be.

The following is a list of things I've accomplished while on the road working 12+ hour shifts:
Reduced the inbox to zero
Scanned in receipts
Copied favorite clips of magazines
Removed some items of clothing from my wardrobe
Reduced half of my CDs and electronics bin

What's left?
Another tub full of other documents that need to be scanned
The remainder of my wardrobe needs a couple more items removed

Start making passive income - $10/month

$7/Month with

I'm setting my goal at a low amount because it's an easier to obtain. By the end of the week, I'm hoping to have products to offer. I'm working on multiple projects at once, so it takes longer to produce.

I'm also going to experiment with the bartering and trading world! Wish me luck!

Check back at the end of the week!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Become A Life Coach They Said

I thought about this for a while today when a friend suggested that I reach out to others.

The only problem: people.

People are going to do what they think is best for themselves, regardless of what reliable resources have to say. They hear what is said, but that doesn't mean it's listened to. I have family members. I have friends. All of which, only hear a small percentage of my opinions and let it roll out the other end. I'm okay with this. They're special to me just the same. However, I don't know that I could become a so called "Life Coach". For years I've watched in frustration, as my brother makes his life choices, my parents follow through on their personal decisions, and my friends stay peacefully in their comfort zone. I feel I cannot help others if I myself, am currently paving an unknown path and cannot share the same visions with those close to me.

While I would receive enjoyment from watching people I care for grow, there's a hard lesson I've learned...

"You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink."
                                            - Quote from someone that probably owns horses...

In this journey, I enjoy the challenge of unwritten lessons, but have not mastered the skill of being able to help others envision successes. If I could, maybe then I shall reconsider Life Coaching. Til then, I'll just share my life experiences!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Words Can Hurt. Only If You Let Them.

*This post contains sensitive material.*
For those who are easily offended, I encourage you NOT to leave the page, but keep reading.

2014 was a very difficult year for me. I wasn't where I wanted to be in life. I wasn't happy. The screenshot above, which includes offensive language, is only a snapshot of how crappy my life was at my lowest. I didn't have my own home, I was striving to find a career, even though I was a medic. Somewhere I belonged. I wasn't happy in my relationship, because I was not happy with myself in general. I was NOT the same person. I had an attitude and would lash out due to tensions of being stressed all the time. This and many other reasons are why I searched the internet for days to find myself. 

I responded to this email, in my attempts to reach inbox zero - a challenge I gave myself. Though both of us are hurt from the fact that no one really likes to end on a bad note, I felt it was important to reply that I am doing okay and I have found happiness. That email, from someone who loved me, hurt so much mentally. I knew I was not what the title had been named and I knew I had morals unlike described in the context.

Why am I sharing this? Why did I respond? 

I'm sharing this, NOT to belittle the person who sent it, but to show the world how hurtful situations can become and how to deal with them. Some will probably say, you shouldn't have responded. I'm okay with that, but I did anyways. For a sense of closure. I did because before all the bad, there was good. There was a friendship. Now, I'm not saying I want to be friends and hang out once a week or be in a relationship. What I'm trying to say is, because I have a different mindset, this doesn't hurt anymore. I'm not the same person and it's okay to leave a line of communication open. If perceived wrong, I guess it can be considered abrasive, but it's definitely not how I intended it.

Each day is different. Life presents enough challenges to overcome. By practicing to let go, I've learned where I stand, who I will allow close to me, and know how far away to stay. Life does a good enough job helping people down.

Edit: Not even after an hour and I received this response:

This, is the best closure. Open communication. No more bad feelings. No more mental anguish. Not every scenario will result the same kind of ending, but I'm really, truly, starting to believe, life is what you make of it. Your attitude and approach defines your outcomes.

Minimalism: The Art of Letting Go

Being able to let everything go is astonishing. Personally observing and practicing the art of letting go, I can say it takes a lot, mentally. I’m constantly reminding myself I don’t need my childhood collection of M&M’s and sheets of music, I once spent 10 years of my life practicing. Teaching yourself to let go of others who negatively impact your life also takes a toll. There’s no need to make it a statement, no use in physically unfriending them on social media, or even wasting time to describe to others why people are considered “bad”. Just let go.

Keep what helps you move forward. Keep what is important and makes you happy. Keep the people that lift you up. I’m constantly molding, adapting to a changing society through technology, and have new goals and aspirations including immersing myself in other cultures.

I’ve been on this journey to become minimalist for over a year and a half, hitting bumps along the way, but have actually found happiness through less. I’m no longer stressing about finances. I’ve learned it’s okay to not compete with the Jones’s next door. I don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on “toys”. I’ve learned to just be. Be someone you want to hang around. Be my own coach. Be who I look up to. Becoming minimalist has taught me independence and patience. Knowing not everyone is on the same path, knowing not everyone has the same values and perceptions, has helped me become a better and happier person. 

This new lifestyle, philosophy, practice, whatever you want to call it, has taught me to live freely, openly, and I love it!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Kickstarter: Plastic Bottle Cutter Backer

I'm an official backer of the Plastic Bottle Cutter! I'm excited to see something different that can be used as a tool and art. If you're interested in checking it out, here's my backer link:

There's so many amazing ideas I have in store for this! To list a few, Easter decorations, packaging inserts, and of course art. If you're not interested in backing, that's cool, but at least spread the word! I believe this is a fantastic concept that will help recycle in the long run.

I'll be posting about the other projects I get involved with. Till then, cheerio!

Plastic Bottle Cutter

Plastic Bottle Cutter

Plastic Bottle Cutter

Plastic Bottle Cutter

Plastic Bottle Cutter

Plastic Bottle Cutter