DO: something you’re scared of. Read More
DO: Stay in touch
It’s funny how life events coincide around similar themes to get you thinking. I went back to my hometown for visit the other weekend and brought a good friend from Philly along. I got to see some old friends and spent quality time with family. The warmth I felt from seeing everyone made for a good weekend, and also coincided with the conversation my friend and I had had on the car ride up.
She was telling me about an article she read that summarized the top five life regrets people report on their deathbed – one of which was losing touch with friends. They wished that they hadn’t let themselves get so caught up in the day-to-day here and now, and instead, picked up the phone or written a letter once in a while. People who once really mattered got lost in the mix of life, but in the end what’s going to matter is who you’ve loved and who loves you back.
In the days following my visit my thoughts resonated on this article and my hometown visit. Some of my friends weren’t around when I was home, and I found myself wanting to give them a call. I’ve vowed to try and do better at staying in touch, so that I don’t let those people get away. Especially today, with all of our technology – smart phones and email – there’s no excuse to not take a little bit of time. Learn from what the dying have said and stay in touch. When you come to the end of your road, you don’t want to be looking back with the same regrets.
click on images for source
DO: five sun salutations each day, for 30 days.
Over the holiday, I stayed around Philadelphia while a lot of my friends went out of town. With a lot of time to myself, I did a lot of internet surfing during which I came across a blog (now I don’t remember which) where the blogger was talking about their self challenge to do five sun salutations a day, for 30 days. I decided to wipe myself of my previous “I can’t workout at home” mentality, and commit to the same challenge.
I went upstairs to my bedroom, rolled out my yoga mat, and intending to do five sun salutations, ended up doing an entire yoga routine – for an hour! I’ve decided that there is no reason to not do yoga at home. It’s actually even better in some ways. You can move at your own pace, and really hold a pose that feels good to you instead of moving at the teacher’s pace.
Last week I mentioned how I want this New Year to be all about balance. I’ve continued to do my five sun salutations a day in efforts to keep this thought in the front of my mind. On some days I’m in the mood to do more, and on some I do just the salutations. Either way, I get a moment of calmness where I’m completely in tune with my own body. I think this is important for my goal since the first step to getting balance, is knowing what is going on with yourself. I feel like I’m getting stronger, more flexible, and most importantly, a more balanced mentality.
Try it out! Do five sun salutations for thirty days straight.
For those of you who don’t know what a sun salutation is, click on the image above for a how-to video. :)
DO: acknowledge it
The past few days I found myself in a bit of a funk. I felt out of it and I was getting down on myself for feeling out of it. I’m typically a pretty upbeat happy person, so when I get like this, it’s really unsettling. My mind quickly shoots to, how am I going to make this better? I find myself acknowledging what is wrong – what it is that I don’t like about myself, and how I’m going to work to fix it. I come up with plans in my head: certain practices or consistent efforts that I think will combat my troubling flaws.
In retrospect, I realized how important it is to make note at times like this. We all have faults, and sometimes it’s good to mindfully recognize what they are. You can assess how you feel about them – if they’re something that really bothers you and something that you want to change. It’s about acknowledgement. Actively acknowledging how you feel and what’s making you upset. Without it, you can’t change.
On the flip side – it’s also important to acknowledge the things that make you happy. Take note of what those things are, and work to incorporate them into your life as much as possible. It sounds easy – but sometimes it’s really hard to know what you want and what you don’t.
Either way, happy or sad, it’s productive to acknowledge how you’re feeling and why.
DO: go to bed an hour early and read.
I have two problems: 1) I never seem to get enough sleep, and 2) I never have enough time to read as much as I’d like. Rather than continue letting this bother me, I’ve begun a little experiment. An hour earlier than I typically would, I force myself to get into bed. I’m usually not tired, but I get into bed anyways and pull out a book. Eventually from reading, my eyes begin to get droopy. As soon as this happens I roll over and go to sleep. Reading serves as a perfect way to let the tiredness set in, and it helps you feel more settled before bed.
I don’t get too much more sleep than I did before, only about 15-30min, but I think that’s the best I can shoot for with the way my life goes. The biggest success of this experiment has been the added reading time. I find reading to be one of life’s biggest pleasures. Fiction, non-fiction, fantasy…whatever it is – reading opens your eyes, and lets you experience things/people that you may never otherwise encounter. It’s a great thing to incorporate into your everyday routine.
I quite like the effects of my experiment so far. I’ve decided to keep up the efforts, and try to make it my new thing. You should all try it out sometime soon and see how it works for you. It’s a great way to wind down your day, and I think you will all enjoy the added one-on-one time with you, your book, and your bed.
DO: learn a new game
Games are a great thing to have in one’s artillery. On my recent trip to Hong Kong I realized why.
Firstly, getting there and back involves an extremely…long…voyage… After a while, you’ve finished the book you brought, you get sick of the movies and you’re left to your own devices. Luckily, the man next to me (we had been chatting back and forth) asked if I wanted to play a game. It was a simple word game – fun – and a godsent gift to make the time pass. After we got sick of one game we moved on to a new one, and before we knew it the plane was landing at our destination. Without our library of games, I don’t know how I would have stayed sane.
My second recent experience which taught me the power of games happened while I was out at night with two Chinese individuals – neither of which knew more than two words of English. We ended up playing a Chinese game that involved two cups, four die, and your hands – no words necessary. After that I taught them the old American hand slapping game that everyone used to play as a kid. They thought it was hysterical, and loved it. The exchange of games was fun and allowed me to connect with two people that I would otherwise have had no way to communicate with.
So I’ve come to appreciate the simple life pleasure that games provide. They introduce people, make memories, bring friends together, and help pass time. It’s always fun to learn a new a game, so try to pick up a new one. You’ll have it in your repetoire to pullout the next time you’re bored or in need. Whoever you’re playing with might be very grateful…
DO: write something.
I didn’t always want to be a writer. First it was an astronaut, then archeologist, and then about a hundred other things. But I started keeping a journal in middle school and I never stopped – I have boxes of them stored away, a somewhat haunting record of everything I’ve been through.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to seriously consider writing as a profession, and it was something Charles Bukowski wrote that actually had a huge impact on me. In “Tales of Ordinary Madness,” he wrote that you don’t choose to be a writer, it chooses you. As simple as that may sound, it rang so true… all my life I had been compelled to put my thoughts down on paper and subconsciously I was drawn to it as a profession. It wasn’t a decision that I made, it was a natural evolution that led me to where I am today.
Everyday life tends to create clutter in my head, hundreds of thoughts and emotions swirling around, bumping into each other and the only way to clear my head is put them down on paper. Try it today and see if it works for you too – write something. It doesn’t have to be long, it can be about anything you want – it can even be something you just made up. Write it down – put it on paper, and see how it makes you feel.
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
– Charles Bukowski
DO: take a cold shower.
It’s that time of year again. The air is already so hot that a simple walk outside is enough to leave your body coated in sweat, but don’t let it scare you! Summer is meant for being outdoors. Let the lure of sunshine, warmth, and living life overcome the sterile cleanliness of air conditioned spaces. Explore the outdoors, lay in the grass, attend festivals, plant a garden, just go outside and GET DIRTY. Afterward you’ll have a chance to jump in the shower and clean off. But don’t just let it be any ordinary shower-turn the knob to cold, and let those capillaries open up. Feel the chills all over – the way your hair gets so extremely silky with cold water. Nothing says summer quite like the alive feeling you get from a cold shower.
click on images for sources