Breathe deep and seek peace

 

Om and aum tattoo
Om and aum movement 

 

What is better than spending time with friends? Spending time with friends who remind you to breathe. To seek peace. To love yourself. To forgive yourself for mistakes you have made. Friends who push you to be brave, to be strong, to never settle. If you are lucky, your friends hang out with you when your are sad and take you to eat nachos and do a half hour on the elliptical. They celebrate your birthday and your brand new job. If you are really lucky, your friends want you to be creative and follow your dreams and to be the best version of yourself. 

I am trying to be this kind of friend and I am super grateful that I have friends like these. Thanks, guys and gals.

 

Can’t Sleep

View from the cabin loft
View from the cabin loft

I woke up at 4:30 am on Saturday morning. I didn’t know where I was for a moment, which made sense because I was sleeping at our family cabin in the Uintas and not in my loft. I looked out the window and could see all the stars in the sky and the slightest peeking of the rising rays. I pulled out the gorgeous Sony Alpha 6300 camera that I am currently testing out and took some pictures. Most of them were crazy blurry because I had to leave the shutter open for so long to capture any light and I kept bumping the camera since I didn’t have a tripod. There were only two pictures that were any good. After about 30 minutes, I put the camera away and went back to sleep feeling totally satisfied. Instead of lying there, wishing I could fall asleep, I had done something that I had wanted to do.

I am constantly surprised by the tiny little things that make my life amazing. Like getting to see the stars. Getting to spend time with a bunch of nieces and nephews who are always delighted to see me. Getting to use amazing camera equipment. Having an auto focus lens. Waking up safe. Getting back to sleep. Being able to walk to the bathroom. Having a bathroom in the house. I am pretty much winning.

Hope

hope
noun
  1. 1.
    a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
    “he looked at her with the hope that she felt the same way”
     
     
  2. 2.
    archaic

    a feeling of trust.

    Hope
    Hope

So I was walking through the corridors at work and I saw this book poking out of the bookshelf. Hope! I could use some of that. The book is actually about Bob Hope, which is hilariously not what I could use some of. 

There have been a couple times where life has felt hopeless to me. Only a couple things kept me from driving my car into the giant concrete walls lining the freeway. Obviously, I sought help from medical professionals* when I felt this way. I do not think I would be here otherwise. The other thing that kept me hopeful was music. Listening to music and feeling that perhaps I was not quite hopeless. I am recommending some of my favorite music, as well as asking that you do not give up hope.

Low – Things we lost in the fire
Andrew Bird – Break it yourself
Little Comets – Hope is just a state of mind
Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

Mother Myrle named one of her children, Hope.

 

*I see a mental health therapist.

7 minute workout

I have spent most of my life avoiding workouts. As a seemingly, naturally skinny person, I haven’t had to workout to fit into my clothes. My heart rate is really high though and I get winded easily. A couple years back I heard about this 7 minute workout and one of my excuses for not working out (no time) evaporated. I do this 7 minute workout when I am pressed for time or when I am traveling. It requires no special equipment and I get my heart rate up. My friend’s dad told me about the 7 minute workout app and after that, I started doing this workout even more. My nephew will do the workout with me when he hears the whistles and “let’s go!”

Exercise is super good for you. I am talking to myself, mostly. I know you already know this. You are way smarter than me. 

Indoor rock climbing

Top rope
Top rope

You know how everyone is always talking about mindfulness and how being mindful helps you deal with stress and to be happier. Well, I can’t be mindful to save my life. I am always thinking about 2 or 3 things at a time. It is very hard for me to focus on one thing. Which is why indoor rock climbing is so great for me. It is a perfect physical workout, because it is fun and builds muscle. It is also a great mental workout. Climbing involves solving rock climbing problems and you keep tackling the problem until you solve it. Indoor climbing has helped me deal with quite a few things because of the building of inner strength. It also helps me be more mindful because when you are climbing, you are focused on what you are doing. Your mind and body are in sync. It is pretty awesome. 

I indoor climb wherever I can. I have a membership to one gym and I also go and climb with my friend at her gym. It is something fun to do with friends. I recommend it highly. 

Starting on the wall
Starting on the wall
First move
First move
Second move
Second move

Standing desk

There are so many benefits associated with a standing desk. Even so, I thought for quite a long time that standing desks were for hippies and hipsters.(tons of judgement) I was wrong about that. Really though, I am a hipster and a hippie. Anyway, one of the guys at work got a permanent standing desk and so I inherited his adjustable standing desk. I LOVE IT. Since I am already standing, I walk out of my cubicle all the time. I dance while listening to music. I generally move around more. I don’t fall asleep around 3 pm. Here is the absolute best part. I have been getting less migraines. I went from having one a week to maybe 1 a month. I am not saying that sitting for 8 hours a day is the reason I was getting so many migraines, but it can’t have helped. I am a sloucher. I wouldn’t move from my desk for hours. I wasn’t fully expanding my lungs. Whatever. 

My Varidesk
My Varidesk

I am super embarrassed that I was against getting a standing desk for so long. That is why I am telling you to try it. 

I did a couple things to prepare for my standing desk. 

  1. Cleaned my cubicle.
  2. Started working out almost daily. I think this allowed me to be able to stand for longer.
  3. Started doing yoga twice a week. This helps with stretching and posture.
  4. Stopped wearing platform shoes and high heels. This makes me a little sad, because I think that my legs look great in painful shoes. Sometimes, I become vain and wear a pair of platforms to work and just take them off while standing at my desk.

I know that a lot of the things I mentioned above are just good habits/practices which help a person to feel better. Which brings me to my next point. Habit stacking. Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less I have this book on my Kindle and read bits of it when I have 5 minutes. Habits impact our lives, in positive and negative ways. I was in the habit of buying my lunch, waking up late, and driving to work. I am now getting in the habit of making my lunch, waking up around 7 am and taking public transit to work. This book helps with building little habits that add up to big habits. 

S.J. Scott breaks up the book into areas that most of us need better habits in. The first one is Productivity. I am a productivity junkie. I love checking stuff off my list and saying, “I was so productive today.” I am sure, I am super annoying. #6. Reward yourself for task completion is a habit you can start building. I reward myself with YouTube videos of OK Go

The sky is cloudy

In moving into a tiny house, I am limited on shelves. Which means I own less books. I can, of course, check out books from the City library, which is awesome.  But I think we can all agree, that some books, you like owning, so you can re-read them. For those books, I would read them on the Kindle app on my phone. This is not an ideal situation as far as reading goes but it is totally workable. I have read millions(hundreds) of books this way.

So I mention to a friend that I have to get rid of all my books, as I hand him a cookbook and he asks me if I want a Kindle Paperwhite with a Amazon Leather Cover – Royal Purple.
For Free! Yes, Yes, I do.(Breathing heavily) I kid you not, he gives me one and explains how he has been trying to give it away. I take it home and immediately update my account so I can read all my favorite books on it. 

My first read on my gorgeous, new to me, Kindle Paperwhite is:  Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live 

I love this book. I read it about once a year. It is a self help book but also so much more. (I read self help, sci-fi, fantasy, biographies, teen/ young adult, and cookbooks) I identify with a lot of the issues that Martha Beck talks about in this book. The first time I was reading this book, I was being courted by a doctor/pilot who everyone agreed would be a spectacular match for me and would make my life substantially easier. He offered to take care of me and my whole family and basically make my dreams come true. Why was I resisting his advances? This particular book pointed out to me why I was resisting and I tried to cut off all contact. Later he was stripped of his license to prescribe controlled substances. He then surrendered his Utah medical license. 

 

Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live helped me decide to build a tiny house. It is a great book, very easy to read and funny. Martha Beck is entertaining writer. She studied Chinese, like me, because it was hard. If I ever get to meet her, I will tell her that factoid, we will laugh and proceed to not speak in Chinese, cause I can only remember how to say, “I don’t know.”