[Valid Atom 1.0] BarbaraEllen: Life. HighExistence: 15 Picks from 50 List.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Life. HighExistence: 15 Picks from 50 List.


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Recently, I've discovered StumbleUpon  
wherein I've stumbledupon this blog:

& this post:

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HighExistence, from what I've briefly sampled, explores science, spirituality, culture, & life to understand, examine, & impart enlightenment in its various forms. The post condenses a slice of this knowledge into 50 stimulating bits to attain--or at least work toward--this earthly Nirvana

I've narrowed my picks to a palatable 30%. Or 15. So, guess if you 
want to feel better 'bout life, you should probably read...

(#HighExistence are the numbered pieces. #BarbaraEllen is my 


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2. Constantly try to reduce your attachment to possessions.  
Those who are heavy-set with material desires will have a lot of trouble when their things are taken away from them or lost. Possessions do end up owning you, not the other way around. Become a person of minimal needs and you will be much more content.

#BarbaraEllen: I began therapy 'bout 10 years ago. Word. One thing which always seems to resonate in a portion of every conversation is exactly this. The internal: finding contentment & satisfaction within you. As opposed to the external. Possessions. Things. Outside forces. 

Spans from anything tangible
clothing, make-up, being thin, boyfriend
To anything intangible
job, promotion, successful relationships

Yes. Successful relationships, too. 
(Poss debatable.) 

But the point is: nothing can truly make you happy except, you. The effect of the external forces wear off. Not that you don't ever experience sadness or anger or the full spectrum of emotion. Just that even when you experience these, you still have contentment. I'm still working on it. But, guess that's the real point.

7. Even more specifically, live in THIS moment. 
Even 10 minutes ago is the past. If you live purely in this moment you will always be happy because there is nothing wrong in this split-second. 

#BarbaraEllen: Example. You're going to be late to work. You have a huge meeting. Every red light comes your way. LIFE SUUUUCKS. If you're me, lot of curse words are involved. Blood pressure sky rockets. Enter catastrophizing now. (Coworkers think you're unprofesh, boss knocks you down a few notches, promotion never gonna happen, & forget about that awes rec just in case you decide to leave. So.)

Ideally, when you live by #7, you stress about none of that. Why? A) Can't control it. B) It's not the present! It hasn't happened yet. Yes. It probably will, or could. But technically, life could also end (and sadly does for many, even people we all have known) at any moment. So what's the point of stressing? Only makes you less chill for that meeting you'll ace by influencing coworkers and boss alike with your calm & professional demeanor, especially when under pressure. ... Also a work-in-progress. Major work.

9. Drink water. 
Hydration is tremendously important for overall health. Soda has absolutely ZERO nutritional content; it’s like pouring a punch of sugar and syrup into your cup. Instead, fill it with life-replenishing water. It may taste plain at first if you’re coming off of a heavy soda-drinking streak, but you’ll soon find yourself addicted to it. 10 glasses per day is optimal, how many have you been getting lately? 

#BarbaraEllen: Might drink more than a gallon/day. Leaving the apt without a water bottle, ever since high school, is like wearing see-through pants with no underwear. Uncomfortable. Vulnerable. Unnatural. Water speeds my metabolism, cleanses my system, & compels me not to drink other sugary, less hydrating bevis. Yes, I'm highly dependent upon water to feel healthy & whole & sometimes it's minorly annoying. But mostly, it's just incredibly refreshing.

11. Think positive thoughts. 
When you find yourself thinking a negative thought, stop it immediately by any means necessary. Slap yourself in the face, yell something positive at the top of your lungs or jump up and down. Do whatever it takes to get back to a positive mindset as such is essential for continual happiness and success.

#BarbaraEllen: Tough brain exercise. Analogous to the Insanity Workout. And with the yelling & jumping involved with this tip, perhaps just as physical. Seriously. As seemingly simple as thinking positive may sound, it can seem impossibly difficult. Just keep practicing.

16.  Be honest at all times. 
Lies lead to nothing but trouble. Being known as trustworthy is an excellent trait to maintain and essential to having integrity. 

#BarbaraEllen: I LOVE BEING HONEST. I CANNOT LIE. I REALLY DISLIKE LYING. Granted, one must use discretion. Boundaries exist, especially when you're honest. But lying? To anyone? No. First, when you don't lie & you have boundaries, you practice serious tact. Second, you stop lying to yourself. Honesty, with oneself? Probably able to make all of this, real.

19.  Figure out what your goals and dreams are. 
So many people wander aimlessly through life simply go for whatever small thing they want moment by moment. Instead, decide what your perfect life consists of and begin to put the steps in motion to reach that place. The most satisfying thing in the world (yes, better than sex, much better) is overcoming a challenge and reaching a goal. We are the happiest when we are growing and working towards something better.

#BarbaraEllen: NO MATTER HOW FRIVOLOUS YOUR SEARCH & ATTEMPTS & DREAMS MAY SEEM. Recently, I felt so dejected by my professional trajectory & all the downturns it took, that I decided I wasn't allowed to dream. 

At 27!? To stifle one's dreams? That's plain masochistic. And it would be so at 97, as well. (Kinda' goes along with that #7 thing. It's all related. Like our universe.) I mean, be realistic. Make a plan. But never, ever ignore that kernel. Trust what you feel. Find it. Or some version. (#49. Related.)

20. Start your day off right.  
Wake up and set aside an hour for personal development activities (meditation, self-introspection, observing nature, etc.) Do the things that make you feel blissful, optimistic and empowered so that you can set a positive tone for your day. I guarantee that once you start doing this, your days will be more enjoyable and fulfilling. Today is going to be the best day of your life. Duh. 

#BarbaraEllen: Momsly does this. EST 1990. Candles, Daily Word (love this publication), & some quiet to center herself. Life is guaranteed to be hectic, & this guarantees that peace.

I'm starting to incorporate this into my routine. Browsing the Twitter & Insty feeds every morning, first thing, are a start. But I'm moving toward that Daily Word. Great way to meditate upon a specific concept each day. (Meditate!? #30, holler.)

26. Develop the ability to forgive. 
Forgiveness is something that most people fail miserably at even thought it’s so simple. Grudges only bring more misery to those who hold them and prevent good relations with the target. YOU makes mistakes all of the time so why not have mercy when other do? Remaining angry feels horrible while forgiving someone brings a refreshing sensation to the mind and healing to the relationship.

#BarbaraEllen: Ever hear that phrase, "Let go, & let God." If you can forgive, you can probably let go of just about any ill which ails you, your mind, and your soul. You can still feel angry or hurt, even. But when you let go of that party's influence over these emotions by forgiving even if you're not 100% healed, it's like cutting a malignancy from your body. You heal. In the process, your brain develops more complex pathways whereby you filter & cope more efficiently. Like giving your abs more packs. (That analogy.)

30. Meditate everyday for at least 20 minutes.  
In this modern world where everyone is so connected to everything else via cell phones, TV and internet, most people rarely enjoy the beauty of silence. The ability to quiet your mind and relax your body is an art and skill that everyone should develop. Simply sit somewhere, preferably in nature, and focus on your breathing or try to think about nothing. This is going to be extremely hard at first! You might find it boring or just plain impossible to think of nothing, but you will get better and you will learn to love it. Post-meditation, you will feel extremely clear-headed and.. well, just plain wonderful. The only way to really understand this sensation is to try it. 

#BarbaraEllen: Not there, yet. Unless 1 hr of yoga 2/week counts as 4 days & not 2. Which it doesn't. Because the point of meditation is to create a daily routine whereby you feel centered amidst the happiest &, conversely, the most hectic of situations.

Coolest thing? You can meditate during everyday activities. Walking. Washing. Eating. During my senior year at Pitt during Creative Non-fiction, my awes prof introduced us to the practices of Thich Nhat Hanh in Peace Begins Here: Palestinians and Israelis Listening to Each Other. We meditated while un-peeling & eating clementines, walking around campus to our assignments at the museum, & even while feeling the water running freely over our fingers while suds-ing up the dishes.

Everyday life? Most convenient and effective time for me to meditate is before I fall asleep. Lights on. Lights off. I'm already laying down. Just need to provide myself the space and time to process the day. Be silent while I'm still awake. 

 31. Learn to control your mind.  
What kind of skilled human are you if you cannot even control your own thoughts? While the human mind is described as being a stream of consciousness, that does not mean you can’t decide where your stream flows. Techniques like meditation and the 3 ways to flush out negative thoughts will aid you immensely in learning to control your mind. 

#BarbaraEllen: Yeah. This is a bit of a mind-frig. Yet I would also be a more balanced, more understanding, happier human being. I dislike the word "control." I don't believe control of anything is good. I prefer "compel." As in I'm compelled to think positively or compelled to think not at all. Semantics. No bother. 

32.  Learn to control your emotions.  
The only person that can make you unhappy is you! You are the one that decides to be affected by the words and actions of others. Realize this so that the next time you experience a negative emotion, you can find the strength within yourself to overcome it. 

#BarbaraEllen: Ditto. Though bit more tangible for me. More specific, anyhow.

37. Be mysterious.  
Don’t let off everything about you and definitely leave out some major details. There is something both alluring and mesmerizing about someone who no one knows fully about. I’m not saying to confide in no one or to alienate yourself. Just think James Bond. 

#BarbaraEllen: This is, like, my thing. Calling card, if you will. By now, think we all know how awk I am with the gents. And if my wit's awake, unlikely that everyone will get it. But baby, I can be mysterious. My first name is mysterious. (And "strange" can mean mysterious. But I'm that too.) Yes, I have a semi-craycray past that not everyone needs to know right off the bat. Contributes. But it's more of an elusive quality during conversation where you don't over-eagerly explain everything. Men like it stripped ... the convo. And I like being mysterious. (Oh, wearing black helps.)

44. Choose your friends wisely.  
You are affected far more than you think by the people you spend your time with. Do your friends share your values? Do they encourage you when you speak of your goals and dreams or do they scoff? Make sure the people around you are conducive to the lifestyle you want to lead or you will find yourself being dragged again and again into behavior that distances you from your desires. Friends with a habit of producing negative thoughts will especially hinder you. This can be a hard task to follow through with if you realize you good friend is one of these saboteurs, but you must be firm! Don’t let anyone get in the way of you being all that you can be.

#BarbaraEllen: This one's hard. Because some people who are seriously fun, or seemingly at the time, or at least seriously funny, might not always be the best people to befriend. 

I guess if you know what you want and who you want to become, you will get to this point. Guess it's not totes uncommon to struggle with this beyond tween/teen status. ... Yes?

45. Don’t burn bridges.  
By that I mean maintain your relationships with people even if you think you are never going to see them again. For example, if you are quitting your job, don’t chew out your boss before leaving! You might run into him/her again later and life and wish you had never severed ties so harshly. You never know when you might need the help of someone you knew in the past. Plus there is already too much hatred in this world, why add more towards the people you interact with? 

#BarbaraEllen: Not just with your job! A very wise and public lady in Monroe County, whose child I graduated high school with and who I interned for during several summers throughout college, once gave me this advice. But she took it further. (Farther? #grammar.) "You never know who you'll come across in your future. You just don't."

I remember this well, & I appreciate it even further. (Farther??? #grammar.) I think a lot about friends or acquaintances and relationships gone by. It's not that you should always keep ties. What if your children become friends? Or maybe they're your child's teacher!!!! (Again: boundaries!) It's that you let go gracefully. (Ahem, forgive #26.) 

49. Learn to use and trust your subconscious/intuition.  
When you spend time in silence everyday, listen not for words but for a feeling that tells you to do something. Do not mistake your own reasoning and thoughts for those of your subconscious. If you can track where the thought came from, (this thought led to that thought which led to this thought, etc.) then it was not from your subconscious. Learning to accurately discern between the two will allow you to tap into knowledge that you don’t consciously have.   

#BarbaraEllen: I feel that, above all else, I will forever struggle with this. While meditating & "controlling(?)" my mind, I am also the most cognizant of this. (Kind of an oxymoron.) 

Think about it: If we trust ourselves, everything else falls so nicely into place. 

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Not your typical BarbaraEllen ... but still be constructive. Creative also welcome! xo.