Healthy Mind, Body, & Spirit

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“I used to be a guy who was experiencing the world, and now I feel like the world and the universe experiencing a guy.” – Jim Carrey

An interesting, yet possibly obvious concept that not only tremendously aroused significant curiosity and contemplation for me, but also took years for me to fully grasp and additionally allow to manifest and implement itself into my daily health routines, was the notion whatever goes on in the mind, plays out somewhere in the body, and vice versa. Mental health and physical health both dictate the status of each other. It’s important to understand that deficiencies in either consequently affect your overall well-being, and it’s not just exclusive to just mental health or just physical health.

Quite often when considering health, there lies a common thought of there being an apparent distinction between mind and body, and it can be truly detrimental to a person’s health to consider them as separate and to emphasize importance of one more than the other. Many people fall into the conflict of maintaining one or the other while simply neglecting the other, which subsequently causes inevitable negative outcomes and complications. It’s no secret that what occurs within the mind reflects in the body in some way or another. In my experiences, I’ve found that when I’m under immense stress and pressure mentally, I begin to lose weight and my sleep routines become immensely disrupted. This example is a pretty straightforward one as far as conceptualizing the relevance of simultaneous nourishment of both mental and physical conditions, however it’s undeniably a personalized experience for every individual.

I understand that it’s difficult for some to find motivation and energy to maintain overall health, and something I’ve found useful for my own experiences that I feel may be relevant for others is that I simply push myself to do at least one thing every day that’s positive for my mental health, and concurrently make sure I do at least one thing that’s good for my physical health. I try to continue this routine until I decide I can expand my efforts for both, and as time passes and I feel my overall condition has improved, it becomes nearly effortless to maintain a routine and keep myself well.

It most definitely is important to go to work, to go to school, to pay bills, to do whatever it is you need to do to continue on with your life and move in the direction you want to go. I’d advise to you though that it’s far more important to take care of yourself and to make sure you’re doing well and that you’re content with life, because I understand how easy it is to become so engulfed in your careers or your day-to-day lives that you feel that you lose time to take care of yourself. It does take a certain level of effort to keep up with yourself, but it’s truly important to make sure you do so to ensure you live a life you’re satisfied with.

What Makes You Feel Alive?

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“Many people are alive, but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Think back and reflect on all that you’ve done today, perhaps not just in the past day, but in the past week, or the past month even. What events or experiences that you’ve had stand out significantly over that period of time for you? It’s absolutely going to be different for every individual, and no matter what experiences we decide are valuable to us, we’re able to genuinely say there was a time where we enjoyed breathing air and basking in the extraordinary, yet subtle awe of simply being alive. Whether you’ve felt there was something you’ve experienced that you mildly appreciated, or another occurrence that had left you bewildered, there are times in our lives that we think back to which substantiate the idea that there was a significant event that enriched our own experiences of being alive.

Whether it’s that first sip of coffee in the morning, or the memory of overlooking the vastness of the sea on a quiet breezy afternoon, there’s small moments in life that somehow strike us in the most astounding and even somewhat startling ways. I sometimes have to mentally take a step back from living within certain moments just to conceptualize the overwhelming astonishment of either happiness or contentment any given situation may bring to me. It’s often unpredictable in nature for me, but I can honestly say there have been a substantial multitude of memorable experiences and occasions that continue to bewilder me even today as I reminisce.

Lately I’ve been working diligently on a new cognitive strategy to make sure that I am present in all that I do throughout my day-to-day activities. For example, when I’m at work, I keep my full focus on my work, or when I’m messaging or calling anyone, I give them my full attention and stay present in the conversation. Also when I’m traveling, I maintain complete interest and take the time to absorb and truly appreciate the moments and experiences I find myself in. It’s incredibly gratifying to be where you are and experience your life in depth as you go along, in contrast to constantly worrying about what events will be happening later, or ruminating too much about being somewhere else. Not to say daydreaming or longing to be at the beach or something isn’t refreshing and motivating, but personally I’ve found it to be quite beneficial for both my mental health and overall emotional contentment to “live in the moment”, and to live my life in search of those moments that make me feel alive.

Why Is It Unusual To Be Personal With Strangers?

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“If you can get over this initial distrust that people have of strangers, you can do remarkable things” – Pierre Omidyar

We’ve all found ourselves in a situation at some point or another where we’ve encountered an unusually chatty stranger, whether it be excessive small talk or startlingly personal discussions, and honestly it can be a bit of an uncomfortable or a subtly astonishing experience. Everyone comes from all sorts of different backgrounds and present themselves in a variety of different personas they’ve developed throughout whatever path led up in their life to the moment they ended up speaking to you, and for some it may seem a bit socially repelling to interact with someone with a complex personality with seemingly little to no filter. The question I suppose I’m asking here is, why do people normally feel unsettled by this?

This is a question I’ve pondered after not only my own experiences, but with other strangers telling me strangely personal information as well, but I start to wonder if there’s any reason to be uncomfortable. In the larger perspective, we’re all similar in the sense that we’re all humans sharing the same world going through infinitely diverse experiences, so why should it be weird to open up to another person? While there certainly is a time and a place for all of that, I absolutely support the idea that people are more than welcome to be open with me about whatever they feel comfortable sharing. Sometimes there’s a strange comfort in confiding in a stranger or distant friend considering they have little to no connection with anything else in your life, and there’s probably a good chance you’ll never run into that stranger again, so what’s the harm in venting frustrations a bit?

Everyone wants to be heard by someone, and while it varies from person to person, I think it’s absolutely beautiful when people, strangers or not, can come together and skip over the surface small talk and just say what they really feel or open up about what’s going on in their lives. The sincerity and genuine aspect of the human condition is something that’s become a bit of a taboo in socializing, and while I’m not suggesting you speak to anyone and everyone like they’re your therapist, I do believe that it’s incredibly generous to give someone the time of day to listen to whatever it is they’ve got going on.

It’s an obscure idea I’ve had and thought about from time to time, and I still sometimes think about strangers I’ve met at airports, taxi drivers, people I’ve sat next to on the bus or in classes, etc, and the things they’ve told me that I felt were meaningful in the overall scheme of self-expression of our humanity and personal emotions. It’s definitely food for thought, and to be utilized in moderation I suppose.

Mental Willpower

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“In the absence of willpower, the most complete collection of virtues and talents is wholly worthless.” – Aleister Crowley

I personally believe there’s quite a lot to be considered when it comes to mental positivity and well-being. Whether it be fabricated optimism or learned, I feel that there is importance for anyone to hold onto sudden or gradual optimistic episodes and feelings in order to form a more overall positive mindset. People have many different ways of coping and comforting themselves whether it be religion, spirituality, or just simple routine to keep everything in check and stable. Personally I enjoy recharging by being out in nature or going on long walks to clear my head, and I habitually meditate at home to stay sane and at peace, especially during stressful times in my life. Belief and willpower are strong tools for anyone to have, and can absolutely assist in comfortably dealing with day-to-day obstacles and overall well-being. I feel that even placebo (not even necessarily medications, but fabricated thoughts and ideas) can have quite an effect on people, in a sense that it doesn’t necessarily give them what they need to be okay and happier, but it can give them the motivation to believe that they are, which subsequently can lead to a rise of overall mood and lifestyle.

Mental willpower is an incredible force that anyone can take upon themselves in some way or another, and keeping that in mind, it’s important to not become so blissfully delusional and forget all other aspects of humanity. It’s absolutely effective to stay optimistic, but also keep negativity in check by acknowledging that it’s there and to not let it eat at you. A moderate balance is healthy, and it’s always good to keep yourself in check from time to time. I sometimes become concerned with myself when I become too blissful about seemingly everything, and I find that it’s often due to simply ignoring negativity or stress, which in itself is probably a much bigger problem than actually dealing with those issues. I’d advise anyone that while seeking happiness, acknowledge the difficulties as well, but don’t let them influence your well-being or your thoughts too much.

The majority of responsibilities that I’m faced with in life, as any other person would feel, can be quite draining and even slightly intimidating if it’s something new and foreign to me. For me what’s always worked is to sort of expect that whatever it is I’m going into will turn out successful and will be okay, and in my experience, that often that ends up being the case. I’m not really insinuating that you can fabricate or manifest any sort of success just by simply thinking about it, but honestly half the battle is truly believing that you can do whatever it is you’re faced with, and at the end of the day, you’ll be able to say you made it through.

What’s It Like Living Alone?

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“There’s a difference between solitude and loneliness.” – Tom Hanks

I’ve lived alone since I was 19, so for about two years now. The majority of the time I’m left with my own company, and I spend quite a bit of time keeping myself busy with various hobbies or projects when I’m at home. I haven’t always lived alone though; the first year after I moved out of my parents’ house, I lived in an apartment with a roommate. I honestly have a lot of fond memories from that period in time, and it truly was a lot of fun. Things started changing for me, and I’ve always been the kind of person who needs to be alone sometimes to recharge from interacting with people or going places. I made the decision to move out on my own and I’ve settled into a 1 bed 1 bath house in southern Santa Rosa, and it’s been quite an experience making the transition and getting used to living alone.

I would definitely say there’s benefits and drawbacks to living by myself. One of my favorite things about living alone I’d say is always having privacy. Never really having to worry about how I’m dressed or if someone can hear me singing, it’s definitely comforting to have a space all to myself that I can just be myself in without judgment or opinion. Another one of my favorite things is the overall peace, nobody else making a sound, or disturbing the placement of anything I’ve left around the house. It’s really every kid’s dream, being able to do whatever you want at home whenever you feel like it. Whenever I discuss my living arrangements with anyone, I generally get the same response, something to the effect of “wow I’m so jealous” or “I wish I lived alone”. I can’t help but sort of internally wince, because it’s definitely not the greatest thing all the time.

Living alone certainly has its drawbacks, and I’ll try to paint the picture as vividly as I can. Imagine coming home every day, who is the first person you usually talk to? For me, it’s absolutely nobody. There’s nobody around to ask me about my day or tell me about theirs, nobody there to make plans with for the evening, nobody there to talk to about anything at all. When I get home every day, I’m left with just myself and whatever I decide to do around the house, whether it be just watching TV or writing songs or doing chores, I’m quite often left with my own company. It’s definitely lonely at times, and often even exhausting to live in my own head for the majority of my life, but I honestly couldn’t be more grateful to live in such a beautiful place and to have as much privacy as I do.

I don’t really want to live alone forever, but for the time being I suppose it’s okay for me. Sometimes I get a bit paranoid about all the little creaks and random sounds I hear throughout the night, but honestly I do enjoy just having a place that’s mine, and somewhere I know I can go back to at the end of the day to be comfortable.

Fear Of Aging

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“I think aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been” – David Bowie

Somewhat of a self explanatory title, but nevertheless it’s something think about from time to time, as anyone would I suppose. I don’t feel as though I am a perfect human being in any way, I definitely accept my flaws and restrictions. That being said, I certainly do acknowledge that I have struggles as well. To solve some issues I’ve had, I’ve sought out solutions such as medications, therapy, keeping a journal, and venting to friends and family. I know sometimes I can be a little distant when I’m under a lot of stress but I try to keep people in the loop if there’s something stressful going on with me (or even anything positive for that matter as well). Everyone has their own way of coping with struggles and reducing stress, and for me I find it useful to calm myself down by lighting a candle, playing my guitar for a while, making some hot tea, and writing down everything that’s on my mind. Just turning thoughts into words sometimes seems to be helpful and helps me straighten out my mind, which is in part why I’ve even started a blog to begin with. Something that’s been on my mind a lot lately is conceptualizing that I’m getting older, I’ll never be a teenager again, and from this point in my life forward, I’ll only be getting older. I know it sounds odd coming from someone in their early 20s, but honestly the idea of aging is truly stressful for me to think about.

I don’t know about anyone else or how they think about aging, but every now and then I look in the mirror and I see a few things. I notice how different I look than I did when I was in my younger teen years, and at the same time I try to wonder what I’ll look like when I age further. I feel like sometimes I’m wasting my youth, in the sense that maybe I’m not doing the things that I will later wish I had done right now. It’s hard to predict something like that, and it’s a bit unsettling at the same time.

I went to Southern California back in June, and I had an interesting conversation about aging with a woman at the airport while I was waiting for my flight. I can’t remember her name or how we got started talking, but I remember being astonished at the facets of life she was chatting with me about, being a complete stranger. At first we spoke about where we were going, where we were from, normal small talk. She talked to me about all of her kids and what they all grew up to be, and where they were in the world. The bit of the conversation that resonated with me was when she told me that she was going to visit her father for the 4th of July. She expressed to me that she was feeling saddened that this may be the last time she would see him, as he was climbing up in age and had just reached somewhere in his 90s. She then talked to me about concern for herself, as a woman in her 40s, she was fearful of aging. I remember explicitly she told me that she would hate to grow old simply because the quality of life would be unbearable. It seemed almost like she was venting to a therapist in some ways, and it made me wonder if she had anyone else in her life that would listen or even understand the fear she was talking to me about.

Maybe it’s just as well, I can understand the comfort in talking to strangers about unusually personal topics for multiple reasons. In some ways, there’s comfort in knowing the other person has no previous knowledge or opinions of you, and may never even see you again, which in itself seems like an opportunity for some to just open up about whatever may be on their minds. Another reason I feel like there might be comfort in talking to strangers about personal topics is just the empathetic sense of humanity many share. I almost wish it was so easy to just be in a room of people who have never met each other, or even just a person, it’s truly astonishing to consider that you don’t really even need to know someone to feel safe enough to have an intimate conversation with them. It’s okay to be real and to be vulnerable to someone, but on the contrast, not everyone will perceive or welcome that sort of interaction, so definitely try to make proper judgement on that.

The human condition is a perpetually changing experience. Unfortunately, as it goes on, problems seem to arise. Humans, like any other creature, seem to slow down the older they get, and evolving into that state truly frightens me, but at the same time motivates me not to waste my youth while I’m able to be active and energetic. While the process occurs at different times and speeds for everyone, I still fear for the day when I start to realize I’m unable to do the things I was able to do before.

What’s My Ocean Enthusiasm All About?

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“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads. It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel” – Anthony Doerr 

I’ve experienced the ocean from various places, everywhere from the warm beaches of Southern California to the foggy Oregon coasts, to the tropical and humid beaches of Hawaii. Something about the vastness of the ocean continues to allure and astonish me, and I often find myself longing to return to see it. Whenever I travel to the ocean, I enjoy watching the endless series of waves roll on and disperse onto the sand and rocks. It’s such a captivating sight in my opinion, and I very much enjoy staring in awe, seemingly without losing interest. From an observational standpoint, the ocean extends as far as the eye can see, engulfing the horizon and inundating cliff sides. The ocean mist feels beyond refreshing and the humid environment provides sort of a freshness, and presents sort of a tranquil environment.

There’s something about being alone with the waves and nature, watching seagulls & squirrels frolic and soar around me, something about it feels cathartic. A perspective-awareness factor comes into play when I start to conceptualize the true vastness of the ocean. What do you feel when you stand at the wake of the sea? Staring out into seemingly infinite blue as the sun reflects from the surface, it provokes thought regarding how insignificant mundane problems that people generally worry about become. Breaking down the relationship between man and the Earth to bare minimum, just being a human with the sea, I quickly begin to forget about my anxieties and worries that otherwise would plague & trouble my thoughts into stress and strain. Once you stand before the growing and receding boundary of the expansive body of the sea, all of the stresses of the human condition seem to quickly fade away. As I stare in admiration, I don’t so much reflect, but I stop thinking as manically altogether.

I feel that the value of admiring nature and the beauty the Earth has to offer has become lost on youth in recent years. Taking the time to truly treasure the aesthetic and peace the oceanic environment has to offer holds great value to me. It’s beneficial to anyone, at some point or another, to stop thinking so much and to simply be content with existing, and to appreciate and be grateful for our opportunity to be here on this beautiful planet. We’ve become so inclined to focus so much on our day-to-day lives that we tend to not appreciate the world around us, and for me it’s something that’s therapeutic and absolutely puts my life in perspective, and allows me to clear my head and not stress so much about the smaller issues.