Keeping It Simple – Never Easy, Always Worth It

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(Editor’s note: Somehow I mistook today’s daily prompt for “simplicity” when it is actually “solitary”…. will work it in somewhere. And if not, there’s always next time!)

“Nothing worth having comes easy.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Everything as we know it to be in its past or present form has come to be the result of an implemented process. Clean water is made available by filtration. Minimalism is achieved by letting go. Good relationships stem from communication, compromise. Peace is accomplished by war.

I recently wrote on the concept of intuitive eating and about how it is essentially an over thinking of a simple function. I still feel that to be the case, but thought I’d dive a little bit deeper, as I also feel that this applies to much than diet and nutrition.

Eating well, often, and with a clear head can involve reverting to the most basic of mindsets — “I’m hungry. I’m going to eat.” But it also means having the resources, the funds, and the federal regulation that allows good, affordable food to be available, to everyone. But we all know that this is not always the case around the world. 

(As an example: I recently read a U.S. news story about kids at a Florida middle school being allowed to the front of the lunch line if their parents “donated” $100. Instead of teaching impressionable minds that life rewards privilege, couldn’t we perhaps just feed the children?)

Humans are complex beings with, I feel, good intentions. We have a brain that takes up 2% of our total body weight. It receives, filters through, and absorbs massive amounts of information, and responds to internal and external stimuli, including stressors and pleasures. Science has allowed us to know so much about this powerful, complex organ — the very command center of our existence — and yet there is so much more that we don’t know. Overcomplicating things sometimes only makes sense.

Back to the outset, what is perceived as simple usually is the result of some sort of process that involves time, willingness, and resources. What is easy or more feasible for some may be very difficult or less possible for others, but it is also entirely possible.

For all you may know, real progress for our shared pain points — mental/physical, economical, political, to name a few — may merely involve more input from our heart, or gut, than over-input from from our head.

It may never be that easy, but it is almost always that simple.

Photo via Pixabay

The Difference Between Anger and Hate

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“Hatred eats the soul of the hater not the hated.” — Alex Serz-Hommer

Hate is one of those words that seems to be overused to the point that people don’t remember what it really means and entails. I myself have very recently learned that there is a difference between hate and anger.

On Saturday, August 12th, a group of protesters carried out peaceful demonstration in Charlottesville, VA against a gathering of white supremacists. A woman named Heather Heyer was killed when a man reported to be a neo-Nazi allegedly drove a vehicle into these individuals.

Within the past 72 hours, I have observed many heated reactions to Heather Heyer’s death and the circumstances that surround it. Some have referred to this as ‘hate responding to hate’. However, upon close reflection, I have realized that the response is, instead, anger.

Hate and anger may look or sound the same, but there truly is a stark difference between the two. Take hearing versus listening, for example, summarized excellently by the University of Minnesota Duluth:

Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences.

Likewise, anger is a mental and physiological response that peaks, then eventually tapers off to a middle ground. Anger, like joy or sadness, eventually passes. Hate, on the other hand, is a conscious, self-justified ideology, largely blind to reason. Hate takes on many forms, and often believes itself to be right above all others.

In short, anger can be reasoned with, while hate consumes.

It is important to point out that the majority of people responding on the side of Heather Heyer and the peaceful protesters is anger, and not hate.

The persons protesting that day were standing up against a proven threat to society. Peaceful protest has never been synonymous with rainbows, flowers, and unicorns; it is always brought on by strong counter feeling. But it doesn’t mean that it is fueled by hate.

A person died that day. People are tired and scared. They don’t know what to do anymore, now that threats of mortal and bodily harm have resurfaced as much more than threats on such a public, unchecked level.

This is a terrifying situation that affects all of us. A lot of people feel helpless, but it’s important to remember that hate groups are still very much the minority. It all may seem so much bigger than those who fight against it, and yet it is still being fought.

I am hopeful that the majority will remain angry enough to stand up for what is right, to call out hate for what it is, and more importantly, to make the distinction. 

And in discerning just where one’s motivation lies, I am hopeful that people will be able to spot the difference.

Why Does Everyone Hate Mondays?

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There are only 20 Mondays left in 2017.

I used to hate Mondays, so much so that the foreboding feeling would start to take hold on Sundays. It became so much of an issue that my significant other at the time thought it was hilarious, until he realized I wasn’t joking.

After some reflection, I realized that I hated Mondays so much because I hated my job. I didn’t hate the people, or the location or commute, or even what I did, but it just wasn’t working for me where I was in my life.

So ‘fess up. You hate your job just like everyone else in the world, and that’s the main (if not sole) reason why you hate Mondays.

So what are you going to do about it? Post a meme that adequately expresses your frustration, then grumble some more once you get to work? What good is that going to do, besides get you a few likes on Instagram?

I hate to break it to you, but there’s nothing more unattractive and uninspiring than someone who constantly complains about a situation and then does nothing to change it.

I wouldn’t go so far to say that Mondays and I are besties, but I have made an effort to not hate them anymore. This is largely because I stick to the following points as closely as possible:

1. Sleep in. If you can afford the time, give this to yourself on Monday mornings. Do you workout in the morning? A fair amount of workout programs schedule rest days on Sundays — just schedule them for Mondays and sleep in the extra hour. It feels almost as indulgent as dessert.

2. Start the day off with water. Before coffee, green tea, or apple cider vinegar shot, start with water. Sometimes the weekend  = overindulgence = not feeling too good the next day. If the damage is already done, water first. Keeping things simple often yields the best results. 

3. Balance work with play (and everything else). My natural social rhythm (and that of my friends) seems to beat from Friday night to early Sunday afternoon, giving me some wind-down time to set things up for Monday. I’ve decided to apply this to the week as well, balancing a night of laundry or practicing yoga poses with going out for dinner or a movie. Having a flexible work/play balance ends up bringing calm to the daily chaos that comes all too easily. 

On that note…

4. Take a minute for you. There are only 24 hours in the day, but five minutes here, two minutes there can really add up to something. Use whatever time you have to pause, to check in with family, or to further personal dreams and goals. Never underestimate the power of a spark.

5. Realize that everyone is feeling it. Even if you can’t see or sense it, everyone feels some variation of Monday blues. It’s just all about making it work somehow. Who wants to be known as one of “those people”, anyway — not only as someone who hates their job, but seemingly does nothing to change it? Do you really want to be that person? 

If it’s really that bad and none of the above points apply, maybe it is time to look for a new job. 

And if its not that bad, then c’mon, figure it out already. 

There are only 20 Mondays left in 2017. What are you waiting for?

Intuitive Eating is Eating — Period

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The idea of “intuitive eating” has helped many recovering from eating disorders by putting a purposeful label on a naturally-occurring function of survival. However, it has also earned its place within the health and fitness world as a way to eat, usually after a fitness competition, event, or photo shoot. In fact, it has such a gimmicky sheen on it that it’s pretty much begging for clarification.

So here we go: intuitive eating is not a diet, and it is not a program. At its core, it is a well-intentioned philosophy to listen to your body’s cues, eating when it’s hungry, and not eating when it’s not.

Also known as EATING.

Therefore, in the case of the everyday individual, I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing the phrase “intuitive eating” completely eliminated from public use. Here’s why:

1. The act of eating is really not that complicated. Eating is (a) putting food into your mouth, (2) chewing or slurping it, then (3) swallowing it. Without interference, the brain and body knows what hunger means. It knows how to eat and process food — it is designed to do so. While the act of eating requires that one not ignore the signals to do so, putting the word “intuitive” in front of it is insulting to people’s intelligence. Please, let’s call a spade a spade.

2. Marketability (“shut up and take my money”). People like to feel included, and generally will do whatever it takes to rise above something weighing them down. That’s why I wasn’t shocked with “zendoodling” i.e. adult coloring books became popular within the last year. I have a coloring book myself, with some truly beautiful designs. However, I (and hopefully others) refer to it as a coloring book.

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                                       Zendoodle pattern.

I just find there to be something inherently wrong in making a buck off of another’s desire to improve their lives. Zendoodling is just coloring, and intuitive eating is just eating. There’s no need for crutch words. Call it what it is.

And the final reason I have issue with this concept…

3. It’s yet another thing to obsess over. Clean eating. Carb cycling. Fitting macros. All green everything. Buzzwords galore and now — intuitive eating. With obsession comes wasted energy, and I find it very unfair that people who want to enjoy life on such a basic human level look up to influencers that irresponsibly spread this so-called style of eating.

I will say it again, one more time: intuitive eating is not a style or trend. It’s not even new. It is eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, and hell, maybe eating a few more bites.

Intuitive eating is eating. Enough is enough.

Just eat.

20 Blog Posts on Rose-Colored Linds! What I’ve Learned So Far

blog2I am, at my core, a writer. Since I was a child, it has always come relatively easily, what with having a very vivid imagination and the ability to be infatuated with just about anyone (or anything). But like most creative endeavors, full-time adulting eventually took the fun out of it.

It’s been that way for about six years — that is, until the idea for Rose-Colored Linds came about. I truly don’t know what changed, but writing and documenting here for the past month-and-a-half has been really fun. Needless to say, I am looking forward to more.

To mark this milestone of 20 posts, I thought it fitting to share what I’ve learned so far:

1. The best ideas really do come in the shower, or while driving, or out for a walk. I’ve been making a concerted habit to go through my thoughts during such moments of pause. Sometimes it gets a just a little bit weird, but, hey, we’re all mad here, etc.

2. Research is more than a Google search. Listening to new music, going through your Twitter news feed, engaging in water cooler talk — that’s research, too. Writing is inherently a solo activity, but it instantly becomes a social engagement once published. So being somewhat in tune what’s stimulating others will assist in what you add to the discourse.

3. If you want to create content, don’t wait — start now. As in right now. If you think it’s all been done, think again. Sure, there’s a lot of content out there, but there’s always room for more, especially if it comes from a fresh perspective. The interwebs are deep and dark, but plenty of gems kick up to the surface. Let one of them be yours.

4. Visuals go a long way. Everyone has an imagination, but there’s something to be said for a photo or video making a wall of text more digestible. If a picture is worth a thousand words, you’ll probably only have to write 500 or so.

5. Be patient. Stick with your dream. Earlier this year, I had big plans for the patio garden outside my apartment — a hopeful little jungle oasis to be enjoyed during the heat of summer. I bought some seedlings, was gifted a couple tomato plants, and my faithful annual geranium started blooming. It took a while, and didn’t turn out exactly as I’d imagined, but I’ve got a garden that I’m really proud of. Things don’t happen overnight. They may not happen for weeks, or months, or even longer than that — but they will.

To wrap it up, I’ll leave you with this quote by inspirational speaker Sandra Turley: “Seek to be worth knowing rather than well known.”

Thanks for reading – see you in the next post!

Yes, You’ve Settled 

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“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers

In 2001, I had a Samsung flip phone, a 5G iPod nano, and a Dell Inspiron laptop running a Windows XP operating system. That was all I could ask for, and as a struggling college student, it made more sense to hold onto what I had until it either snapped in half or melted enough AC adaptors to render it useless.

Soon after graduation, however, smart devices were experiencing a massive boom, so I decided to move onto something new. I totally could have got another flip phone, as they were and are still being manufactured. But for me, it was time for me to join the new and ultra-improved tech stream the whole world had found itself thrust into. And so I did, essentially trading three devices for one.

Now, new tech is one of those things that — while increasing exponentially — is at most everyone’s fingertips in the form of a smartphone. With constant release of new products, updates, and features, it can a challenge to keep up — but either you do, or you don’t. The choice, relatively, is yours.

This can apply to anything you can think of, from a film or music genre to a sex position. It’s great to know what you like — but being so sure runs the all-too real risk of being frozen in time. And not in a classic, timeless sense, either. More like a primitive relic.

I’ve been feeling this lately and have been making an effort to implement simple strategies to be more in tune with the outside world instead of humming along, ignorantly blissful within mine:

1. Listening to new music. This has probably has been the easiest and most accessible way to keep stay in the now, because — while I may question some of the latest trends in popular music — it gives me some insight into what is “hot” or “fresh”, therefore leaving me feeling somewhat hot and fresh. It’s also given me more insight into how my parents and other adults felt about Top 40 music when I was a teen during the late nineties. (Sorry, Mom and Pop.)

Today I stumbled upon Julia Michaels while reading an article from BBC that piqued my interest. A songwriter-turned-pop-artist, she reminded me a bit of Tove Lo, who I can’t get enough of. So I figured, why not give her a chance? Michaels’ debut mini-album “Nervous System” was released just this past Friday, and if you like pop music with a little twist, you’ll probably like this. (Saucy types, stick around for “Pink”.)

2. Reading articles from start to finish. Like, actually reading them and not merely reacting to a headline.

Cool story: I came across a Vanity Fair article on tonight’s Game of Thrones episode (look out for spoilers) and I had geared up to tell them off via Twitter based on my strong reaction to the headline via Google search. (I actually did, but deleted the tweet once I actually read the article. Oops.)

Say what??

Just saying, we’re all guilty of falling into sticky af clickbait and we should know better by now but, you know, we don’t.

3. Hanging out with people. Whether online or in-person (ideally the latter), social engagement is where the magic happens. Having turned 32 this year, I feel very “old” sometimes, and yeah, while not a teenager, my mind feels like me, which is as only old as I feel. And now the cliche phrase makes sense, whereas it used to be just words.

Sharing ideas, interests, coming to a common ground, etc. keeps the blood flowing to the appendages, as it were. Keeps the neurons alight and all that jazz. Going where people are may take a little effort, but more often than not, it’s worth it.

Don’t get me wrong: having that comfort feeling that makes you feel how you felt the first time doing anything is one of the best things out there. Like that cozy sleeping-in feeling on a rainy day, being comfortable is absolutely needed. Just remember that being too comfortable can run the risk of mental and emotional atrophy from staying in the same place for too long. 

Besides, new experiences are always out there, waiting for that first time feeling to be uncovered. Rarely will they be where you’ve been a million times before.

So get moving.