Keeping It Simple – Never Easy, Always Worth It

chaos1

(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

sadness

“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?

monday

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?

Social Media Makes the World Small. It’s Not That Deep

worldMy good friend belongs to the same dance troupe as the now-wife of my first lover, and has been for a year or so now. I know this thanks to some photos my friend has shared on Instagram. (C’est la vie.)

This past weekend, I went to a bar downtown and friended a guy who runs in the same musical circle as the childhood neighbor I’d play four-handed piano with on Tuesday nights after Bible study. (Just a happy coincidence.)

Just this afternoon at my day job, I came across the portfolio of someone whose name I immediately recognized from work I follow on social and creative media platforms. (Well, all right, then.)

I realize that these interactions pack a little less punch than, say, going to the deli or car wash and bumping into someone who just happens to be a friend of a friend of someone you used to know. However, these instances were just intimate enough that I’d be lying if I claimed that I wasn’t the least bit affected. But due to the modern web of social media, it only makes sense that these worlds would collide directly, and at times violently, into mine.

A few years ago, I might have viewed the above occurrences as chance, or maybe even a sign of the past being manifested as a present branching-off of a celestial event. I wouldn’t be the only one, either — perhaps you would feel similarly. With the wealth of exciting activity occurring in the universe this month that will continue to be observed from our vantage point on Earth, it’s only understandable. 

But let’s really think about it: Anyone can be found on the internet. As of March 2017, statistics suggest that at least half of the world’s population has access to the internet. Interactions such as the ones above are really not that random. It’s just that individually-drawn, personal associations are powerful enough in convincing people otherwise.

As for me, right now, I subscribe to the fact that the world is small as a result of the internet’s far reach — nothing more, or less. 

It’s kind of fun, fascinating, maybe even thrilling. But it’s also really not that deep.

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!

20 Unconventional Blog Post Titles

Thought I’d have a little fun — stop me if you’ve heard these before:

1.  How to NOT Go Viral

2. Face It, We’re All Dying 

3. The Good Old Days Were Great for You, But Sucked For Your Parents

4. 20 Singers Who Do Not Use Autotune

5. How to Silent Fart Your Way Out of a Bad Date

6. 5 Exercises to Get a Flat Butt

7. 10 Reasons to Go Carnivorous

8. How to Stay Below the Poverty Line

9. Save on Dental Bills by Avoiding Responsibility Altogether

10. How to Side-Eye Your Way to the Top

11. Charming Incompetence = Basically a Princess 

12. How to Talk Yourself Down from a Double-Shot Espresso High

13. 8 Reasons to Marry Your Fiance and Not Run Off With the Horse

14. Chocolate is a Vegetable, Wine is a Fruit

15. 20 Ways to Emo Like It’s 1994

16. Celebs: Like Hell They’re Just Like Us

17. A Day in the Life of a Parched InstaThot 

18. You’re Not Special, Just Loud and Annoying 

19. How to Successfully Daydream Yourself Out of a Job 

20. Throat Punching: The New Pinky Swear 

Would you write about any of these? (I’m sure someone already has…)

Happy Friday!