Category: Inspiration

Sunday Musings: Natural Remedies, Zen-Like Workflow, etc…

  1. A full night of sleep (8+ hours.. or, however much you need in order to wake up feeling refreshed) & yard work = a renewed me!
    • I cannot emphasize the importance of sleep enough. Although I often forget the benefits and neglect adapting to a regular sleep schedule, I am always amazed at how GOLDEN I am after a full night’s sleep: the worries that engulfed me the day before don’t bother me as much, my mind is clear, I am at peace through most of the day, and I am more present/engaged. Because I am stronger, I am able to do things with more focus and stamina, and I am even able to be more loving – I think the latter is because love needs to flow out from within. Much like a quote I’ve read in a book once, something along the lines of, “Be an island unto yourself so that you can be a shelter for others.” If you are always dependent on the other person to give you love, you may be physically unwell and/or spiritually dry, and thus in need of taking care of yourself and/or filling up your heart.
    • I did yard work with my love today – it was quite warm, in the low 90s, but barely uncomfortable due to the absolutely clear day and agreeable breeze. And towards early evening, it felt pleasant. At one point, he pointed out how the cars passing by next to us weren’t bothersome at all, and swooshed by rather smoothly, like ocean waves. It was true – I had completely tuned them out and noticed only the occasional birds singing and the breeze moving the perennials around me; and I was delighted once I tuned in and concurred that the traffic “noise” did indeed resemble ocean sounds.
  2. Amelia Earhart has noted, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” There is truth to this, but I would modify it to read, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act and get in the weeds of the task; the rest is merely joyful flow.” I raked leaves and pulled weeds today to help prepare to lay down new mulch – I noted that, contrarily to what I’d expected, pulling weeds was less taxing than raking. Although crouching down and pulling out individual plant roots was probably more physically demanding than scraping leaves into bunches, I’ve concluded that it must have been because I was completely engaged and present in the activity of pulling weeds – as I physically had to be close to the plants during the entire process, I did not have an opportunity to mentally detach/distance myself from the task and think about dreading it. I actually quite enjoyed it. I have found that being close to nature and doing yard work clears and purifies my mind. In addition, coupled with the beautiful weather, it was quite peaceful. Thus, to come full circle, once I was able to get in the weeds of the yard work (literally and figuratively), I was in an enjoyable “flow” and did not need tenacity.
    • Wikipedia defines “flow” as “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”
    • My interpretation of the quote may only be applicable to single work sessions. I think being persistent about working towards a goal (repeating the work sessions) does require tenacity, as one needs to go back to the beginning of the work session (“the most difficult thing is the decision to act…” AKA getting started), again and again. In addition, responding to challenging situations that arise requires tenacity. However, as for the everyday, single working sessions, the ideal work ethic seems to be: a willingness to roll up one’s sleeves, get in the weeds, ride the zen-like work flow, and stop when a break is needed (when “tenacity” would be needed to continue).
  3. Observing the weeds also had me realize that they were not too difficult to pull (individually – an entire landscape is another story); they had relatively shallow roots. This reminded me of a Facebook post I saw once: “Grow where you are planted” (from a Google search, seems to be a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 7:14-24). The weeds, which didn’t belong in their environment and needed to be pulled, had asserted only shallow roots in the ground; the other plants, which were flourishing, were deeply rooted in their environment and would have been much more difficult or impossible to pull out in the same way. I mused that in life, it is worth growing where one is planted, actively engaged and blossoming in the place one has been placed at the given time, with the opportunities that have been clasped in one’s hands. It is the deeply rooted shrubs that flourish and return, after all – the weeds are dispensable. I think that we are all-too-often disengaged and dissatisfied in life.

…Amazing how the time flies! I will not be getting the full night of sleep tonight that I raved about in the beginning of this post, but felt the need to write again and organize my thoughts – it had been too long. I suppose this post will have served as the cap to the much-needed therapeutic session that was initiated by the nature/gardening time earlier today.

Happy Monday to all, and to all a good night! 🙂


You Are Never Going to Feel like It

“You are never going to feel like it.” -Mel Robbins

I occasionally search for inspiration through TED talks. In the talk titled How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over, Robbins leads us to ponder why it is that people can’t seem to simply pursue the things they want to achieve. It is all too familiar – we tell ourselves we are going to do something, and there is no doubt that we want to accomplish this something – but we end up losing that initial action-propelling spark, and we convince ourselves of why it may not be really worth it.

Robbins says she hates the word “fine.” In fact, we always tell ourselves it’s “fine” – it’s fine if we don’t accomplish this or that, it’s fine to settle and not set the bar too high, it’s fine if we’re not truly happy and alive. Things are fine as they are now. But is it really fine?

We probably say this to ourselves because we don’t feel like doing what’s required to get what we want. Robins posits that, whatever it is we hope to achieve, we are NOT ever going to feel like doing it – not today, and not tomorrow. That “perfect” time we tell ourselves will come – most likely will not come. If we can just accept this fact, maybe we can stop using it as an excuse for not pursuing what is truly in our hearts.

Further, Robbins graces us with a tip: When we have an impulse to do something, we should act on it in the first 5 seconds – rather than giving ourselves time to talk ourselves out of it.

Since I am never going to feel like it, I decided (after watching this TED talk) to get off my ass and go to the gym. I figured I might as well today, since I had pushed it off yesterday because I didn’t feel like it and I probably won’t feel like it tomorrow either. I had visited my parents’ house for Columbus Day weekend and had a long weekend of respite and gluttonous indulgence in Mom’s cooking. To be fair, it was very much needed. However, I knew that I had to eventually go for that “all-out” workout that would help me feel less whale-like and help me feel fully refreshed to start the work week.

During my run, whenever it got hard, I told myself, “You are never going to feel like it” – and I kept going. In the middle of my Arnold presses (which, for some reason, really drain my arm strength), I pushed through the last two sets, shaking arms, with the reminder that I am NEVER going to feel like it.

Despite myself, I would like to thank Mrs. Robbins for taking away one of my favorite excuses of all time.

Whatever it is you want to accomplish, you may never really feel like doing the grunt work it requires (and god knows I’m with you)…but I hope you and I don’t use that as an excuse for not pulling through to see the rewards. 🙂


What You’re Supposed to Do on Your Nighttime Jog

I looked out my window. The evening was just departing, and the black shade of night had started to cover the entire neighborhood. A faint light through the darkness allowed me to dimly see the house on the opposite side of the cul-de-sac that touched my house. I debated whether to go on that run, or to push it off yet another day. I got dressed and decided to go.

On my nighttime run, I kept the flashlight app on my phone switched on in order to navigate through the particularly long gaps in between street lights. I started out with the sensual song “Skin” by Rihanna during my warm-up, then allowed Spotify to choose the next songs at random from my “Feel Good” list – they ended up being mellow songs, including “Bella Luna” by Jason Mraz and “Sparks” by Coldplay.

I was pleasantly surprised to jog past two couples. It made me feel safe and less alone. I guess I had expected the jog to be a risky one, and a lonely one.

It was slightly cool, to a perfectly refreshing degree. I felt so at peace, and I felt that I was receiving an unexpected sort of therapy. I knew that jogging would make me feel better (as exercise always does), but imagining something is never quite like experiencing it.

As I ran in the dark, the only things I felt that I was supposed to do were: to keep going, to be a part of this vast, black atmosphere, and to notice the shades of light that occasionally flashed in front of me. These lights were cast by the cars passing by or the dim, orange hue emitted from street lights. The only things I had to do were to notice, to be a part of the world, and to go about my way. I only had to notice, to be, to keep going.

It was perfect.