more with less 

The mantra “be more with less” or “less is more” resonates perfectly with the idea of conscious living.

Not surprisingly, it has become one of the two challenges I work on this year. It is a huge challenge for me as my natural inclination is to elaborate, which usually mean to do more than less.

Over the years it has become clear to me that practising “less”: owning less, doing less and becoming less, is a necessary pursuit on the path of personal growth. “Less” coincides with the ability to choose. Consciously.

In this post I present three cases where less is more important than more.

Stuff

I grew up with the idea that “more is better”. I used to imagine how easy was the life of rich people, who were living happily with the abundance of goods. Yet, I knew that there was a limit to such happiness. As a child I was touched by a Greek myth about the king Midas. He was supposed to be a happy man – able to turn everything into gold just by touching. It seemed perfect in a while until his beloved one turned into a gold statue as well. Clearly, it was too much.

Even with this story in my mind, I still imagined the life was easy for wealthy people. Many years forward and I now understand how (too much) goods and stuff become limitation instead of liberation. The overwhelming stuff stops being enjoyable. Moreover, it becomes a hindrance for development.

A huge house surrounded by a large garden and a few cars may sound great but there is a hidden price to it. You need to take care of your large possessions. If you don’t do the daily/weekly/monthly maintenance, cleaning and repairs yourself, somebody else has to do it. And such services need to be supervised as well.

As a stuff collector, you need both space and place for your valuable clothes, shoes, toys, books, computers. technological gadgets, videos and other things. Stuff multiplies fast and needs extra maintenance.

Basically, more stuff means less of your precious time. This is the time you could spend in nature, relaxing, exercising, reading, learning or enjoying activities with your family or friends. Or whatever else you would choose.

More stuff = work + headaches
Less stuff  = breathing space + expanding mental space + creativity

Take the challenge.

I am not a minimalist and I don’t aspire to be one. But the overwhelming stuff makes me learn to say “no” before the new stuff arrives. Learn it too.

A good challenge is to get rid of 20% of your stuff: clothes, shoes, books, old gadgets and equipment, furniture and so on. You can denote these to a charity, sell on Ebay, give away or recycle. Possibilities are plenty.

An even greater challenge is to get rid of 50% of your stuff. You can perfectly live on less.

If you are nostalgic about your stuff because it holds precious memories, I have a great solution. Photograph your stuff, one by one and store the photos on a hard disc. Hold a picture of every thing in your mind, thank for the precious memories and set them free. Let the stuff start a new cycle of life.

Ideas

One of the breakthrough in my life concerned ideas. I used to think that great ideas were special and belonged to a few chosen ones. With time and experience I’ve understood it was not true.

Generating ideas is relatively easy. You can observe it in any brainstorming session. Ideas are simply shared and belong to the Common Space. We may paraphrase Plato to say that the ideas live in the Cave of Shadows and we simply discover them. Alternatively, we may say that ideas are inspired from God so they come from a single Source.

Yet, we often think that a particular idea is ours. It is both true and false. The idea is ours in the sense that it is proposed through us, but it is also not ours because it is not totally exclusive to us. Oftentimes the same or very similar idea it being proposed, discussed or executed by other individuals at the same time. This is particularly noticeable in science, but I’m sure that you can recognise this phenomenon in your daily life as well.

The consequence is this observation is far fetching. We merely discover ideas (and perhaps share them with others) but we don’t own them.

Such a concept is is a hard pill to swallow for some. They will guard their best ideas, tricks and practices with life. They want to keep the ideas confidential, hidden or patented as it is a common practice of some companies or corporations.

The point is this. There is abundance of ideas, thoughts, concepts and books, easily available. Just look over the internet and you will find a plethora of ideas. Free. How many of them have you executed?

The simplest ideas are often neglected or discarded, because they are either old or known. Nothing exciting in them. Alternatively, ideas are neglected because they require focus and discipline.

Isn’t that interesting that successful professionals thrive on simple ideas, perfected over time? Think medical doctors, engineers or researchers who constantly improve their solutions.

Isn’t  that interesting that the most successful brands describe narrow niches (=ideas)? Think Coke, SunwarriorBlendTec, Lexus, and so on.

Isn’t that interesting that successful companies offer either a limited choice of products or a limited and specific service? Think AppleEvernote37signals or FedEx. 

More ideas = confusion + procrastination + difficult choice
Less ideas  =  clarity + execution

Guard yourself from the flood of ideas. The more ideas around, the bigger the overwhelm and the harder the decision which one to execute. You may easily spend ages trying to find the best idea.

The truth is this: the best idea is the one which is implemented.Why? Because a direct experience will teach you much more than any thinking or reading.

Take the challenge. Limit the number of ideas to consider for any decision taking. Choose the most appealing one and execute it with devotion.

Time

We often think of time as if it was our resource. Yet, we can neither buy time nor generate it on request. Time is limited, yet we often live in an illusion that we have still plenty of time to do many things. This makes us careless with respect to how we trade our time (and effort) for money (call it job or business), or how we let the time pass.

When we look at people who suddenly discover that they may live one more year at most because of a terminal illness, we will often observe the following. After the initial shock, disagreement and rebellion, there comes a moment in which the person accepts his/her fate. There is nothing more to loose but everything to gain.

The time limitation sets the person free. He/she can now take actions and decisions which were perhaps postponed until some day in the future. Such people often spend their last months of life in the most active ways, renewing relations, repairing mistakes and following passion. Some become healed and continue such a practice for years.

Time is limited. If you knew you would die in a year, how would such a perspective have changed your life? Which decisions would you take today? Which job would you commit to? Which experiences would you choose? Which discoveries would you make?

While such a perspective may seem as too far fetched for some, think about time in a different way.

Your time is precious. There is no other today as this day. When this day is gone it will never return again. The challenge is to be the one you want to be and to do the important things.

When you give yourself less time for specific tasks and challenges, you will force yourself to become more creative in order to meet the time constraints. It may not work perfectly the first time, but you will become more resourceful when you use this strategy on daily basis.

More time = indecision + procrastination
Less time  = action + creativity + resourcefulness

Take the challenge.

  1. Every day determine your most important (one to three) tasks for the day, tasks which contribute to the growth and well being of yours or your family/friends. Commit to them with 100% effort. They really need to be done!  
  2. Use the Pareto rule and Parkinson’s law to do the most important things in less time.
 
 How can you become more with less? It is only through a conscious choice and dedication.
 
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Photo courtesy Fe Langdon, available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.
 
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healing_tea

This is a post (other than usual, yet) about important aspects of our conscious living. Health.

We usually do not fully appreciate health or well-being until we overdrive ourselves and begin to suffer from some minor or major issues. And then the challenge begins.

Health

Health is the first pillar of wealth creation in your life. It is simple to maintain once you are well, but it is a complex endeavour to pursue in the first place. Why? Because we are individuals with individual needs on all levels of our being.

Multiple factors often contribute to any problem arising in the body or in the mental sphere. More importantly, the most obvious factors are usually not the most influential. For instance, you may think that your flu is caused by bugs you picked up at work, but the truth is that it happened because of your compromised immune system. And the true reasons are overwork, stress, lack of proper nutrition and lack of sleep. If your immune system is enhanced daily, hardly any bugs will catch you.

Know yourself

It all comes down to knowing yourself and finding out what serves you. The choices you make every day influence your well-being.

What works for me, may not work for you. And vice versa. The most successful or logically appealing diets may not help you a bit, and even make you sick. The most advanced training equipment may not help you get fit. The most acclaimed carrier you chose to pursue may put you under constant stress and ultimately lead you to a disease.

And we are often in confusion, influenced by others, bombarded by media or subscribed to strong ideas. It takes time to recognize what is false and where is your potential. But the time is going to elapse anyway, so you can better spend it by taking responsibility for own life and making conscious decisions.

It takes time to get to know yourself, as we usually hold tightly to old or dysfunctional ideas, beliefs or models which stopped serving us a long time ago. Yet, we cling to the distorted image of who we are as we afraid to distort a mediocre yet comforting homeostasis of our being. Step out of your comfort zone and take a journey into unknown. It is worth it.

As a conscious being you need to become a detective searching and analyzing what serves you well and what depletes you. You need to test ideas, approaches or methods to find the ones that support your development and well-being. And, finally, you need to employ discipline to set up health-promoting habits.

Health is a maintenance process

All in all, health is a maintenance process.  It relies on four foundations of physical health, emotional health, mental health and spiritual health. They all are co-dependent and influence each other. In short, health is an act of balancing all our responsibilities and needs.

Health is supported by

  • eating nourishing meals, cooked or prepared from whole foods and high quality ingredients
  • physical exercise
  • loving others and being loved
  • sun exposure (walks, sportive activities, exercise in the fresh air)
  • maintaining personal space for development (journaling, relaxation, thinking, praying, meditation, etc)
  • rest, relaxation and letting go of emotions
  • sufficient sleep
  • good laughter
  • passion and hobbies
  • spending time with friends and the loved ones
  • and living a purpose (pursuing a goal bigger than you are).

Healing teas

There are times we don’t eat the right meals, don’t exercise, spend time indoors, work most days and have no rest, run on empty batteries or lack a good sleep. And, a strike of sudden physical, emotional, or mental challenge may be a drop too much. So, we become ill.

While healing is a process, there are remedies that can help us to function better. One of them are healing teas.

Cold, flu, catarrh, sore throat or indigestion are the usual suspects. While I am not free from them, I generally use home remedies made myself to help me go through such times. Not to mention that I also enjoy them 🙂

Here I present three fantastic teas, easy to prepare at home, given that you have the ingredients. These are the teas that will boost your immune system and help you get back on feet.

I call them killer teas because they are meant for the brave ones only. Just kidding. The metaphor is to “kill the cold or bugs”. To understand why it is so, just prepare one yourself.

Drink the teas always freshly made, 30min before a meal or 1h after the meal. Ideally, before going to bed.

Killer tea no 1: jump-back-to-life tea

This tea prevents cold and flu. It is super hot and you may feel it will kill you at the spot. It works amazingly well and I strongly recommend it.

Great for: lack of energy, lack of focus, cold or flu. It works wonders.

Jump-back-to-life tea (1 person)

1 teaspoon cacao powder
1/2 vanilla pod
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup water

 

How-to:

Bring water to boiling in a heat-resistant glass cooking pot. Add cacao powder, vanilla pod and cayenne pepper. Add more pepper if you like it super hot. Mix well. Cover with a lid. Cook for 3min. Drink it warm.

This tea works wonders. Have I already told you that this tea is great? It is. (Even if you have to summon courage to drink it.)

Killer tea no 2: rebalance-me tea

This is a tea which is strongly warming up. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effects and immune boosting effects. It may make you sweat.

Great for: stomach pain, liver-stomach indigestion (overeating), gases and a cold.

Rebalance-me tea (1 person)

1 teaspoon thyme (wild thyme is somewhat milder)
2 teaspoon liquorice
1/2 cm ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder 
1 1/2 cup water

 

How-to:

Bring water to boiling in a heat-resistant glass cooking pot. Cut ginger root into tiny pieces. Add thyme, liquorice and ginger root (or ginger powder). Cover with a lid. Cook slowly for 7-10 min. Drink it warm.

Don’t drink it while taking antibiotics, hormonal supplements and when you are suffering from hot flushes or generally have a tendency for being too hot.

Killer tea no. 3: boost-me-up tea

This is a tea which is strongly warming up. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effects and immune boosting effects. It may make you sweat.

Great for: being over-tired and over-worked, lack of energy, cold and flu.

Boost-me-up tea (1 person)

1cm of ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder
1/2 small lemon
3 teaspoons of raw (unpasteurized) honey
3-4 drops of propolis
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves powder (optional)
1 1/2 cup water

 

How-to:

Bring water to boiling in a heat-resistant glass cooking pot. Cut ginger root into tiny pieces. Add ginger root (or ginger powder), cayenne pepper and cloves powder. Cover with a lid. Cook slowly for 10-12 min. Leave it to rest until the liquid becomes warm, neither hot, nor luke warm. Then squeeze the juice from the lemon, add honey and propolis. Mix thoroughly. Drink it warm.
It is important to add honey and propolis to warm water (not hot) so that the natural healing ingredients are not affected by the high temperature.

Don’t drink it while taking antibiotics, hormonal supplements and when you are suffering from hot flushes.

Final words

The killer teas work wonders because their natural ingredients address your immune system on multiple and combined levels.

So, treat yourself with a killer tea. Your healing is worth it.

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I encourage you to stock yourself up with the basic potent herbs which can be used as an aid in healing or to support your health. These are: cinnamon, curcumin, cloves powder, liquorice, thyme, basil, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger and cumin.

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Photo courtesy Treasach available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

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Other health-related posts:

If you want to raise your self-esteem I recommend the “The six pillars of self-esteem” book by Nathaniel Branden. See also the previous post. Here I will elaborate on the six pillars of self-esteem, namely Living Consciously, Self-Acceptance, Self-Responsibility, Self-Assertiveness, Living Purposefully and Personal Integrity.

Living Consciously

I love that Branden recognizes this as the first pillar. Living consciously is the basic principle for me. It covers so many aspects and facets of life. It is about your conscious evolution of Self in relation with the other conscious Selves.

Conscious living of Self is about being present in every moment, open to learning and discovery.
It is about studying and knowing the Self.
It is about awareness of how you feel, who you are and what you want.
It’s about noticing your feelings and levels of energy; what drains you and what supports you.
It is asking you about your own interests, values, beliefs, morals and goals.
It is about your willingness to learn and grow. It is about joyful experimentation and self-reflection.
It is about understanding your inner world as well as the world of others and external phenomena.
It is about life in respect and love for others.

Self-acceptance

It is about accepting yourself and the reality around you as much as you can understand it. This includes your personal traits, features and skills, your look, your health, your education, your family, your relations, your financial situation, etc. This is simply about facts.

Self-acceptance is not only about owning and taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions, but about being at ease to with your feelings and thoughts. It is about recognition of the patterns in your life. It is about your readiness to receive feedback, both complements and criticism, without being shy or adversarial. It is about accepting yourself with understanding and no judgments as being in a continuous process of learning.

Self-responsibility

It is a deep realization that you are the author of your choices and actions. If you need cooperation and collaboration with others, you offer value in exchange.

You are the one who is responsible for your life even though you may not have got the best initial conditions, the smartest parents, the best education, the health or the money. You are not the only one. However bad your circumstances in life, however miserable you are, you can start a transformation by taking responsibility for your attitude to what is and what happens. In every situation it is up to you to choose joy over sadness, love over fear, peace over war, trust over suspicion, or acceptance over judgement.

How to do that?

It is very simple. You need to ask your consciousness to make you aware of the choices you are making. In any situation, pay attention to your feelings and thoughts.

What do they communicate to you? Is it love or fear? Is it the language of peace or the language of aggression?

If you recognize the thoughts of fear and limitation, you need to flip them instantly into the thoughts of love and abundance. If you recognize the feelings of fear you need to pause, breathe for a second  and internally develop a new feeling of love. This can be done by remembering loving events from your life or by practicing gratitude. It difficult to practice in the beginning but it gets easier if you are persistent.

If there are circumstances you don’t like, you are the one to become aware of them and take action to change things for the better.  If you are unhappy in your family, relation or job, you are the one communicate your feelings and seek for satisfying solutions. You are responsible for your life and your well-being.

The transformation to go through may be painful but there awaits a life of blessings.

Self-assertiveness

It is about your authenticity in relation with others. You stand up for yourself but you also create the space for others to be. You respect yourself and others and you recognize the values of yourself and others. You communicate your needs clearly and openly and you take the needs of others into account. You always look for the win-win solutions.

Living purposefully

It is about knowing who you are and what you want to achieve in your life. It is about defining your focus. It is about finding your short-term and long-term goals and taking actions needed for their achievement. It is about a cycle of learning which includes theory (thinking, ideas and abstractions),  active experimentation, concrete experience and reflection (learning points) and recognizes when goals need to changed, updated or even abandoned.

Living on purpose is about your life story, a journey of growth and evolvement of Self. It is about having a message to share, a practice to do or an example to set up. It is about something much bigger than you are so that your life is in service and serves other conscious beings to grow.

Personal integrity

Personal integrity is very important for building trust and successful relationships.

Personal integrity is about congruence between what you know, what you say or teach and what you do. It is about walking your talk, telling the truth and respecting your commitments. It is also about aligning your thoughts, feelings and actions so that you become a balanced Self.

perfect_day

 

Today is a perfect day to write my first post. So, here it is :).

Coincidentally, I’m starting my blogging adventure on the 18th, which is one of my favorite numbers. I am excited to be writing about conscious living.

Stay tuned!

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Photo courtesy Fe Langdon, available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

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