Minimize our scope of control

“Those who put so much energy into controlling everything around them, end up losing control of themselves.”

This has become a philosophy I have developed. Or to put it more positively:

“One must learn to focus on controlling ones own thoughts, actions, reactions, and learn to accept that they cannot control anything outside of them-self if they wish to find any happiness in this life.”

As I grow older I am seeing more and more how true this is, based on the behavior I have seen in myself and other people. I see the truth of it all the time, but never more so than in these two extreme yet common cases:

  1. The control freak. The OCD Warrior. These are the people that spend lots of time and energy organizing and planning to make sure everything they are involved in goes according to a plan; usually their plan. But despite all the effort and energy, the end result never quite goes perfectly to their plan. Not even good enough to equal the reward expected considering all the time and effort put into planning (and that is a generous assessment. Truthfully much of the time it blows up in their face). These people often seem down, upset, or plain miserable because things did not go to plan. They lash out, and try to gain control by force. These people are generally miserable. They may often appear happy on the outside, at social gatherings; but once the party’s over it’s back to facing the deep dark void that goes right through the center of them.
  2. The adventurer. The zen master. The people who do not spend extensive time planing, if they even plan at all. The spontaneous decision makers. The people who set out on a journey with merely a direction they had in mind, and are willing to accept any obstacles that befall them. These people trust their instincts to guide them. They leave their minds open constantly to new possibilities. They are more concerned with learning about the world as the world reveals itself to them in their travels, than they are in shaping the world to be what they want it to be. These people are cool, calm, and collect. They do not get offended easily and are always willing to share their wisdom. These people take nothing for granted and are joyous with all that life has given them.

I believe most of us know people that fit the two descriptions above, as well as many variations in between.

Minimalism, true Minimalism is about narrowing ones scope of control to be more like person 2 than person 1. By living smaller, with fewer possessions, fewer obligations, fewer commitments, one has more time and energy to focus on making them-self  a better …..self. A person focusing on becoming a better version of them-self is on a more assured path to happiness, than one who is controlling the situations and things around them. If one chooses the path of control, they will lose them-self in the process (If they ever knew them-self in the first place).

People that try so hard to control everything around them, do so only because their identity is weak. Their attempts to control everything offer them some validation when things go according to plan. Those with strong identities on the other hand prefer to spend more time on self discovery; as they already know that is the key to happiness. They have a strong enough sense of self that they feel no drive to control everything around them. They do not require the validation of being surrounded by a home, house, area, arena, or life that is custom tailored to their specifications.

Some Daily/Weekly Healthy Practices

Through my years I have learned through trial and error some wonderful habits that have been invaluable toward maintaining a healthy, peaceful, and low stress life. they have been solace during times of depression, a boost during times of laziness, and offered hope during times of hopelessness. I would very much like to share these habits in the hopes they can help others:

 

Sunshine – An absolute MUST every single day. I go outside and let the sun shine on me. Even if only for 15 minutes (no less than that). Cloudy day? Doesn’t matter. The sun still shines through the clouds. It only means I have to stay out even longer. There is of course the benefit of vitamin D, but I am convinced it is so much more than that. The sun has a way of lifting my spirits, reminding me that I am loved, and reassuring me that whatever my issues/problems are, they’re insignificant in the bigger picture.

Water – I drink water and lots of it. I am not going to go over all the benefits having a persistent water drinking habit, but I will say that we are healthier in every way with a water habit. I am not going to say that lack of water causes illness, but I will say that for most illnesses out there, had the person had a water consumption rhythm, illness would have been avoided. Most illness happens when the body is unable to fight a threat, but in order to do that the body needs some necessary elements. Water is the primary of these.

Exercise – Not an every day practice for me, but at least three times a week.  For me, this is full on cardio. I ride bicycle or I am in spin class. If I can’t do either of those, I am running. This is a practice I enjoy very much, and THAT is the key. Exercise becomes consistent when it is something we can enjoy. I strongly suggest everyone find an physically active activity that they can enjoy, and keep a steady habit of it. One that gets the heart rate up, keeps us sweating, and muscles aching. I don’t think I have to sell the health benefits of this; both mental and physical.

Meditation – I take the time daily to relax and contemplate my day/life. Soft contemplation, free of emotion. Then I let go of these thoughts and take the time to let them pass, clear my head and just relax. I incorporate breathing exercises. Meditation is a daily routine for me, for roughly 15 min.

Yoga – This is really just an extension of exercise and meditation combine. I do Yoga on rare occasion in class. But I do have a weekly practice of doing chair/office Yoga while I work. During the course of a work day I will take maybe 15 minutes to do some poses and relieve tension.

Smile – I try to make a conscience effort to do this even if I don’t want to. Seems foolish?? Well I have found that actions can determine attitude. This has been very successful. I have been amazed at how much doing good, has had me feeling good.

Read – The path to assured growth. Always learning. I take an hour, at least three times a week to read. Even if just for entertainment it still contributed to our growth. It expands the mind and imagination. If what we are reading is educational in itself, even better.

Listen to Soothing Music – This i will often do during meditation/contemplation. It helps me focus, helps me relax. 

 

These have been my daily and weekly habits that facilitate my minimalist life of focus and joy. I sincerely hope others will adopt some of these. For those who do, I guarantee results. 

Journal Entry 2/2/2020: Remember what Matters

This Friday I got so caught up in my pattern, my personal obligations, that I missed an opportunity to engage in some needed and deserved quality connection time with my daughter. It took some smart words from my daughter to snap me back to reality, to my true values to realize what I was missing.
 
We all slip up and make mistakes. That’s being human. But we should always have our core purpose and values close by, so it’s easy to get back on track. Having a life mantra, or a Mission Statement memorized and repeated out loud often, will make sure it’s never far from us.
 
In the case mentioned above, the mantra is:
 

“It is our relationships that make us great. Not our money or even image.”

Or as my daughter put it:

“I thought you were a Minimalist daddy. If you were, your know that time with me is more important than anything else you got going on your phone.” ……. she’s 7 …….. but also 100% correct.

ASMR – For Connection, Positive Affirmation, and Relaxation.

Way back in October 2018 I suffered from insomnia for a short period. Insomnia brought on by anxiety. During this period I did many things to get through this ugly phase, including medication, meditation, Yoga, acupuncture, ASMR, and lifestyle changing/purging. ALL of these things helped. It was ASMR however, that intrigued me the most. Up until that point I had never even heard of ASMR.

For those of you who don’t know, ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. A very complex name for a very simple meaning …… or at least a simple result. ASMR is a way to use sensation (usually through sound, but can also be through touch) to create a feeling of calming, pleasure, and tingling. This sensation starts in/on a persons head, and then spreads down to the rest of the body. ASMR is traditionally administered through sounds. Quiet sounds. The most common sounds used for this are whispers, gentle brushing, tapping, scratching.

I received ASMR through YouTube videos. I would listen to these ASMR artists whisper, and make gentle sound effects with their hands, and it would just lull me to a relaxed state. In time I would fall asleep to them. In the calm and relaxed state leading up to sleep, a connection can be made with the artist. Albeit, the connection is one sided, but one who is susceptible to ASMR can’t deny that there is an intimacy there. Through this experience I learned one undeniable truth: When people are calm and relaxed, if you whisper to them, they are open to listening.

So I have decided to try my hand in ASMRASMR is a wonderful platform in which I can deliver my message of Minimalism. As it is, the simplicity of it lends itself to this lifestyle. There is nothing more value added, than making a connection with people. That, plus creating sensation makes for a wonderful experience; those of you who have read my posts before, know how I feel about sensation. I offer connection, sensation, positive affirmation, AND I will be giving my minimalist mantra’s during the videos I’ll be making.

The link to my first ASMR video on YouTube is HERE.

Or you can view the video below.