5 Books After Which Nothing Will Be The Same. Ever.

There are some books that we love. There are some books that are recommended to us or highly rated. There are some books that are classics, or that we think we should More »

Invisible. About the thread that has the power to change you.

What’s invisible for you, might not seem the same thing for somebody else. People come and go. Every person is here to teach us something, to point at something, to show the More »

Great album to relax to – ‘Shanti Guitar’ by Stevin McNamara

Not often can you find something soothing and interesting at the same time. This is clearly the case with the album called Shanti Guitar by Stevin McNamara. The heartfelt picking seems deeper More »

A Short Guide to Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a practice of savouring every bite of your meal, in the same way you cherish every day if you live by the carpe diem maxim. In an era when there More »

EARTH(L)ING. How to tap into the Earth’s healing power

Have you ever had that feeling that when you go out into nature, the troubles that were on your mind before are not that stressful anymore, or sometimes they completely vanish? Even More »

How to have an effortless breakthrough by small, regular steps – a little, step-by step guide

Here is how small changes, repeated over a period of time, can lead to a breakthrough. Have you ever wanted to make a change but didn’t know where to start? Is there More »

 

A poem: ‘Unclosed’

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Something we all strive for from time to time, I guess…

 

 

 

 

 

Unclosed

by Anna Wawrzyniak

 

Looking for questions to ask

looking for answers to appear

right before my eyes

on an empty stomach

 

Looking for a glimpse of a shadow

for an ordinary sign

for the hand that feeds

 

Looking for the void in darkness

for the door to the forest

that has been left unopened

and unclosed

 

 

 

photo credit: sciencesque via photopin cc

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Invisible. About the thread that has the power to change you.

Maybe?

What’s invisible for you, might not seem the same thing for somebody else. People come and go. Every person is here to teach us something, to point at something, to show the way… If only we listened.

What is invisible for me, is not invisible for you. That’s why I want to meet you. To explore what our two beings have got in common, or not, and to walk out from the encounter changed. Because this is what matters. This is what this life brings us – an opportunity to grow, to learn from every encounter on our way, because every single person on our way knows something that we don’t. An opportunity to learn. Or not.

Then there is karma – if you don’t learn something, don’t work on something that is invisible, then you would have to do that same thing again. To relive that situation over and over again until you finally listen. Listen to that ‘Psst’ sound of your intuition that is telling you to stop, telling you to make changes, telling you to be. To listen to yourself. And grow. You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was. (Abraham Lincoln) Yeah? Yeah.

Almost nothing important that ever happens to you happens because you engineer it. Destiny has no beeper; destiny always leans trenchcoated out of an alley with some sort of Psst that you usually can’t even hear because you’re in such a rush to or from something important you’ve tried to engineer.

- David Foster Wallace

Sometimes you don’t even know your potential. You don’t even know you’re capable of transformation. It may come quiet. It may not come at all. Or you may not even see it. Invisible.

Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.

- The Little Prince

Sometimes you just know something is about to happen. As if all the signs everywhere are pointing to the right direction, then you see the 14:14 numbers everywhere (or something similar that only you would understand), and you know you’re on to something. It’s not about making a decision. It’s about going with the flow.

Life’ s flow can be unexpected. It can be nothing you’ve ever wanted to experience. Yet it may change a lot of patterns that you’ve been repeating and repeating and repeating. You’re never going to control this process. It somehow is going outside of the scope of your rational mind. Some things are just meant to happen.

With the risk of sounding ‘invisible’, and unclear, let me tell you one thing. If you listen to your intuition, over and over again, keep breathing in and out and really listen to that silent voice, you’re gonna experience that invisible thread that is going to lead you on to amazing things that you haven’t even dreamt of. Guaranteed. It only takes one invisible gaze inward. And the journey is on. Enjoy!

photo credit: ashley rose, via photopin cc

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Best Relaxation Music – 5 YouTube Tracks to Calm Your Mind, Body & Emotions, Reducing Stress

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Here you can find 5 tracks that can calm your mind & relax your body, and give you a sensual pleasure. I find them quite soothing – it’s nice to slow down sometimes. They have been carefully chosen (by lots of listening), so treat it as recommended, good stuff. This is quite an eclectic list.

Oh, music. An endless subject and a deep well in which everyone will probably find something for themselves.

Music can help you relax in many ways. Whether it’s the captivating, yet soft sound of an instrument, a calm rhythm, or just the fact that you can spend five minutes doing nothing else but listening.

Music affects your brain and your emotions. There will be articles here to explain that further. For now…

What are your favourite tracks to listen to after a tiring day? Here are mine:

1. This is honestly my favourite relaxation music – Stevin McNamara. I’ve already reviewed one of his albums, Shanti Guitar. Here is one of his songs:

2. Finesse & minimalism to perfection. Arvo Pärt – Spiegel im Spiegel. This is a wonderfully delicate piece by the Estonian composer, who can captivate emotions with a single piano and a violin. Quite cinematic, a classic. I used to dance to it. It was a beautiful feeling.

3. This is so lyrical. And the video has captivated me ever since I saw it for the first time, a very long time ago. It’s Enigma – Return to Innocence.

4. Piano stuff. It’s like painting a picture with that instrument, so the title is rather adequate. Fabrizio Paterlini – Colori. Quite cinematic.

5. This may fill you with gratitude, as it does to me. Deva Premal & Miten – So much magnificence. Enjoy!

A word of caution: you can easily fall asleep while listening to one of these tracks, especially when you’re tired… But I guess it is a good thing. And it is very pleasant to fall asleep with music like that. You may have melodic dreams too…

Please share your favourite music that you relax to in the comments below, I will be more than happy to try it out. :) You can invite your friends who have been stressed and who may like this… Thank you for being you.

photo credit: emilybean via photopin cc

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How to find happiness in no steps – Quote

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Life is a journey, as they say. Do you happen to agree that sometimes you don’t discover what’s right in front of you and take things for granted? Of course, it doesn’t apply to all cases, and happiness is a broad subject. But sometimes it works like that, doesn’t it?

Let me know your thoughts. :)

xx

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Scared of Making a Wrong Choice? How to Make a Choice Among Endless Possibilities

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Have you ever had enough and thought something like ‘If only making this choice was easier?’ This article might shed some light on how to make right choices when you’re overwhelmed by data and possibilities. Here are some of the ways (among loads) of how to deal with the influx of information from here and there and everywhere, and this, and that… Stop that! 

There is a lot to choose from. Everywhere. Literally. Instead of reading this post you could choose a million different things (online), or another few thousand offline (the numbers do not correspond to reality ;). I know that feeling. Having some time to spare and scratching your head over all these things you could possibly do. And that’s just a decision of how to spend your evening.

How about making bigger decisions? Where to live, who to hang out with regularly, what interests to pursue, what career decisions to make, not to mention romance-related decisions… If only it was easier, right?

Not exactly.

It’s not easy, and it’s not difficult either. It’s what you make of it. You can spend the whole evening thinking what to do and eventually spending the evening thinking… (yeah, it’s happened to me, I confess…) or, you can choose something randomly, ask a friend, throw a coin into the air… Maybe there is some better way of making decisions during this constant influx of information, possibilities, options, things to do, read & think about. It’s called Informational Age, but I guess that means what it means – instead of overwhelming you with choice, it’s supposed to give you all the information you need to make the right choice. At least in theory.

We are sometimes confused if we have too much choice. There is a book called ‘The Paradox of Choice – Why More is Less’ by Barry Schwartz, a psychologist, saying that the more choice we have (as consumers), the more anxious we are…And it’s true that if we have loads of choice, we might not know what to do and end up not choosing what we want. Or even if we do, there is this fear of not making the best choice… Have you ever had it? I have.

My options of how not to get lost in the abundance of possible (and impossible) choices are the following:

- mindfulness. I hope you don’t get impatient by me using this word quite often. I do it only because… it works. As a busy skeptic in her head all the time (before I started practicing mindfulness), I can say it brings gigantic results in the long run if practiced regularly. So if you don’t know what to choose, start breathing. In… and out. At your own pace. NOT thinking about the choice you’re making. Just allow your body to rest and relax into whatever comes to you. You might discover many different things while doing this. I’m not gonna tell you what they would be – only you can find out. Everybody has their own means to do it. For me, it clarifies my choices in a significant way. You can find out more about it here. I hope it helps you too.

- go for a walk instead. It works for me in terms of shopping. If I’m undecided about buying something, that means I’m not 100% sure (because when you know you need /want something, you know it). In this case, walking (especially in nature) helps. I would suggest a park or a quiet street. It may help you make the decision and, maybe even you would find that you don’t need to buy anything after all. It happened to me many times. There is so much consumerism anyways and sometimes we get influenced by adverts and juicy displays. We do that. They know it. And it’s ok as long as you’re conscious of it.

- doing one thing at a time. Multitasking is overrated. So if you want to do many things at the same time (to avoid making the wrong choice), please try to focus on just one thing. Sometimes even a random choice of one activity/thing to do helps your attention to not drift but stick to it and eventually you can enjoy it more than if you were doing several things at once.

- this one is a ‘freak’ option, and it works sometimes :) If you’re stuck between choices, how about choosing neither of them, but something completely different? You’re going against your ego then, that is trying to win your internal battle with itself by making the best choice possible. By circumventing its ways, you may choose  something new. And you might like it.

The above mentioned ways apply mainly to small choices that wouldn’t make a life-changing difference, however, you can use some of them for big decisions. I wouldn’t suggest flipping a coin when deciding whether or not to marry someone, for instance, but I would definitely suggest mindfulness in making a decision concerning your career. After all, your ‘inner self’ knows already what you want to be doing, so if you could only listen to it beneath all these distractions… It would be different, right? So… why not do it? Like, …now? :) (after reading this article)?

Making a choice doesn’t have to be scary. And even if your choice isn’t perfect, you can change it by making another choice. There is always a way to thrive in the abundance of information coming from all directions. If you trust your internal compass (intuition), you are likely to feel more secure while doing it. And it’s likely to pay off in the long run.

 
photo credit: Sweet One via photopin cc

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10 Simple Steps of How to be Mindful in a busy digital world of Internet and smartphones

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10 simple to do steps in order to stay mindful in the digital world. The endless flow of information, deadlines, distractions and things to do can easily make you rush all the time, but there are things you can do to help yourself feel better and be more relaxed, whatever you do.

The world of screens, pixels and deadlines can be debilitating to us sometimes, not to mention our eyes. There is a difference between working calmly on a task (not multitasking) and rushing in a queue of never-ending projects and things to do next. Next, next, next… If I only finish this… When I do that, then… I’ve got 15 minutes, I can’t talk right now… Stop. Stop and breathe. This might be the only mindful moment within your day. Learn to appreciate it.

Yes, modern pace of living requires a lot of attention, dedication and time. Yet there is only a limited number of hours in a day. Unless you want to work at night overtime, but then you need to sleep sometimes… It’s very easy to fall into a vortex of doing, without really being. But what if we stop for a moment and really get our attention back to the present? Only then can we fully live. There are simple steps to do that and here they are:

1. One of the most basic things to do when you work on your computer a lot is to take regular breaks. And by regular I mean – really regular, let’s say every 45 minutes. This is for your eyes to rest (you still want to be able to see the number of a bus when you’re 65, right?), but it’s also to rest your mind. In order to do this, you can set up an alarm clock, to make sure you really do this. It’s so easy to get caught on the Internet, because there are millions of things that are really, truly interesting.

2. Take time for yourself. Schedule time off. This is pretty self explanatory, but it’s also too easy to catch yourself surfing the net on your day off, without going anywhere. We’ve all been there. Off time means what it means – you switch the off button. Only from time to time. The world will still be alright when you turn it on again (let’s hope so).

3. When you receive a message, it’s tempting to reply immediately, hit the button and then it’s gone. Sometimes we might have cringe-worthy moments, or a little guilt lurking from a shadow: ‘did I really say that?’ Once it’s posted, it’s there and there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you can delete it, sometimes not. Even if you delete it, someone might have already seen it. Instead, take 2-3 deep breaths before replying, concentrating on the sound and feeling of your breathing. This will help you a lot in formulating a meaningful, mindful answer. Something you really want to say. Not just something on the spur of the moment.

4. When you have a long to-do list, instead of worrying about deadlines and the plan of your day, how about coming back to your feelings to assess whether what you are doing right now is important, useful, your priority? We know very well how to spend way too much time on something we didn’t really want to do. This link, that link… Even when all of them are interesting, it’s good to ask yourself: is this nourishing me? You will then be able to choose wisely, as (not to state the obvious) your time is limited.

5. I cannot stress how important it is to properly rest. Remembering to sleep enough number of hours and having some quiet time from time to time can do wonders. It really can.

6. Walks in nature. :) Oh yes. These are my favourite ones. It’s really good. The smell of fresh air, the look of the trees, the touch of the grass on your feet (you can walk barefoot in summer, yay!)… It all relaxes your body, leaving your mind in a pleasant state of calm. This is not the time to worry or plan things. This is just the time to walk. And looking at green relaxes your eyes, which is an additional bonus if you spend a long time in front of a computer.

7. Do nothing. Really. From time to time. No pressure, no plan, no ideas. Just be.

8. In order to not become completely digitalised, or a cyborg, I would advise you to find some non-digital hobby. So that you don’t stare at the screen in your free time. Something that involves other people (can be group games, hitchhiking, a local knitting group, gardening, or anything else that would make you feel good and be fun for you to do). Additionally, manual activities take the pressure off your mind and induce a more relaxed state, in which your subconscious may bring you ideas you were scratching your head over before, just like that – out of the blue. While you are making a bracelet, water your flowers or make a plane model, your brain is actively processing what happened earlier and preparing answers for you – just like you need them. Useful, huh?

9. Meet people. Instead of chatting on Facebook. I have nothing against Facebook, in fact, it can be a great way of connecting with people. I mean, instead of feeling lazy and chatting, make an effort sometimes to meet that person in real life and exchange your ideas live. You will feel the difference. Especially if you don’t see each other that often. You might see that person from a completely new perspective. Because, there is a limit to what we share online…

10. Last but not least… Have a pet :) My friend’s guinea pig always de-stresses her after a busy day at work. You cannot not smile when looking at a small cute creature who adores you and is waiting to be fed and cuddled. It’s so rewarding. And you can have a pretty good contact with an animal. It’s healing too. You can also tell it a secret and it won’t tell anyone… At least not in your language… ;) It’s really invigorating to have a little friend at home.

This list is obviously not exhaustive. If you come up with other ways of staying mindful in an increasingly fast, digitally-based life, let me know in the comments!

Breathe in, breathe out… Stay calm.

And have a nice morning/evening/day. :)

 

photo credit: lipemesquita via photopin cc

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How to preserve your digital memories and not lose them?

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This article invites you to spare some moments on thinking about how you preserve your digital memories and how precious they are for you. Plus, what you can do to make them last…

We all know that time flies. What happens to our memories when we don’t save them? What happens to all the pictures you take digitally and forget to copy/forget where they are? If they disappear in the abyss of your home, or worse, if you never get to find them again, are they lost?

This is the case with digital photography. Before it became widespread, and certainly before smartphones, people used to preserve their moments in colourful albums, with captions and descriptions, dates at the back etc. A material remaining of a time that has passed.

Nowadays we don’t do that; we can share stuff in seconds, but how much of it is actually time-proof? How much of it will remain? When I once bought a hard drive, a friend told me it was future-proof. But was it, really?

I wonder what would happen if some day our computers and networks collapsed. Just hypothetically. All the shots taken would be lost forever, wouldn’t they? Only a fire could do the same thing to paper photos… On the other hand, no matter what the current device, we can still see the photos taken by Cartier-Bresson in 1940s or pictures of our ancestors, little yellowed, but still, can’t we? What if we found them instead hidden for a 100 years on a device that is broken and not compatible with anything of our times? The pictures might never see the light again…

There is some magic about digital photography, and its fragility. And such pics are more than ever susceptible to a disc crash. Not like your grandma’s paper photos? She could probably recall a person and a time even if it was taken 50 years before. What if the photo never existed? We know the incredible power of photography to bring back emotions, memories, smells…

In this digital era we often cannot recall each of the 700+ pictures we take on holidays (if not many more!), and do we really watch them all afterwards? When we had analog cameras, each picture was physically made on a film, and therefore felt more precious… There were 24 or 36 pictures to be made, so I was more careful to capture only the most memorable moments, instead of everything that caught my eyes. But how do you know upfront which moment will be memorable so that you can prepare your camera? You don’t. In this way digital photography certainly has many benefits. And I won’t even mention uncomparable editing capabilities, automated options and other amazing features right at our fingertips. In this article it’s all about memories that last.

I sometimes print my pictures on paper and put them into an album – just to preserve the most important moments. It’s hard to choose which ones of the hundreds to keep – but it also dignifies them, making me preserve the most representative ones. NOT the most beautiful ones. Only the most meaningful.

What’s the solution? Well, it’s certainly up to you. My role is not to advise the come back to analog photography. Nor it is to tell you to not trust its digital brother. I wanted to only highlight its fragility and to maybe make you think twice when you are archiving your precious memories… And to keep them safe… And to copy them to a newer means of technology that emerges, before they become too obsolete to revive… We all know the digital landscape changes quickly. So, be aware!

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Great album to relax to – ‘Shanti Guitar’ by Stevin McNamara

Relaxing guitar

Not often can you find something soothing and interesting at the same time. This is clearly the case with the album called Shanti Guitar by Stevin McNamara.

The heartfelt picking seems deeper than the usual relaxation sounds you can find online. Very acoustic and natural, it works as a really good background to your daily activities.

This is a piece of intuitive musicianship not to be missed. Repetitive patterns that make you want to listen more. Captivating and yet calming. This album is full of subtle surprises. Delicate percussion instruments make it even more pleasurable. Headphones recommended, although that kind of music would probably sound right in any setting.

My rating: 5 stars.

You can find out more about Stevin & his music here.

photo credit: foltzwerk via photopin cc

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A Short Guide to Mindful Eating

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Mindful eating is a practice of savouring every bite of your meal, in the same way you cherish every day if you live by the carpe diem maxim.

In an era when there are so many overweight people, it might be a good idea to focus on what you are eating, instead of watching TV or reading at the same time. Because we think we are multitasking, whereas in practice we dissolve our energy and do not even notice what we are eating, which can lead us to actually eat more than our body needs. If we practice this for a prolonged time, that can lead to some additional kilograms… Why put so much stress on ourselves? Wouldn’t cherishing every bite in silence bring us better results? After all, it would be nice to have a break in our tight schedule, to enjoy the moment and slow down for a minute.

As Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn puts it,

When we can slow down and really enjoy our food, our life and our health, we take on a much deeper quality.

So, I suggest you do the following next time you have lunch, dinner, or any other meal. It can also apply for snacks, fruit, and tea:

- find a comfortable place to eat

- place your food in front of you and look at it for a couple of seconds, enjoying its texture, colour, shape, temperature,   vapour over a hot tea, or anything else you find special about what you are consuming. Settle into this moment

- breathe in and out

- slow down your thinking and focus on your breath

- take the first bite/sip. Focus on the texture of it in your mouth, on the flavour and on the feeling of eating/drinking. This is the only thing that interests you now. Feel the sensation of swallowing each piece/sip and how it makes you warm inside

- keep eating/drinking like this. If you get distracted by other thoughts, that’s ok. In this case, come back to your flavour and cherish it once more

- when you’re done, take a few deep breaths and acknowledge the experience, how relaxing it was

- you can now come back to your duties and enjoy the day :)

I hope that helps. It’s a lovely practice of being here and now. I am mindfully eating pieces of Green & Black’s Organic chocolate while resting my eyes from the screen, and it is a truly pleasant experience. You can do it too.

If you would like to get to know more about it, there is a book called Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Living by Thich Nhat Hahn.

Love,

Anna

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EARTH(L)ING. How to tap into the Earth’s healing power

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Have you ever had that feeling that when you go out into nature, the troubles that were on your mind before are not that stressful anymore, or sometimes they completely vanish? Even sitting on grass in a park at lunchtime or after a hard day can replenish our energy, relax us or cheer us up. Do you know what exactly is happening?

I have recently encountered (both theoretically and practically) something that certain authors call ‘Earthing’ – the Earth’s natural power to energise your body. According to Clinton Ober, author of the book called Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever!, walking barefoot on natural surfaces like grass, sand or plain dirt is a very natural thing, practiced by people for centuries and there are reasons why. The electric field of the Earth, with its subtly pulsating frequencies, has a significant impact on human body. Free electrons from the ground can make your body’s self-healing and self-regulating mechanisms work better. Electrons are the source of antioxidant power, he says, and they can neutralise free radicals in your body. The free radicals would otherwise cause oxidation reactions, taking electrons from healthy tissue, damaging cells and potentially causing inflammation. Therefore it might be advisable to just have a walk outside, or sit with your shoeless and sockless feet on the ground, and wait for the results.

According to C. Ober, going barefoot in nature for 40 minutes can bring the results like reduction or elimination of chronic pain, improved sleep, normalisation of the body’s biological rhythms, reduced muscle tension and headaches, acceleration of healing of injuries and many more. You can find the whole list in the Summer 2014 issue of Mind Body Spirit Magazine. The author claims to have recovered from years of chronic back pain in this way.

Simple solutions can bring remarkable results. Clinton Ober even says that walking barefoot on concrete can bring some results. But not on asphalt, glass or other surfaces created by humans.

If you’re still unsure whether to give it a try, there is a nice article by a biomedical professional, Dr Jon Briffa, called Earthing – important discovery or mumbo-jumbo?, giving some more references, research and his personal experience on the subject…

Practicing Earthing briefly for just two days has made me feel relaxed, connected to my body, and it made my mind a bit clearer. It has relieved my headache and made me feel rejuvenated. This may be because the pace of nature is much slower to the usually busy lives a lot of us live nowadays… More to come if I dedicate some time to do this on a regular basis (this is the plan)… Because when you do it,

you look, feel and sleep better. You have more energy and less pain. It’s Mother Earth’s gift to all of us.

(quote from Clinton Ober’s article entitled EARTHING: Tapping into Mother Earth’s Remarkable Healing Power, Mind Body Spirit Magazine, Summer 2014, page 18 -> you can read it on paper or on your iPhone/iPad using this app)

Take good care and enjoy your barefoot walk!

photo credit: jjay69 via photopin cc

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