Journey Un-Gnome

We’re misunderstood.

Our people, our motives.

You find us evil.

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I’ve enjoyed my time.

Watching the children frolic.

Through the leaves and snow.

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These ceramic pants,

Protect me from sun and dirt,

Now covered in ants.

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My face does not change,

But my heart beats all the same.

You stare right through me.

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See that big white truck?

Gets me very excited.

Haven’t moved in six years.

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As I get picked up,

A blissful jubilation.

Thinking of new, green grass.

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Life can be so harsh.

One moment you have it all.

Then you’re in the trash.

Green, Green Grass

Sometimes it can be a dreadful challenge for each of us to not preoccupy with the things we don’t have and the experiences we haven’t felt yet in life. While I firmly believe that striving towards your dreams every day is an essential part of routine happiness, the ‘grass is always greener’ mentality can be intensely negative and downright disastrous for our mental, physical, and emotional health.  Instead of using the things we don’t have, but desperately want, as a tool for inspiration, we use it as a justifiable excuse to have a pity party and self-loathing session about how bad we have it.

My father would regularly present me with a powerful thought whenever I thought my life was tough growing up. I’ll be the first to admit that his simple statement really upset me because I was immature and couldn’t comprehend the fortune and richness which I was ubiquitously blessed with.  Here’s what he’d always say:

Someone in this world would consider your worst day, heaven.

-Tim Hart

I’ll reiterate that this declaration was frustrating and irritating to me because of my ignorance and unfamiliarity with the world around me. But boy, is this statement ever true. As I grow older (as we grow older) it’s difficulty to keep this mindset when going about our everyday business. Within our predominantly consumerist and superficial culture, the temptation to want all of this stuff we don’t ‘need’ or think we ‘have to have’ can invite feelings of envy, pessimism, and sheer disapproval of the blessings we already possess. It’s almost like we have this subconscious inclination to act this way.

Please do not be discouraged, for hope is never lost. I’ve compiled a short list of things which I, my friends, and my family have adopted that help us reevaluate life’s most essential ‘needs’. Rest assured, although they seem quite simple I can all but promise they will help us lead a more optimistic, satisfying, and happier life.

  • Daily Blessings Journal: something recommended to me by my grandmother. It’s simple, cost effective, and takes less time per day than brushing your teeth. Just grab a notebook of any kind or size and draw a vertical line directly down the middle. On the left side mark the date and on the right side write down one thing you are thankful for every day. This can be as little as one word or as extensive as a paragraph; as simple as ‘toilet paper’ or as specific as ‘20/20 vision’.
  • Ignore celebrity gossip: I personally find it astonishing the amount of people who live vicariously through the lives of others. It seems like their emotions are contingent upon that of their favorite celeb. Why not utilize this ‘wasted’ mental energy towards focusing on and bettering yourself?
  • Pick your news selectively: The 5 o’clock news and other common news sources are blatantly coated with destructive, fear-pumping stories that accomplish nothing but strike fear into the hearts of civilians and breed anxiety within the masses. The slogan “if it bleeds, it leads” didn’t just come out of nowhere. There is undeniable importance in keeping up with the world around us. However, is it too preposterous to think that our world is just as beautiful as it is a gigantic disaster?

Choosing Which Plates to Balance

There’s an overwhelming unease and apprehension brought on by the feeling of “there’s just not enough time in the day to accomplish what I want/need/have to.” Constanly wrestling with the minute hand of the clock as it tick-tocks the day away is a difficult chore and uphill battle we all try to win every day. This has the tendency to make us tense, worried, and constantly frazzled during our day with this sickening fear of a day spent unproductively.

Be it spending time with a significant other, arranging time to play (or learn) an instrument, or writing the next ground breaking screen play, we all have hobbies and joys that we would rather be doing instead of working, eating, sleeping, or any of the other basic human necessities.  At times, we let the things we have to do get in the way of the things we desperately want to do and in place of fulfilling our desires and wants we merely gripe about how fast the time goes.

Here’s a fun fact and some easy to follow arithmetic. There are 86,400 seconds in one 24-hour day.  Of which, you will most likely use:

  • 28,800 seconds for work (~ 8 hours)
  • 3,600 seconds to eat (~ 1 hour)
  • 28,800 to sleep (~ 8 hours)

These three basic requirements which are fairly universal to a human’s needs. If you add all of these figures together and subtract from the total amount of seconds in a day, you still have:

25,200 seconds of time to spend freely (~ 7 hours)

This is more than adequate time to do a magnitude of things we’ve always wanted to: start a blog, read a book, write a song, watch your favorite movie, learn, take a class at the community college, spend time with friends, go for a run, paint something, etc.

The harsh reality of this entire conundrum: those 86,400 seconds slow down for no one and no thing. The sands of time will continue to descend from the hour glass of life regardless of outside influences like money, power, fame, or fortune. It is entirely up to us to decide how we wish to spend that time. Really, it all comes down to sheer prioritization based on importance, want, need, and desire. The things we wish to dedicate our entire beings to will make themselves very pertinent in our lives and we will find the accurate time and effort to dedicate towards them. However, we have to make sure that we are having a fun, care-free time while doing the things we enjoy in our free time. This characteristic is absolutely essential to making the most out of the 86,400 seconds of our day.

My high school guidance counselor once made the analogy that life is a lot like the circus performers who balance spinning plates on sticks (maybe if you haven’t seen this you’ve at least heard of it). Our lives are very comparable to these people in this way: the more things we decide to ‘take on’ in life equates directly to more plates being added. Life is a insanely delicate and beautifully intricate balance of time, effort, and want. The more plates you add, the harder it’s going to be to keep them all spinning in place without eventually dropping one. If you add more plates the harder it is to balance them all. Focus on keeping a couple plates spinning perfectly in line with one another and you will have no difficulty keeping secure for a very long time.

The Ballad of Patch Corduroy

This basement is dark,

My mistakes left a mark,

As I recall most of my shortcomings.

The coffee is burning,

Sinatra is turning,

While I playfully tickle the stubborn willow.

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Please give me this day,

To read books and play,

And feel the force of a New Slang.

For I am most alive,

Like I’ll almost survive,

When a leap off the diving board of doubt.

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I took a large bite of life,

Cut apprehension with a knife,

In a blanket of my enemies convictions.

My confessions still lie,

In warm humble pie,

While I shun my meaningless obligations.

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So let me lay down,

With no one around,

To contemplate the wisdom of death.

When it’s all said and done,

I’ll still need a bun,

To better the bitter taste of this bigger picture.

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Feelin’ Fruity: Sunday Showcase with Jessie Lemmons

JessieWhen I first met Jessie in the spring of last year, I was immediately entranced by her constant upbeat spirit and positive outlook on life. Her kind heart, caring demeanor, and non-judgmental viewpoints make her not only a great friend, but also a mentally enriching person to be around. Among other things, Jessie is a devout raw vegan and maintains a healthy diet by consuming mostly fruits and vegetables. To some this diet may seem strange and ‘unhealthy’, but I can assure that if you take the time to read her descriptions listed below it might changes the mentality you currently have regarding this diet. I personally think that Jessie, as well as other people commit to the raw vegan lifestyle, are very brave and courageous to adapt and strictly maintain a lifestyle that completely contradicts the standard ‘meat and carb’ based diet in this country.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jessie in this week’s Sunday Showcase to discuss health, wellness, and, of course, a lilttle bit of fruit. In her spare time, Jessie enjoys playing mother to three lovely guinea pigs, watching Arrested Development, and spending time with her boyfriend, Josh.

 

To the uneducated eye, being a raw vegan or fruitarian seems may seem drastic or unhealthy. Can you please educate our readers on the benefits and misconceptions associated with this lifestyle? 

After being a part of this community for over 2 years it is difficult to look outside at the standard American eaters and consider that normal by any stretch of the imagination. Eating animals is not only extreme but it has been proven over and over again to be unhealthy and to be the culprit of the top causes of death in many westernized countries (mainly heart related). I do, however, understand that from the outside looking in, eating only fruit and veggies seems a bit bonkers. I can assure readers that it is not only healthy but it is HEALING. Eating more foods that have not been processed or cooked and that come from the earth help restructure and rejuvenate damaged cells in our bodies, improve our immune systems, and elevate overall health. Many people in this movement have healed things from acne to brain tumors simply through switching to a fruit based raw vegan diet. One of the most common misconceptions is that we are malnourished; this is far from the truth. Raw vegans get a HUGE abundance of vitamins and minerals through our diet, it is low in fat, high in carbs, and low in protein (I will get to the protein later).

 

You manage a Facebook and YouTube channel to promote healthy living and educate people on the world of clean and sustainable eating habits. Can you please tell us a little bit about this? What is your initiative, motto, following, and reach? Do you enjoy doing it and have you successfully cultured people on this way of life?

There are literally thousands of ways for raw vegans and fruitarians to connect globally. The list is endless if you just look. Having a YouTube channel is essential because there are so few of us in the world and we all want to see each other and communicate in some way. My channel, which initially as a video blog, is called Raw Vibrations. I do weekly videos discussing resources in our community as well as certain things I am doing to improve myself. My channel is actually going to be taking a new direction this year (2014) as we, my boyfriend Josh and I, will interview local farmers, post about fitness stuff, some recipes, and lots of other new and exciting things. We love meeting new people and sharing information about fruit and overall health.

[Please check out the links below]

 

There’s a lot of buzz around GMO and other chemically modified produce. Do you believe these claims have validity and where do you default to getting the purest form of fruits and vegetables?

Yes. Simple: we always buy organic.

 

How do you incorporate protein into your diet?

There is a startling amount of protein in fruits and vegetables. Additionally, I would like to share this quote with you: “The World Health Organization says humans need about 5% of their daily calories to come from protein to be healthy. The USDA puts this figure at 6.5%. On average, fruits have about 5% of their calories from protein. Vegetables have from 20-50% of their calories from protein. Sprouted seeds, beans, and grains contain from 10-25% of their calories from protein. So if you are eating any variety of living plant foods, you are getting more than adequate protein. Numerous scientific studies have shown the daily need for protein to be about 25-35 grams per day. So if you ate 2,000 calories per day, and ate raw plant foods that had an average of 10% of their calories from protein, you would get 200 calories worth of protein, or 50 grams. This is more than adequate to support optimal well-being” ( http://www.living-foods.com/faq.html).

 

You always work directly with certain people on properly adjusting and monitoring their diets to be, think, and feel healthier, correct? Do you enjoy this project? Do you do it for compensation? Is it successful? 

My services are open to everyone interested and I work solely based on donations. Soon we will be hosting retreats and workshops and stuff like that which is really exciting because we want to help as many people as possible regardless of their previous raw diet history or exposure. As far as the people I have worked with, I wouldn’t be comfortable saying that they weren’t “successful” just because they haven’t transitioned to 100% raw yet. They have the information and I think seeking it out and wanting to get well and take your health into your own hands is a sign of success. I have never ever met a failure in my life. Ever. Not in terms of this lifestyle or in terms of anything else for that matter. I care about everyone I work with and I admire those who really care about themselves and are ready to throw caution to the wind and do anything they can to feel their absolute best. I am inspired by those people. 

Keep up with Jessie and feel the Raw Vibrations at:

Facebook (Jessie)https://www.facebook.com/jessiesuzie?fref=ts

Facebook (Raw Vibrations): Uhttps://www.facebook.com/RawVibrations

YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/user/addicted2thaShinDigg?feature=watch

Saggy Serge

The bags under my eyes are large.

They seem to be the ones in charge.

I am ordered to call them names.

What’s that it you ask? Saggy Serge.

 

 

I stare into my mirror at night,

and gasp at this horrific sight.

They whisper, “Head to bed right now!

Hit that switch and turn off the light.”

 

For years I have agreed to do

exactly what they told me to.

Tonight’s the night I say no more.

Tonight’s the night I see it through.

 

They bark demands as the clock ticks.

Their hurtful tone, it really sticks.

You know what else? They are quite mean.

These bags under my eyes are pricks.

 

I walked towards the kitchen sink

and filled it with ice to the brink.

Then put my fat fanny right in.

I stayed up all night and didn’t blink.

Life Is An Hourglass

The pressures and stresses that accompany the obligations of our everyday lives can be overwhelming and sometimes seemingly unmanageable. It’s extremely difficult to not fixate and constantly worry about the responsibilities which lie before us tomorrow, at the end of the week, or next month. It is not rare to see this self-inflected pressure deteriorate and harm our overall drive, motivation, and health in the long run if not managed properly.

To defeat these urges of mentally preoccupying on the future. we must compartmentalize each day by focusing solely on the tasks at hand. As ironic as this may sound, this ‘future’ we are so often mentally tense about is happening entirely and only in the present day…not tomorrow or the next.

It is often a complete waste of time, energy, and intelligence to be fully absorbed in yesterday or apprehensive about tomorrow. The most efficient way to overcome the past or prepare for the future is so devote all of our drive, thinking power, and enthusiasm on doing today’s work marvelously, brilliantly, and to the best of our abilities.

When we slow down and honestly think about it, the future is all but promised. The only time we have readily available is the present moment. The time from when our feet hit the floor in the morning until our heads hit the pillow at bedtime. If we continue to obsess with our predetermined destinations or hopeful futures, we will completely  forget to enjoy the path to which we get there and subsequently let life seep through the irretrievable cracks of eternity.

Time, the most treasured possession of man, is fading away at unbelievable speeds. Each year seems to move by quicker than the last. Let us not look back in our elder age with regret that we didn’t seize the treasure that each day presents because we didn’t fully understand the gift.  Let us break our days into bit sized chunks instead of trying to consume the whole pie in one bite.

Here are a few things I have been taught and applied to my own life in terms of time management that have helped me get the most out of each day:

  • Lists: grab a one dollar note book from your local supermarket to make a list of the things you need/want to accomplish during each day (and only focus on that day). This not only helps with visualizing your daily tasks but it is also psychologically rewarding to cross them off as your day progresses and you complete each one.
  • Don’t try to do it all at once: Instead of trying to race through a book, read a chapter a day. Instead of trying to run 8 miles when you start to train, run for 2 miles. Instead of frantically applying for as many jobs or scholarships as you can all at one, apply for one at a time. Dividing the toughest tasks into smaller pieces allows you to build up, progress, get better, and do the job with thoroughness every step of the way.
  • Relax: If you don’t get everything done that you wanted to in a day, don’t fret. Maybe scale it back a bit and reassess the balance you need to ensure each day feels accomplished and productive.

In closing, I would like to share a note I found from a doctor to Ted Bengermino regarding his extremely high stress levels and the tole is was taking on his mental, emotional, and physical health. Within this note is housed the perfect analogy for daily life both figuratively and metaphorically.

Ted,

I want you to think of your life as an hourglass. You know there are thousands of grans of sand in the top of the hourglass; and they all pass slowly and evenly through the narrow neck in the middle. Nothing your or I could do would make more than one grain of sand pass through this narrow neck without impairing the hourglass. You and I and everyone else are like the hourglass. When we start in the morning, there are hundreds of tasks which we feel that we must accomplish that day, but if we do not take them one at a time and let them pass through the day slowly and evenly, as do the grains of sand passing through the narrow neck of the hourglass, then we are bound to break our own physical and mental structure.

 

The Strength We Never Thought We Had

All living things simply exist in reality but each of us live entirely within our own minds. For our thoughts are driving determinants of our daily emotions and are dictated by a single, solitary source:

Yourself.

The mind has the power to transform the richest man with the utmost material into moralistic rubble, poverty stricken peasants into prosperous kings, and those who have experienced the harshest failures into conquering winners.

An unfortunate but inescapable fact of life is that we cannot control absolutely everything that occurs to us on a day-to-day basis. On Tuesday you may be confronted with some sort of crippling disaster while on Friday you may experience goosebump-inducing triumphs. Or last week you may have had your heart shattered only to find love in Grocery Outlet the month following.

If we spend our precious thinking space worrying, stressing, and trying to control and manipulate everyone and everything around us to be self-satisfying, we will endure a tremendous amount of unnecessary mental strain and agony. Why not, in the words of J.C. Penny, “do the best job we possibly can and leave the results in the laps of the gods.

Cliché this or cliché that but our thoughts make us what we are and our life will act according to the way we think. If we continually think negatively towards our enemies or are envious towards the lives of others, our brains will stew and our souls will mold until we reach the harsh awareness of a life wasted; of a life spent worrying and stressing about things entirely out of our control.

Believe it or not, your mental and physical capabilities are far beyond the constrictions and boundaries in which you imagine. We’ve all heard fascinating, but factual, stories about mothers summoning the strength to lift large objects (like an entire motor vehicle) when their children are in harms way. You have the power and ability to do the same, trust me.

J.A. Hadfield, a British psychiatrist, once experimented with mental hypnosis and the psychology of power. In his experiment, he tested the strength of 3 men by means of simple mental suggestion before gripping a ‘dynamometer’ (a device that is able to measure grip and convert it into pounds). He tested each man under three conditions. The first were standard walking conditions and their average grip was around 101 pounds. Before the second condition he applied hypnotism by telling them they were very weak and, as a result, the average grip was 29 pounds (note: one of the three men in this study was a prize fighter). On the third and final condition he did the exact opposite by convincing the three men that they were each very strong. The results were astonishing, as the average grip was roughly 142 pounds.

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

We each have the ability to do the same and are only constrained by the mental shackles with which we lock ourselves in to. The examples stated here are not meant to be strict to terms of physical strength only, as the same practices can apply to mental vigor as well. Instead of wasting our valuable thoughts on negative things beyond our jurisdiction, let us focus on the daily, positive choices that will better us each day.

 “I am deeply convinced that our peace of mind and the joy we get of our living depends not on where we are, or what we have, or who we are, but solely upon our mental attitude. Outward conditions have very little to do with it.”

Dale Carnegie

Pickle Spear

A pickle spear just as you wake

will do you good for goodness sake.

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A pickle spear before the bus

will gladly chase away your fuss.

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A pickle spear before you work

will put your face into a smirk.

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A pickle spear before you jog

will help you see right through the fog. 

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A pick spear before a bath

will lead you down a trusty path. 

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A pickle spear before you read

will grant you happiness indeed. 

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A pickle spear before you sleep

will help you count those flying sheep.

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A pickle spear just once a day

will keep your troubles far away.

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*Dedicated to my roommate Alexander. The only other person I know who loves pickle spears as much as I do.