Wednesday Links

Me and Eric on his 40th birthday

Me and Eric on his 40th birthday

Somehow I went from Mr. Money Mustache's website to this article, "The Ultimate Real Housewife of Houston," about a socialite with a 3000-square-foot closet. Craziness. 

There is now conclusive evidence that the toilet paper should hang over the roll. I've always known this, but it's nice to find confirmation. 

Emma Lincoln has an interesting post about spending money on yourself. This is something I probably do too much, but I bet I skimp on things that would benefit me. And I know I have friends who have trouble spending money on themselves. Emma mentions a $70 meditation app, which I just downloaded. 

Femme Frugality is doing an interesting "Around the World in 80 Books" reading challenge this year. She's on Russia and Norway right now. 

Budget and the Beach has a good reminder to not let frugality interfere with taking care of your health. Money spent on health is an investment in the future. 

A new-to-me blog, 365 Less Things, focuses on decluttering. Every Monday, she posts "Mini Mission Monday," a weekly plan to get rid of seven things. I already did today's assignment. Since it was a sentimental items, I made sure to take lots of pictures before it went away. 

 

Day Seven Paintings: Flying and Crawling Mind by Vladimir Manzhos

A little street art from Russia. Street art is fascinating for many reasons. It's impermanent, open to destruction by the elements and other people, illegal in many places, and often unusual and vibrant in a way framed art is not. 

I love this dreaming reader, illustrating the magic of reading. The black-and-white page gives birth to a colorful, magical world, and it's just as wonderful as it looks here. 

 

Week 29: Something Creative - Look at a Painting Every Day

  1. Van Gogh's The Potato Eaters
  2. Contrasts by Ekrem Yalcindag
  3. The Cardsharps by Caravaggio
  4. Imatra in Wintertime by Akseli Gallen-Kallela
  5. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat
  6. Still Life of Fish and Cat by Clara Peeters
  7. Flying and Crawling Mind by Vladimir Manzhos

Mindfulness Updates and Thoughts on Reading Fiction

A Tiny Bit of Practice is Still Practice

I've been under the weather this week, some sort of cough-cold thing, so I haven't felt much like improving my mindfulness. I did listen to one of the 12-minute "longer" mindfulness exercises yesterday, though, called Breath Awareness Practice. Here's a link to Dr. Siegel's site where you can download a similar exercise. It's the first one on the page. 

Doing the exercise was interesting. I don't normally thinking about living a sea of air, but we do. The exercise really did make me realize how much is going on, even when I'm doing nothing, more or less. So much to listen to, to feel (for example, how your body is touching the chair you're sitting on), the air, etc. 

To be honest, this experience reminded me somewhat of drug-induced experiences. "Oh my god, man, the air... it's everywhere!" 

Most of the time I was thinking about breathing, though, I was aware of how my lungs weren't feeling so great. 

Winter continues

Winter continues

I've been thinking, too, about how certain situations require more mindfulness naturally. I took Hazel out for a walk today right after it started snowing. In some places, the new snow covered old ice and the sidewalk was quite slippery. When I headed out, I decided to listen to music instead of the audiobook so I'd be able to focus more on walking without getting distracted. You know, like not texting while driving. Sometimes you're just asking for trouble. 

For the record, I didn't fall down, but I still slipped twice, even with attempting to pay close attention. 

Mindful Reading?

So I didn't get a lot of mindfulness training in the last couple days, but I did get a lot of reading done. I finally finished David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks (I started it in Vail, last December) and I started and read half of Haruki Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Colorless Tsukuru was reviewed by Patti Smith for the New York Times, which I think is pretty cool. I loved Patti Smith memoir, Just Kids. She does the audio version and it was neat to hear the story in her words. 

Is reading fiction mindful? It feels like it. As this article at Buddhist Door explains, if nothing else, reading fiction helps us develop empathy, which is a key part of mindfulness. For me, reading fiction keeps me in the moment of the novel. I move my awareness over to the story and characters and completely forget my own situation. I might be brought back by immediate needs, such as needing to go to the bathroom or being hungry, but I'm definitely not living outside the moment, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future.

I've always loved reading fiction for those reasons, but as I've gotten older, I've found other things to fill my time with - hence, I'd been reading the same novel for three months. I know that it would be good for me to rethink my routines so that I defaulted to reading more often, rather than email or the internet. I haven't yet figured out a way, but if I could read and call that mindfulness practice, that just might work. 

Week Twenty-seven: Mental Health/Spiritual - Mindfulness

  1. Mindfulness Updates and Thoughts on Reading Fiction

Wednesday Links

Here's what I've been reading this week:

How to Tidy Your Home Mindfully - More on Marie Kondo's ideas about making our possessions have more meaning. 

Brew Mile - This race is coming to St. Louis! Unlike the Tap 'N' Run, where you drink small amounts of beer, at the Brew Mile you drink four full beers over the course of a mile. I've heard this is much more challenging and maybe not even doable, but I'm happy to give it a try! They haven't set a date yet for Brew Mile in St. Louis, but this year's Tap 'N' Run is June 6th. Running and beer go so well together. 

Be More With Less has an interesting post about books. In "The Joy of Books isn't in Ownership," Courtney Carver talks about where the joy is, and also gives some reading recommendations. We've let go of a lot of books in recent months, but I'm itching to go back through the ones downstairs using the method we used here, also from Marie Kondo. 

Pamela Druckerman at the New York Times is skeptical about decluttering and mindfulness. She outlines the reasons why in "The Clutter Cure's Illusory Joy." I disagree with her conclusions, but it's still an interesting read. I think for decluttering to be useful, it has be combined with mindfulness. Mindfulness won't magically appear in the empty spaces, but it could be easier to find once you've cleared out some of the clutter. 

One of the cute images Weather Whiskers has for snow

One of the cute images Weather Whiskers has for snow

I love the weather, following the weather, speculating about the weather, talking about the weather, and looking at weather apps. My all-time favorite is Weather Whiskers, but I don't like it because of the accuracy of the forecasts. If accuracy is your focus, Lifehacker put together a list of the "Five Best Weather Websites," which focuses more on how useful they are than how cute they are. :)