Would You Like More Mindfulness With That? Yes Please!(With Video)

Mindfulness is where it’s at.

mindfulness

I posted semi recently about the importance of using mindfulness meditation and how using it can help us in a number of different areas of our lives.

Among its theorized benefits are self-control, objectivity, affect tolerance, enhanced flexibility, equanimity, improved concentration and mental clarity, emotional intelligence and the ability to relate to others and one’s self with kindness, acceptance and compassion.

I, for one, need more of the last one. I know that I am very hard on myself and I know that I need to work on this. Perhaps this stems from my living with dysthymia.

Ways that I am Practicing Mindfulness

practice mindfulness

Just Be

 

I have an 18 year old son who lives with me full time. Just me and him. All the time. Do you maybe get where I am going with this? As all parents know there are times of frustration and irritability. When these moments arise, I am using mindfulness to go to my happy place and to help me stay centered and sane.

Could you do nothing for 2 minutes?

I love music. So what I am doing now is when I listen to any song I am just sitting and listening to it. I am not doing anything else. Okay, I may tap my feet or fingers to the beat. Maybe I do sing along. But it is all about the song at that point in time.

 

When doing a workout, I just do the workout. In between exercises I stretch. I breathe. I do not go off to clean the dishes or check my email. Follow me on this? I stay where I am supposed to be at that point in time. Studies do show that mindfulness meditation decrease task effort and having thoughts that are unrelated to the task at hand (Lutz et al., 2009). In other words in makes things easier to do!

mindfulness meditation

We are so conditioned to do more than one thing at a time that we no longer know how to do just one thing at a time. There seems to be very little focus on the task at hand. What is so wrong with just doing one thing and doing it well? I say nothing.

We also are led to believe that we should always be doing more. There is nothing wrong with doing nothing for a few minutes a day.

In reality any task can be done mindfully. Housework, brushing your teeth, reading, while on a hike, and so on. You stay in the present moment and use it to help focus your thoughts on the positive experience that you are having.

Mindfulness is such an important tool to have and use.

 

Check out this post for a list of the benefits of mindfulness.

Want books? We got books. Check out some of the top books on Mindfulness.

 

“Live Simply.”

 

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Tiny Houses or Trailers? Which Do You Prefer?

Which is better for tiny house living?

Tiny Modular House

Tiny Modular House

Those of us that love tiny houses and all dwellings small just love them for what they are. We enjoy the cuteness, the small footprint, the money savings, the simple life they afford us, and the sustainability of it all.

We cannot get enough of tiny houses it seems.

But what about if you were asked to actually make a choice between an actual tiny house on wheels or a trailer repurposed into a tiny house?

Is one better than the other?

 

The Case For Tiny Houses

tiny house living

Ready for a Tiny House?

1. They look more like an actual house. Just…tiny. Some of us like familiarity. A tiny house can feel more solid, and even though it may be on wheels, it feels more permanent.

2. They are more weatherproof. Because they are built from scratch from the trailer up, you are going to make sure to use all of the proper weatherproofing materials necessary for your location.

3. You choose what you want to use. A lot of us love tiny houses for their eco footprint. You get to choose green building materials and appliances etc. A bit harder(almost impossible) in a trailer based tiny house.

4. You can make it any way you want! You are starting from scratch so you can do whatever you want.

japanese tiny house

 

The Case For Trailers as Tiny House

rv tiny house

1. There are more mobile. They started life as something that was meant to be moved around. They are more aerodynamic and much lighter, therefore they are easier to move around.

2. Building codes and legal stuff. RVs are pretty straightforward in terms of getting insurance for one, and interestingly, there appears to be a relatively larger community of people who live full-time in their RVs who can share their experience.

3. Cheaper to get started. There are thousands of trailers for sale out there that can be picked up for next to nothing. So if you are on a super tight budget, this IS the way to get started.

 

The Case For A Hybrid

Ron-Rusnak-Tiny-Trailer-House

c Ron Rusnak

 

People who have some serious skills are picking up trailers and then redoing them into tiny houses that will make you drool.

Or maybe you want to find a school bus and turn it into THIS!

 

The options are many when it comes to actually deciding what kind of tiny house or small house you want to live in.

I have only mentioned a few of the pros when it comes to living in a tiny home or trailer. Of course there are cons to consider as well. You’ve got some serious decisions to make.

 

 

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“Live Simply”

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The Best Travel Books That Will Inspire You To Hit The Road

Where does inspiration come from? For those us up with serious Wanderlust we may find the desire to travel is just innate. It is in us and we cannot seem to explain it.

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore, Italy

 
“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton

Add to that a book or three and a good movie with a travel theme and we are pretty much gone.

Here are some of the best travel books that may just have you packing your bags.

 

best travel books into the wild
Into the Wild– In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.

 

top travel picture book
Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places– Does anyone know the world better than National Geographic? National Geographic takes you on a photographic tour of the world’s most spectacular destinations, inspiring tangible ideas for your next trip. Hundreds of the most breathtaking locales—both natural and man-made—are illustrated with vivid images taken by the organization’s world-class photographers. The #1 Best Seller in Travel Pictorial Reference Books for a good reason!

 

top travel books eat pray love
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia– This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life.

 

best travel books vagabonding
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel– There’s nothing like vagabonding: taking time off from your normal life—from six weeks to four months to two years—to discover and experience the world on your own terms. In this one-of-a-kind handbook, veteran travel writer Rolf Potts explains how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel.

 

best travel books geography of bliss
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World– Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author’s case, moments of “un-unhappiness.

 

best travel books
Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy– When Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) learns her husband is cheating on her from a writer whom she gave a bad review, her life is turned upside down. In an attempt to bring her out of a deep depression, her best friend, Patti (Sandra Oh), encourages Frances to take a tour of Italy. During the trip, the new divorcée impulsively decides to purchase a rural Tuscan villa and struggles to start her life anew amid colorful local characters

 

the beach
The Beach– Also a movie with Leo DiCapprio(which is pretty damn good). The Khao San Road, Bangkok — first stop for the hordes of rootless young Westerners traveling in Southeast Asia. On Richard’s first night there, in a low-budget guest house, a fellow traveler slashes his wrists, bequeathing to Richard a meticulously drawn map to “the Beach.”

 

Walden On Wheels
Walden on Wheels: On The Open Road from Debt to Freedom– Not exactly a travel book per se, but this one had me laughing out loud. In this frank and witty memoir, Ken Ilgunas lays bare the existential terror of graduating from the University of Buffalo with $32,000 of student debt. Ilgunas set himself an ambitious mission: get out of debt as quickly as possible. Inspired by the frugality and philosophy of Henry David Thoreau, Ilgunas undertook a 3-year transcontinental journey, working in Alaska as a tour guide, garbage picker, and night cook to pay off his student loans before hitchhiking home to New York. Ultimately it changed his life.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

 

There you have it. Just a short list of some of the best travel books to inspire you to venture off and embrace the wanderlust that may be coursing through your veins. Goodness knows that there are countless others!

What other books have led you to travel and explore the world?  Please share them with us in the comments.

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“Quit your job. Travel. Die happy.”

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Reasons Why You Should Sell Everything And Travel The World

Sell It All And Travel The World

amazing places to travel

Santorini, Greece

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous

I have made the decision to follow my wanderlust and travel. I am planning on heading out next year to explore all that this amazing world has to offer.

It will be budget travel at its best. I will have to work along the way and I embrace the thought of doing this.

A lot of people think that doing something like this is a really cool idea. And of course a lot of people cannot get their head around why a person would want to leave a relatively secure life to travel the world.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

I find that a lot of us do the same thing every day. We are indeed creatures of habit. Travel has the wonderful ability to open our eyes. It shows us different places and different people and different cultures. Travel has the ability to make you a well-rounded person.

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon, USA

I am interested in learning who I am as a person. I am 45 and I am still learning about myself. Taking off to explore and travel the world will help me learn more about me. Yes there will be challenges. That is the point. How will I handle these challenges? Will I crumple? What am I made of?

Summit Bridge Langkawi

Summit Bridge, Langkawi

Despite the fact that I am by nature an introvert, I do want to meet people and hear their stories. Traveling can create meaningful relationships through shared experiences. These people will give you a new perspective on things. Who knows who you may meet and what you may learn?

Eilean-Donan-Castle-Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Like I said, life becomes habit and thus it can become a bit routine shall we say. Maybe you are up for a bit of an adventure. How about ziplining over the jungle canopy in Peru, successfully navigating the alleyways of Marrakech, the speedboat ride in New Zealand, or a Jeep trip with the grazing animals in Tanzania to get you feeling what being an active human being is like (again).

Baatara Gorge Waterfall

Baatara Gorge Waterfall

Think of the stories you will be able to tell. I plan to write down everything that happens. I want to look back on my life and say, “I did that.” Heading out to travel provides one with the opportunity to create your own life on your own terms.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

Machu Piccu

Machu Piccu

I am a huge history person. I love learning about the world and its people. I think the best way to keep learning is to actually travel and find out about a place first hand. What I see on a news story is probably very skewed. The school of travel is the best teacher.

petra Jordan

Petra, Jordan

I also want to just prove that I can do this. Both to myself and to others. I want to challenge myself. There should be more to life than working all the damn time just to pay for stuff we don’t really need.

I have had this desire to wander, to explore, to learn for as long as I can remember and everything I have done in my life has led me to this point.

I have this amazing opportunity to travel the world and see as much as possible before I die.

That is exactly what I am going to do.

Want to join me?

Be sure to check out How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter for great budget travel tips.

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“Quit your job. Travel. Die happy.”

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What The Hell Is Wrong With The School System?

Here are some facts to preface this post.

I am 45 years old.

I went to school in the 1970’s and 80’s in Nova Scotia, Canada.

I have a Bachelor of Education degree.

I work as a substitute teacher in Nova Scotia, and to be honest I rather enjoy it.

I have taken various courses on learning and teaching over the past two decades.

I am not really sure where this post may go. These are just my own thoughts and observations based on spending time in various schools and grade levels.

Somewhere over the past couple of decades students have been deemed to always be “right”. What I mean by this statement is that telling a student that they have the wrong answer or that a word is spelled incorrectly is now not okay.

Why is it that teachers are no longer allowed to correct students when it comes to their learning?

I read posts on Facebook in which some some people feel that cursive writing should still be taught in school.

Those people need to go to a school and see what a teacher has to deal with on a day to day basis. Just trying to get students to sit down these days is damn near a full time job. This is not in any way a poor reflection of the teacher. The students just do whatever they want despite the teacher asking repeatedly for the students to sit down and pay attention.

I am not suggesting that students need to sit down and shut up. We all learn differently. There is certainly a place for cooperative learning strategies etc. in the classroom. The problem seems to be that a lot of the time students are not capable of, or not willing to follow the instructions of the teacher. There are times when students need to sit quietly and actually pay attention.

So trying to teach cursive writing? Good luck with that. This is just one small example.

Hell, I am very open minded when it comes to students doing their work. After I have told you what the assignment is, if you want to listen to music while doing your work, of course you can do that. If we are have a group discussion on a topic, then maybe you should listen to what others have to say and jump in with your thoughts when it is appropriate.

Hell, teachers are not allowed to instruct students in the early grades how to hold a pencil anymore. We are not allowed to correct improper spelling. We rarely get students to take notes anymore as this has been deemed to be an inefficient use of time. So everything is photocopied for the students. Ergo they make no connections from seeing a word to writing a word and then comprehending that word. There is no practice and there sure as hell is no mastery of a skill. These are just my own observations remember.

The same could be said of learning the multiplication tables. I still think there is value in learning them. Students just won’t take the time to do it. They have numbers charts and multiplication charts that do it for them. They see numbers, but they have no idea what these numbers or computations mean. I am not sure that they are learning anything.

*Some students do need these numbers tables to actually help them, but damn near every student just wants to rely on them instead of learning their multiplication tables.

What the hell? When did this become the norm?

Certainly technology plays a huge part in today’s classroom. I get that. But just today the students I was with(grade 7) were asked to do a “simple” survey on jobs and work etc. Who know where this brainstorm came from.

The survey was to be done on their tablets. Well trying to get these students to login to the survey app and understand the questions etc. etc. was damn near an exercise in futility. The “10 minute” survey took 25 minutes of class time. This is just one example.

Technology can be a wonderful tool when used properly. I am just not sure how often this is happening.

Of course the question should be asked: What do we want from our students?

I would like to see engaged, thinking individuals. Question everything. Be problem solvers and critical thinkers. Ultimately this should lead to engaged and productive members of society no matter what you may decide to go on and do with your life.

When students in grade 6 ask how to spell the word quote or regret, or some other rather simple word, I personally think there is a problem. There is a class set of dictionaries AND you have a TABLET! Look it up. Just a thought.

Back to the main point. Where did we go so wrong? Is it because our children have become so spoiled and so entitled that to even ask them to sit down and listen for 5 or 10 minutes is like asking for the moon? Maybe. I am not a child or education expert.

I just love teaching and education and learning and helping other people learn new things.

I would LOVE for a parent to observe a classroom for a week. To see how often students are off task. To see how many times they ignore a teacher when asked to do something.

There are many issues at play here that is for sure.

I would love to have some feedback on this topic.

Thanks for reading

“Live Simply”

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