One day our neighbors came over and asked to be on our podcast. So we recorded them pretending to be me and Kelly. It went something like this, "Welcome to the Popular Podcast. I'm Kelly. I'm Jessica. We ride our bikes a lot. And wear helmets, because we're really safe. If you don't wear a helmet, you're going to die. And we're minimalists. And if you want to have a bumpin' party at 9am, come to our place."
We were SO FLATTERED. Today it's the minimalism I'm focusing on. Cut the weeds out of your life and you'll have more space to plant the things you want to grow. Cut out the extra food, the extra observations, the external pleasures, the worries, the past and the future. What you're left with is heaven, and it's happening right now.
1. Count calories.
Dare I give diet advice? While everyone has different dietary needs and beliefs, the one thing that has always helped me feel better about food is counting calories. It's just like a money budget--instead of conscious spending, it's conscious consumption. After I've had my allotted calories for the day, I have to move on and find another way to feel good, instead of constantly looking for something else to eat to give me a mood boost. So much time is freed up when I'm not walking to 7-11 for snacks! And holy cow, we had money left over in our food budget from October.
2. Try this mantra: "It's just me and this __________."
Sometimes when I'm hooping, I think to myself, "It's just me and this hoop." It helps pull my attention into the Now, and imbues the Now with importance. It's just me and this computer. It's just me and this bowl of chili. Deep, right?
3. Feel happy with nothing.
Happiness is independent of circumstance. It's a choice you make in every moment. Kelly and I recorded a new audio discussion going into detail if you'd like to check it out here.
4. Want to feel better?
Fill out an "I Want to Feel Better" worksheet. Last week I was feeling sick, and I said to Kelly, "All I want is to feel better!" She commanded me to fill out the worksheet immediately. I resisted at first, but then took her advice. I filled out the prompts in my head. "What's on your mind?" I feel sick. "What do you prefer?" I'm perfectly healthy. "What does the new version feel like?" Celebrating! The worksheet helped me focus on what I want instead of what I don't want, and I started using the mantra, "I'm perfectly healthy," while feeling celebratory. The next morning, I woke up feeling loads better. Today I'm totally healed, and I'm celebrating!
5. Be a warrior.
Sometimes I get scared riding my bike everywhere. If I was driving a car, I would feel safer. But then the adventurous, life-loving part of me speaks up: "I'm a warrior!" Every moment on my bike is a chance to feel like a dare-devil in a movie. Instead of safe and comfortable, I'm powerful and strong!
6. Draw your life.
I found myself getting irritable and bored the last few days. I realized it was just my mind chattering away like a maniac. I was doing my silent counting but felt frustrated, because I know in the Now there is not even room for counting. I want to be able to stop thinking and be in the Now! I've had my fill of writing and recording meditations and talking. So I asked myself, "How do I want to express myself?" The vision of a sketchbook came to mind, so I opened one up and began scribbling away with my non-dominant hand.
After a few minutes I became wrapped up in what I was doing right here, right now. The drawing was the Now. I could hear myself think--and then return to the Now with the drawing. Using my non-dominant hand seemed critical, because when I briefly switched to my right hand, I started rushing and restraining myself.
As I drew, pulling myself back to the Now again and again, I remembered the truths I try to live every day. There is only Now. There is no thinking in the Now, only experiencing. And today if I choose to draw my life, I am here.