Tag Archives: simplicity

Read this Post by Joshua Becker on Why honesty is the best policy for simplicity.

This Article is by Joshua Becker of BecomingMinimalist.com :

Why Honesty is the Best Policy for Simplicity

by joshua becker

“No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.” -Abraham Lincoln

A life of simplicity can be defined as a life that has removed all of the nonessentials. It is marked by oneness. It is uncomplicated. As a result, it is freeing. It allows our lives to be focused on the things that are most important to us.

Simplicity in life cannot be achieved without honesty. Honesty can live without simplicity, but simplicity cannot live without honesty. Consider the fact that every time we are not truthful, we create an alternate reality. And subsequently, we are forced to live a life in both worlds: the true one and the one we’ve created. On the other hand, when we choose honesty in all aspects of life including our marriage, our business, and our relationships, we live the same life wherever we are. Honesty leads to simplicity, but dishonesty leads to duplicity – the exact opposite. (Read More)

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Filed under 101 Day Project, Moving On, Purging Possessions

The Most Interesting Man I Know (Besides My Dad)

You never know who you might be sitting next to in an English class in High School.

I have a friend who tells stories. That’s not all he does, but his story telling is what has him on my mind this month. As you know, I have been writing and talking a LOT about telling the truth. Not just telling the truth about who left the apartment building door ajar, but telling YOUR truth. Your stories. Your experiences.

Matt Holdaway has always marched to the beat of his own drum. I can still see him loping down the halls of our high school in Rexburg, Idaho, dressed in black. He wore black before black was cool. He was a “New Waver” in a town of cowboys. He was cheerful in a school full of overly serious teens. His easy laugh, which borders on a giggle, was infectious.

Fast forward 20 years and it is Matt Holdaway who makes the greatest effort to keep all us misfit toys from Rexburg together. He flies through Salt Lake on his way to visit his dad and makes sure we all get together. I know he does the same once he reaches that Idaho burg of frozen windswept wasteland.

Matt holds a special place in my teenage heart. He took a picture of me playing the flute in Temple Square, 1990, which, to this day, I believe is the prettiest photo ever taken of me. It captures exactly who I was and how I felt — innocent and sad. He is also one of the few friends I have who ever got to meet my Grandmother Bates. I love her so much, for some reason its comforting he met her.

After high school, most of us misfits from Idaho relocated to the “big city,” AKA, Salt Lake City. Matt started a magazine. It was really more of a booklet of photocopies stapled together. He would print stories, artwork, songs and more that his friends had created. He printed a couple of my songs. The rags were called, “A Multitude of Voices.” As far as I know, he still produces them.

He would also organize huge events he called “A Night of Voices.” The lineup for the evenings would include everything from pantomime to poetry. Looking back, it was a hell of thing to pull off for a kid from Rexburg, newly transplanted in Salt Lake. He was my artistic conscience a lot of the time. I know I was more aware of being truthful in my songwriting when I knew he’d be listening.

Eventually Matt moved to the Bay Area. We haven’t been the kind of friends who check in on each other weekly, monthly or even yearly, but we are true friends. And here is why he is the Most Interesting Man I Know:

  1. Matt tells stories. He doesn’t simply relate an anecdote. He spins a good yarn. When Matt tells a story, everyone within earshot is caught up in it. He is HILARIOUS.
  2. Matt loves people. He loves to find interesting people and introduce them to each other. He has found the ultimate vehicle for this with his weekly radio show, “Radio Voices” which is broadcasted at 104.1 fm on Sundays from 2pm to 4pm in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. You can also tune in via the web.
  3. Matt lives and works in a digital world, but his brain is analog. To that end, his life is indexed and annotated manually. He has the most elaborate, yet simple, method of keeping track of his wild machinations. I fear revealing the specifics of his secret will leave him vulnerable to attack, though, so I will refrain.
  4. Matt is a super hero. (Hence my reticence to divulge his method of organization) He is Storm Shadow of the California Cobras. Watch closely, or you’ll miss him. That’s how ninja-like he is:
  5. Matt does all this AND holds down a real-life, actual, career-type, job-job.
  6. Matt has invented his own genre of music. It’s called “Story Rock.” And it rules. His band is called, Matt Holdaway’s Army. You can download some of his stuff through iTunes. You can find him on Rhapsody. And on ReverbNation. And seriously, how much does Matt kick ass?:

So, yeah, Matt’s pretty f***ing cool. But what do I REALLY love about Matt? What is the thing that makes him the Most Interesting Man I Know? He tells the truth. Always. To everyone. He’s not afraid of what the truth will do to anyone. And he does it with a pure heart. Maybe mischievous. Sometimes salacious. but never malicious.

I have been preoccupied, as of late, with what to do next. This 101 day project is coming to a close, for better or for worse, in just 13 days. (Look for big updates!) With all I’ve been ruminating on truth, excess, healthy habits and letting go, I’ve been at a loss as to which of my interests will bare the closest scrutiny. What “voice” of mine is the loudest?  As of today, I have finally decided.

At the end of this 101 day project I will close this site and leave it as a standalone reminder of a journey I took to remember who I really was. The blog I will begin, on the first day of spring, will be about The Truth. I will tell my truth. I will ask others to tell theirs. I will talk about what “truth” means. I hope to discuss with everyone the truth about control, habits, possessions and love. I hope this can be done largely through stories. I’m going to need help, but I’m excited.

So THANK YOU, Matt Holdaway, for being such a good friend, for always telling the truth and for helping me find the next step on my path. You rule. Gooooooooooooo, Bobcats!

Still want more? Subscribe to Matt’s YouTube Channel.

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Filed under 101 Day Project, Dreams, Moving On

“Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” — Thoreau

Walden Pond

Image via wikipedia

Thoreau‘s final paragraph of Walden includes the line, “Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” I am sure he meant this both metaphorically and literally. I feel like I have a fairly good handle on the metaphor. I’m conscious of and grateful for this precious bit of life I’ve been given. BUT, I have been slacking off on the other part — getting up early. These excerpts from “Walden” always reignite my determination to “make-up with mornings” and even learn to love them.

…All memorable events, I should say, transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere. The Vedas say, “All intelligences awake with the morning.” Poetry and art, and the fairest and most memorable of the actions of men, date from such an hour. All poets and heroes, like Memnon, are the children of Aurora, and emit their music at sunrise. To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning. It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men. Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me…

…We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour…

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Progress Report — Day 61

With only 40 more days left of this 101 day project, a progress report is well overdue. Here goes:

1) Shuck the Superfluous Shit: I think I have sorted, priced and tagged almost 40% of what was in the house. I still have 15 or so bins full of stuff in storage yet to sort and then another, ruthless sort to do of all that remains. I estimate I will have around 30 bins full of yard sale items before I am finished. I have eleven packed away so far. I have also sold several pieces of furniture!

Streamlining of my digital life and exorcising of excess electronics is taking a bit longer, but I have all digital devices gathered up for a full inventory. Progress is imminent.

The almost obsessive amount of TV I was watching has been cut by at least 75%. Every day I spend more time on things I love, like playing music, reading, studying and “cooking”. (<– what do real raw food chefs use as a replacement verb for “cooking”?)

2) Face my Finances: I have been keeping a daily expense diary for a few weeks now and am all geared up to build that f*ing spreadsheet of all my debt this weekend. I have been working tirelessly on my goals as a writer, and school is going well. I was going to attend a 16 week course on personal finance, but have decided instead to focus on the myriad webinars, financial blogs and books available that do not require so much gasoline to take advantage of them. I have finished about 30% of “31 Days to Fix Your Finances.

3) Make-up with Morning: I have not been perfect. Mornings and I have been fighting for over 3 decades, and it has been difficult for me to come to terms with Morning’s point of view.  I have, however, done way better than I ever thought I could. I have been waking up around 5 AM for weeks. I love writing in the morning! Running and yoga in the mornings? That’s been a lot harder.

So far, I have succeeded 4 days out of 7 for 2 straight weeks to adhere to this morning routine: 1) Wake-up and write for 2 hours (No studying or electronics. Only writing during that time). 2) Get outside and run for at least 15 minutes and, 3) Do a short yoga practice and meditate.

By March 1st, I will be totally prepped to go 21 straight days. I want to fully integrate this 3-hour habit because every day I do it, the remainder of the day feels so free! It is seriously awesome.

4) Free the Fat: I am totally winning. I may not have lost much weight, but I feel like a million bucks. Raw foodism rules. I am eating at least 40% more calories than I ever have before. My relationship with food has been completely transformed. I can’t help but be convinced my cells are, as we speak, regenerating and rearranging themselves in a much hotter way. Also, I’m already plenty hot. Also, my libido is through the roof. I’m not really sure what to do about that last one. More running?

5) Divorce the Drama: I’d say I am 65% there. This experience has brought up some emotions and feelings I honestly thought I was done with. At first, I thought this meant that I was backsliding. But now I realize I just needed one more round. I already feel so. much. better. about my ability to manage my social life. By taking care of items 1 through 4 on this list, my stress level has plummeted.

6) I Am A Writer and I Act Like One: Done. I have never, until now, said that out loud or really knew I needed to say it. I can honestly say I have been a songwriter for a lot of years, but not until this project have I internalized the fact that I am also a writer with no modifier. I write. I want to be a writer when I grow up. And I am acting accordingly. I’ve been taking classes on-line, studying all types of styles, taking writing and literature classes at school, feeling out local writer’s groups, writing at a prescribed time every day and I have now updated this blog every day for 41 days. Kick Ass!

I have had so many fantastic things happen to me and because of me since I started this project. Conversely, I have also had my fair share of shitty days — days where I was literally trapped in bed, immobilized by the size of the project and wishing, mightily, for a grilled cheese sandwich. If you had told me last year, or even just 3 months ago, that I would be 61 days into a 101 day project of this scope, I would never have believed it. Yet, even though those difficult days have been very real and very daunting, here I am. I am well on my way to successfully completing this project. I am well on my way to achieving Excess Emancipation!

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Motivation For Me and a Reminder For You

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God Would Let Me Live In His Poolhouse

I feel like God's pool house will have a very Frank Lloyd Wright vibe to it.

I have spent a lot of time, over the last 20 years, ruminating on my reasons for leaving the Mormon church. I had many. Some were big. Others, admittedly petty. But the main reason was because I grew up feeling like shit. There was always a part of me that knew I was going to hell and tried hard to convince the rest of me that I was a monster. At the same time, the bigger part of me was constantly trying to calm down. I would whisper things to myself during particularly offensive sermons things like, “don’t panic,” and, “this guy can’t possibly be right.”

I should add that I DO think that a lot of the “crazy” I was exposed to was because of the radicalism in the tiny town I lived in, and not actually a part of the larger Mormon church.

My leaving the church was based entirely on my gut. For many years, I wouldn’t let myself read any of the many well-documented, historical accounts of Joseph Smith’s time that clearly dispute everything I was taught. Reading of any facts that are not church-sanctioned is forbidden. I was still so indoctrinated that I hadn’t yet realized that no one should shy away from any truth. I don’t just choose not to learn about any other subject out of fear it might change my mind. So, the fact-finding phase eventually came. In the end, it made no difference to me. I knew what I knew. It did, however, spark a fair amount of rage that I was ever subjected to such crazy-making. I wish I had no anger, but there it is. I am, for the most part, over it.

It was my daughter who helped me get over the “hump” about being okay with my choice to leave the church. I would look at my daughter and think, “There is nothing she could ever do, or not do, that would make me withhold my love.” I knew, from the second she was born, that even if she turned out to be a carnival madame, I would never stop loving her or wanting her with me. I knew, that as long as I lived, she would always find shelter in my home.

Knowing this truth led me to the greatest breakthrough I would ever have. I realized it was simply illogical to believe that a supreme being, like the Mormon God (who is said to be all-powerful, all-knowing and who loves us more than a parent loves a child. In fact, he is referred to as our “Heavenly Father” almost exclusively) would have sent down a list of requirements which, upon failing to follow, would result in our not being able to live in his neighborhood. As I watched my sweet daughter sleeping one night I realized that not only was the aforementioned completely irrational, so is the idea that in order to remain in our family units in heaven that there are a bunch of other “to do’s” on God’s list for us.

I used to play out the scenario of me dying, in my mind, and going to God for judgement. I would hear Him saying to me, “Now Rebecca, I told you that if you didn’t get married in the temple to a nice Mormon boy that you couldn’t live up here in our section of heaven and furthermore, you are now stripped of your family.” The whole idea, to me, is completely, totally and utterly preposterous.

I do not base my love or support or affection or shelter or help or anything on a sliding scale of Hannah’s obedience to me. It would be crazy to do so. And if it would be so ridiculous for me to do that, then why does it seem rational that God would do that? It just doesn’t jive. (As an aside, I know there are a bunch of you saying to yourselves, “You just don’t understand the nature of God,” I must interject that, no, I do not, but neither do you. And for those of you who are now adding in, “It is not ours to understand, all will be revealed,” I have to say, I totally agree.)

Nowadays I see others like me everywhere. They shuffle listlessly around Salt Lake area malls with blank faces and bags bursting with RC Willey bric-a-brac. They are good people. They don’t know why they are so depressed. They feel trapped. They double-down on the depression by seeing their sadness as further evidence of their failure to be the perfect mormon. They believe that “living the gospel” perfectly is the ONLY way they will ever feel peace. They are people who are wracked with guilt and who carry the heavy burden of knowing they haven’t gotten God’s To-do list done. It breaks my heart to see their needless suffering. And make no mistake, they are suffering, and it is needless.

Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE MORMONS. Maybe not the dogma, but the people, in general, I like. They are my people, after all. I do not doubt my Mother’s sincere love and belief in the mormon church. I do not judge her faith. It is a pure and beautiful thing. For her, I actually hope it is ALL true. She deserves a house right next to God’s in the hereafter. I am happy for the thousands of mormons out there who find their happiness through the church. I am grateful for their generally positive belief system. I know that one of the reasons I love it in SLC is because a large percentage of the population has taken 2 years out of their lives and given it to the service of humanity across the globe. I think “the church” is, mostly, a force for good — no matter what it’s based on.

But, for those of you who have read this missive and thought, “How sad for her that she missed the message,” or, “She must have read some anti-mormon literature,” or, “God loves us, he just hates certain behaviors,” or, “Women can’t hold the priesthood because they already have the gift of childbearing,” or any other common platitude, let me bear you my testimony:

I know that there is truth in all things, but no one thing can contain all truth. Just as you know, with all your “heart, might, mind and strength” that the mormon church is the only “true” church, I know with equal vigor that, if there is a great white God who sits on high, he and I are good. He loves me. In fact, He loves everything about me. He thinks I am earnest, hilarious, sweet and sincere. He cracks up at my hijinks and cries about my many failures. And if, when I die, I meet Him on the other side, I know He would let me live in his pool house if I wanted to. He would find all my family who had gone before and they’d throw me a party. He would just be glad to see me again. Period.

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Follow Along on Tumblr

I have built a tumblr to go along with my Excess Emancipation Project. It is full of all the stuff I see that inspires me to continue on my quest to become myself. Shuck the Superfluous Shit! I choose peace, love and harmony instead.

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