I first learned of floating (also called sensory deprivation tanks) from watching Stranger Things. Aha! See, TV and movies aren't all just mi3.5 Stars
I first learned of floating (also called sensory deprivation tanks) from watching Stranger Things. Aha! See, TV and movies aren't all just mindless entertainment, or at least some of them aren't.
As per usual, I went on a researching binge and dove right in the deep end of the internets (get the pun there, haha, though really the tanks aren't all that deep, typically just 10 inches) and learned all I could about floating. But I knew I had to put aside the things I was learning and actually try the darn thing out. I thought what better time than as a gift to myself for my birthday. Fuck if it wasn't one of the best birthday gifts I've given myself!
What is floating? Simply put, it's a tank filled with water and enough Epsom salt (roughly 1,000 lbs) that allows you to float without any effort. The tank is also enclosed, which is where the sensory deprivation comes into play, cutting off your sight, sound, and smell. There is no other place I can think you can get an experience like this than in a float tank.
But really, try it for yourself. There are so many possible benefits to floating, ranging from various forms of physical pain to mental health disorders, to improving performance creatively, athletically or just in general. I really shouldn't be allowed to speak so highly of it, since I've only done it twice in the past two weeks, but if two times had that big an impact on me then I can't imagine what would come if I can make it a regular part of my routine.
Personally, I've chosen to try out floating for my mental health and creative endeavors. I can say the only thing close to how floating has made me feel, mentally, are my recent adventures in trying out pot. Both of which have taken my anxious, ADHD, never shutting the fuck up brain and shut it the fuck up (though floating next leveled that shit). It took me to a place I didn't even know existed, complete calm. I mean, even to the point where, when floating, I would try to venture to those places (because that's what my brain does) and it just wouldn't penetrate there. The veil of chaos was lifted from my mind. A mind that cripples me constantly to the point of depression, of questioning my existence, my worth, making me anxious all the god damn time for no reason and floating just took that giant dark cloud and pushed it on its way. Don't get me wrong, it's not a simple, poof I'm cured. It's more of a tool to help me learn my brain more, get a hold of it, and find ways to more easily manage my mental health and find that place of calm. Honestly, I can't recommend floating enough!
Getting to the actual book review... Having already tried floating, I didn't really need this book to convince me of it. I can 100% relate to the mental state Shane was in when he first started floating and I'm excited for how much more I can gain, the more I incorporate it into my life. I was hoping for more of a blend of his experience and the science behind floating. While I didn't get as much research backing the scientific benefits of floating (though it's out there) in this book, I did enjoy and relate to what he had to share and recommend it to any who has yet to try floating and needs convincing. Highly, highly recommend!!!
*And if you're in the Portland area. I highly recommend The Float Shoppe. The people there are wonderful and they've made every experience thus far truly special....more
I don’t think I will ever tire of reading stories and gaining insights from people like Admiral McRaven. People who set out to do something, and in thI don’t think I will ever tire of reading stories and gaining insights from people like Admiral McRaven. People who set out to do something, and in the multitude of moments along the way - when all others give up in the face of extreme challenge - they persevere. They fight.
I saw this book in passing at where I work, the title catching my eye. I thought that maybe it’s just another bite sized book with more blurbs of overly used inspirational quotes. It is bite sized at that and you’ve likely heard the lessons in this book many times before. But one thing I know is how much context matters. Learning these lessons through his experiences in SEAL training made them that much more valuable, that much more insightful.
Listening to his story made me reflect back on a statistic I once heard from an author I much admire. It goes something like this… out of every 250 people who say they will write a book, one actually writes a book. Out of every 250 people who write a book, one gets published. Out of every 250 people who get their book published, one makes a living off of writing. As a writer myself and someone whose greatest aspiration is to tell stories for a living, to make people feel, I could look at that statistic and can choose to become it. Or I could look at Admiral McRaven as an example, where his SEAL class started with 150 men and ended with 42. The odds are not in his favor but instead of drawing on the chance of what he couldn’t be, he saw the possibility in what he could be. Instead of asking ‘why me,’ he asked, ‘why not me.’
Make a choice and start by making your bed....more
It's so easy to accept the way things are, to listen to the naysayers, the people who misunderstand the possibility that you see as an inability to beIt's so easy to accept the way things are, to listen to the naysayers, the people who misunderstand the possibility that you see as an inability to be happy with what you're given, to self-doubt to the point of giving up. That's all easy, but none of it is worth it. The rigorous, consistent, challenging hard work it takes to make happen what you want, to create the life you want, is worth every ounce of sweat, time and every sacrifice made along the way. You've got one fucking life, make it count. Not the end, not the beginning, or middle, the whole thing. Give every damn day everything you have.
Regardless of if I've heard the message or been taught the lessons in previous findings, it's still important to me to be constantly immersed in the thoughts and minds of those that 'show up,' that not only prove the critics or statistics wrong but change the game altogether. It's much like that feeling you get after watching a kick ass movie that leaves you feeling unstoppable. I've always wondered if you could somehow bottle that feeling up and carry it around with you, what amazing things could come of that. I think you can, you simply surround yourself with the minds that get it, that see the possible in what is said to be impossible. It's making no compromises for your goals and putting in the work.
With each book, podcast, or video I ingest of those who inspire me and talk about the journey with honesty, I walk away with new insights, and start new healthy habits to get me closer to making my dreams a reality. With this book it got me started in daily meditation (something I've long wanted to do and finally committed to), giving me a more clear and focused mind, and got my husband to get a CRM together to better connect with his audience and grow his community and work that he does. I encourage all to take every opportunity you can to learn from others who've been there, reflect, and apply what works for you to create the life you want. Above all else, show up - every damn day....more
This is a more bite sized version of the words of wisdom Sinek has to offer on the topic of leadership, written akin to a children's book and filled wThis is a more bite sized version of the words of wisdom Sinek has to offer on the topic of leadership, written akin to a children's book and filled with tweetable phrases throughout. While there wasn't a sentence I didn't agree with, find value in, or inspiration from, in it's entirety it made me feel a bit lacking at the end, which is not something I get from Sinek. I think the mission he set out with this book, he did however achieve.
Also, upon opening the first page, I smelt a very musky type of odor. I chalked it up to whoever read it before me, since I checked it out from the library, until I got to the page that was infused with a scent meant to embody optimism. I love that idea but I am a person rather sensitive to smell and found it a bit off putting as I read. Overall - well intended, executed as planned, filled with many truisms and makes a great stocking stuffer type, but that is all....more
Having recently, and obsessively, immersed myself in the show Penny Dreadful, it has unearthed in me this desire to know these legendary characters -Having recently, and obsessively, immersed myself in the show Penny Dreadful, it has unearthed in me this desire to know these legendary characters - of which I only know the myths told by time and not the tales themselves. So I’ve made it a goal of mine to read them all and I started with The Picture of Dorian Gray. Why I found the character Dorian Gray so tempting of them all, I wasn’t at first sure. Particularly in the show (bear in mind I’m only mid-way through season 1), but also in the book, Dorian is pictured as perfection - handsome, wealthy, desired by all. What is so tempting of wanting to know more about him is laid out in a phrase in the story itself that goes, "behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic" and I wanted to know what that tragedy was.
What I found behind this appearingly simple story - of an easily impressionable man who makes a wish to forever remain pretty and in reality becomes more and more horrid, but when faced with his reality cannot bear it (a case of ‘I want the truth! You can’t handle the truth!’ syndrome), to be layered beyond imagination. Though Wilde, whose genius I don’t know why took me so long to get acquainted with, imagined it. What I find most remarkable of the themes in this story is just how relatable they are to today and how timeless they will remain.
Those themes dabble in, for one, good and evil and the choice between the two. In this story Basil Hallward, the painter who becomes infatuated with Dorian creates this infamous portrait of him, represents the good, the sort of angel on Dorian’s shoulder. Whilst Lord Henry Wotton, this hedonistic, selfish aristocrat, convinces Dorian to forever remain beautiful and yield to temptation, represents evil. Throughout the story Dorian goes back and forth, feeling as though he has to choose either good or evil. This choice is something we humans face on a daily basis. Do we eat the entire pack of chocolate chip cookies instead of going for a run? Evil vs. good. Crushed resolutions show that more often we go down the rabbit hole of eating one cookie, then thinking ‘I had one, might as well have another,’ leading to feeling too crappy to go for a run and thus guilt ridden for our lack of control. Dorian shows the dilemma we all face and how easy it can be to hand ourselves over to temptation, again and again, spiraling out of control. Yet what Wilde says between the lines is that it does not have to be one or the other, good or evil, when in fact both inhabit us. We might as well embrace them and treat ourselves to a cookie or two, then go for a run. Truth is, reality is not this hard black and white way of seeing things (note to self). It’s super gray, fuzzy, and a bit unsure of itself. So let us not take it so seriously and find a nice balance between the two.
Moreso than that is another theme, or idea, of how our thoughts and our actions intertwine or, in most cases, diverge completely and it is our actions to which we should be judged upon. We convince ourselves that the thoughts in our heads are true because we don’t want to know that we are not realizing them in an actionable form. As humans we seek to reduce our hypocrisy, though never suppressing it completely because we are always growing, always learning more about our truth and the truths of reality. With Dorian, in all the truly heinous things he does, he still convinces himself that he is pure and beautiful until he’s shown his truth in the portrait. Speaking for myself, this couldn’t be more accurate, where I tell myself I’ll never be the great artist that I wish to be, and so I give up before ever starting. Or, in the case of some, allow how others perceive us to be true and become it, both being self-fulfilling prophesies. When if we can alter our thoughts to be both honest and ambitious do we then become our best selves.
In knowing all that, the theme I find most relevant to these technological times is that not all is the way it seems it is. As years and years pass by Dorian seems, on the outside, to be this perfect specimen to aspire to and yet on the inside resides a gruesomeness upon which no one would wish to look. This leads me to think of social media and this age where we have all of these tools that we can, as Dorian sought to do, preserve this image of ourselves and the way we want to be seen. When in reality it is not the full truth. The full truth is everything about us, not just the parts that we share. In reality, when we see this perfect photo of someone on Instagram or Facebook we should look beyond the surface and wonder what it took to make that photo, what photos weren’t shared or taken and why, or even what else could be going on behind the scenes. In most cases we don’t and we’re found surprised to know of the complexities within or we unfairly compare one person’s something to our everything.
It made me think more of my relationship with social media. I have never had a healthy relationship with social media. It’s never left me feeling good about myself or my time spent on it and yet here I am, on Goodreads, a social platform. Goodreads seems, for me, to be the only exception to the rule. So I got to wondering why do I find satisfaction, and not shame or self-loathing that I often get from other forms of social media like Instagram or Facebook (and why, for my sanity, as much as I try it eats my soul too much to be on them and so I just don’t). While it’s also a reflection of some of my more weaker personality traits, I also realized the difference between the two types of platforms. On most major social media sites the subject matter is ourselves. We share ourselves. We post photos of what we did and fill in 'about' sections of who we are or at least who we want to represent we are. The ego is at the forefront of the conversation on those platforms. I’m not trying to say these platforms are inherently evil, though I’m sure Dorian would have lavished in them, but that in the case of Goodreads the subjects are not us. The subjects are the stories we read. While the end result is still a revealing of ourselves, since what books we choose to read and how we respond to them says a lot about us, it’s not our intention to be about us, but more an effect. Because the ego, in the case of Goodreads, comes second to story do we give off a more authentic representation of self and make the connections a bit more real.
Not only did I find this simple story so beautifully complex, but I am even more captivated by the painter of this picture, Mr. Wilde himself. The last time I have sat down and dissected a story so much and then sought to know the creator himself was when I was first introduced to Edgar Allan Poe. I remember sitting in a college library in Texas, indian style on the floor surrounded by the criticisms of Poe's writings, to better understand why I so much loved 'The Cask of Amontillodo,' 'The Mask of the Red Death' and 'The Fall of the House of Usher' and thus know who this person was that was capable of layering his stories so beautifully. I connected even with what Wilde had to say in the preface - about how no story (or other work of art) is moral or immoral but well written or not, how art is a reflection of the artist but the best artist conceals that reflection, and most especially the quote, “diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.” I am in awe of Wilde’s brilliance, saddened by the metaphor this story represents, in ways, of his own life, and intrigued to know more, to see more, and learn more from him and it. If anyone reading dared make it this far, then maybe this story if for you as well.
Later somewhat sortof off topic note: I found it rather ironic that our oldest cat, Jasmine, whom we for reasons I can't explain, call Basil for short, can be a real shit of a cat unlike the Basil in this story and yet, like Basil, I adore her the most....more
Not a book I was remotely aware of, nor a person I have any interest giving my attention to, I stumbled upon this book after it was donated to my placNot a book I was remotely aware of, nor a person I have any interest giving my attention to, I stumbled upon this book after it was donated to my place of work and thought, ah, let me give it a glance. I found myself chuckling at the witty Dr Seussian way of words and art to tell a tale of this strange beast we all can't quite comprehend exists. It reminded me of what a punch we can pack even in the fewest of words and pages. Quite a surprise this one....more
I've never much agreed with the phrase, 'money can't buy happiness.' For what is happiness? What form does that come in? While it's a very loaded quesI've never much agreed with the phrase, 'money can't buy happiness.' For what is happiness? What form does that come in? While it's a very loaded question and the answer varies person to person - for me, it can be as simple as the joy of cooking a good meal, going to a movie with friends, exploring this beautiful planet, taking my hobbies to a whole new level, being in good health, giving to others. And yet money helps us to attain those very things - the organic local food we wish to cook with, the movie tickets and treats to eat, the plane rides, the tools to work on our craft - be it a new camera or pad of paper, donating to a cause we love and Kickstarter we wish to support. Money aids us in achieving those moments of bliss. Money is a tool, and if used wisely can do wonderful things.
And yet there is this simultaneous societal stigma that both tells us 'life is short' and to be happy but also that wanting money, enjoying making money, equates to greediness and we should feel shame for such a sin. That by wanting more money we are shallow, selfish, petty people who will never be fulfilled. We've missed the real meaning of life. So I always feel this massive split in my psyche when I literally get a high off of making money whilst feeling shame for doing so, disregarding the opportunities it gave me and the joy that came from them.
Amidst all of the many ways I come up with to berate my ego and dismantle my mental state to pieces of all the things I suck at, I can say one thing - I'm resourceful. I can always find ways to make money and I fucking love it! I've pulled old wood out of the dumpster, made it into proper furniture and sold it. I've tried running an Etsy shop after teaching myself wood burning. I've resold books and other items for a profit on eBay. I've sold shit on Craigslist that people threw out. Not to mention some things my current employer doesn't need to know.
And yet that stigma that I must be a shallow person has prevented me from 'next leveling' the fuck out of my finances. Instead, I sit in my average job that, while I'm not ungrateful for what it has given me, I feel underpaid and underappreciated. I feel there's more out there for me. Instead I cut the bills down, live on very limited expenses to feel like I have more money (well, other reasons too). No cell phone, no car (thus no car insurance, gas, inspections, maintenance), no cable, just the basics. I'm glad for not having those things. They don't bring me joy. The point, however, is that I've cut back and cut back when my focus could be on growing to the financially freeing level I know I can.
I picked up this book, coming off of the high I got from Jen's book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, with serious doubts that it would hit the mark that one did for me. I was glad to be wrong, for this was some first class shit. A real slap in the face to drop the ego that worries about what other people think of my relationship with money and has given me the deepest drive I've ever had after reading a book to get my shit together. For it's not my job that's the problem. It's not even my boss, of which oh the adjectives I could give. It's me. For in the end it always boils down to us. No one is the fault of our problems, our missteps, our lack of growth. We are. We don't want to admit that because it's scary, because it means the onus is on us to 'succeed,' not just financially but doing what we love and attaching a proper value to it.
What I got out of this book was not only a kick in the financial pants to remind myself I'm not only capable of making good money doing what I love, but I'm worth it. Jen gives you the tools to wrap your mind around how to do just that. How to retrain your mind, take a look at who you surround yourself with, how to realize your capability. This book couldn't have come at a better time. Newly moved into our new home and my husband at bat for the third time in the world of unemployment. I'm not playing the victim card here. In fact, his getting laid off is the best fucking thing that could have happened. He's working his ass off with all the time he now has, away from a job that made him miserable, now happy, driven, focused. I'm inspired by him. And while I had moments of wondering how little ole me can support my family, with a job not quite covering the bills. Wanting to lessen any worries he has so he can hit the grandslam I know he can, I then read this book and I realized not only can I find ways to support my family financially, to give my husband the opportunity he deserves at achieving his dreams but working on mine, being a financial badass. So ya, game on....more
I've never read anything of Westerfeld's before. Maybe I'll overcome my allergy to YA and try his more known Uglies or Leviathan series. In all honestI've never read anything of Westerfeld's before. Maybe I'll overcome my allergy to YA and try his more known Uglies or Leviathan series. In all honesty, it's unlikely that I will. Regardless, I really dug this story. I read it during my lunch break and on the train. It checks the 'fun' and 'light read' boxes well enough but without that empty feeling. The art, particularly the coloring, really aided in giving the story even more depth and character. I'd say, if you're looking for something not overly complex, just some good old fashioned simple fun, this would be it. I'll definitely be reading the next in the series once it comes out....more
Why? It's a question we often neglect to ask ourselves and others. And yet, it's the most important question there is, not just in business but in lifWhy? It's a question we often neglect to ask ourselves and others. And yet, it's the most important question there is, not just in business but in life.
It is the first question I start with and the last I end with in everything I do. The tricky part is being honest with yourself in your answer. When you are honest and know your why can you then stand firmly in the what and how, can you then persevere in the struggles upon which you face.
One personal example occurred this past week, when I met for a Labor Management meeting at my place of work upon which I was to present my case on a benefit I feel the employees, and my co-workers, should have. I knew in my gut exactly who would, not even considering my case, come at me with a profound no. Before going I kept asking myself, is this really worth the effort, knowing how it would end? Knowing what I was up against, a management team whose mindset is that the 'organizational needs' come before the employees needs, missing the fundamental notion that any successful organization knows - which is that the organizational needs and the employees needs are one in the same. When the employees needs are neglected, are put anything but first, the organization suffers. It's really hard to present a case on employee needs when the decision makers of the organization miss that pivotal mindset and... who look upon me as this 'know nothing' peon who doesn't understand the underpinnings of running said organization - who's underestimation of their employees is a great missed opportunity to use what knowledge their employees have to grow....but I digress.
The point is I thought about why I was presenting that case, how such a change could not only benefit my life but my fellow co-workers and how that benefit then bleeds into the bettering of the organization. So I went in, afraid of what I would face, afraid of losing my composure (not because I feel publicly crying is weak, when in fact I think it's important to see how deeply something affects someone, but more how it would be misunderstood), I knew my why and thus I showed up with all the fight I had, with hope that my expectation would be proven wrong.
So, when it played out exactly as I had imagined with management, both their answer and that I would lose my composure, I lost hope. I went home defeated, hopeless and wondering how I could go back to that place. How I could work with people who miss the mark so profoundly and have co-workers who give so much of themselves and get no equal reciprocation, how I do the events I had suggested with excitement. I sat on the stairs of my new home in a ball of tears, lucky to have such a happy home life and a husband to listen and as I spewed off my frustration and how desperately I want to be in a position that makes decisions that can better peoples lives, that's when I remembered my why. I remembered why I was fighting for it and in reminding myself of that, all else didn't matter anymore. I didn't care what they thought of me because it's not about me. I knew all it took, to go back to work with positivity, was reframing my mind. So I'm doing just that because I know my why.
Again and again Sinek explains why those who know their why last the longest and most importantly, thrive in what they do. Know your why, revisit it often, and all else will follow. And I might add, when you don't know why someone does what they do, don't make assumptions, ask them. It will surely lead to a better understanding and likely some great discussion....more
I don't fit in. My boss is controlling, undermining and underestimates me. The management here lack the progressiveness needed to really make positiveI don't fit in. My boss is controlling, undermining and underestimates me. The management here lack the progressiveness needed to really make positive change. Everyone here is so much older than I; they don't get me or my approach to work -the generational gap is irreparable. This place makes decisions that move like molasses, which leaves us so far behind. The people aren't being heard as loudly and as clearly as they can. It's lacking the excitement and connectedness that it can have.
These are the excuses I've made, and that's just with where I work.
Don't get me wrong, these excuses can be bedded in real truth. I'm most certain I can provide great proof that they are. But what is that going to get me? A waste of real fucking time is what. More importantly, the excuses that we make, while true, are still bullshit. We are literally bullshitting ourselves to going into mental circles resulting in little, if any, actual outcome. We end up living the mediocre zombie like lives that so many are and we say 'we're not them' but we're kidding ourselves, when we could be living the thriving kick-assery of a life that we know - deep down, pushing aside all that bullshit we tell ourselves- we can. This is what I was reminded of with You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.
While I've heard many of the truisms in this book time and again, it's the delivery that stuck. Much like a story told again and again, it's the storyteller that makes it resonate. And it's no wonder Jen is a life coach, for her delivery is on point to make you make change in your life.
I've read so many 'self-help' books and I scream that loud and proud because still, even know, there is this dismal fog of being a person who gives such a fuck about changing yourself for the better that you 'succumb' to reading....oh god...a self-help book. And among all the books I've read, be it self-help books, business books, autobiographies of people whose success I admire, stories of shakers and makers, (all of which I've loved and needed in some way), this book is the first to have me going from thinking differently to doing differently and not in a small way but as if a switch in my mind were on and I very easily, very deliberately shut it off and turned on another. One swift motion and I shut off the spewing and did the doing. And something I realized is that nearly every damn thing we think of, particularly when we begin questioning things, is an excuse. Hell, look at that first paragraph?! That was just work related excuses (and only some of them). Can you imagine the useless thoughts that were filling my head before? Thoughts that told me why I should have that candy instead of kale, organize one more thing instead of writing the story I want to, watching a youtube video instead of testing the recipes I want to see in the restaurant of my dreams, playing a mobile game on my tablet instead of going out and building my photography skills so I can improve my visual storytelling as well. Fuck?! Imagine what my life could be now had I not. No, don't imagine! Because here we go again as humans, wallowing in the past, thinking in fear and not doing shit here and now.
So that's what I've done this week - since I started this book on Monday, I flipped the bullshit switch. I looked at all of those above excuses and flipped the script on them.
I started saying the things I held back saying because I was afraid of what people might think - be it something as simple as a joke that they might not get (so I wouldn't say it out of fear of not being understood).
I took the control back from my boss, for the only way she had that control was for me to give it to her, even if giving it to her happened as a result of my doing nothing, especially because of that! When I talk to her and she talks down to me or talks to me as if I don't understand, I don't 'okay' the situation away, I show her how I do understand that and more- so that she can't question me again in that way but instead believe in me (which is to her advantage, to believe in her employees).
I joined the labor management team - to have a concern I have addressed and not taking no for an answer but instead taking it to the next level, to speak for the voices not really heard or afraid of speaking up, and to push management to move their asses and make more proactive a place than reactive. I read our whole employee handbook, new employee manual and our union's collective bargaining agreement - so this way not only can I not bullshit myself with excuses of not knowing but I can't be bullshitted in others thinking I don't know. I signed up for our 'Funtastics' Team because damn it, I have some brilliant fucking ideas that can make where I work more fun, collaborative, team building and just a place everyone looks forward to coming to.
I speak with conviction and belief in myself at work. I hold my head and shoulders high. In the moments when I begin to feel exhausted I take a mental break, go to the bathroom, do a literal shake of my body to wake myself the fuck up and head back to work.
And guess what, I've had a badass day ever since and hell, it's only been a week and that's only talking work related! I've been the best version of myself I could be Every. Damn. Day. Don't get me wrong, it's really fucking exhausting. My mind isn't used to not wasting time thinking and instead doing, doing, doing. I almost feel like I signed up for a marathon and ran a little too fast in the beginning but I see that finish line and I'm not stopping. I am unstoppable. I am a badass....more