March 11, 2019

5 Everyday Activities That Can Be Meditative


Note: This post has been contributed.

There are countless benefits to meditation, and it is something which is becoming more and more popular as time goes on, especially in this culture. It is also the kind of thing which has so much varied meaning that you never quite know what someone is referring to when they say it. There are many ways in which you can meditate without having to sit on the cushion, and indeed a lot of them are pretty ordinary everyday activities to boot. In this article, we are going to take a look at a number of everyday activities which can be meditative. If you find yourself taking up any of these - or just paying more attention to them - you will find that you are introducing a lot more of a kind of meditation into your life. Let’s see what those activities are, and how to make them meditative.

Fishing

If you have never really gone fishing, it is absolutely something that you might want to think about taking up. Not only is it incredibly calming and enjoyable as a way to spend time alone, it is also hugely valuable as a potential meditative experience. You don’t need much to go fishing. A rod, perhaps a boat and a look at some trolling motor battery top picks, and you can get on with it. With fishing, you are generally alone out in the natural world, and this - combined with the fact that you are doing something repetitive and calming - means that it is the perfect opportunity for some meditation. You don’t need to do anything in particular to make it a meditation - it’s just a case of doing it, as fully as you can and without allowing your thoughts to wander too much. You should find that, after a day of this kind of meditation, you feel very calm indeed.


Gardening

A lot of people find gardening to be especially calm, and it’s no wonder that there are such things as Zen gardens! The truth is that simple garden activities are often perfect for a little quiet meditation, and that is worth thinking about next time you are in the garden pottering about. Whether you are just pulling out a few weeds, or whether you are doing something more physically exhaustive - in either case, you will still be able to make it a meditation. Again, it is something that lends itself well to this, so you don’t need to do much besides merely focus on what you are doing with the fullness of your being. You might even find that you enjoy the gardening much more as a result, and you will end up with a beautiful garden too - truly a win-win situation.


Walking

We have already seen that meditation can involve movement, and one of the best ways to see this in practice is to try some walking meditation. If you have never heard of walking meditation, you might well wonder how it can possibly work. But actually, it is quite straightforward. Walking meditation merely requires that you pay close attention to the movements of the feet as you walk, noticing the rising and falling of the feet as you move along. This can be a surprisingly powerful meditative experience, and you can even do it in groups if you prefer. If you don’t want to do it that way, you can instead simply engage in mindful walking. That means no music, no earphones, and keeping your attention on the present moment rather than letting the mind wander. A few hours of this can be invigorating and refreshing.


Cleaning

There is something joyous about making meditation out of an everyday activity that you have to do, something which is technically a chore of some kind or another. Cleaning the home is a great opportunity to meditate, and the next time you are doing so you might actually be grateful to know this, as it does have a way of making your cleaning much more enjoyable and less tedious or boring. Focusing on the body’s movements as you clean a floor or window can be a surprisingly calm experience, and it’s definitely a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. You’ll find that you actually start to look forward to cleaning once you adopt a more meditative approach towards it.


Eating

Finally, it’s something you probably do three or more times a day, and it is a wonderful opportunity to get meditating. The whole process of eating - and, by extension the prior cooking - is a great act of meditation already. Turn the television off, and really pay attention to each bite as it happens. Discover again what it feels like to eat, and just be eating, without your mind being elsewhere. You might find the results to be strangely profound.

January 18, 2019

Turning a New Leaf to Lead a Better Life


Note: This post has been contributed.




We’re in the first month of the year, so it’s not all too surprising that many of us are still thinking about new beginnings and becoming a better person. The opening of a new calendar provides us with a completely blank slate that we can mould into a wonderful twelve months filled with positivity and happiness. So, where should we start when it comes to improving ourselves and consequently improving not only our own lives, but the lives of others around us too? Well, here are a few steps that you can take in order to make everything as peachy perfect as it can be in the near future!

Confront Existing Problems

When we are experiencing difficulties and tough times, it can be relatively difficult to stand up to whatever it may be that’s causing us trouble. This is why many of us attempt to sweep issues under the carpet and hope that they go away. This can be anything. Whether it’s financial issues, problems in our personal relationships, struggles with our physical health or mental health, or anything else. But it’s important to remember that simply ignoring issues doesn’t help to resolve them and there’s a good chance that they won’t simply go away. This is why you need to confront your problems. This can be done in a variety of ways. Sometimes just talking to someone about your problems can help significantly. It helps you to better explain and understand what you are going through and you could receive some good advice on how to move forward. If you want someone to talk to, take a look at Universal Church of the Kingdom of God locations and pop in or call up for a little help. Remember that a problem shared is a problem halved!

Forgive

It’s easy to bear a grudge. Especially if you truly feel that someone has wronged you. But try not to do this. Holding onto negative feelings can often prove more detrimental to you than the person you feel upset or hurt by. It causes you to ruminate on bad experiences and can hinder the process of getting over them and moving on in your own life. This is why forgiveness is so important. Being able to forgive someone doesn’t necessarily have to mean being their best friend and spending all of your time with them. It just means that you accept what has happened and show a willingness to leave it in the past. Letting go can be a huge relief. So, give it a try. It’s not necessarily going to be an easy or an immediate process, but it is possible.

These are just a couple of steps that you could try out in your journey to turn a new leaf in the book of your life. But they could significantly improve your happiness and quality of life. So, consider incorporating them into your routine as soon as possible! You will be able to reap the benefits sooner rather than later.

January 03, 2019

Best Books of 2018

Read 23 books in 2018. Down a bit from prior years, as podcasts are getting better and better (and taking up more and more of my commute time). Top 8 asterisked, with the rest in descending order.
Any must-reads I missed?
*Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy - Sheryl Sandberg
*Like Brothers - Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
*Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life & Comedy - Judd Apatow
*The Power of Moments - Chip and Dan Heath
*12 Rules for Life - Jordan Peterson
*The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement - Eliyahu Goldratt
*Why Not Me - Mindy Kaling
*Lost and Founder - Rand Fishkin
Dare to Lead - Brene Brown
The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few - Robert Reich
The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing - Al Ries, Jack Trout
When to Jump - Mike Lewis
The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee - Sarah Silverman
Not That Kind of Girl - Lena Dunham
Killing Marketing - Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi
Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions - Russell Brand
The Coming Storm - Michael Lewis
The Rational Optimist - Matt Ridley
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant - Renee Mauborgne, W. Chan Kim
Unqualified - Anna Faris

Making Working From Home Easier


Note: This post has been contributed.

Many people have finally taken that plunge to either work for themselves and freelance or start their own businesses, and traditionally these begin from home. Working from home for some can often be seen as the dream, but actually it is a lot harder than you might think. There are, however, tips and hacks you can implement into your day to make things work easier, and to allow you to strike that work and home life balance right. With that in mind, here are some suggestions.

Go paperless 

Working from home means that you have everything in the one place, but that can often mean that your home gets untidy because of work related papers, etc. So out may be time to go paperless. You could start with a cheap virtual mailing address service that will actually make all your mail virtual and sent direct to your email. Making less paper. It can also look professional at meeting to have a paperless system. Being able to showcase results, figures, etc on your tablet or to be sent to potential clients via email. 

Work on your time management

Time management is extremely important when you work from home, so it may be time to start thinking about how you can make some changes to the way you work. This will help stop the blur of working and living at home. It could be that you give yourself set working hours, and focus on areas to make some big changes. It could be that you look at blocking time to do certain tasks, so that you can bulk do tasks at different points of the day. There are some great time management hacks online and many of them are very useful for working from home. 

Have a dedicated area to work

Working from home means that you are surrounded by distraction, so having a dedicated place to work can help you get into work mode more easily than it would be to sit in bed or in your living room. Of course, these are big benefits of working from home, being able to work from anywhere, but having one space for work can help you to stay on track. Plus it can also work in the opposite way, enabling you to walk away from your job and then focus on home life without feeling constantly on the clock. 

Work in the local community 

Finally, working from home means that you have the local vicinity to work with. Not only does it help to work locally and outside of the home, for a change of scenery, but dependent on what your work is, you could also canvass for business in the local community. You are there to provide a service or to sell products, so doing this locally can help you to tap into a customer base with very little competition out there. Working outside of the home can also give you that time to network and be in the company of others, as working from home can get lonely at times. 

Let’s hope these tips help you to make working from home easier. 

January 01, 2019

My Favorite Songs of 2018


2018 was an INCREDIBLE year for new music. And I listened to it all, so you'd only have to listen to the best. Here are my favorite (indie rock/chill-leaning) SONGS of 2018, since albums are irrelevant (fight me).

Anything move you that I missed?
lovely (with Khalid) - Billie Eilish
This is America - Childish Gambino
Slow Burn - Kacey Musgraves
Fallingwater - Maggie Rogers
‘Til It’s Over - Anderson .Paak
Loving You Well - Luke Sital-Singh
2009 - Mac Miller
Nina Cried Power (feat. Mavis Staples) - Hozier
The Gold (Phoebe Bridgers version) - Manchester Orchestra
Peach Scone (Live) - Hobo Johnson & The LoveMakers
Pray - SAM SMITH
Birthplace - Novo Amor
Souvenir - boygenius
Bambi - Hippo Campus

December 28, 2018

Car Maintenance Tips that will help you out in Winter


Note: This post has been contributed.

If your car is looking a little worse for wear, then now is the time to give it a little TLC. If you don’t then this could lead to a ton of issues later down the line and you may even end up with repairs that you can’t afford. If you want to get around this then there are a few things that you can do about that.

Check the Car Battery

Your car battery should always be your first priority. In winter, your car is having to face very cold temperatures. This, combined with the increased use of lights, heaters and even blowers can put it under even more strain. Batteries do tend to have a very good lifespan and they can often last way more than 5 years, but if you are having problems or if you suspect that yours is at the end of its life then now is the time to get that checked out. If you ever find yourself with a dead battery then it is possible for you to jump-start your car, but you should avoid doing this where possible as it can degrade your car if done too often. You might want to look into battery venting as well.


Top Up your Engine Coolant

Your engine coolant should be a mixture of 50% water and 50% antifreeze. You will need to top it up as it will become diluted over time as well. So many people make the mistake of topping their engine up with water throughout the year and this can reduce the amount of antifreeze. This can lead to freezing, which in turn can make your engine overheat. Avoiding this repair is very simple to do, and by taking the time to monitor your coolant, you could save yourself thousands.

Check the Condition of your Tyres

Your car’s tyres are the key to steering and braking as well. It is super essential that you keep them in very good condition. It’s recommended that you have around 3mm of depth on your tyre treads during the winter. This will give you way better grip when you are out and on the road, and it will also help you to avoid skidding when driving on sheet ice.


Clean out your Lights where Possible

Reflectors can get dirty over time, and the last thing that you need is to have them dimmer than they should be in winter. It’s a good idea to check to see if your rear reflectors are clean and to also make sure that you have no cracked lenses or even blown bulbs. Checking your full-beams, fog lights and even indicators is also a good idea.  It’s very dangerous to drive in winter with dull or even dirty lights, and it doesn’t take much to clean them out either so take your time and make sure that you do the job properly. You never know, it could save you from having an accident, especially if you frequently drive at night.

Making Money When You Need It Quickly


Note: This post has been contributed.

Sometimes life can throw you off course, and you may find yourself in a situation where you need money quickly. Those life emergencies can make a real dent in your wallet, so how can you make money when you need money now?

Get A Loan

It’s the quickest way of getting money, but like a credit card, you always need to remember that it was never your money to, begin with. Loans can sometimes be quite risky, especially with the chance of hidden costs or dodgy loan companies charging high-interest rates that leave you vulnerable to loan sharks. Only get one from a loan provider that you trust, and that’s reputable to others that you know and pay close attention to any interest rates or length of re-payments. 

Fill In Online Surveys

There’s now plenty of online websites that pay individuals to fill in online surveys, which is great for a little extra money on the side. The payouts aren’t usually that substantial, but if you have lots of spare time, you can make a nice amount of money in a short space of time. Surveys will often be on a range of subjects and the more tailored and niche they are, the more likely they’ll pay a little more because the requirements of the person are much rarer to find. 

Start Your Own Blog

In the digital world, individuals are now beginning to make money and craft their own careers online through a blog. Brands and companies alike are flocking to these individuals who influence other people to work with them on paid sponsorships, gifting reviews and advertisements. So if you think you have that creative flair and knowledge of a particular area that you can write about, this can be a great way to make some serious money. With hard work and perseverance, it won’t take you long either.

Offer Your Services

There are now so many apps available, where anyone with a useful skill to another, can offer their services for money. It’s a great way of earning some extra cash! There are platforms like TaskRabbit where you can set up a profile within seconds, set a rate and your skills and you’ll be reachable instantly. It’s also flexible so you can often work it around another job. So why not give it a go if you have the spare time?

There are so many more ways out there to make money quickly. You just need to have the motivation to find it.

5 Everyday Activities That Can Be Meditative

Note: This post has been contributed. There are countless benefits to meditation, and it is something which is becoming more ...