AHA!!!

FREEDOM!!!

I discovered something lovely today – how to stop getting Facebook event invites.

This particular issue has been driving me a bit mad for the past year+ because
#1 I no longer live in the US, where most of the event invites I receive are generated
#2 Being a house music lover and former party girl, I have a disproportionate number of house music promotor/DJ friends who invite me to clubs (that I won’t be going to) on a daily basis
#3 One of my goals is to live a simpler life, and Facebook invites = virtual clutter.

So, for now (until Facebook hides it again), here’s how you stop receiving event invites from a specific person:

Go to the event page.
Click the “Decline” button on the upper right.
A “Post on Event Wall” box will pop open up.
Click “Ignore invites from…” at the bottom of that box.
Click the “Ignore” button when they ask you “Are you sure you want to ignore all future event invites from …?”

TA-DA!
You’re free!!!

Woohoo!

Advertisements

And I think it’s awesome!

I don’t much care about Marc Zuckerberg. I have some issues with Facebook. I didn’t see The Social Network.

But reading this article gave me a newfound respect for Zuckerberg. He does challenges, just like me! This year he’s only eating meat that he’s killed himself – lobster, chicken, and goats so far. While I haven’t taken on the kill-your-own-animals challenge, I wouldn’t be opposed to it, since I do want to live on my own sustainable farm someday, and I also think that the healthiest way of living is for people to be physically connected to their food sources. Here’s a quote from Zuckerberg:

A bunch of people told me that even though they loved eating pork, they really didn’t want to think about the fact that the pig used to be alive. That just seemed irresponsible to me. I don’t have an issue with anything people choose to eat, but I do think they should take responsibility and be thankful for what they eat rather than trying to ignore where it came from.

 

My thoughts exactly. Be a carnivore, be a vegetarian, be a vegan, but be aware of the reality of your choices, and make them consciously.

I’m trying out a new challenge today.

I’m only going to check email/facebook/twitter twice today; once at noon, and once after I get home from work.

I find myself compulsively checking those three throughout the day for a sense of connection and validation. Mini pick-me-ups, mini mood-boosters.

I don’t want to rely on technology for that. I want to control technology; I don’t want it to control my mood.

I may do the same with my cell phone – just shut it off 90% of the time, and have a specific time that I turn it on and check messages and respond. I seek (and receive) that same sense of validation/connection from text messages.

I’m tired of being dependent, and I’m tired of being distracted. I want to channel my energy purposefully. I want to DO things that will make me happy long-term, rather than RECEIVE things that distract me from my dissatisfaction in the short-term. I want to push my personal boundaries of clarity and progress towards my goals.

I’m excited to conduct this experiment with my life and see how it goes. This morning I did not get online and spend my usual 45ish minutes checking email/FB/Twitter. Instead I wrote my Three Morning Pages, meditated, took a walk around my neighborhood while listening to Philosophers Notes, watered the spinach I’m growing in the backyard, did some yoga, and ate breakfast with my roommate. I can tell this is going to be a great day.

Feel free to join me in my experiment and let me know how it goes for you!

Facebreaks & Sunroots

November 10, 2010

Challenge Updates: Last month my goals were to buy all of my fruits and veggies from Farmer’s Markets, eat pretty much vegan during the week, and only have refined sugar every other day.

I got through the month entirely on FarMar produce – no New Zealander apples for me! Seriously, everything just tastes better (cucumbers actually taste like cucumbers, and the snozberries taste like snozberries) and I’ve started getting deals from the vendors I see regularly, which is awesome. I also discovered a new vegetable called Sunroot (or Sunchokes or Jerusalem Artichokes). I thought it was ginger and bought some, then luckily overheard an Italian chef telling a woman it wasn’t ginger. I started chatting with him in Italian (Ciaaao sei un cuoco? Ma che cazzo sono queste cose?) and he told me how to prepare them. I’ll let you know how it goes!

I did pretty good on the veganism, but I totally failed on the sugar-every-other-day challenge. I’ll partially blame that on the huge tin of Danish Butter Cookies in our office. Abstinence is so much easier for me than moderation! So I’ve decided that practicing moderation is going to be a focus of mine in 2011.

Speaking of abstinence, I also took a week-long Facebreak – no checking Facebook. It was easier than I thought it would be, and was, surprisingly, awesome. It was such a RELIEF not to be checking Facebook. I use FB as a distraction and procrastination tool. So, the majority of the time, when I’m on FB, I’m judging myself and feeling like I SHOULDN’T be on FB – I feel like should be doing something more productive. Like working. Or writing. This ends up with me feeling bad or guilty about using FB. So not checking it at ALL got rid of all those negative thoughts and subsequent icky emotions. I felt better, I got more stuff done, and I felt like I had less mental clutter.

My friend China was the one who inspired me to do a week-long Facebreak with her, and she wrote a wonderful, detailed blog about it, Fifteen Reasons for a Facebreak. We both enjoyed our Facebreak so much that we decided to extend it to 21 days, to cement the change in our Facebook usage habits. We’d both like to use FB more as a tool and less as a distraction. A friend of mine made the comment, “Facebook’s not a drug,” but actually, it serves the same purpose as a drug – distractions & addictions are both things that disburse your mental energy and are used to cover up underlying emotions that you don’t want to deal with.

“Josh Billings said, “It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient one, too.” Human beings have always employed an enormous variety of clever devices for running away from themselves, and the modern world is particularly rich in such stratagems.”

– John W. Gardner

 

Additionally, I’ve figured out that Facebook is to Relationships as Fast Food is to Healthy Food. Facebook and Fast Food are quick, convenient, and filling for short time. But they usually leave you feeling unsatisfied. Fast Food does not nurture your body; Facebook does not nurture your soul. It SEEMS like you’re connecting with your friends, but the interaction is so shallow and one-sided that you aren’t really. Facebook is never going to give you what you’re actually craving – a REAL connection with the people you care about. It’s just shallow friend clutter. I’d rather focus on building my Core Relationships – the 10 or so people who I really love and care about and who are true friends – via face-to-face interactions or at least talking on the phone.

So, that’s a goal for this month. I’m also trying to clear up my psoriasis, which means no booze/refined sugar/coffee or other acidic stuff til it’s gone. I made my first soup the other night – Leek, Pear & Sweet Potato Soup – and it was delish, so I have the feeling I’ll be eating lots of soup this month. Made from Farmer’s Market veggies, of course. Let me know if you want to come over for dinner and some quality, face-to-face conversation! 😉

In the midst of all the other challenges I’m doing right now, I decided this morning to try another little one – go an entire day without logging into Facebook OR email. Quite an impressive feat for me, since I’m pretty sure that I am (was!) a dopamine addict. Check out this fascinating article in Slate about why humans are geared towards internet (and texting) addictions: http://www.slate.com/id/2224932

I check email compulsively; I used to check FB compulsively, but have gotten myself to slow down on that by instituting a no-FB-at-work policy. I used to think of myself as a very undisciplined person; but now that I’m acting like a disciplined person, by setting goals/challenges/limits on myself and committing to stick to them, I’m BECOMING a disciplined person. I’ve heard numerous teachers talk about “Act As If,” basically another form of “Fake It ‘Til You Make It.” Our actions shape who we are. Want to be someone different? Start doing what that someone different would do. And the ultimate cliché (thanks to Nike): JUST DO IT.

I had an extremely productive day. I’ve been feeling stressed between work and my side project and all of the other (wonderful) things going on in my life right now, and I decided that it’s time to stop wasting so much of my VERY PRECIOUS time on FB and email. Of course I love FB and email because they’re validation – that people care, that I’m loved, that others are thinking of me. But I need to learn to need that less. And I’ll learn to need that less by PRACTICING needing that less.

FB and email are also distractions that allow me to avoid and procrastinate on the things I’m afraid of doing – afraid that it’ll be wrong, afraid I won’t do well enough, afraid of failure. But I’ve noticed that lately, instead of putting things off, I’m just doing them. It’s becoming easier and easier.

I’ve decided that I want to use my energy purposefully. And that means getting extremely clear on what makes me happy, and what I want in life, and then channeling my energy – physical, mental, emotional, and money energy – towards those few, high priority things.

I’ve got a Paulo Coelho book of quotes that I just opened randomly, and here’s what that wise old man told me:

“A warrior of light makes decisions.
His soul is as free as the clouds in the sky,
but he is committed to his dream.”

Talk about synchronicity. Thanks, Paulo!

May Challenges update!

May 19, 2010

During the month of May, I took on a bunch of 30-day Challenges. Overall, I’ve been doing pretty well!

No Alcohol/Caffeine/Intoxicants Challenge:
In the past 19 days, I’ve only had drinks on two of them. May 7-9th I had planned a trip to New Mexico with my BFF, so I decided I would let myself “cheat” while there. Over the weekend I consumed two cups of coffee & four drinks. But aside from that, I have refrained from imbibing at nightclubs, Sunday brunches, birthday parties, on Cinco De Mayo, at dinner parties. I find the giving up of coffee more challenging in general, but at this point, I am really craving a glass of fine wine. Though I do appreciate the CLARITY and lack of hangovers or anxiety that go along with booze or caffeine. And the time I can put towards other pursuits (like writing) instead of having to recover or sleep in because I was up late partying. AND the amount of money I end up saving.
Last night my roommate and I got a 6 pack of non-alcoholic beer to go with a little feast we cooked. I had two, and it was actually pretty tasty, though it was a little odd drinking beer and not feeling any buzz at all. And I haven’t been drinking anything carbonated, beer or otherwise, so the bubbles made me feel really full and bloaty. Bleh. Well, that combined with the massive amounts of cheese I ingested. I “cheated” there too…

Ayurveda Challenge (No Dairy, No Citrus, No Acidic Foods, etc):
I love cheese. Love love love. Like, seriously. Robusto, Pecorino di Pienza, a nice dill Havarti, any kind of goat… mmmm. But my Ayurvedic doc says no dairy for me (fermented foods are acidic), so I’ve been staying away from it for the past few weeks. I’ve been resisting strong pizza cravings for this past week. I did, however, succumb to a wedge of Humbolt Fog last night……..and it was delicious. Humbolt Fog may be one of my most favoritest cheeses ever. Creamy, tangy, salty, YUM.
In general, I haven’t been eating dairy, or red meat, or sea food, or processed foods, or sugar. I HAVE been eating a lot of almonds, dates, apples, pears, and veggies: yams, kale, swiss chard, butternut squash & pumpkin soup, asparagus, artichokes, carrots, peas, etc. I’ve been trying to buy organics. I love eating a bunch of vegetables and not feeling full or bloated afterwards. However, I think I have a date addiction. W’NB! (See other blogs for definition of W’NB).

No Refined Sugar: I’ve stayed away from anything with sugar in it, except fruit. I’ve been eating tons of fruit. I have a serious sweet tooth, and I love cookies and chocolate almost as much as I love cheese. Bacon’s up there too. Wait, I’m not sure which I love more, cheese or chocolate…cheese or chocolate…hmmm that’s a toughie. Maybe cheese, just cuz there are so many varieties and ways to eat it. Anyways, during my cheat weekend in New Mexico, I ate, oh, three candy bars, a cinnamon twist pastry, some muffins, a bunch of honey, an incredible apple crisp with ice cream… Now that I think about it, I actually I don’t think I bought any cookies that weekend. So it’s been 19 days since I’ve had a cookie. I don’t think I’ve ever gone more than three. Last weekend I had some blueberry corncakes; they had syrup and powdered sugar on them. Considering how much sugar I usually eat (lots, every day), I am REALLY proud of myself on this. I’m sure stuff that I’ve ordered at restaurants has had some sugar in it, but I personally haven’t been buying most of the crap that I usually do. And I’ve even been good at work, despite donuts and a friggin’ CHEESECAKE PLATTER that was just left sitting out on the table for hours. I looked at it. Many times. But I did not eat it. (I just realized, that’s like a double whammy, CHEESE AND CAKE, united. Wow. I’m stronger than I realized).

On top of these I’ve kept up with my Blog-A-Day Challenge. I think I’m around 17:3. I’ve meditated every day, though two or three of the days I wasn’t able to hit the full twenty minutes. I let the Practice-Harmonica-Every-Day go for now – I couldn’t keep that up with everything else. Oh I also hit my Yoga-3-Times-A-Week goal last week.

OH and one of the 30-Day Challenges that I’m MOST proud of: I haven’t logged on to Facebook at work a single time this month. I’m trying to minimize Facebook as much as possible – I’d rather spend the time being productive, doing things that align with my life goals. I still check it occasionally on my phone, but I’m spending WAY less time there. So that’s a huge accomplishment.

Overall, I’ve been feeling great. Amazing, actually. I’ve been consistently super-happy. I’ve been clear-headed and focused and productive. I’ve been throughly enjoying life, and I haven’t been oscillating between ups and downs, highs and lows. It feels good. Most of these things that I’m avoiding give you a short-term high, and then a crash, or a hangover, or some kind of negative and opposite low. When you cut them out, you just stay high – provided that you’re doing other things that keep you there, like eating well, exercising, creating, meditating, reading, spending time with friends, laughing, getting lots of hugs – all of which I’ve been doing.

I still intend to write a long post on the various other WHYS that I do these Challenges, but basically it comes down to breaking old habits and forming new ones. Also, you don’t grow unless you’re challenged. I’m interested in growing. These Challenges are like games. I’d rather grow through self-imposed difficulties where I am able to exercise my ability to choose than to grow through some horrible events that are not of my (conscious) choosing. Like, say, cancer from poor eating or lifestyle habits, or a DUI, or whatever. Not that I might not get cancer anyways, since carcinogens are in our air and shampoo and water, and I’ve eaten crap food for most of my 31 years on this planet. But at least now I’m making choices where I can. I’m experimenting with my life. Some people think I’m crazy or weird because I’m choosing not to drink for 30 days. But it just depends on what angle you’re looking at it from. Mindless drinking, when you just drink because you drank before and everyone else drinks and it’s just expected (and believe me, it IS), is just as crazy. Everything is life is a choice. Everything. And for those few things that you don’t get to choose, that happen to you (cancer again), you can always choose how you react.

This post is about my recent successes and failures in the challenges I’m doing for the month of May (no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine, no dairy, no processed foods, etc etc).  I read today in Tal Ben-Shahar’s book Happier that it is the process of striving after goals – rather than actually attaining them – that makes us happy. Good news for those of us who aren’t perfect!

FAILURE = Missed a blog post again yesterday. BUT,

SUCCESS = I was also sugar-alcohol-caffeine free. This was with the added temptation of stopping at a Spanish friend’s birthday party at what looked like a fabulous tapas restaurant on La Cienega (La Paella). Y’all know that I love wine, and I LOVELOVE food. But I partook of  neither. I had mint tea instead. I was very proud of myself.

SUCCESS = I also haven’t logged on to Facebook at work AT ALL since April 30th. That is a huge accomplishment for me. I still allow myself to check Facebook on my Droid occassionally, but you can’t waste quite as much time on FB when you’re interfacing through a phone. So, WIN for me!

FAILURE = Haven’t been practicing harmonica. I always do this with musical instruments. I’ve figured out that I have some deep-seated fears around self-expression. I’m musically talented but after the initial rush (one week), I lose motivation. I remember this being a habit since I was in 2nd grade (at least)… So, I haven’t been practicing, but I DO want to become proficient, and I’ve already booked two gigs so…time to start practicing. Maybe visualizing will help…

SUCCESS = Have been meditating or doing yoga every day.

SUCCESS = Woke up at 5:45am this morning (internal alarm clock) and went to a 7am yoga class at Bhakti Yoga Shala in Santa Monica. My goal is to go to yoga 3 times a week. I did yoga on Sunday in Santa Fe (it was incredible, a gong was involved, I had no idea what an audible tickling a gong can give you if played correctly), so today was my second time this week! I felt wonderful afterwards (and for the rest of the day). Hoping that I’m forming a new habit. I really want to check out Yoga West, which specializes in Kundalini (my favorite type) and is much closer to my house.

I have a blog drafted about why I do these challenges that I haven’t written up yet. It comes down to that you grow through challenges. I’m treating my life as an experiment & trying out different modes of living.

I also realized while writing this post that exposure to failure is good for me. Somewhere along the way I picked up the belief that you should never fail. It’s been very rare in my life that I’ve actually tried to do hard or challenging things, and risked failure. Better to do the minimum, the easy stuff, and not try my best. Then if I do fail, I’ve got excuses to fall back on. So, committing to all these challenges, and posting this blog detailing my failures, is a huge step forward for me. Woo hoo! This fear of failure also ties into perfectionism and starting things, but never finishing them. I have about 10 blog drafts I’ve started in the last year that I still haven’t published. I don’t like to “finish” things because once they’re done, you have to put them out there. You’re exposed, you’re open to criticism; you’re open to failure. Of course, this belief isn’t even true – I can always go back in and edit a blog (which, actually, is what I’m doing now! LOL).

This is tangentially related – I should use this in my future, fleshed-out post on why I’m doing the all the crazy challenges – but I saw this quote on my good friend China Brook’s blog tonight:

“Your former habits of thinking and being must disintegrate before better ways of behaving can begin to integrate.”

-LWT

True dat! Check out her blog at http://chinabrooks.com/words/spiritual/

She’s my inspiration.