The Art of Simple Living: Part Two

Part Two: 30 Ways to Inspire Confidence and Courage for Living

Try changing your perspective.

  1. Discover Another You: Find your inner protagonist. Your protagonist has boundless potential.
  2. Don’t Be Troubled By Things That Have Not Yet Happened: Anxiety is intangible. Anxiety. Where does it actually exist?
  3. Take Pleasure in Your Work: Work is what brings out your inner protagonist. Joy is to be found within yourself.
  4. Simply Immerse Yourself: The tremendous power of being unfettered. Empty your mind, and do not let it settle anywhere or wander.
  5. Do Not Feel Put Out By the Tasks Before You: A way to make work much more enjoyable. “A day without working is a day without eating.”
  6. Don’t Blame Others: A way of thinking that will bring forth opportunity and fortune. Think of the work you’re doing as an encounter.
  7. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others: When you feel as though you’re doing the wrong job. In anything, the hard part is just to keep going.
  8. Seek Not What You Lack: Be content with the here and now. The quickest path to achieving results.
  9. Every So Often Try to Stop Thinking: Where ideas can be hiding. The benefits of having room in your mind.
  10. Make Distinctions: The best way to relieve stress. Try erecting gates in your mind.
  11. Try Attending a Zazen Sitting: A chance t o sweep the detritus from your mind. You can leave behind your stress and worries at the temple.
  12. Plant a Single Flower: No day is more important than today. In the world of nature, every day is a new day.
  13. Make a Proper Start: Create an “upward spiral”. How to generate lots of good around you.
  14. Cherish Your Own Self: The meaning of carrying an amulet. An amulet is your alter ego.
  15. Think Simple: If you really want to satisfy your mind. What might seem deceptively appealing
  16. Do Not Fear Change: Cast off your attachment to the past. These is beauty to be found in change.
  17. Notice Changes: Everything else springs from this awareness. The effect of observing yourself from a fixed point.
  18. Feel Instead of Think: To foster a true zest for life. The advantage of those who notice small changes.
  19. Don’t Let Things Go to Waste: For instance, try eating radish greens. What is a “Zen mind”?
  20. Don’t Be Bound By a Single Perspective: There is more than just “the proper way”. The concept of mitate.
  21. Think with Your Own Head: Be skeptical of common sense. Knowledge and wisdom are similar but not the same.
  22. Believe in Yourself: When you give up your potential drops to zero. Possibility springs from confidence.
  23. Instead of Worrying, Get Moving: A much easier way to meet a challenge. For those who plant the seeds of their own anxiety.
  24. Maintain a Supple Mind: What purpose does hard work serve? A supple mind is a strong mind.
  25. Get Active: Become more down-to-earth. Some things you can appreciate only when you do them yourself.
  26. Wait for the Right Opportunity: When things don’t go the way you want. The Japanese mind-set.
  27. Appreciate Your Connection with Things: Recognize the luxury of not having things. An appreciation for things is an appreciation for yourself.
  28. Try Just Sitting Quietly in Nature: Make time to look closely at yourself. The reason why, when you encounter a garden, you have an unconscious desire to sit down.
  29. Try Clearing Your Head: Become aware of which senses are being stimulated. Do less, not more.
  30. Enjoy a Zen Garden: Experience how such a garden is imbued with the “Zen mind”. There are healing powers within a Zen garden.

Okay, first of all. I just LOVE the idea that you are the protagonist. Protagonist: (noun) The leading character or one of the major characters in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text. The main figure or one of the most prominent figures in a real situation. An advocate or champion of a particular cause or idea. Too often, we’re taught to be generous and giving to others. We’re pushed to consider others above ourselves. And that’s always a good lesson. But I’ve found with mental health issues, being selfish is something that’s very difficult for some of us. Take care of yourself. Consider yourself the leading character of your own life story.

#2 – The book really puts it into perspective. “I will calm these anxieties for you. But first, will you bring them to me? If you can set them before me and say, ‘These are the anxieties that burden me.’ I will be sure to calm them for you.” We’re holding onto things that aren’t tangible. We only give them as much power as we allow. It’s really hard to accept this. In the past, this sort of mindset used to make me angry. Because I felt as if someone was talking down to me. It doesn’t feel easy just to push away anxiety, especially for someone that gets fixated on certain thoughts. In this situation, I would point to Accumulate Positives from DBT as a great way to help. You can’t focus your energy on something that upsets you if your mind is focused on something good.

#7 – This is one of my hardest things to come to terms with in life. I’m always thinking about others and how they do things. When you don’t know how to proceed, you tend to look for an example, right? In these cases, I’m always using someone else as a litmus test. And I know that I shouldn’t. I should be looking at my own achievements in the past. I’ve had my newest therapist point this out many times. I’ve handled situations that are stressful much better than I ever did in the past. Things that have happened to me recently, I don’t believe I would have handled them well five years ago. A decade ago. I’m a better me than I was before and every day I’m making progress. And even when I have set backs, that’s just another lesson to learn from.

#9 – I can almost never shut down my mind. I’m always thinking about something, daydreaming, or otherwise. It’s mentally exhausting. They say that even Zen monks have trouble shutting off their minds. I’ve envied my SO for his ability to think about nothing. He’ll often zone out and stare at something. And I’m always wondering what he’s thinking about. Contrary to my own experience, he’s often times just not pondering anything. If you ever find yourself wondering, “What was I just thinking?” That might be the mindlessness that they’re referring to. Apparently these are the times when ideas or sparks might emerge from your thoughts. Which makes sense. If you pack so many things into your mind constantly, where is the room for new creations?

#14 – I never knew the reasoning behind amulets. The book explains and it’s so enlightening. “Think of an amulet as an alter ego of the deity or of the Buddha himself. You’re looking after the deity for a year. You must protect the deity. And by cherishing the amulet, you are cherishing your own self.” The amulet isn’t something magical that gives you powers of protection. You’re supposed to value yourself.

#16 – Change is so upsetting. I’m a creature set in my ways. The idea of deviating from the normalcy of things is so upsetting. Change has always seemed awful, bad, and wrong. My Dad is gone. My pets are gone. The things I’m used to aren’t there any more. Things change as we age and our surroundings never stay the same no matter how much we try. The harder you try to grip a handful of sand, the more the grains slip through our fingers. I loved the one statement in the book, “Rather than lament change, it (a supple mind) finds new beauty and hope in it. That is a life to which to aspire.”

#18 – I had to read this one first to understand it. They don’t mean just to feel with your emotions. I’m more of an emotional person and I tend to react to things based off my emotions. In this instance, they mean to feel things with your five senses. Which is actually one of the exercises I’ve been taught for anxiety attacks. Look at something, drink in the sight of the ocean and the sky meeting on the horizon. Taste something, like the salt in the sea air. Smell something, like the scent of the water coming in from the ocean. Feel something, such as the sand between your toes as you sit on the beach. Listen to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore or the noises the seagulls make. Take interest in the environment around you. Enjoy the details of the world.

#22 – I have such a a hard time with this one. “There is capability within all of us — no one has zero potential… For those who feel stuck, or that they have lost their conviction, the answer is to boost your believe in yourself.” It feels like if you can find this ability. Even a drop of it. It will go such a long way. And it’s something you have to find for yourself. Someone else can’t give it to you.

#23 – Opposite Action! Plain and simple!

#29 – Do less, not more. HOLY COW. That’s just. I don’t hear that EVER. EVER. Making time to clear your head. Just giving yourself a moment for that. It’s not something that can be stressed enough. I’m always hearing cries to be productive. When you’re at work, “if you have time to lean, then you should be cleaning.” Or when you’re at home, people telling you not to waste the day. Do something. Even during leisurely activities, we’re being told to get the most out of life. What if doing less is how you do get more?

I really am enjoying this book. I’ll probably wait a few days before I post about Part Three and Four though. I want to give myself some time to let the Zen stuff sink in. This feels like something you have to take in gradually. My brain feels pickled right now from these concepts. Too much all at once means less retention. I’ve been trying to consider this as I do my DBT skills. I didn’t just read one DBT book and suddenly understand it all. This is one of those moments where I’ll have to revisit the concept a few times.

Thanks as always for your consideration, guys!

Published by Erin Seto

Southern Peach ๐Ÿ‘, in her 30โ€™s - Artist ๐ŸŽจ + Bibliophile ๐Ÿ“š + Geek ๐ŸŽฎ + Nerd ๐Ÿ‘“ + Animal-Lover ๐Ÿพ + Bipolar Disorder ๐Ÿ’ข x Anxiety ๐Ÿ˜จ x PTSD ๐Ÿ’ฃรท DBT Therapy โœจ + Mental Health Matters ๐Ÿง  = ME ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝ

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