The month of August was one of the best months of my life in a long time. I found a renewed interest in bettering myself and reflecting on the way I spend my time. I spent the time instilling three of the eleven planned values that I want to be at the core of everything I do. These were Acceptance, Gratitude, and Optimism. A quick summary of each is as follows:
The first ideal I spent time exploring was that of Acceptance. It was very much an experiment to work out the kinks for how exactly I was going to approach this whole process of making these values a deeper part of my life. I did what I plan to do for every one which included learning about the origin, making a poem, painting, and symbol to represent it, creating my own personal definition, as well as picking out some quotes and songs that I feel embody the value. The definition I ended up landing on was: developing the ability to move towards and purposefully seize the unknown while absorbing and engaging in one’s environment judgment free.
The second ideal that I focused on was Gratitude. I tried to better appreciate this value by partaking in a five day fast from food, technology, and a few other small comforts I often take for granted. My hope was that simulating life without these things would help me better understand and be more grateful for them. It was an incredible experience and I recommend it to anyone who has the time and opportunity to do it. I also spent time each day writing down things I am grateful for and why, a practice I have continued to do daily in each of my nightly journaling sessions. I strongly believe gratitude should be at the core of every individual who wants to live a happy and fulfilled life. The definition I conjured up for it was: the deliberate and recurrent effort to understand and give thanks for the time, effort, and energy required to create any thing, activity, or experience.
The last value I addressed in August was Optimism. I have always been a fairly optimistic fellow and learning more about and filling my life with optimism was very enjoyable. There was definitely some resistance I found from people who believe optimism is not good because people associate it with blindly thinking everything is fine and great. This boils down to not having a deep enough understanding of the word and only looking at the superficial aspects of it. The definition I landed on for Optimism was: The ability to process each moment by consciously focusing on the aspects that mentally build you up while acknowledging the negatives but never giving them the power to propagate. If you would like to read more about this or the other two values feel free to check out the full post in the links above.
As well as exploring the values discussed above, I was able to develop a daily meditation and yoga practice that has been extremely beneficial to my mental and physical well-being. I have broadened my knowledge of these two practices through reading and videos as well as first hand practice. I look forward to the day I am able to find and learn from masters of these arts but for now am very content laying the groundwork through what is at my disposal. In addition to these activities, I took a renewed interest in an old fascination of mine, lucid dreaming. I read three books on the subject as well as listened to multiple podcasts and videos. I also recorded my dreams in a journal daily and worked on taking moments out of my day to become more aware of myself and surroundings. Throughout the month, I triggered and experienced a total of four lucid dreams and each one was extremely validating and boosted my interest and resolution even more.
I ate some delicious food throughout the month but the two meals seen below were the highlights. I ate avocado toast quite a bit and should probably call it something like deluxe avocado toast. I slowly added to my creation each time I made it and ended up with a piece of bread stacked with an egg, turkey bacon, avocados (of course), sprinkled with garlic powder, cumin, salt, and hot sauce. I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life and be completely content. The other picture contains a chicken shawarma bowl I made that was especially delicious and will be returning to in the future.
- Getting my second tattoo which can be seen below! I got a delta wave, brain waves which are associated with deep sleep as well as dreams, surrounded by the four fundamental elements, fire, earth, water, and wind, in order to act as a lucid dreaming trigger. The delta wave in the center represents our inner reality that we can create and have control over while the four elements surrounding it represent the outer reality that we see and interact with, having less control over and being more concrete. The idea is that randomly throughout the day I will question my environment as well as examine my tattoo in the hopes that this habits translates to happening in my dreams and when I notice my tattoo looking off I will realize I am dreaming and trigger my lucidity.
- Another major highlight was certainly experiencing my first lucid dream in over 2 years. It was quite short but being able to trigger it have me a great deal of motivation to keep up the habits I am establishing in order to increase the frequency and consistency of these dream states.
Looking into September
My plan for September is to continue my pursuits in learning about and embodying three more of my remaining ideals. I am also very much looking forward to visiting my brother and celebrating the completion of his 29th year on this planet. I have not seen him in about a year and haven’t visited him where he lives in about 5 years so I am excited to meet his friends and spend some time in his world. I am also looking forward to solidifying several of the new habits I am developing into a more automatic sequence of events that become my new normal.
Make Today Your Best Day Yet!
“Life is a series of fresh starts, the frequency of use is up to the individual”~Zak Keller aka amusingmonk~