Holiday Holy Day

A moments reprieve amongst a sensory overload. Obligations, celebrations, giving, and taking. The holidays for most of us are not a time for rest, but a time to struggle harder then the rest of the year.

Let these holy days be a time to recover, stop wasting every moment. Work on making the moments have value.

Hopefully the blog will return full steam once the holidays end.


The Right Wrong

We make so many affirmations of ourselves that we begin to deny parts of who we are. I am no longer this because I am that. This is further labeling. I have spent much time defining myself only to realize I must change as I can no longer grow if bound by these definitions.

Don't just live your life, experience it. Cease the pointless definitions and the struggle to say you are something. Be something. Words are great for conveying knowledge, but do not show the character of a person. Actions and wise words show your character.

Look at every experience in your life. You have many, no matter who you are. Study the moments and understand what you gained from them, good or ill. Look at everything you define yourself as. Study these definitions and make them guidelines of who you are, not shackles that deny you the world.

You are an amazing person who has done amazing things. You have a lifetime of beauty and wonder ahead of you. Don't close your eyes, experience it all.


Demand Defiance

Accept what you are told. Do without question. Act, do not understand.

Base conventions in our society. Defy them. Stand up against the mass and question everything.

Those in power that know what they are doing will appreciate an opportunity to explain. Those who are faking it will be angry. Wise ones will challenge you to learn. No matter the answer, you will have begun to learn more.

Don't stop at questioning why those around you are the way they are. Question the rain, question the soil, question the flower. Until you understand the hows and whys of everything, you still have more to learn. Learn something little, but never stop learning. Defy the silence, defy the system, defy intelligence and gain wisdom.


Masked Truth

Happy Candy Day!

In celebration of this day of masquerade, let's look at our personal masks. Every day when you get up, you prepare for the day ahead. Your behaviors at work are different than those at home, which are further different than at school.

It is an easy transition of thought to consider each of these different behavior patterns as a mask. We place a different mask on for every activity. Some would argue that this is an unhealthy pattern of behavior, to change one's self instead of always hold true to the core being. I disagree.

We learn to behave by the rules of the given situation, if we choose to ignore them, then we are not making an attempt to be a part of the greater community. I am not talking about giving up a part of yourself to fit in, I am talking about putting on a social mask to not stand out.

The ultimate goal in this concept is not to become one of the crowd, but to blend in with the crowd. Almost as a wolf in sheep's clothing, you develop the ability to stalk through groups unnoticed, as you appear to be a part of it. Yet, you have not given up your personal beliefs, therefore you can still chose to act as yourself, working to move against or uplift the setting.

Everyday, every situation, changing masks to always fit in. Don't change what's on the inside for external acceptance, put on the right mask.


What Inspires?

Do you think about what you say?

Are the words that come out of you mouth wasted upon deaf ears? Have the words you have said made those ears deaf to you?

You give your words power, but only the listener gives them value. If your words are always destructive, negative, and violent, people will begin to ignore them.

Let your words be a comfort, let your words hold real power, let your words inspire. I work with a young lady who inspires me regularly. Not be profound words, she often talks of daily life, school, and sillyness. Yet, her constant joie de vive reminds me how life shouldn't be taken so seriously.

As I let go of the serious path, I find my mind filled with deep thoughts. The musings of a sage and of a child are not so different.


A Gift Unwanted

Every day those around us offer us the worst of gifts. They offer us their anger, their frustration, their pain. They don't want it any more, they want the pain to go away.

This daily torment comes at us and without meaning to we take these gifts. A fine day goes badly because of another person's problems. Yet, are you responsible for it? Did you actually do something wrong? Even if you did, was your action truly worth their response?

Stop taking these gifts. They may offer it, but you have no obligation to accept. Be empty and let the negativity flow through you, do not let it stay with you.

Whenever anyone tries to attack you verbally, emotionally, psychologically... Only you have the power to validate their sickness. Let their poison have no meaning. Do not fight them on their terms, do not let their judgment and wicked words sink in. Stand apart from them, understand that staying calm will guide you better than their assault. Hear what they are trying to say, evaluate the validity, and let it go.

If you have taken the time to begin understanding who you are, no one else can criticize you. They may try, but you have the power to judge their words and see what you wish to apply to yourself. The world is full of opinions, most of them wrong for your way of life. Don't get caught up in the critics view. Only let you be the judge of how you live your life. If you are living it well; If you are happy; and you are making the world better (not worse) for those around you; then you are living a good life.

Those that waste their time hating, judging, and criticizing those around them are the ones to pity. As they are so unhappy with themselves, that they feel that they must give that pain to others, hoping to feel happier. That path of life works for no one. To be one with Tao, be empty and let the gift of pain flow through you.


Joyous Inspiration

Stare at one thing with the same eyes and you will never see anything new. Stare at everything with the same eyes and you will see one perspective. Gaze upon the world with ever-changing eyes and be filled with joy.

Change is the most natural thing in the world. When water no longer changes it stagnates and becomes unhealthy. Don't stagnate.

Creativity is a natural part of us. To see how natural, give a child a crayon and watch. We make things just to see them. And it is beautiful.

Don't fight your creative whim, don't force creation. Return to that child's mind, see your world with new eyes, and inspiration will fill you. It may not be what you were looking for, but be open to something new. The unexpected, the inspiration, it is the path to enlightenment. Let your studies be full on enlightenment and your creativity light-hearted.


Inspirations from Beyond

Things are a bit hectic. Getting ready for a Charity Wine Gala, a friend is getting me into studying Quantum Theory and String Theory (Amazing stuff), Working on some costuming for both Halloween and an amazing Post Apocalypse LARP in Texas. Lots going on, while trying to keep up my work, fitness, and relationship schedules.

Blogging has fallen to the wayside, and I can tell you why. It is not because of all the other things going on. It is because I made it work. I had a great concept and pushed myself to follow through with it, only to find it shot my drive in the foot when the concept and reality didn't meet.

This became a great lesson for me that I have been meditating upon for days.

Follow a passion with emotion. Follow a plan with your mind.

Taoism is my passion, if I plan it or over think it, the Taoist mindset leaves as I am filling my cup instead of leaving it empty.

I plan many things and keep it functioning and organized, but the emotion and the thought are separate. My blog is sharing a connection to my unconscious. Words flowing from the poetry of the heart. If I try to think to hard upon it, I falter.

From my misstep, may I share with you an experience. Learn and grow, follow your passion with all you heart, nothing brings more joy or more fulfillment than to connect with your inner voice.


Mindful Weakness

In setting active thought to my meditations, I have failed myself. Instead of letting Tao guide me and the wisdoms flow freely, I attempted to bind my insight to a specific train of thought. As I tried again and again to make the words come, all that came was frustration. I lost contact with the peace needed to hear my own thoughts.

This week has been trying upon me in many ways, as it nears its end I look forward to a new cycle less filled with over thought. Thinking too much, questioning and over examining can lead to doubt, and mindless inaction. How I wish to say I chose to not act, instead of doubting my actions and not taking them. Regret comes from inaction, peace from non-action.

Choose something, choose nothing, but for peace of mind, CHOOSE.


Taoist's Guide to: Mummies

Bound by ancient tradition, cursed by a need for vengeance, they walk the earth once more; Mummies!

Following traditions long left behind, these poor lost souls wander the earth filled with a hatred for how they were wronged. So long have they felt this pain that the Mummy has forgotten the source or intention of their frustrations. Now all that is left is the burning hate and craving to strike out at those that harm them.

They are wrapped up in old thoughts and find themselves unable to develop new ideas or even take discussion of a topic without filling it with hatred and venomous attacks.

There is no way to do battle with a Mummy. These cursed spirits of hatred are too caught up in their old regrets and desire for needless revenge to look past their own narrow views. To associate with them, merely by an empty vessel. Let their venom flow through you, do not accept it, do not fight it, just let it wash across you and flow away.

Be at peace with the world, hatred only leads to blindness. It is great to not like things, great to choose not to involve yourself with things. It is wonderful to try to change things, but hatred does not lead to positive change. End the cycle of hatred, even of yourself, and face the world with fluid confidence.

Taoist's Guide to: Vampires

The wanton dead. Their flesh moves only to fulfill their selfish desires. A Vampire is a hideous creature, draining the life of those around them.

A Vampire tends to keep at least one Thrall among those that they take from. This Thrall is the enabler. The one person who feeds the Vampires belief that their actions are OK.

Just being in the presence of most Vampires, you could never tell what they are. Generally, they are charismatic and oft times a pleasant person socially. The problem comes behind the scenes, they live off of others by any means.

Under a guise of sweet words and good intentions, the Vampire will lead on those around them gaining free living and a free place to feed. Their good nature makes them hard to turn away and their Thrall will defend them.

How do you eliminate the Vampire's nature? This is the hardest part of the situation. You cannot let them continue what they are doing. Yet, is it worth it to cast them out and lose the friendship with their Thrall?

Yes. Being a good person is of utmost importance, but standing up for yourself to the leeches on society is more important. You can do nothing to improve life for yourself or others if your life is not where it should be.

Are you outside of a group with a Vampire in it? You can try two things. Confront the Vampire privately or talk with your friends why they let it happen. This circumstance is difficult to handle, but with respect and tact you can gain insight into the situation. The most important thing to remember about it... If it doesn't effect you, don't get involved.

Do not let yourself fall prey to the wiles of those that would use you. The cycles of life will bring people in and out of your world regularly, you never need to support someone at the expense of the self.

Support your students, those that will learn from you, grow from you, and when the learning ends, it is time to part ways. Do not force the relationship to linger, nor let them hold on like a nursing child. When the end comes, let it go and make it end, lest you end up having a Vampire take roost in your home... or worse, you fall to becoming one yourself.

Half Day, Double Time

Went in to work for a half day today, yay for being off by 10 am. Off to do some errands then I'll be back to play catch up for yesterday. Two posts today.

Taoist's Guide to: Vampires
Taoist's Guide to: Mummies


Taoist's Guide to: Ghosts

They wail and moan. They haunt the dark, aching to feel real again. Many have forgotten why they feel the way they do. These are the Ghosts of our society.

We rarely see them, hiding away from the prying eyes of the world. Those we do see, their sorrow, their pain, it is almost palatable.

A Ghost can easily bring you down, leaving you feeling weak and depressed. They long for human contact once more, but fear the inevitable pain of loss. A Ghost will fill their public moments with sad commentary on how bad everything is, how the world is dying, and how bad the ills they have suffered.

Zombies and Ghosts are similar in behavior, but bear a distinct difference. Where a Zombie drags others into a mindless stupor, the Ghost wallows in negative emotion, unable to return to a positive world.

The key to handling a Ghost is to not accept the negativity they give you, nor to fight it. Let their pain stay their own, but do not deny them their suffering. Be the one that understands, the lighthouse in their sea of tears. Do not let them take your time, do not devote all to them, but take some time every week to be there for them.

Take your Ghost out and help it feel life again. Slowly.

Life is to be lived, Life is to be felt. Help the cycle of mourning and pain end. Life has great times and life has bad times, dwell on neither. All things come to an end, so value what you have, and prepare for what is coming.


Taoist's Guide to: Zombies

It has happened. The Zombie Apocalypse is upon us. All around us everyday people are slowly turning into mindless drudges. Yet, all is not lost. You my readers, shall gain the skills to identify these monsters and learn to survive in a world of ZOMBIES!!!

Look around you, do you see them? The dead look in their eyes, the trudging gait, the monotonous groan of 'Have a nice day.'

All around us there are those that have lost the will to continue, poor lost souls who are not living any longer. They are merely going through the motions. Many of them begrudge others who can still function and seek to drag them down, turning them as well.

Take time to identify these traits in those around you, you may even have a Zombie under your own roof!

There is hope, both for yourself and these sad unliving souls. You cannot fight them directly, they are resistant to all forms of positive reinforcement. They seek only a direct handout, not help up. Be empty, let them come to you and pour the venom out of their soul. Do not take it though, do not answer to it, let it flow through you without harm.

As they come to peace that you are not an enemy, not out to judge them, harm them, or take what last they hold onto... then you can begin to make a change. Not through simple words, but by helping them gain the tools to live. This is not something I can tell you how to do, but if you remember all that I've said before, help them find emptiness, help them return to youth, help them end their cycle and begin anew.

With each soul saved, you have changed the world for the better. Do not risk trying to fight them all you will be overwhelmed and become one of them, but just one life. Taking the time to help just one life will be the change the saves the world.


Another Chapter

I've been enjoying the month dedicated to change and the self. I will happily write further on the subject at your request. Yet, I will be having a new focus through October. Let us look forward to what comes next.


Cycle of Change

I write daily about change. Change yourself, change your environment, change your world. I don't know you or your situation, so why do I mention change?

The reason why; Change is natural.

We fear change and fight it. We hold fast to thoughts and methodologies that we do not understand. Everything in nature is in a constant state of change. To be at peace is to become as the flow of the seasons, letting the cycle of change move with you.

Nothing more perfectly defines this than water. It adapts to the shape of any container that holds it. Water constantly moving is clean, pure, and life giving. Water that sits unchanging, slowly dies becoming stagnant.

I do not judge you for needing change, nor do I judge myself for changing. It is the natural flow of things. Find areas that need to grow, change, improve. Constantly move in a cycle of self awareness and personal development. As the trees bare fruit to share with others, let your experience and wisdom be the gifts you offer the world.


My Garden, My Flesh

Tend to your body. Nothing is more important to living a long and happy life than to feel good. To feel good you must care for your body.

I am not merely saying eat right and exercise. What I am talking about is truly developing your body. Stop sterilizing everything, you are killing your bodies immune system. By the same token, don't live in squalor, wash your fruit, don't eat bad meat.

Enjoy nature, go out and play in a warm rain. Get some friends together and go explore hiking trails. Roll around in the mud.

Push your body to go a step further each day. Can you just barely lift that 20lb dumb bell, do it twice every day, until you can do it a third. Don't weigh your advancement on that of another, your body is different.

Stop making excuses. Think of your body as a garden, if you want it to be beautiful you have to maintain it. Tend to all areas regularly, feed and water it daily. If you make excuses to not tend it, it will die.

Let your body slowly change, slowly improve, and reveal a person you are happy with. You don't need to push to become some Greek god, become the beautiful fallible human you are. You have the seeds, you have the land, now... I challenge you to tend your garden for a year.

Take a picture of yourself today. (Write the date on it)
Begin a simple exercise routine. Nothing too time consuming.
Try basic squats, using a chair for support. Do it until your legs begin to hurt, then do one more.

This is not a temporary exercise program or diet, this is about saying 'I am ready for a change.' Change your lifestyle, change your life. Eat better, hydrate yourself, and play harder.

What you start today, will begin a change that will last the rest of your life.


Relax and Recover

If you push yourself and work everyday, you will run yourself down. It applies to everything. Dieting, take a day to eat what you want. Exercise, let your body rest, you'll get better gains.

If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else.

A day to rest, reflect, and recover.

We'll return to deep meditations after a nap.


Validate the Creator

What do you do in your spare time? What do you want to do? What can you do?

Fill these answers with one word; Create.

Create art, create poetry, create dinner. Make something with your time.

Life should be a process of learning things, perfecting them, and forgetting the words. Do you have something you like doing, knitting, sewing, painting? Stop wasting time and fill time with reading how to do it better, watch videos on doing it, read a blog on it. Now take the inspiration and follow through with action. Make something, make 5 things, make a thousand things, then make nothing. Once you have mastered making it without thought, you are ready to do something new.

This is the process of mastery. Do this and grow. Do not be a specialist, do not be a coin, having only one or two skills leaves you shallow. Expand and conquer everything, your mind is a beautiful thing, now plant the seeds and tend your Eden.


Connecting with Distraction

So much time is wasted trying to distract one's self from what you are doing. Stop thinking about it as procrastinating. Stop saying you wasted the time. Just stop a moment.

One of the key points of the Taoist mind is self awareness. Know who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Accept your distractions, now understand them. Didn't want to clean your place, so you played that new game. Awesome, you did something. You got closer to beating that game you bought, instead of letting it get dusty on a shelf.

Stop blaming yourself for what you do, realize what you do. Once you begin to eliminate the guilt, it will become easier to do what you need to be doing. Let yourself do those activities you want to, stop making them an excuse. Choose to do what you want to do.

Blame and guilt are your enemy. Stop wallowing in guilt and blaming yourself for what you choose to do. Accept who you are, accept what you enjoy and admit it without shame. Once you have gotten past that, once you are free of your self pity, now you are free to complete your next task. You are free to choose.


Celebrate Everything

Don't waste your life away waiting for the right moment to celebrate something. Celebrate every good thing that happens, thank everyone for anything they do to help you. Honor the negative and sadness that comes along, for without the bad, the good doesn't shine as brightly.

Live in reverence of the glory of today, appreciate the anticipation of tomorrow, bask in the magnificence of yesterday. Experiences had, adventures being lived out, and plans to be fulfilled make life's circle complete. Celebrate the people who are a part of it.

This post is for my 100 followers. Thanks to each and every one of you. You make the words I leave here have meaning.
Without you, my ramblings are just simple scribblings.
With you, these words resound the change.
With you, I have kept my meditations in times of trial.
With you, Tao fills us all.

Thank You.


Mediating Meditating

The act of meditation is connected with divine gurus and new age hipsters. While the truth of meditation is completely different. Meditation is not limited to that deep spiritual moment that you understand the meaning of life, it is that simple deep breath.

When you step outside for a smoke break, you stop everything, slow down, and focus on taking a series of long deep breaths before getting back to work. Congratulations, you just took a brief meditative break.

Meditation is truly the process of letting yourself disconnect from the immediate concerns of the world and bring yourself back to yourself. You slow down, contemplate the internal, and reset.

All too often, we push ourselves non-stop from task to task. Much like understanding non-action, meditation is the process of actively choosing to do nothing. The difference between non-action and meditation lies in the fact that meditation tasks you with slowing down, recovering, and contemplating the self. Non-action is more the mental state of being aware and choosing to do nothing until needed.

Meditation is no far off thing. It is not what you have to spend a life time perfecting your chants. Just do the following;

1.) Set a timer (such as a relaxing song)
2.) Get comfortable. Sit back, take off your shoes, turn off distractions (like your phone).
3.) Close your eyes.
4.) Focusing on taking slow, deep breaths... in through the nose, out through the mouth.
5.) Continue until the music stops.
6.) Stand up, stretch, and feel recovered.

Congratulations, a basic meditation completed. Find your own way, find what fits in your day, but try to make time for it. Nothing is more important than you, nothing is more important than feeling your best. So take a few minutes everyday to be with that most perfect of people, You.


Experience the Impossible

Take in a deep breath and bask in what is around you. Absorb every sight, sound, and smell. Taste the wind and caress the light. Remember this pointless moment.

Every moment you have is as precious as you make it. Every small thing you do is another experience acquired. The most precious moments can be had by looking upon the world with child like vision.

Children see things that adults do not. Why?

The world is still shiny and new. They haven't become so accustomed to the world that they feel bored with it before even looking. Return to that child's mind. See with eyes untainted by cynicism and boredom.

So many experiences, so many moments, your world will fill with colors unseen and joys long forgotten. Fight the banality of the gray asphalt and black tar. See the world for the thousand hidden colors hiding in plain view.

I have two personal memories, so minor, yet so vivid.

First; I was at a camp site sitting on the porch. I held a bottle of water and was staring at the grainy sand and dirt as condensation fell to the ground. I sat enraptured watching the water move amongst the dirt moving it around. As each drop fell, the pattern grew. It was watching art unfold with no direction.

And second; Walking to the store, I look out into a large empty field, the grass overgrown from recent rains. There is an old wood and rusted barb wire fence that has been overtaken by ivy and other such living things. Amongst this green and brown span, I see a white and red kite flying above the field against the stark blue sky. The kite's string was caught in the bushes, while the kite flew in the afternoon breeze.

These moments are so easy to overlook, so minor. Yet, taking the time to realize this is going on around you, to pull you out of the darkness and bring you back to a world of life and color.

This world is scary and grim. It will try and crush you and make you conform to the easy path. Stare deep into that falling shadow, remember that last drop of light. For with that moment, you will become like a divine prism. The light shall bend through you and all around people will be bathed in the colors of your exaltation.


A Moment's Reprieve

At the end of an impossibly trying day, the hardest thing can be to let it all go and move on to tomorrow. As with most of the truly important things in life, the hard path is worth walking.

My thoughts are short and sweet today as I transition from one day to the next. I hope all my readers have a wonderful night to relax, reflect, and recover. I will be following my own words and be back tomorrow afternoon with deeper meditations.


Selfishly Selfless

Why do you do what you do?
Many people interject their opinions on others. They feel that it is the obligation of others to conform. If people do not conform to the mass appeal they are wrong.

How horrible a life it must be to feel that you are responsible for judging every other person.

Take a moment to judge one's self. Take a day to judge one's actions. Take a lifetime to judge one's choices.

If you take action, give wisdom, or provide for another and expect or demand return on their part, without them coming to you asking in the first place, you are not selfless. You are not a great champion or revered martyr. You are being selfish.

Give up the self. Give without considering repayment. Provide wisdom without demanding obedience. Save someone and let them live on.

Give up on the demand of the world fulfilling your good deeds. Do good so that it uplifts you and everyone you touch.


Simply Return

Return to happiness.
Return to peace.
Return to purity.

You have not gone too far away from who you are. You will never go so far away that you cannot return. Your experience changes you and makes you grow, but does not erase the essence of who you are.

Learn yourself, know yourself, be yourself. The being that you truly are may not be seen by everyone else yet. Someday that will change as you return to yourself.

Think back to being a child before you learned that everything was so different. Realize that those labels are merely stickers put on by others so they do not have to think about the subject. Take the stickers off yourself, tear free of the labels that you have stuck on, rail against the labels others feel the right to stick upon you.

Return to who you are.
Return to a life without labels.
Return to Tao.

Yesterday may have made today, but it doesn't have to make tomorrow.


One more step.

At the beginning of any great journey, you take one more step. At the end of every small journey, you take one more step. The beginning and end of everything is just one more step among many in our lifetime. Each step should be treated with the importance of that first and last step.

You fear doing great things because you may fail. If you never begin, you have failed. If you never end, then you are closer to enlightenment.

Yet, how can one face the monumental task of doing something, changing something, becoming something?

Take one more step. Treat every part of the progress as you do walking.

That seems to downplay the importance of the task, no?

Walking is a complex action of balance, coordination, and endurance. Think deeply on how complicated walking really is and you will grasp it. Then realize how you have made such a difficult task mundane, by taking one more step.


Actively Passive

Too often we consider taking no action as doing nothing. The source of the thought more often than not comes from the fact that the inaction is not planned out. Try taking the time to consider Non-Action as an option.

As emptiness fills us, non-action should define our function. Look at situations and weigh out your options on how to handle them. Do not forget that you can choose to not act. When you learn about another person's drama, you do not need to be involved. You can be aware, you can be supportive, but do you really need to step into it? Consider that. You can always choose to not act, until you see a moment arise that action is the only course.

If you had been acting before that moment, if you were too busy to see it arise, you never would have been able to take the perfect action. The greatest hunter does not unleash an arrow at the first sight of a Deer. The hunter waits, chooses non-action, until the perfect moment. In that moment, he chooses to act with as much conviction as he chose not to act the moment before.

Find peace in knowing you choose non-action. Find strength in always being ready to act.


Mk. II Minimilist Tips

I covered some basics yesterday and wanted to touch back on it.

On the matter of expenses, to help manage you money divide your bills by the number of pay periods each month. Meaning, if you get paid weekly, divide by four, bi-weekly by two. This will more reliably balance your money and will also provide you two months of the year where you receive full paychecks to spend as you see fit.

On the matter of minimalism outside the materialistic, devote your life to simplicity. Find innovative ways to fill your time and replace the need for external devices. Want to work out, you don't need a treadmill, go outside. Want to do major cardio, go to a kids playground, you can do incline push ups, dips, and pull ups with ease. Minimalism is merely another word for simplicity.

Simplify your life and you will be burdened by less. With less burden it will be easier to face your problems... to face yourself. When you are ready to face yourself, you can begin to change. And when you accept the cycle of change, the world itself will change with you.


Cut the Cord.

To live a minimalist life, one must categorize everything around them. There is no longer room for waste. Every item around you is tying you down, the only way to be free is to cut the cords.

- Clothing: Take all your hanging clothes and turn to have the hook facing you just once, do it today or next laundry day. Donate all the clothes that you haven't turned the hanger around on.

- Storage: You don't need it. If you have items in storage, you will not use them. They are cluttering your life and if you are paying for a storage unit, wasting your money.

- Food: Eat clean, eat light, eat until you are satisfied. Drink only water, tap is fine, get a filter if your local tap is nasty. Get rid of the microwave. Get a crock pot and a cheap George Foreman. Learn what you can cook with those. Frozen chicken tenders and cheap canned vegetables can be amazing with a few spices or a nice vinaigrette dressing. Discover what you can do with beans, rice, and lentils.

- Expenses: Make a chart. Make a chart. Seriously, Make a chart. On the left side write down all of your monthly expenses with dates they are due, Round up to the nearest amount (I choose $25, if that takes you over your income, do $5). Include an allotment for grocery and necessities (Soap, Toothpaste, Detergent, etc.).

On the right side note down your current pay period and the next pay period, next to the dates make note of your estimated minimum income amount for that period. Now fill in under there the bills due and the amount of each one. Subtract the total bill allotment from the income amount. This is your total spending money until next pay period. Use it as you see fit.

- Expenses 2: Some bills are unneeded. After you have made your list of expenses, look at which ones you can eliminate or reduce. Take the time to call the companies and see if you can get a better rate for the same or similar service.

This is just a start, as you begin clearing out the mess and organizing the remainder you will begin seeing more of what can be done to pare down the unnecessary. Some things that seem mandatory now can very realistically be cut. As you reduce your burden and expenses you will see availability to downsize your living space, reduce your financial output, and gain the freedom to reduce your financial gain and spend that time on self improvement. Or you can hold out and get into secure investing and build a solid retirement package. Live now or live later, the choice is yours.


Day of Rest and Contemplation

As I have today off from work, I thought I'd open up some lines of communication to my readers. What would you like to read more about? Are you interested in advice, stories, quotes, history of Tao? Would you like me to talk more about Taoism, Modern Living, minimalism, gaming, or design?

Let me know, I'd love some feedback.


Time Saved is Time Lost.

We are surrounding by thousands of offers to help us save time. We apparently have no time to do anything we want to do anymore. A new app, device, or product is what we need to have a more manageable and easy life.

Take a moment. Think about it. How much more time are these things actually getting you... And how much more time are you wasting on them? Time cannot be saved. You can't miraculous store it for later use. All you can do is stop wasting it and plan the use of it better.

The only way to truly gain time is to stop wasting your time. No device is going to miraculously make you stop procrastinating. No app is going to make you stop watching TV and go exercise.

You only need yourself to make these changes. You can make the time if you stop trying to rely on outside influences to fix it all. Simplify, eliminate the unnecessary and you will find freedom to do what you haven't been able to.


Oh my, God.

The concept of god always left me at a loss, so many things felt right, so many wrong.
I found peace in a greater understanding. Tao must be an absolute entity.

ab·so·lute   /ˈæbsəˌlut, ˌæbsəˈlut/
1. free from imperfection; complete; perfect:
2. not mixed or adulterated; pure:
3. complete; outright:
4. free from restriction or limitation; not limited in any way:
5. unrestrained or unlimited by a constitution, counterbalancing group, etc., in the exercise of governmental power, esp. when arbitrary or despotic:
6. viewed independently; not comparative or relative; ultimate; intrinsic:

To be absolute, Tao cannot be compared to anything else. If anything were separate from Tao then Tao would not be absolute. All things are part of Tao and Tao exists because of all things.

Tao cannot create a rock it cannot move, as it does not create or move. Tao merely is. Both the rock and the movement of it are part of Tao. We are free to act as we see fit, for Tao does not control us. Tao only provides guidance when we open ourselves to its wisdom.

Tao is the Heaven, the Earth, and the emptiness in between. Tao is our mind, our body, and our soul. To reach perfection is to become one again with Tao.

Understanding this concept made me a man of faith, though I am not a religious man.

Now, take the time to replace every instance of Tao with the word God. May it help you find peace.


Forget what I said...

Nothing is more precious than the words you have forgotten. We focus so much on acquiring knowledge at the expense of developing the comprehension and understanding that comes with it. We are a society coming to a summit of intelligence, while we suffer under the general lack of wisdom to utilize it.

Explain how to walk, how to talk, how to listen. All of these tasks have become a very essence of who you are, you developed these skills by action, instinct, and support, the words that guided you mean nothing compared to the comprehension you have.

Do not let yourself be hung up upon the words that taught you to be, let those words become a part of who you are so that you may be the font of insight, not a mindless parrot repeating words given to you.

Forget the words, inherit the meaning.
Understand nothing and know everything.
Know nothing and can understand everything.


My Glass is Half-Empty

There is an old story about a scholar and a sage, here's my telling of how I remember it.

An educated scholar went east to learn wisdom from a renowned Taoist Sage. They sat for tea and the Scholar went on and on explaining all he had studied and telling the sage all he knew about wisdom and the Tao.

The Sage began pouring the Scholar tea while listening to the words. As the tea started pouring out of the cup and filling the saucer the Scholar shouted out.

"Why are you doing this?"

The Sage replied "You must first empty your cup if you wish to learn anything."

The reason I reference this story is to discuss emptiness. We fill our minds and bodies up to overflowing, constantly trying to show the world we are worth their respect. Absorb the knowledge and let it leave you, remember the meaning and let the words go.

As you become more skilled at a task, you forget the words that taught you how to do it and find your own explanation. A flute is made of value, not by the outside, but by the emptiness within.. Make yourself a vessel to fill, let the winds of life blow through you and make your life music. You grow from the music and let it pass through you having enriched yourself and the world around you with the experience.

Pixels of Sand

Working on nothing and the pixels of sand slowly fall away on a digital hourglass. Time loses meaning and we lose the day. Take your time back, don't let it flow away.

We spend so much time being 'productive', only to realize we got nothing done. We spend so much time trying to be efficient, that we don't get what we want.

At the end of the day, record what you did. See how little you accomplished. Now write down what you want to do tomorrow. As you go through the day, remember what you want to do and do it. Seems simple enough, yet we will find pointless things to do instead of what we want to do and time will slip away.

Take 10 minutes to exercise, Take 20 minutes to relax, Take 30 minutes to Create, Take 30 minutes to Shower, Take 30 minutes to clean your house. These are all seemingly meaningless things in the grand scheme, but taking Two Hours everyday to improve your day will change everything.


Alone with my Tribe.

We are a tribal people in a world that offers us masses and solitude. We struggle to build our community and when we are forced to leave it, spend too much time away from it, or put up with those that want to destroy our delicate infrastructure, we seek solitude.

Nothing feels more satisfying the to be part of a greater whole, not just a person around a group of people, but to feel a part of it. Nothing feels worse to be alone in the crowd, to be looked upon as an outsider as you try and fit in. It oft times leads us to exile ourselves from people, become a full outsider and be safe in our hermit like caves.

I challenge you as I challenge myself today. Build your tribe, connect with those with similar interests, support them, get to know them. Do this without expecting friendship, or even them to care. If enough of us try and build connections with those around us without fear or worry about rejection we will eventually come together as a tribe.

If nothing else, you take the chance to meet some people and might make a friend or two.


Prodigal Prodigy

So much time is spent to try and be the best at something, only to run into that person who is better than you. How harsh the world is to never let you be perfect.

The lesson lies in that though. If you strive to overcome everyone around you, there will always be that person that comes up and out performs you. Competition provides fleeting satisfaction.

I do not say to not do it though. Stop competing with others and compete against yourself. Raise the bar only against your own skill, not that of another. If you pick up a guitar and can only play one note... Play it for yourself, play it until you hit it perfectly every time, play it and find peace in it. Tomorrow... learn a second note.

Never let the challenge of others being better than you exist. You need only concern yourself with the challenge of One vs. Self. As you gain more experiences, you can overcome fear and doubt.

What do you have a passion for? It doesn't matter how unimportant the world sees it. It only matters how important it is to you. Own your passions, pursue them, and perfect them. Then one day, you will look around and realize you are finally the best person at something that matters more than anything else;

Something that matters to you.


All or Nothing.

Constantly striving to excel and have enough wealth to have it all. We struggle to fulfill what others tell us we should have. Yet, how often are those that tell you that you need something to be happy, happy themselves?

Have nothing, owe nothing, do nothing, be nothing. Nothing is a whole and valid entity.

Have nothing; now you are free to do as you will, travel, explore, never feel bound to possessions.

Owe nothing; fulfill your obligations as they arrive, don't let others feel ownership of you.

Do nothing; don't fill every moment with activity, find value in taking 30 minutes every day to dedicate to doing nothing. This helps eliminate procrastination.

Be nothing; Stop trying to label yourself, stop trying to be what others say you should be, do just as much as is needed to pay your bills. With all the time you have gained, dedicate yourself to something worthwhile. Such as, Art, Music, Writing, Mentoring, Fitness. Be nothing so that you may fill yourself with value.

Tao by Design

So I finally want to take a moment to talk about what 'Tao by Design' means. It's a combination of my interests and a play on the meaning of Tao.

I am an avid follower of game design theory, both table-top and console/computer. Also, while in college I majored in graphic design and found it cool. From there, I am a Taoist. I spend a fair amount of my time these days studying and meditating on Taoist philosophy.

So seems simple enough, but here's the twist on the title. I was discussing Taoism with a co-worker that is also a minister and explained how Taoism was not a religion, but a philosophical viewpoint that any could adopt. As I thought back on that discussion, I found the thought of God as a Taoist profoundly amusing. All things are part of Tao and Tao is all things, so Tao can function in both creationist thought and evolutionist theory.

All things are Tao by Design, therefore all that I design is Tao.

Sorry for the less profound musings today, may post a follow up later tonight.


Survival of the Laziest.

We spend so much time struggling towards an invisible promised land. That fabled place where you have 'enough'. Work at 110% every minute of every day and some mythological force will make sure it pays off.

What a load of shit!

Do a good job, because it adds value to yourself.
Stop trying to achieve when you find yourself happy with what you have.
Be happy with what you have.
Accept when loss comes your way, while being ready embrace change.

The only promised land awaiting you is the one you make for yourself, so why set your goals in the mythical. You don't ever have to be what others expect you to be. You have the right to step out of the conformity and say 'I am doing it my way.'

Are you happy with your minimum wage job?

I mean really, it is the most wonderful thing. You are only responsible for your own actions, so you are allowed to set the bar. You may not make much, but by learning to live within the limitations you'll be amazed what you can do with a minimalist lifestyle. You may not realize it, but in that position others don't have high expectations. Find out what they expect of you, it's generally much less than many specialist positions out there.

Find joy in the simplicity and then with the freedom of spirit you have gained, take time to get to know yourself and become a person not defined by their job.


Change the Channel.

"Be the change you want to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi

The world you live in is a reflection of what you put into it. Yet, there are times when the world around you is what needs to change. Nature flows in cycles, seasonal migrations, constant change is inevitable.

Value what you have had, but be ready to let it end and start anew. You cannot change the past, it makes you who you are today, but it doesn't have to make you who you are tomorrow. Let yourself be a part of the cycle and let change be a part of you.

As you become one with the natural cycle of change, you will see the effect you have on the world around you.

'Everyday that passes my very existence changes the way the world works for everyone I meet.' Repeat that to yourself and realize how powerful you are.


Introductions, post mortem.

I went straight to sharing my philosophical views while skipping a step very important to most... an introduction. I am the same no one as you.  That glass man staring back in the mirror.  We are the unlabeled mass moving the world forward with our drudgery.

The importance of this is to take a moment to stop thinking of how bad it is, but remember how important it is to be.  No one appreciates you as much as you deserve... because you don't appreciate what you do.  If you hate what you do, all you will experience is the reflection of your own feelings in others.

As with all reflections, if you take the time to look at yourself and don't like what you see; stop and take a moment to understand the word reflect.

v. re·flect·ed, re·flect·ing, re·flects
1. To throw or bend back (light, for example) from a surface.
2. To give back or show an image of (an object); mirror.
3. To make apparent; express or manifest
1. To be bent or thrown back: Her voice reflected off the canyon walls.
2. To give something back, as light or sound.
3. To give evidence of the characteristics or qualities of someone or something.
4. To think seriously; To express carefully considered thoughts.

Now reflect upon yourself.  Learn who you are, then you can learn what you don't like about yourself.  As you know your sins, you learn how to cleanse your impurities and become closer to that inherently amazing and pure thing you are.  

And yes... I didn't introduce myself... I hope I introduced you to yourself, though. 


Not the Way

"The way called The Way is no the true Way" - Lao Tzu

This interpretation of the first passage of the Tao te Ching really struck me.  With so many ways to look at it, I found my meaning. 

When I follow other people's words without questioning why I follow them, I am no longer walking my own way.  When you give up that small part of individuality, you have lost that important bit of self.  I am not speaking of defying all societal conventions, as I believe to be human is to be a part of a community.  I am speaking of taking the time to ask one question.


We accept the way set before us, because we are told it is the right path.  How often do you take the time to ask 'Why is it the right path?'.  Take the time to ask why.  Then, find a way to understand the answer.  You don't have to agree or disagree.  By learning the why of another, by taking the time to learn the why of yourself, you grow as a whole.


As I log on to an online game,  a massive realization struck me.  In our modern age, we are developing such a depth of our digital self that we could be considered to have a Digital Gender.  A way we identify that part of our self that is solely computerized.  I am very much a man and identify myself as male, yet my gender becomes much more fluid while chatting online.

This is not going into the internet old pretending to be a girl for MaD CyBorZ.  I am actually talking about finding an interesting part of yourself where you identify more as someone or something else while
at your computer.

How deep does the rabbit hole go?  As far as you let yourself free.

No longer is a person bound by genetic codes, visual stereotypes, physical limitations, or speech patterns. Now, a digital entity, they may make of them self what they feel most comfortable.  Though this can be taken to extremes, when given the time and introspection, how many of us rebuild a different 'me' online.  More of who you wish you were and less of what you have become.

Is this persona truly less valid?  Many people spend more time socializing through online games, chat services, social networking than they do personally.  How can this digital face be less honest than their physical one?

It can be, given motive behind it.  If it is made to deceive or coerce people's behavior.  But what about those that take a face just to be them self.  I am one of those people.  I was always a short fat kid with a lisp, though I grew out of it, I developed a distance from people that I have trouble getting over.  It's that deep seeded fear of people seeing that part of you that you hate most.  When online, I am more comfortable talking with people as I can form my thoughts so much more clearly in a written form.  There is no fear of a lisp
coming out, or of my physical form coming across as offensive.

I can face people with more confidence and therefore hold deep conversations on subjects of interest without the implications of physical interference.  This freedom has been seen for some time by the internet, oft times as internet tough guys hiding behind the veiled anonymity of their computer.  I just want to speak of it as the
freeing force that it can be to help those take a moment to under stand something important... A person is a complex mess of emotions, accept who you are, forgive yourself for it, and embrace it.  Take a moment to look around and you'll find somewhere that you will be accepted, because... there are a lot of us out there to give you a hug when you finally come out.