Sunday, 12 November 2017

little economies

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I've been thinking lately about The Ancient Art of Little Economies. Little things that one does to save money, to save time, to save sanity. I do Little Economies a lot, but sometimes, of course I digress and am wasteful.

But really, I don't like it. I don't like having my bin for paper, tins, etc, etc, fill of junk. To me, that shows that I have been wasteful. So, what do I do, instead?

I do use tins... but only occasionally. Rarely. Mostly on blue moon occasions.

I don't buy 'stuff' then have to throw out some existing 'stuff', to make room for the new 'stuff'. I look at ways to use up what I have, instead.

Sometimes, just by moving paintings, ornaments and furniture around, you can get a 'new look' for your home.

I do the same with clothes. I pull them out of storage at the start of each season, and see what I can come up with to have a nice stash of clothes. Occasionally I do need to buy a few things, but seldom. I also mend clothes.

I mix tail ends of foundations, and skin care, to make more. I dilute cleanser and body lotion with whatever oil is floating around, from out of the kitchen through to baby oil. I cut tubes in half when they appear to be empty, and recently got 6 more applications of cleanser out of what appeared to be an empty tube, when I did this. I also mixed some CC cream with some samples of foundation to make a lovely new foundation.

Hilariously, when my eldest grand daughter and youngest child were both thirteen, they both wanted make-up. Well, thirteen is a good age to want that! However, myself and my eldest daughter were both somewhat impoverished at the time. My youngest and I went to the local mall, where we saw a Maybelline freebie display. Tiny samples of foundation, blusher, lipstick, etc. My youngest and I walked past and took a handful. We walked past at regular intervals, smiling, acting nonchalant and taking. Then we went to see grand daughter. When we handed over her stash, I told her that "the world is full of make-up". And, being her granny, of course I was the font of such knowledge. Ever since then, she has known that makeup is out there, if you want it. ps Granny-wise, I shall never forget the look on her face when she got her stash. A Lovely memory, for me, frozen in time.

I save ends of vegetables, such as carrot tops, vegetable peelings, garlic and onion skins, when I'm preparing food. They go into a container and about once a week, I make stock from them for cooking and for soups. You cover the vegetables with some water, add some black peppercorns, a bay leaf, odds and ends of fresh herbs, bring it to the boil, and steep for at least 15 minutes, then strain. I don't cook meat, but if you do, you can add bones with a dash of vinegar to leech the calcium out of the bones, but this does need more cooking.

I rummage around my fridge a couple of times a week, and use up bits and pieces. To be honest, I do keep a fairly sparse fridge, but still.... I'll do a tray bake of root veggies, or make some veggie soup. I freeze extra portions so that I don't need to buy designer soups. Fried rice is another option. And juicing is another way to use up appropriate fruit and veggies.

I seldom buy magazines, I get them from the library instead. And the same with books. I also get books from $1 sales, and then when I've read them, I donate them.

Why? For me, it actually isn't just about money, but also about ecology. That is, I really do little economies to reduce my carbon footprint. I don't want my future family line to live in a junked up world. Nor do I want that for anyone else.

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All of these Little Economies, they do add up. I learnt to be this way, from my beloved Grandmother, who was very posh. From Nanna, whom I lived with, I learnt that the best way to have money, and appreciate money, was not to waste it, and certainly not to keep spending.

And, it's not about having a miserly life. Far from it. At Nanna's, we had a lovely, gracious, affluent life. It's easy to be gracious when one is not constantly 'wanting'. Wanting things, situations, etc, etc. No, learning how to work with what I have stops me from all that wanting. Mostly. I can and do lapse sometimes....

And it's easy to be affluent when we are not wasting our money.  Maybe I have the pratty gene... but I enjoy living like this. It makes me feel and be self reliant. And, looking at what I have rather than what I want... makes me more creative. And grateful. Yes, the gratitude thing again.

And, I am able to be generous with my family, money-wise, because I haven't been wasting my funds. And that, to me, is real affluence.

What little economies do you have? Feel free to share them in the comments area below.

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Friday, 27 October 2017

Change of Attitude

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I have been having a LOT of angst due to my old and sad computers, minimal weird microsoft word, and shared dicey internet. It had been so hard to get my blogs done, and taking so long. So I sallied forth with one of my (adult) children to buy a new computer, believing that this would magically 'fix' my problem.  I came back without one, as so many extras to pay for, were being added onto the recommended computer, adding over $800 worth of extra costs. I was not a happy punter.

Doing Something About It

So, I decided to merely change my attitude. After all, a good cook doesn't insist that they have the best equipment and the top quality food, to cook with. No, they cook great food with what is available. And it's delicious. As you might suspect by my computer attitude, I am not a great cook. I am, rather, a Loaves and Fishes cook. Meaning I'm really good at rustling up simple, very ordinary, food for the masses, with just what's available. Not very creative, but it's okay. And I do this as seldom as possible. In fact, I avoid doing it.

Inspiring role models

Then I remembered that J. K. Rowling wrote her Harry Potter books in a cafe. I can do that, I thought, and use their internet connection! Especially as there is a fantastic cafe just over the road from where I live. And when I'm getting coffee-logged (like water-logged only with coffee), I can go the the local library and log onto their internet, with my own computer. And it costs nothing! So, that was an attitude change with the dicey internet connection.

I also remembered a writer called Leslie Kenton, who became world famous for her beauty, and diet, books. Leslie was a single mum with four children. She became Heath and Beauty editor for Harpers Bazaar, before she wrote all of her books, and I think that it was the British edition. As you can guess, Leslie was not exactly flush with money. She put a typewriter on the bottom step of the stairs inside her house, as her desk, sat on the floor at the base of the stairs... and typed her articles. Now, I'm assuming that this didn't last long, after all, it's a Big Deal to be beauty editor of Harpers Bazaar. But, she did start this way. What an attitude!

How I have benefitted

This made me realise that I don't actually ne-e-ed a new computer. (But I do want one). But, I can make do. It won't affect my writing. Whereas previously, I was so sure that having sad computers was making me a bad writer.

A  change of attitude. It feels so good, so positive. This change is even making me feel lucky! I shall hang onto this feeling.

Of course, we all have moments like this. When we just changed our attitude. When we looked around at what we could do, and a different way to do it. When magically something wasn't quite so hard. I thought about this for a while. Whilst I really am into the Ancient Practice Of Gratitude, I realised that just being grateful that I had two inefficient computers, and an internet connection that may or may not work, at any time, simply wasn't enough.

I am thinking, feeling, whatever, that sometimes, along with gratitude, we need to have a doing attitude, in order to Get Things Done. Somehow, this is more realistic for me.

And, I'm sure that it would be more realistic for you. Look at things that aren't so easy, and see how you can work around it. Honestly, doing this with the former computer problem (because it's not a problem for me, now, right?) has released a ton of energy and optimism inside of me. I can't wait to write!! So different from the weeks of (self inflicted) angst, when I couldn't look at things in a more positive light.

I had always prided myself on not needing much to be happy. And I had stepped out of my beliefs!! But I'm back. And I love my new change of attitude with my computers.

Friday, 20 October 2017


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Optimism, according to a dictionary definition, is

                         hopefulness and confidence about the future success of .......

which, to me, indicates that it is about something. When we are optimistic, we are looking forward, and we are feeling good about it, and have beneficial feelings about (whatever it is) working out, happening.

Looking to the Past

Whereas, we can look back to the past to remember something to recall feelings of hope and confidence. Which, is what I did for a long time. I used good memories, I felt into them to remember what the feeling of accomplishment was like, to recreate hope and confidence within myself for personal issues.

But, as helpful as this has been, it is not the full story. Yes, I would recall how I had done a particular difficult thing, with no personal confidence. But I did always have confidence in whatever I was doing, and rather than hopefulness, I also had certainty with what I was doing. But the confidence in myself was lacking, even though I hid that from others.

Why do we do that? We are good at something, we know how to do it, but those personal niggles are there. I never ever did let it stop me, professionally, though. But for personal issues, it has always been harder.

There is an easier way

In hindsight, it would have just been easier, and less stressful, to just do the same things in the same way, if I was needing to do those things again. Like lose weight, for example. And if it worked previously, then it will work again. Do the steps each day and have the optimism that it will (again) work out.

It's easier to be optimistic when you know that something works

I wrote the You Are Unique course at a very difficult and impoverished time in my life. Very new baby, no money, living with difficult people. I just kept to myself, and wrote then presented the course. I prepared it in the wee hours of the morning, I wrote it then friends desk-topped it, so that I could hand out practical notes each week. I took very tiny baby with me whilst I presented the course! (that was a real juggling act!) I also was wearing clothes from op shops. I had no problems taking baby, nor wearing second hand clothes, nor in writing and presenting the course.

It was based on what I had done about seven years prior, to make positive changes, for me, in my life. I knew that the course would work. It had, after all, worked for me. And because of that, I was optimistic about how it would impact others' lives in a very lovely way. Plus I had taken a lot of yoga courses and classes, given talks on seminars, so I was used to being in front of others. But, I am actually quite shy, so whenever I am 'up in front' of others, that is where the personal confidence is a bit low.

Ironically, none of my friends came to the course. I'm quite sure that they thought that I was just writing about, and presenting, yoga. Which is not what it was all about. Yoga is not the only thing that I know.

The course was incredibly successful. It made so much difference to all of the people who took part in it. Their self esteem soared, and they had easy routines to do, to look and feel good. Plus simple yoga routines to enhance their life. When we had a reunion with the first group to do the course, three months after it finished, I could barely recognise anyone. They all looked so happy, younger, more attractive, and more confident.

My lament......

Oh, Youtube and Amazon, where were you Back In The Day? The content of that course would have settled my money worries of that time.

Others can help us be optimistic

Now, that baby is twenty-nine. She has always been so encouraging of whatever I did, knowing that I was capable in my fields. Fancy that, one of your children recognises that you are quite timid, really, and just keeps encouraging you. I am so grateful for that support. Having support in your life is so essential.

Ch-ch-changes  (remembering Bowie here)

So, I suppose that the moral of this story, is that I am changing my Game Plan. Instead of looking back to recreate confidence and so on, I am merely going to place that hopefulness and certainty towards the future. Doing whatever is needed on a daily basis for that future.

Because it just doesn't make sense to me to just have that optimism that something will work out, yet not do anything to enable it to work out. No, I still do think that hand in hand with optimism, we do actually need to do whatever is needed. Maybe that's the secret behind optimism. We are doing 'whatever it takes.'

I like it.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

the Law of Increase

I had to chuckle when I read this!! It actually is from the bible, and it is about... well, it's about things increasing.

On many levels. And, it seems that it may also be part of the Prosperity Thing. The latest part of it. You know, have everything that you want. Just by doing The Secret and other Forgotten Laws of prosperity.

And we can also, apparently, help ourselves increase what we want, prosperity wise, with gratitude. That is so lovely.

However, I have met many people who do, inherently, have and practice gratitude, without having read all the 'correct' books, and in this instance, the quality of gratitude is not about 'getting'. It is instead, about 'being.'

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I prefer this approach with gratitude, I must confess. It goes against the grain, for me, to have lots of belongings, and 'things'. The clutter of it all just overwhelms me. Actually, the greed of it all, is distasteful, to me.

The whole The Secret and Other Laws, are amongst my "don't get me started!" subjects......

But by having gratitude, we can increase other things which are not material. We can become happier. We can learn to be happy with what we have. Which, to me, is more genuine happiness than wanting and acquiring 'stuff'. We can feel better about ourselves. We can, by example, teach our children that happiness includes a grateful state of mind, whereas continually wanting creates mental and emotional disarray,

By being grateful we can be less overwhelmed by materialism. We can be less crabby, less dissatisfied. We can be more creative within our own lives, just by using what is around us, rather than using gratitude to 'get what we want', which we mistakenly believe will make us happier.

And, with the Law of Increase, we can become increasingly happier and content. Or.... by continually wanting, we can become more and more dissatisfied. I know which I prefer for me.

On a more humorous note: am I alone in constant having to deal with the Law of Increase regarding weight, problems, my home getting cluttered with stuff? ... and so on. I cleaned out my shoes. I was ruthless. Now, less than a month later, and with only buying two pairs of everyday shoes... my shoe rack is again messy and overloaded! And where did all of those books come from?

But today, the Law of Increase is a good law. I have increasing happiness today. I don't know why, and I don't care why. I am grateful for this happiness increase.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Spring has sprung

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Signs of spring

We are officially into spring, here in New Zealand. It has been heralded by the usual: daffodils, jonquils and freesias (all of which I adore), lambs frolicking, my plum tree has come out in beautiful flowers. My back yard has been visited a lot of birds, especially native birds. How special.

And to further celebrate the rolling over from the cold to the warmer and sunnier, we have been experiencing extreme cold, thundering storms with lightning, hail, and thick, heavy rain. We have been deluged.

But today it is a proper spring day! Sun, warmth, birds chirping. I can feel it! I also feel lighter, and happier, and something about spring is that for some mysterious reason, I always feel more hopeful.

A special time To Get Things Done

Spring is the ideal season to start putting into practice all the ideas and plans that we have been waiting to start on, or procrastinating about.

It's the best season for this, for me, as spring seems to have an energy that promotes movement of all sorts. It always reminds me of A Quickening. A Quickening is when energy builds up before something happens. Usually because we have put thought, plans, and effort into it. But nature has her own way of expressing everything, and she too has a time and place for her own Quickening. That time is spring.

So I have been looking at my options for working, learning, creating, with the attitude of Just Do It! Whether plans are in place or not (some plans are in place, thankfully).

Another good time to start anything is on the new moon, when there is a rising energy.

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                               West Auckland has beautiful beaches and walks

We want to move more

And, somehow, we start to want to move more outside, in spring, so I'm looking at ways to incorporate this into my life. A very early morning walk in a howling gale, or in the freezing dark, in winter, had no appeal for me. But to walk in the early part of the day when the weather is not so severe, is magical. There is more prana, more life-force in the wee hours, we feel more at one with nature. A lovely time of day. Especially if it is when dawn is breaking.

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The Red Sun

Because it is less cloudy in spring, daybreak and the rising sun, are more visual. I like to meditate on the red sun, first thing each morning. This was often not possible in winter... because I couldn't see it! The red sun, somehow also brings hope, the hope of a good new day. Seeing it also calms nerve centres in the head. I do believe that being up and about as the new day emerges, whether or not one is meditating, just by virtue of life-force, and the peacefulness of that time of day, also brings about peace, and hope.

How to meditate on The Red Sun

When the sun is still low and the sky, and is red, gaze at it. This takes maybe up to fifteen seconds, often less. Then close your eyes, look up at the after image of the red sun. It might not actually just be the sun, it could also be the colours of daybreak.

The colours will recede, but we can just keep looking either slightly upwards, or just straight ahead. Thoughts will come... let them come... and let them go. Be relaxed throughout. Stay in this space until you feel like opening your eyes.

The slight looking upwards, also lifts our mood. As does simply allowing our thoughts to come and go.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

The power of habits

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What is You Are Unique?

My blog was inspired by a course called You Are Unique, which I wrote and presented some years ago. The course was about looking and feeling one's best, having a better life, and learning some daily skills. All without spending a lot of money. My blog is based on the course, and I still adhere to the same principles that I taught on the course, in my blog, and in my life. The course also emphasised the power of habits.

How long does a habit take to become established?

At the time of writing this course, it was believed that it took twenty-one days for a habit to become "ingrained". Now, it seems that it actually takes longer. It does take three weeks to establish a new habit, so some effort is needed in these three weeks to get the new habit done. Then it takes another nine weeks of repeating it, for it to really be a habit. So, rather than only three weeks, we are looking at twelve weeks, all up.

In the first three weeks, we may have to constantly remind ourselves, and make sure that we have made space for the habit in our life. We might have to prepare for the habit. For example, if you want to get up and go for a walk or run, you could get together your shoes and clothes each evening, where you can see them, so that they are a visual reminder.

I know, through experience, that I have to prepare things so that visually nothing else gets in my habit's way. For example, my trusty bottle of water, gets filled each night after dinner, then I just keep drinking it between dinner and sleep. Filling it again before bed so that if I get up during the night I can have another drink of water. And when I get up in the morning, that bottle is staring at me. It's at eye level. So I have another drink on my way to the bathroom.

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I also know to put my computer away each night so that it doesn't seductively call out to me to waste time on it rather than meditating and walking. (likeable bad habit)

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So, that first three weeks, some effort is needed, some "tricks" to remind us to do the habit. But then we can tend to wane, in the second lot of three weeks, and we may have to keep re-establishing the habit, but if we keep on going, the last six weeks are when something really does become a habit.

Our habits take up half of our life

When I first wrote You Are Unique, I felt strongly that good habits were like the backbone of our life. That if we had good habits established that fed us and our life, then it would be easier to have a better, more enjoyable life. And yes, I still believe this. It seems that habits make up 50% of our lives. I'm quite sure that for many years, as a young mum, then a young working mum, then a "monk" (yes, a monk!), then back to the cycle of mum, working mum....etc, etc.... I'm so sure that my life consisted of more than 50% of habits! And we also have work habits, housecleaning habits, social habits. Our habits can be powerful in that they serve us in a very beneficial way, or they can be destructive. And the whole gamut in between beneficial and destructive.

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Losing the power in habits 

Now that I have so much more time, the problem is now letting habits regarding time, slide. I think that this is because the pressure is off me, so to speak, I don't have to earn a lot of money to provide for family. I can see how one could become so lazy, and just drift through life, by not adhering to habits. I constantly have to work on this. Like an ongoing project..... I don't want my habits to be creating a slack life. I do feel that when we get too slack, when we let our positive habits slide, we start to lose the power that has been generated by having these habit systems.

Maintaining the power habits

We can have power habits in any area of our life. For me, I would say that my power habits are those that enable me to have a better life, whether it's working (I am a yoga teacher, blogger, healer), or just in daily life. I find it easier to sort out the daily life "stuff" before looking at the rest of my life, for my daily habits are like a foundation of my life.

By this I mean...getting up at a regular time and having a beneficial morning routine that sets one up for a good day. Having a calming routine to prepare for a good night's sleep. Routinely "getting things done". I am shocked when some people retire and then start getting up late in the mornings! As a habit. To me, I find that when I get up late (seven-ish or later), then I am wasting my whole day.

The best way to maintain our power habits, I feel, is to just keep doing them. And if we stop, look at why, rearrange things better to suit us, then keep on going.

And habits also flow over into our personal grooming and how we look. A small skin care routine, done as a habit, gives really nice skin. Keeping our body clean and groomed makes us feel good.

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Ideally, how we look, should only be part of our life. But there is no doubt in my mind that a small number of habits for personal well-being, are like creating a foundation for the rest of our life. When we look after ourselves on a regular level, we do then start adding other aspects, like tidying up our diet, looking after our health, looking at how we work.

And if there are children in your life, they "pick up" good habits, too. Which is much easier than when we have to make it a chore for ourselves, hassling our kids to do things. Actions do speak louder than words.

little economies

                                  I've been thinking lately about The Ancient Art of Little Economies. Little things that one does to...