It snowed last week

It snowed last week. It was beautiful. I forgot how much I love the snow, and found myself checking the PSU website and phone system every 30 minutes to see if we would have a snow delay. No such luck. I enjoyed the fluffy white stuff nonetheless.

This is one of my favorite trees in Portland.

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I came across this great article on “change” this week (side-note: this site is fantastic).

It got me thinking about my list of, “Things I Say I am Going To Do.” I think of myself as a fairly successful person. I’ve made choices and decisions in my life that some may consider risky, and I’ve landed on my two feet 99% of the time. When I was 22 years old, I quit my job, packed my bags and bought a plane ticket and moved across the country to a city where I didn’t know a soul. I didn’t have a job, a place to live, or my family or friends around. I am a fortunate and privileged person, and I understand that holds a lot of the merit in my success, but I did it nonetheless, and I made it work. (Disclaimer: I by no means think this is a particularly difficult thing to do, but it could have gone awry in many ways and didn’t.)

However, it is super difficult for me to make seemingly small changes in my life at times. How can this be? How can I make simple decisions that lead my life in a fortunate direction, yet I can’t sit down every day and do a meditation. Sure I do yoga and a short meditation most days, but why can’t I sit for longer?

After reading through the “6 Keys to Change” article I felt inspired. I think about change often, as I am focused on personal development, but I am not often successful with making simple changes. The section of the article that resonated the most for me was Competing Commitments. When I get home from work and I’m hungry and tired, my commitment to vegging out and eating food battles with my commitment to go straight to the gym. Some of the time I am successful, but some times I am not . . . and that is not the commitment that I strive for.

When I was contemplating this phenomena in my life, it made me think about this great Ted Talk I watched quite awhile ago by Dan Gilbert on Happiness. He speaks on how faulty we as human beings are at understanding what makes us happy. He gives an example of the measurement of how “happy” lottery winners and paraplegics are a year after they win millions of dollars or lose functionality of their lower extremities. One year later, the brain perceives the exact same level of happiness.

The point he makes revolves around our ability to synthesize happiness. We have the ability to be happy. Sure our external circumstances are not predictable, but we can decide how we allow ourselves to feel about it in most cases. This is something that my dear Mother raised me to remember. Life is about decisions, you can decide on how you will deal with, and feel about, a situation.

Being aware of this should enable me to make the choice that I strive for, but I falter so many times because I seek the instant gratification of the easy solution far too easily. We live in a time where seemingly instant gratification is so accessible. While I’ve spent a fair amount of time studying impermanence (studying not through Wikipedia, but through Buddhist texts and teachings), I’m often not mindful of it when I should be . . . realizing that feelings of discomfort will pass and that the instant stimulation of streaming netflix will pass, so on and so on.

I am hopeful that I will me mindful of the information available to me, on how “change,” actually works for our brains and our minds. I need to scale back on the number of changes I say that I will make at one time; there are far too many, and I set myself up for failure and for feelings of guilt by piling them on.

This week I am going to work on one thing from the list instead of stewing over the entire list and how I’m not doing any of them very well (or at all).

It’s almost March, which is a transitional month. I feel like Spring is on its way, but Winter still lingers (with lots of time for snowshoeing and snowboarding remaining, yay!). I am going to try to focus on a healthy outlook on change, and make it happen.

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Ni Hao

I’ve gone back and forth about whether to start a blog or not.

The last time I blogged, was when my then-boyfriend and now-husband and I were living abroad and traveling. It was an avenue to keep our family and friends up to date on our whereabouts and adventures. I suppose that I felt when we moved back to the U.S. that people wouldn’t necessarily care to read about our day to day life in Portlandia, and I was certainly distracted with looking for a place to live, finding a job . . . getting married. It also occurred to me that blogging may be pretty self-indulgent. I’ve gone back and forth on it, and well . . .

We’ve been back in the U.S. for a year and a half now, and I have to admit that while it doesn’t seem like it at times, our life continues to be an adventure.

My plan is to write about things that inspire me, the list of things that “I say I am going to do,” my quest for Dhamma, diet/nutrition, preparing food, making art . . . and other random adventuring that I do. I strive to be positive and mindful in my posts, and hope that someone out there enjoys reading this.

Brainwool is the title I came up with because I like the way the words sound together, as well as the image I see when picturing my brain as a ball of yarn.

Brain (as defined by
1.Anatomy, Zoology . the part of the central nervous system enclosed in the cranium of humans and other vertebrates, consisting of a soft, convoluted mass of gray and white matter and serving to control and coordinate the mental and physical actions.
2.Zoology . (in many invertebrates) a part of the nervous system more or less corresponding to the brain of vertebrates.
3.Sometimes, brains. ( used with a plural verb ) understanding; intellectual power; intelligence.
4.the brain as the center of thought, understanding, etc.; mind; intellect.
5.brains, Slang . a member of a group who is regarded as its intellectual leader or planner: The junior partner is the brains of the firm.
6.Informal . a very intelligent or brilliant person.
7.Informal .
a.the controlling or guiding mechanism in a computer, robot, pacemaker, etc.
b.the part of a computer system for coordination or guidance, as of a missile.

Wool (as defined by
1.the fine, soft, curly hair that forms the fleece of sheep and certain other animals, characterized by minute, overlapping surface scales that give it its felting property.
2.fabrics and garments of such wool.
3.yarn made of such wool.
4.any of various substances used commercially as substitutes for the wool of sheep or other animals.
5.any of certain vegetable fibers, as cotton or flax, used as wool, especially after preparation by special process (vegetable wool).
6.any finely fibrous or filamentous matter suggestive of the wool of sheep: glass wool; steel wool.
7.any coating of short, fine hairs or hairlike processes, as on a caterpillar or a plant; pubescence.
8.Informal . the human hair, especially when short, thick, and crisp.

Onward . . . the current list of things “I say I am going to do.”
-Apply to Graduate School
-Learn how to play my mandolin
-Knit more often
-Wake up every morning at 5 a.m. and do an hour or yoga and meditation
-Make books and send them to my friends and family
-Take more photos

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