Ignorance

There was a time when I longed to be an adult so I could go make my own money and buy the good cereal, so I could stay up past my bedtime reading the latest Harry Potter, or so I could skip church on wednesday nights. As I grew older however, things changed. Drastically, the grass is always greener type approach. As an adult now, I miss those youthful days of rent-free living, 3 square meals a day, and not a worry in the world. I actually came to realize that I grew tired of eating cereal for dinner even if it is the good cereal, I can barely stay awake past 8pm, and I like going to a community church once a week. Oh how things change!
Fundamentally, I experienced a shift in my expectations. I found out that life was not as cheeky and rosy as it once was. There a cold bitter truth out there waiting to nip at the bare noses of young adults, fresh out of childhood. you can probably still smell breast milk on the breath of many. This shift happened slowly over time so that one day, at almost 30, I looked around me, startled and out of breathe. I didnt recognize myself nor my mind. I think others noticed the shift sooner than I. My mom went into paranoid freak out mode all the time, fretting over the umbilical cord that was snapped almost 3 decades ago, hoping I wont up and run away into the abyss. My employers saw the change as well as my friends.
Ignorance was the change. I became aware of the fact that I was ignorant about so much in life. This may not seem like a big life changing ordeal but this is coming from a person who thought they had a pretty optimistic view on life as they knew it. What caused this awareness of ignorance? More knowledge. I, like many transitioning adults, realized that there was a MAJOR discrepancy between what I was taught growing up and the way things really are. Like a vast difference. The more I noticed this gaping difference, the more frustrated I became. Then that frustration turned to anger, like it usually does. Officially, I became the sterotypical “too smart for their own good” kind of young adult — you know the ones. The ones that always seem to have a chip on their shoulder, always screaming about the injustice in the world, always raging on about their innocent victim role. I became her. She was me. Pessimism was my new thing. Hating “the man” was in (as if it was ever not in style). And I was in full fashion. I signed petitions, wrote letters, and attended meetings with others who had realized the unfairness of life and their own ignorance. To be quite honest, it gave me zeal for awhile. The anger had an outlet. It also allowed the anger to grow and fester into the beast of arrogance and greater ignorance. Becoming an outright rebel without a cause, just like all the other rebels without causes, I failed to really do a detailed analysis of myself, study my situation, and plan an intelligent way to deal with my ignorance and the injustice. As we know with anger, it poisons you. And poison me it did. Anger sucked all the wind out of my sails. I became depressed and despondent. I hated every job I worked. I hated poor people. I hate depressed people. I hated the man. I hated black people. I hated the south. I hated white people. I hated myself.
At my wits end, swirling a cocktail of meds and whiskey in my hands, I knew I needed to make one last ditch effort to make things right before I ended it all. I could try to save myself. There must be something here worth saving. There must be some other point of life that I was missing. This last minute question of life saved me from taking my own. If I don’t have anything to lose, clearly I didnt as I was about to drown myself in a glass of cheap whiskey and OTC sleep meds, what could I stand to gain I reasoned? I didn’t know but I was willing to find out.
This would actually be a great place to insert [The End] and continue telling the story of how my life was instantly changed. I could tell you that I put that drink down, went home and started an amazing million dollar business and non-profit to save starving children and never looked back. But I would be lying. And I would be doing both you and I an incredible disservice.
What I can tell you is that I did put that drink down. I did alot more crying, alot more hair pulling, took a few more risks and although I am still not where I want to be, I am right where I need to be. Right at the intersection of “making progress and getting there”.
I can say that we all will have that moment, or several of them if you are like me, when we feel that an incredible disservice has been done to us. We may feel like life has not prepared us enough and that in itself feels like a cold hard slap in the face- an injustice. Some of us have chosen to blame our parents, our religion, our skin color, our environment or the cat. The list of the blamed are many, the list of the responsible are few. It’s easy to blame and hard to swallow the pill of responsibility but in order to progress, we must.
I wrote this blog post to encourage someone to not let ignorance fester in you, do not let your temporary frustration turn to anger- and even if it does, I am here to tell you that there is a way out should you decide to seek it. Life is not a sprint. It is a marathon. Prizes are not awarded to those who finish the fastest but to all of those who stick with it, those who make progress, those who remain resilient in the face of uncertainty and ignorance.

The Secret of Routine

The only time I can remember solid routine in my life was in grade school. After that, I saw no use for it. It was a mere hinderance to my day. So here I sit on a Saturday afternoon in a coffee shop sipping a spiced chai latte. My soul’s desire is to taste of the place where things were created. For instance, one day soon, I shall taste the warm dark spice of chai in the depths of a remote town in India where it is grown and harvested. I will have it prepared by local farmers who know all the secret things of the herb, it’s medicinal and recreational purposes. Here I will laugh with his wife as I bounce their baby on my lap recalling my first time tasting of it’s sweetness. They will laugh at at how I first attempted to prepare the herb with hot water and sugar. I will tell them how and who drink their teas in my country.
I dream of things such as this. I write them down eloquently, flourishing each sentence and daydream with my signature flare.
I am searching. For me to be searching, some may say that I am lost, or weeded. My mind sometimes adrift like loose leaves in a storm. Yet, I am here, as solid as a fortress nonetheless. I am right here. With you.
Routine, yes, routine. I have read in books how routine builds strength and enables you to replace and reshape the muscle of habit. This is all true but most important or most peril in this instance is what to build routine around, what to make a habit? From an early age, my life and routine was centered around work, either my parent’s work or soon after, my own, or the work of others. School generally started around the same time that parents went to work. Our times to arise from sleep were set to the time of not being late to work. Lunch breaks were timed and coordinated around work productivity. Dinner was coordinated around the end of the work day. Recreation, relaxation, and spiritual activities took place with whatever time was left over from our work day. What we were taught in school was in direct coordination of a work-centered curriculum aimed at shaping young minds into obedient future employees and acclimating them into the work culture.
Gaining entry into adulthood, I faced a crisis. To continue as I was taught or to answer another question that begged an answer or me: Can I do it another way? Is there another way? By another way, I mean, is this all that life is about or can I live it another way? I wished to read and pray in the early part of my day. I wanted to work but a few hours each day. To be honest, most of the 8 hours a day I put into a job, only half of that day was really productive. I wanted to drink tea, read, and sit in deep thought for several hours of my morning. I wanted to have breakfast and let it digest before moving onto other things in my day. I wanted time to write and to be.
I made it my mission to live the life I wanted to live. In books, we are told that we are habit forming creatures by nature. I can see the results and impact of a strong and deeply rooted routine. This is why we are here and have evolved into an universally accepted truth that the perfect work day is 8hr and the perfect work week is 40 hrs. We also accept all of these other truths that are encased in labor laws about work and our time. There is strength in habit and routine. Obviously. I soon learned a thing or two. If you don’t form new habits to replace your old habits, you will not win. I tried a few times unsuccessfully to check the work lifesytle at teh door but  found that the power of a routine was strong. I had to replace it, before completely destroying it.
This is where I am today. I am here, creating a routine to disrupt the alignment of fate the stars have bestowed upon me. To shake the bonds of routine. To be.  You too can change your life with a new routine.
My new routine involves taking care of me and my priorities first in my day. At first this seemed so backwards to me. I felt out of place. But I did it anyway. You would think that doing what you wanted when you wanted to do it would feel liberating. It did but worry would sometimes threaten to get the better of me.
Setting Your Intention
Intention is the power of your will. Setting your intention means stating, believing and affirming what you mean and want to do. I like to write so I always set my intentions in writing, meditating and verbally.
I took a hard look at my life and discovered that I had lost my curious zeal and appetite for life. I found that by asking myself what I really wanted, I did not know. So for now, I found a routine that sounded promising and went with that one while promising to myself that I would spend some time investigating what I wanted. Something gave me the inclination that I would soon find an answer to what it is that I truly wanted.
Routine:
Early rise with tea and meditation, writing, then work, home, relax, read, tea, meditation. I wanted the majority of my time to be spent working on myself vs working for someone else. This is not to say that I neglected my responsibilities of taking care of myself and my family. This is all I needed to know.
I found that there was a purpose and a mission beneath the madness. I was not a mental health case. I was a human. Being. Human. This was of little solace to me. But it gave me enough room to work. So I set to work. Each day I made it my mission to live as if I were already free. I set my intention as I knew I was able to bring it to fruition. I felt my the muscle of my will growing stronger. I knew I was close to that which had called me. A familiarity settled upon me. Like an old friend coming to visit, I felt a peaceful nostalgia.
This routine awakened and tuned me to postulate what I will write. This book was meant to be a guru. I came across a guru in a book. An omnipresence that existed everywhere and nowhere. I knew things that I could not prove but was content to know. The need to show and tell relaxed. I begin to drink from the fountain of knowledge, gaining real truth and power. I felt a dawning arise in me. I knew there was a common denominator of all things in this world. All we needed to do was awaken to it. To feel it. To experience it. To be one with it.
The secret is to wield the power within and act responsibility without.

Not There Yet

Our life is a journey. I learned to stop asking are we there yet and instead just sit back and enjoy the ride. At least that’s what my mommy told me. She also told me not to make her pull this car over. She told me that repeatedly. Did your mom tell you?
I like it better when I am just riding. No where to rush off to. No need to rush. No need to hurry. No need for the split second thinking involved in speeding up for a yellow light. Can you make it before it turns red? It was red when you looked up, wasn’t it? Did anybody see?
Today we are all steady rushing around. No time to smell the roses. No time to smell the coffee. It’s usually instant anyways. Straight into an insulated mug it goes. How do you drink your coffee?
I have a bedtime. I like going to bed early. I enjoy good sleep. Don’t you?
That was a nice little distraction. But I just gotta ask one last question…are we there yet?

Online Therapy Sessions for Social Media Addiction

Have you ever wanted to decrease the amount of time you spend on social media and being distracted by the internet? Was the task much more difficult than you imagined it would be? You are not alone.

I have been free of my social media addiction for several years now. I quit in 2013 and life has transformed in so many ways:

  • I have increased productivity and creativity;
  • I have more time for friends and family;
  • My mental health has improved greatly;
  • I am more aware and compassionate.

If you would like to live a more fulfilling life, you can start today. I offer therapy sessions via Skype, weChat, and Google Hangouts in several different timezones. No matter where you are connected in the world, help is here.

Please contact me today via email ingramr88@gmail.com to set up your first session and build a happier life.

Productivity and Multi-Tasking: The Benefits of Reducing Distractions

As an avid self-help book reader, I have read a lot about productivity and time management. Most self-help books read the same on how to increase productivity by making the most of your time. This concept has proven to work time and time again as business continues to boom and more employees enter the workforce requesting full-time employment, which in America means 40 hours per week. Employees are pushed to produce more in less time.

Lately, I have noticed a new  trend in the genre of self-help. Once upon a time, self-help books insisted that those seeking to increase productivity master the art of multi-tasking and tedios scheduling. In recent times, self-help books have begun to realize that multi-tasking and over scheduling actually decreases productivity after a certain point. Why is this? I have a few theories on my own based on personal experience.

What is Multi-Tasking and Why Did We Once Prize Mastery of it?

Multi-tasking is the act of doing several tasks at one time. Simple enough, right? Some examples of multi-tasking:

  • Talking on the phone as you check your email;
  • Scrolling through your social media feed as you do homework;
  • Eating dinner while watching TV.

Trust me, the list can go on. I am sure you can list other examples of multi-tasking that you never really considered as multi-tasking. We will discuss one of those instances later. We understand what multi-tasking is so why would one prize mastery of it? To get more done in less time. Why? Because productivity and profits go hand-in-hand.

What’s Changed in Recent Years Regarding Multi-tasking and Productivity?

Firstly, multi-tasking is more recently being defined as distracting. How so? Multi-tasking lacks the focus required for efficient productivity. This comes from the idea that when you are doing more than one thing at one time, you are not focused on any one thing. Your attention and focus become diluted, increasing the risk of error. I am pretty sure that I also read some scientific reports that monitored our brains when we multi-tasked and compared it to our brains when we focus on a singular project and studies revealed that certain areas of the brain involved in decision making and focus showed more brain activity when working on a single task than when the subject worked on several tasks at one time.

What Does This Mean For You?

This new way of looking at multi-tasking makes me call into question all of the other distractions that affect my productivity. I have since begun to reduce the number of distractions in my daily living. Living a life with minimal distractions and more focus gives me more peace, calm, and tranquility. With the reduction of distraction life seems more rich as you see more and hear more of the world around. You will begin to live life by the moment as you learn to savor instead of rushing and multi-tasking.

Ways to Reduce Distractions

  • Commit to focusing on one task at a time;
  • Become aware of when you are multi-tasking by taking small pauses throughout your day to notice what you are doing at that moment. If you find that you are doing more than one thing, simply pause one task and work on the other if possible.
  • Be more present.

Benefits of Reducing Distractions

  • Increased productivity with less risk for error;
  • Less stress;
  • More mindfulness;
  • Greater satisfaction completing tasks.

These are just some of the benefits and ways to reduce distractions.

Peace and Love.

Unplugged: What it Means to Be Bored

Now that I have been without social media for a few years and as of recently, I have also gone without a mobile phone, people are always asking me questions. I find it a telling sign of addiction when people cannot imagine a life without social media or a mobile phone. For this article, let’s tackle boredom when you have unplugged.

I think it may be safe to assume that many of us do not fancy being bored.

In this digital age, boredom is a rare occasion when your boredom can instantly be quenched by social media.

A ready-made, cooked-to-order boredom killer is at your fingertips. What is my issue with such a fierce and effective boredom killer? I believe boredom can be beneficial to our mental well-being. It is the way we first learn to meditate or create as it enhances the use of our imagination and feeds into our thirst for curiosity.

Since not having a ready-made boredom killer, I find that my boredom turns into productivity and creativity.

I have taken up different hobbies and meet people the old-fashioned way by walking up to them and holding a conversation. When I am bored, I use it as a time to meditate or read. Most often, I simply use boredom to fuel my curiosity. Recently, I began birdwatching because I was really bored one day at home and I heard a very long and seemingly intricate birdsong. Boredom caused me to be really curious as to where the birdsong was coming from. Since that fateful bored day, I have invested in a thrifted bird book, binoculars, and walking trails. Not advertising boredom as a weigh loss supplement here, but I also lost weight from all the walking around.

If you do not want to fully disconnect but would like to be more creative or productive, give boredom a try. Schedule a day or a chunk of time where you will not be connected to social media or your phone. When boredom arises, take the challenge to not engage in social media, instead, remain in your boredom and see where it takes you.

Peace and Love.

The Power of the Individual

As news reels roll tape after tape and radios play session after session of all the chaos that’s going on in the world, it’s no wonder that some of us are starting to feel a bit insane. Or if you are like me, you may be feeling completely insane. For those of you who are also like me and are not currently connected as the rest of the world, you still get your dose of updates from friends, family, and co-workers.

The swirl of chaos I hear makes me question where I stand in all of this. I am a human being. I am part of a collective whether I chose to be affiliated or not, whether I voted for a particular party or not, I am still part of society. I am part of the collective. We reflect society. Individuals reflect the collective. Amidst all of the chaos, I can only think more deeply about the truth behind such a statement. I can think about this in two ways.

#1: If individuals reflect society then our individual change and progress will make a great impact on society. The power lies in our hands. We can make an individual change that will be reflected by society.

#2: If individuals reflect society then society would therefore reflect the individual. If that is true then what we see in society is the truest reflection of ourselves.

Upon accessing all of the uproar and protests on the news today, I am not upset at any one candidate or any particular party affiliation. I look at this new world we live in with eyes of curiosity with the above statements in mind. What must be going on in the state of the individual for us, the collective or society, to be in the state of chaos that we are in? Are individuals more fearful, mistrustful, and depressed than before? Individually, are we in more of a chaotic state than before?

The most important fact is that real change and growth for the collective or society rests in the hands of the individual. The individuals make up the collective. There is no one else to blame as life is not a game of blame. This is not about where to assign responsibility. This is about accepting your power as an individual.