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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Follow your gut. Get to know yourself.

The first instinct is very often the best action.

When you act on your gut reaction without hesitation or inhibition, this is to truly be yourself. The little things you do that come into this world directly from your thoughts is a way of showing the world, but more importantly youself who you really are.

The more you come to obey these gut reactions the better you will begin to know yourself. The better you know yourself, the more honestly and effectively you will contribute to those around you.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Spidey Senses are Tingling

Daredevil (Marvel Comics)Image via Wikipedia Try closing you eyes and walking through your house or around you office. It's hard but it's good for your senses and kind of fun (as long as no one gets hurt).

Now switch from trying to use your eyes, and turn your ear sensitivity to 11. Listen carefully to your footsteps or the sound of your clothes swishing against each other and you can actually start to hear sound patterns as this noise bounces off nearby objects and start to recognize telephone poles, buildings, and even doors from their sound patterns. These sound patterns are just simple changes in the reverberant qualities around you that are inherent to the immediate environment.

It's the same as when you drive by fence posts or telephone poles in your car; you can hear them whoosh by, but they're really not making any sound, it's just the sound of the car that you hear reflecting off of them.

This is a great way to increase your awareness of the things around you as well as your own sensory perception. And yes, it's kind of like a primitive form of radar, just like what bats use. But it's only primitive because we never learned to use it!

Check out this article on learning how to use echolocation

Take a look at my new blog on my meandering experience in learning echolocation

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Truth About Meditation - Do I really have to just sit?

Meditation has been used for thousands of years by many different cultures and religions. It is being introduced into the U.S. now, but it's still portrayed as something that might be a bit intimidating for some. There are many reasons people might meditate, but I think one of the main reasons is just as a tool to ease the mind and take your thoughts away from the everyday details of life and get some intrinsic relaxation.

If this is the goal, classical "meditation" can do the trick, but if you don't have the desire to understand it or the time to sit with yourself, there are other ways of clearing your mind and becoming relaxed and at peace with yourself. Any time you are doing something just for you and it is something you enjoy doing and you can be yourself doing it; in my opinion, this is a form of meditation.

  • If you play a musical instrument and can lose yourself in a song or focus on the notes that you are playing so hard that you don't notice anything going on around you, this is meditation.
  • If you play basketball and can get a good game of 1-on-zero going, and all of your attention is on the ball, or the hoop, this is meditation.
  • If you practice martial arts and can focus your mind on every atom in your body and the control you have over them, this is meditation.
  • If you lift weights and can be aware of the physics of your muscles, and concentrate on which muscle fibers are doing what, this is meditation.
If you can do anything at all, generally by yourself, that requires a great deal of attention and does not allow your mind to wander to other things, this will be very healthy for you and you will come to understand yourself better and better over time. Many of the same benefits from meditation will be gained from doing things like this.

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Only make lunch every other day

A lunch sits on a blue tablecloth with a brown...Image via WikipediaMaking your own lunch to bring with you to work is a great way to save some money when compared to buying a lunch every day. Buying even a cheap lunch everyday can add up to $2000 a year. Whereas if you make a lunch, it's pretty easy to keep it as low as $600 a year.

The only trouble is that you've got to make a sandwich or bag some carrots, and carry it around with you. To avoid having to make lunch every day, try making two lunches one day and then leaving one in the fridge at work so that the next day you're all set and don't have to make lunch. It won't take you twice as long to make two lunches since most of the lunch-making-time is spent taking things out of the fridge or cupboard and putting them away.

Also, if you eat a granola bar every day, or a yogurt, why not just take a whole weeks worth with you on Monday so that you have a stockpile at work and don't have to keep toting them one by one every day.

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Wake up on the right side of the bed

A basic digital clock radio with analog tuningImage via WikipediaThe first few seconds of your day, as you probably know, are of the utmost importance to setting your mood. Whether you wake up to a jack-hammer or to something more peaceful like chirping birds, or the voice of a loved one will make a big difference in the ambition you have to get started.

I would encourage you to use a music alarm clock where you can control the songs played. Wake up to something you like. Whether that is soothing meditation music, chimes, or something like Dragonforce or Billy Joel. As long as it's something that makes you happy and makes you eager to get our of bed and start your day.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Energy Saving Tips - At the Stove

Photo by Quadell. Woodcarving by Donald Ellis ...Image via WikipediaWhen cooking a meal in your oven, it will have a vent in order to give the hot air a place to go when it expands. On my stove, this vent is right underneath one of the electric range burners.

Use this excess heat to keep food warm well after the oven has been turned off.

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Energy Saving Tips - In the shower

ShowerheadImage via WikipediaYour shower has a certain maximum "volumetric flow rate". This is the speed at which the water comes out of the shower head in Gallons per Minute (GPM). Usually this is between 3-5 GPM. If you use a hot/cold ratio of 90/10 and your shower head has a max of 3 GPM then you're using 2.7 GPM of hot water.

It is easy to turn on the water and max out the flow rate, however, if you dial it back so that the shower head is not running to it's full flow rate, say you're at 2/3 maximum pressure, and if you still use the same ratio (90/10) then you're now only using 1.8 GPM of hot water. This will allow you to use as little cold water as possible which is good because in effect you don't really want any cold water, and by adding any cold at all, you are merely cooling down the water you have already paid to heat up.

1.5 GPM shower heads also exist. Here is a link to the "Jet-Stream"

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