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Showing posts with label conscious living.
Showing posts with label conscious living.

03 July 2014

When I planned buying a macro lens (and that took quite a few years) I was sure I would never shoot bugs. Not that I wasn't interested in them but I thought there were enough male photographers doing that already, plus I couldn't figure out how I would include them in my surreal photography.

But as the saying goes: Never say never.

What do you think happened on my first official "macro" walk? I shot mostly bugs and I was actually impressed about the way I handled them.

I thought it would be extremely hard to make them stand still but some of them even cooperated. For example, this blue guy was flying very frantically, but impressed by his color (why did I decide it was a male?) I waited for him to calm down until he landed on a leaf and stared right at me while I was getting closer and closer.

Then, in a magical moment of connection between a human and an insect he stood still until I managed to focus on his eyes. We stood there, hanging in the moment, while I was pressing the shutter-release button, making sure I have a few of his poses to choose from. I thanked him and I left happy by this divine communication.

See, this is one of the most important things I love about photography. When I am alone in the wild, I am able to hear and see more than in the town. I feel connected on a level that is more powerful than words. The magic of art, of reconnection, of ...

Whatever it is, thank you, Nature for sharing your beauty (and bugs) with me.

28 May 2014

They were moving so fast across the deep blue sky. The air currents up high were pushing the white fluffy clouds with the deliberation of a shepherd hurrying to get his flock away from a rain storm.

On a hot afternoon 30 years ago today I sat in front of our house, facing the sky, mesmerized by the transformations and the speed of clouds. I think I sat there for hours. The clouds were beautiful and they let me fantasize about what it was to sit up there.

And I can do that still. How about you?

I can lie down on the warm grass and look at the sky, follow the clouds' routes and imagine what it is to walk on them. I am even more delighted when I'm in an airplane and have the chance to peek "behind the scenes" of the life of clouds.

But looking is not the only thing I do, I photograph them. Although I have little knowledge about their types and names, clouds have been an inspiration for my artworks for a good 5 years now.

The following cloud image was selected as one of the TOP TEN altered images according to Smithsonian Mag for 2013.


Although they get some really bad publicity, clouds can be an invaluable source of inspiration for the people who are willing to see.

"Clouds are so commonplace that their beauty is often overlooked. They are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul. Indeed, all who consider the shapes they see in them will save on psychoanalysis bills." .

If you are still not sure that you can enjoy clouds the following 7 steps might be of help.

1. Learn to look up often.

How many times a day do you look up into the sky? My sister recently shared with me her surprise at how just a few people ever looked up. I think there is a common belief that only dreamers have the time for it but why not be one? Why not take your life one day at a time and find time to actually stop and stare high up into the sky. You will see a different universe above that will amaze you - you know - birds, trees, clouds that are always different... If you are persistent you will notice that you develop the ability for dreaming. And this is a good thing for sure.

2. Wait for the sunset.
The clouds are most beautiful at sunset. Not only do they get romantic shades and warm colors but because the sunlight is low, it gives them a totally different, other-worldly dimension.

Now turn your back to the setting sun and look to the east. Do you notice how the colors change? They are more into the blues and violets, and purples. Do you realize that all this parade of colors and fluffy cloud shapes is there just for you?

3. Designate cloud watching time.
Make sure you spend at least 5 minutes a day looking at clouds. It could be in your lunch break, or when your kids are taking their afternoon nap. You can find 5 minutes for quiet, peaceful observation of the clouds in the sky, be they soft and white or grey, stormy ones.

In the beginning you might feel ridiculous spending time for cloud watching but if you manage to keep that routine for 10 days you will realize that it has become part of your YOU time, and you feel calm and relaxed and are actually looking forward to these 5 minutes.

4. Become a member of The Cloud Appreciation Society.
When I heard of in 2012 I was ecstatic. I could hardly imagine a more appropriate society to be a member of! So, why don't you try it yourself? The Cloud Appreciation Society currently has 35,301 members from all over the world, so you can connect to many interesting people, who are interested by clouds.

It is easy to love clouds when you have company. The members of the society photograph and post cloud photos daily and you will truly be blown away at the visual display on the sky all over the world.

5. Challenge yourself.
Challenge yourself to find something special even in the most boring clouds you see. This is an exercise in imagination and you will soon feel its effect on you. You'll thank me later.

6. Photograph clouds. 
I've noticed that using photography as an excuse to do anything can make me more responsible. You can start a visual project by photographing clouds each day in your designated 5 minutes. That will help your creativity, which in turn will clear your head, help you overcome any mild depression or simply bad mood. Life seems brighter when you have a purpose.

It is worth noting that you don't need fancy equipment and you need not question the quality of your photographs. You can use your phone, simple as that. If you are more adventurous, why not upload your photos to flickr, instagram, or any social media. By the way, Twitter has been hailed as the newest place for photos.

7. Use cloud spotting as a digital detox.
As Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the founder of The Cloud Appreciation Society ,
"Finding shapes in the clouds is an aimless, carefree pastime that we adults should also do more of. The digital age conspires to make us feel busier than ever. Cloudspotting, by contrast, is an activity that legitimizes doing nothing.

These days, we need excuses to do nothing. Happiness comes not from a desperate search for stimulation elsewhere but from finding what is intriguing, surprising and "exotic" in the everyday stuff around us. You don't need to cross the world to be amazed. You just need to step outside and look up, every now and then, as if you are seeing the sky for the first time."
Take a step back and allow yourself a daydream. The clouds above you are waiting for you to discover them and use them to your own creativity.

04 April 2014

This is a step by step guide to finding a way to notice and love nature this spring. Why, you'd ask... because by noticing nature, even for a couple of minutes each day helps you hear your inner voice and little by little, as each day goes by you become a more real you.This, on the other hand will help you live a more authentic life, to be more productive, more creative and calm.

So, why don't you start this spring?

Open your window. Listen to the noises outside. Even if you're in the busiest of cities you will hear a nature sound - birds chirping dogs barking, the wind, even waves if you're lucky.

Nothing? Play a YouTube video with nature sounds on your headset. I did a quick search for you, .  That will even help you work better after the designated couple of minutes. You will instantly be transferred to the forest, a meadow, or the fields, depending on your choice.

Stop thinking about anything except for what you're hearing. Exclude your worries, shut down your eyes and absorb the sounds. It will be hard at first because city life may have turned you numb for nature and overly sensitive to achievement and competition but with time you will manage to go back to loving nature.

Whether you're driving or walking, don't hurry. Move slowly and try to notice all little nature details. Look down to the ground and kneel next to the flower you see. Smell it. touch it gently, feel the ground, last year's leaves that are covering it, the fresh new grass. Be quiet and observing. 

Stop by a tree, look at its blooming branches and tiny green leaves, touch it. Hold your hand on the bark and forget your worries. You will feel some resistance at first. You will probably find it stupid or childish but ignore those thoughts. Try to do this every day for a week and you will find yourself in a better shape.

Look up to the crown of the tree, you will hear and see a whole universe, a colony of bees, flies and butterflies having a feast on the tree's blooms. Hush... Listen to the buzz. There is a different life than going to and from work. There is a slow life, in tune with nature and you can live it. If you want to.

Those of you who feel brave enough and are willing to expand their communication with nature and converse with the trees, please read by  who taught me that you can communicate not just with the bees but with the trees as well.

Spring is the best time to sparkle a new love to nature. Try it, you don't know where it will lead you but I promise it's a good place. 

30 December 2013

Traditionally, we fill the last days of the old year with resolutions and highly improbable plans for the new year. We try to promise ourselves brighter future, better selves and impeccable actions.

Those new year's resolutions rarely if ever meet the bright light of day.

Our positivity at the end of the year turns into guilt at the beginning of the new one: guilt that grows into shame, denial and ends up in oblivion a couple of days before the end of the year.

And then again we promise ourselves that we are going to change this time.

Why not try a different attitude this year?

Here is a simple and easy plan for 2014.

Live for today.

Give yourselves the time to go through the past year and appreciate the good moments. Value the lessons you've learned from the bad moments. Be thankful.

And then, just to make sure that you will appreciate everything good that comes to you and not forget it, designate a jar, or a little notebook where you will write down and collect everything you and your family members have achieved through the year.

photo via:

Every time that any of you makes a progress in any sphere of life, write it down in the notebook or put the piece of paper you wrote it on in the jar.

Then make reading the achievements the key moment in the last days of the next year.

The simple act of going through your successful moments (most of which you will have forgotten by the end of the year) will lift your spirit and will show you that you haven't wasted time. It will give you wings and will inspire you to be the better you because you will clearly see how much you have progressed.

photo via:

Promise me that you will fill this jar with deeds worth remembering.

Promise me you'll try.

I will too.

And next year we'll exchange the self-respect we've gained.


22 November 2013

Anabel Bouza insists there's powerful magic in the action of creating something out of a vague vision, a chill of inspiration. She is an illustrator with a passion for nature, paper manipulation, and pointing her camera at everything. Her appreciation for simplicity dates back to a former life in Cuba where she refined the ability to see the alternative uses of common objects, and the enchanting side of things. You can find her blogging as , hard at work in her sunny studio, or staring at things as if looking at them for the first time. Connect to Anabel via  and . 

10 September 2013

Have you been surprised to feel that you are completely stressed out when you are supposed to be having fun? Sometimes we lose ourselves even though we think we are having a great time.

I've been traveling in the past 4 months. Yes, that's quite a vacation, and fabulous at that. Apart from meeting lots of friends and relatives and going to places I haven't been for ages, breathing in the air of distant countries and touching the trees and the sand of my childhood I have been doing a lot of thinking.

Actually I thought so much that I got lost and could barely write a post on the Kanelstrand blog. My mind was swamped with so many brilliant ideas, I felt so inspired by all the new attitudes to life I witnessed and yet I couldn't type a decent post. To be more precise, I couldn't come up with a single sentence.


Until I saw that book.

Throughout my life I've always resorted to books in times of stress. You see, I grew up on books and it is understandable to look for their soothing comfort when I feel under pressure. But it's not for floating off to a distant land. What I do is open the book arbitrarily and read. It is a quick and simple fixture to a bad mood, or when I feel lost.

I always find the advice I need for that moment.

What are your first thoughts when you open up your eyes to greet the morning?, Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff was asking me from the pages of her book, used lace frontals.

I didn't really want to answer this question because I had already guiltily admitted to myself that although I was having the time of my life and I was trying to live in the moment and to be grateful I wasn't doing it wholeheartedly. I was letting fear of the unknown future capture my heart and subsequently block my happiness.

I kept on reading, Are you grateful for the opportunity to spend another joyful day contributing your best self to the world? Yes, I am grateful but I don't always have the time to think about that.

Starting your day slowly in quiet thought, gratitude and with love in your heart, not for any one in particular, just for your life, might be a gentler way of being that just springing out of bed... [B]efore you take on the business of the day's tasks, reflect on your "being". Think about how you want to "be" rather than what you need to do. When you come from a place of Being, everything you do is a reflection of who you are.

My being at the moment was miserable despite of the fact that I was spending the happiest summer of my life. What a waste!

But those sentences reminded me that there was a way to find my center and to get myself out of stress.

Happiness is my own responsibility and I have to nurture it consciously. What it takes is a slow start of the day and gratitude.

How do you cope in unexpectedly stressful situations?

This post contains affiliate links.

30 July 2013

Most disorganization in our lives comes from a lack of . We have all used the excuse that we are too busy and do not have enough time to maintain organization systems. But being disorganized wastes so much time. How often have you been late for a meeting or appointment because you cannot find your keys or forgot important papers at home? Taking time to initially set up a landing spot where you can place your keys, purse or bag near the door to your house or office can shed wasted minutes from your day. Giving yourself time to practice a new habit can make your life much easier and less stressful.

Making your life more organized also positively affects the lives of others around you. Not only do your bad habits often make your family and friends late and irritated, these behaviors are often copied and repeated and the wicked spiral of disorganization is created. Stress is easily transferable. Who wants to have anymore, unnecessary stress?

Let's start again with . What bad habits have you created that have made your life and the lives of others more difficult? I would always misplace my keys at home until I bought a cute vintage bowl and put it on a little table near my front door. After every use, I now put my keys in the bowl. Is there something or some space in your home that is making it difficult for you to break your bad habit? Pin point that area that surrounds your bad habit and make a list of things that you could do to improve that space. It could be a super messy purse or wallet (guilty here too!) that needs to be cleaned once a day or weekly. Choose an effective time to do this. Perhaps it is right after you get home in the evening after work or while you wait for the bus in the morning.

Try to stick to this new habit for a few weeks. You will struggle in the first several days but I am of the belief that a simple habit (I am not speaking of diet, cigarette or exercise habits) can be created in just two weeks. that we can use to our advantage. Try not to get to frustrated! At the end of everyday, check in to see how you feel after a day of Do you feel less stressed? Was your morning commute so much easier? Note these good, healthy emotions and use these effective emotions as fuel.

After a few weeks, check in again. Are these new habits effective? If not, what other small changes can you make to help this process. You are a strong person and you can gain control over your bad habits once and for all. It just takes time and patience but the rewards are great.

Shelly is the founder of the program  – motivating and inspiring people to run their businesses more efficiently. She helps others look at their personal and professional lives and explore what is and isn’t working. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help keep you motivated and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself. You can also find Creating Space on  or contact [email protected]creatingspacemindfulliving.comdrawstring fullcap wig curly

16 May 2013

When I was younger I wasn't a big fan of daily routines. I found them boring, monotonous and disconnecting.   I couldn't feel more different now. I welcome their disruptions and the lovely feeling that comes from simple accomplishments. I get way too excited by checking off easy everyday tasks from my to do list.

There are definitely ways to help you enjoy what seems like boring, meaningless tasks.

First, we need to remind ourselves the benefits of completing them. I personally still really dislike doing dishes. I blame it on my small kitchen, single sink and constantly leaky faucet. I could come up with a million excuses but the fact is I cannot focus well when I know the sink is full. I find myself spending way too much time thinking about having to do the dishes instead of just doing them. It's so silly when I really think about it! I also love love love a clean space so this habit of making excuses doesn't serve me one bit.

The next step is to create solutions that will make doing the dishes easier and more enjoyable. I think a little music break in the kitchen is in order.

Creating ways to make any cleaning project easier is key. Buy beautiful smelling cleaners or get crafty and make your own. I love my homemade orange infused vinegar solution. Fill a small handled storage container with everything you need to clean the bathroom under the sink so time isn't wasted looking for everything you need. Also instead of leaving one day a month for all day cleaning fests, do a little everyday. Several times a day I clean the bathroom sink. It takes less than 20 seconds and more thorough cleanings only have to happen every so often.

Currently, I live alone but I can imagine using everyday tasks as a great time to spend alone. Ahhh.... that sounds quite lovely. I use my errand time as a reprieve from emails, writing and social media. I add an element of exercise too. I stop by the store, mailbox or make a phone call on the way to the gym. If I need to go to a out of the way store, I walk there instead of taking an exercise or yoga class that day. Combining things that you don't want to do with things that make you happy can make the boring tasks less daunting.

If you love lists like I do, don't forget to add your simple everyday tasks too. Most people love checking things off of to do lists. Create a habit of reflecting on how awesome you feel after the check off. Attaching good feelings to things you don't always want to do instead of focusing on the negative is half of the battle.

Shelly is the founder of the program – motivating and inspiring people to run their businesses more efficiently. She helps others look at their personal and professional lives and explore what is and isn’t working. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help keep you motivated and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself. You can also find Creating Space on or contact [email protected]creatingspacemindfulliving.comused lace frontals

12 April 2013

Happiness has concerned humanity for a whole eternity. Philosophers and poets have searched for the secret to happiness just as thoroughly as the average farmer. Through the years the recipes for happiness have evolved but have not changed much.

And yet, we continue to search for happiness because even though we do find it sometimes, we manage to keep it for just a fleeting moment before it's gone again.

On my quest to simplify my life and focus on my priorities I have found happiness in:
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  • .

In fact, I have faithfully followed the positive psychology's teachings of visualizing my wishes and believing this will help me and you make them come true. I have often drifted away, daydreaming about possible situations or happier moments in life.

But this kind of mind-wandering is actually robbing you of your genuine happiness. 

Surely, you will argue that when people's minds are preoccupied with unpleasant thoughts it is natural for them to feel unhappy but the research Matt Killingsworth has led proves that people remain less happy regardless of whether their thoughts are positive or negative.

Even when your mind wanders to pleasant thoughts, you are less happy than when you are mindfully present in the moment.

Undoubtedly, training yourself to immerse fully in the present will increase your happiness. Do not overestimate daydreaming and wishful thinking. Get back to basics and do one thing at a time. Be here and now, right where happiness is.

Are you thinking of something other than what you are currently doing?

05 April 2013

It has become obvious by now that we live in a digital era, a time when life has a second, virtual persona thus encouraging us to create our own alter egos online and start living an additional life on the Internet.

My Internet day starts roughly at the time of awakening with opening my email. There, I said it. I am not proud of myself.

One of the most unproductive ways to start my day is to open up my email first. I've read numerous articles why I shouldn't do it but here I am, the person who wrote about , why , and why you should unplug on a regular basis, admitting being addicted to getting emails and clearing her email inbox of unread ones.

Checking your email constantly is distraction disguised as work.

On a typical morning I would go through the 50+ unread emails that have accumulated in one of my inboxes since the night before and would often get carried away replying, reading, researching, etc. This might eat more than 2 hours of the most productive time of the day, when I am uninterrupted and my mind is still fresh.

And yet I go on, day after day.

Confession: My email inbox defines my day.

Often the emails I receive override the work plan I have set the night before and I find myself working on unimportant stuff and neglecting my art or writing. And yet I go on.
Even now, when I am determined to write this post I feel distracted and need to check my email. Just in case there is some big news. Or anything to comment on. Or just in search of inspiration.

Two weeks ago I decided I will no longer let my email inbox define my mental activities and I mean to keep it simple and hassle-free. I committed to checking my email three times a day instead of living in my (three) inboxes, torn between hundreds of emails. As a first step I unsubscribed from a few mailing lists that proved to be disappointing. Then I created several filters to automatically mark notification emails from Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus as read.

What happened when I reduced email time
  1. At first I felt restless. Now that I had placed a limit on checking my emails I realized how dependent I was on distracting my mind while I should be concentrating. As days passed, the feeling faded although it hasn't disappeared completely yet.
  2. I became more productive.bobbi boss synthetic lace front wig mlf65 misty rose1
  3. Batch process.used lace frontals8
  4. I stopped multi-tasking. If you follow me for a long time you surely remember my multi-tasking posts. Well, I am still on and off multi-tasking but I can already see that by taming myself email-wise I am seriously single-tasking again.
  5. My day depends on me. By not going through my email first thing in the morning I am now able to follow the plan I have for the day. Before I easily postponed my tasks for the needs of others, according to the time they enter my inbox. I don't call this egoism but organized sanity.brazilian wavy with a silk lace closure0
  6. I am healthier. used lace frontals7
  7. I am happier.rene of paris sonoma | synthetic wig (basic cap)
The mere fact that we all have access to a computer and Internet at home, at work, in our pockets does not justify our constant preoccupation with it. Being always present online robs us of our freedom and that is why we need to make conscious efforts to stick to our priorities and not to let distractions disguised as attractive conveniences take the best of us.

If I can do it, you can do it too!

By organizing your time you will regain control over the way you feel and the way you create. You will no longer feel that your life is controlled by circumstances and your life will be one shade simpler.

Now it's your turn, do you let your daily plans be defined by your email inbox or any other distraction? How do you deal with that?

28 February 2013

In the case of choosing to marry my future wife, the intuitive message that I made the right decision, was the immense sense of comfort in her company, which proved to be both mutual and lasting. This year we’ll be celebrating our twelfth wedding anniversary and by now we can confidently call ourselves a well seasoned couple.

Embracing voluntary modesty
Cheryl and I have lived in not entirely voluntary modesty since we first met and while we might have had a perpetual difficulty meeting the society-implied standards for the bottom line, we have always had each-other. The single greatest support when odds were against us.

Not only have we had a deep understanding and profound love for each-other, but we have nurtured common dreams of living close to nature. Because it instinctually felt like a fail-proof ambition, we decided to follow through and do it uncompromisingly. Not for egoistic reasons, but for the immediate realization that a consequently nature-informed way of life has to benefit not only ourselves and fellow human beings, but nature as a whole, animate and inanimate.

Photo: Cheryl Magyar

Living close to nature
When some seven years ago the two of us toured the countryside in search for home and came across our future homestead as a place for sale, we let – again –, that already familiar great sense of comfort and arrival be the decisive factor, not the visual (un)appeal of five buildings all in different stages of dilapidation, the land managed with conventional, soil-disturbing and soil-depleting methods, or a murky pond. We felt like children who just set their feet on the most exciting playground they had ever been. Locals eventually told us we overpaid, but we considered it a possible dream come true and didn’t even negotiate.

Was it not for the maturity of our relationship with my wife after nine years of “together” and “we”, was it not for separating from the selfish “me”, we would probably not have been able to provide our daughter, Csermely, with such a truly awesome arrival as we did: in the intimacy of our home and facilitated by no one else but her mother, her father and herself.

Living a healthy life
Yes, it also took cutting the mental umbilical cord with customs and following instead trust in evolutionarily encoded capabilities, such as that of a healthy mother being entirely apt for giving life to her healthy offspring or – from the offspring’s angle – the healthy child wanting and being able to squeeze herself through the exhilaration of birth. From my fatherly perspective, in this same framework I had to and wanted nothing more than to subject to the unrelenting patience needed and give the best I could of my inherent helpfulness.

Relative poverty taught us more. Taught us to take good care of our own health – in fact much better care than any “solidarity” based conventional state healthcare system would. Taught us resilience and reliance of nature’s pharma. This also felt a very intuitive direction to take, however it does come along with informing ourselves and cross-referencing the information in the wider and wider pool of knowledge.

Photo: Cheryl Magyar
Being happy with less
In fact having to turn around on a dime augmented an avalanche of life changes. Showed us how much less than we had imagined is actually enough to be happy with. Helped us understand that we ought to let go of physical and cultural inheritances that are incompatible with a sustainable future, the new culture that we (and you, dear reader) have to bring alive. Along this same way, we rethought our nutrition. Keeping our minds and digestive tracts open for diverse and only real foods, we virtually shut the passed down cook books for good – for better.

It only felt natural to shed our synthetic and synthetically altered natural garments off next. That’s where you would find us in real time: me sewing my hemp rope shoe soles, Cheryl knitting her new wool vest and Csermely proudly modeling her parents fashion.

I find these kinds of ambitions healthy spirited. Don’t you? Yet I feel the need to mention that it is precisely here, where legislature of both totalitarian and democratic political systems have a real shortcoming. If one’s healthy spirited desires do not meet the alleged interest of a majority (by laws, traditions, etc.), the individual and her dream is subject for squishing or labeling, which is hugely unjust toward the dignity and self fulfillment of that individual – let’s not forget that society as a whole also consists of individuals.

Never mind, we are and will be here to show humble example of just how much listening to our hearts can accomplish.

Join in and share the thoughts of your heart, too! We are eager to listen to its beat.

This post is part of month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

Also, don't forget to Join us with Roland again on Thursday, February 28th to learn how to follow the intuitive path to a happy family.

Roland Magyar is a thirty five year old husband and father, a sustainable life designer with holistic approach. You can read more from him and his wife on their simple living , or else converse with them on .

26 February 2013

This February we are . And what better way of doing this than by following our intuition. Today we are joined by Roland Magyar of who will share his and his wife's vision of simple sustainable living through following your intuition.

Many of you will likely agree with me that some (if not all) of the best decisions in life are made when one follows the whisperings of the heart and not the computations of the mind. It has certainly been true about the evolution of both my individual and my family life course.

However universally understandable the heart-mind division may seem though, I venture to call it an oversimplification of how we, “humanimals” function or should function in our decision making processes. It might pull a haze over one’s eyes: the cataracts of a binary system of sort that our modern lives are so much conditioned to, from the electoral campaigns (yes or no) and the way most appliances work (on or off), down into the most innocent childhood game of loves me/loves me not.
Photograph: Cheryl Magyar

It takes real effort to break out of this habit and relearn to appreciate nuances at their true value, notice patterns and try to understand the multidimensional way those interconnect.

Instincts and intuition
Where I am going with this, is trying to draw your attention to the hugely undervalued or – on the contrary – much mythologized realm of the instincts and intuition. Without going into how these relate, it is enough to point out that they do and they relate strongly. All animals follow them while foraging, when choosing mates, paths to take or places to rest, give birth or pass away. Once we accepted that we, too, are animals, it seems only natural to do the same.

In fact that is what our subconscious automatically does or at least tries to do. Nevertheless, way too often we override these messages with infantile action responses and replace the hugely complex and fine tuned suggestions with dumbed down, poor alternatives.

Listen to your heart or use your brains?
In simple language, I believe it is the kind recommendation of “listen to your heart” that is meant to address intuitive existence. And it indeed seems to be a much better guidance than the sheer slogan “use your brains”. Why? Because intuition, instinctive feelings incorporate so much more than just attempting to mechanically add up the most apparent bits of information into a coherent image.

When using intuition one reaches back to and effectively accesses in an instant the wealth of information otherwise surely overwhelming for the strictly rational judgment. It taps into our common evolutionary wisdom, emotional intelligence that is far older and far more tested to be good than the fragmented, traditions, customs based and often erroneous (ethnic) cultural heritage.

How could one harness this protective and life-affirming power?
Well yes, by adjusting pace of life to the natural rhythm of the locale, turning the volume of white noise off or down enough to hear what our conscience tells us. It will most likely tell us to be more humble, divorce from our material type desires that are in excess over our real needs and spend more time with whoever and whatever we love most.
Photograph: Cheryl Magyar

Being a father who made the conscious decision to watch closely his daughter’s personal development from day one of her life, I am very inclined to believe that as individuals we are born with good intentions, innocent curiosity and genuine love, strong draw for helping others, sharing what we have.

Most definitely this “givence” can be and is altered in any direction, good or bad, by the kind of environment that comes to nurture the forming sense of self. As a result, the individual inherently attuned to intuitive behavior, is – and I was not exempted either – progressively drifted away from it with age. But no matter how common this phenomenon is, I am convinced that it is not irreversible.

My very life as a soon to be married young man’s and later as spouse’s, settler’s and father’s . And I am but one of the many...

Now it's your turn, do you trust your intuition? Let us know in the comments.  

This post is part of month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

Also, don't forget to Join us with Roland again on Thursday, February 28th to learn how to follow the intuitive path to a happy family.

Roland Magyar is a thirty five year old husband and father, a sustainable life designer with holistic approach. You can read more from him and his wife on their simple living , or else converse with them on .

21 February 2013

This post is written by Shelly Kerry.  

By the time this post is live we will have all survived Valentine’s Day. Many couples disregard this day as silly and frivolous, some singles lament this day as a reminder of singledom and others rejoice and celebrate their independence. Whether we like it or not most of us acknowledge this day in some regard.

Whether I am single as I am now or in a relationship, I like any excuse to spread extra love. It’s an excuse to bake, decorate with hearts and swoon over sweet photos on . In a perfect world we wouldn’t need special days to remind us to do this but life is anything but perfect. This year, Sonya invited us to spend an entire month celebrating love with her series . Her posts have inspired me to look at this month in a new light.

February can be dreary and although it is the shortest month it often feels long, heavy with wishes for warm spring, sandals and yummy new fruits and vegetables. It is a month often pushed aside. Why not spend it dedicated to loving yourself more, opening your heart and listening to your desires? I might not be spending the 14th at a romantic dinner with a loved one but I made a plan, as I do, and it involves spending the rest of the month trying to spread love. I have made a short list of ways of doing this if you would like to join me.

Spread love through social media
Not only is and successes it is a great way to celebrate others. Dedicate at least one post a week to someone else. Has your friend just launched a new jewelry line? Tell all of your friends on Facebook. Instead of only posting about yourself show people how thoughtful you are by spreading someone else's fortunes. This is a great way to create new friendships and strengthen old ones and a wonderful reminder to step out of your own world sometimes. And P.S, people will like you more for it. I promise.

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I spent some time last year writing to some of my favorite bloggers and telling them how awesome they are to me. By doing this I established some lovely virtual friendships and had a chance to write on a few of their blogs. This month, I plan on telling more people in my life how much I admire them. From the corner store owner who works everyday and always greets me with a smile to my co-workers who make my days much more pleasurable, people are going to be overwhelmed with my gratitude. Beware friends and neighbors!

Take myself out on a date
This winter I have been really nesting. The positive side - I have been crafting like crazy, planning my own organization line to launch next month on Etsy and even made a bench for my apartment. Downside - I have been not been taking myself out on dates. I go out with friends once or twice a week but I haven’t taken myself to dinner and a movie in a very long time. And I love taking myself out! So before February is over I am taking myself out on two dates. At night. And shopping doesn’t count.

This post is part of month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think! 

So how do you plan on spreading love this month? 

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Shelly is the founder of the program – motivating and inspiring people to run their businesses more efficiently. She helps others look at their personal and professional lives and explore what is and isn’t working. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help keep you motivated and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself. You can also find Creating Space on or contact [email protected]creatingspacemindfulliving.combrazilian wavy with a silk lace closurelace front wig explanationbobbi boss synthetic lace front wig mlf65 misty rose

12 February 2013

Last month to share your most important and was inspired by 's strive to learn to love others more than herself. Loving others as opposed to loving yourself in an age of encouraged egocentrism seems like a pure act of craziness.

The philosophy of self-love
Nowadays we are continuously taught to love ourselves and to put our needs and wishes above all else. "I" is king, and carries its crown with a mighty vigor. But the more we get focused into loving ourselves. the more we devoid ourselves of real love and start to feel miserable.

Then we pay to get lectured by the New Age gurus about the steps we should take to produce love for ourselves and . But ask any senior person in an old people's home how self-sufficient they feel loving themselves when there is no one of their family around.

While preaching self-love has a positive financial impact on some, today I offer you a free exercise in thought shaping instead. Here is an old example they used to give us at primary school:
Look at the sun. It rises each day and shines above us, it gives us light, energy, it helps the plants grow and produce oxygen for us to breathe. It gives without getting anything back in return. And yet it never runs out of sunshine.
Talk about selflessness. 

Why is it so hard for us, the most intelligent of species to give without expecting anything in return? Why should we learn to do it?

Photo: Shutterstock

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I am not trying to underestimate the feeling of acceptance and love for  yourself. But that feeling should be more like an act of self-respect -- the only way to create love in our life and to share it with others.

The way we feel about ourselves affects the way we treat others. If we are happy and content with ourselves we naturally treat others well.

Egocentrism vs. love
The moment self-love becomes the center of your life will be your first step to the unsatisfied life of a person for whom the grass is always greener on the other side.

Egocentrics believe and there is nothing more important than what they feel, think or like. But that is a stage in human evolution which we outlive in our early life. At age 7–12, children become less egocentric and are able to appreciate viewpoints other than their own. In a contunuously infantilized world it is no wonder that more and more adults get stuck developmentally at their pre-school years.

According to some schools of modern thought loving yourself is indeed the pinnacle of love but led by Baron and Hanna (1990) tested the connection between egocentrism and depression in adults and found out that the participants with depression showed higher levels of egocentrism. Therefore, this would suggest that a mentally healthy individual evolves out of most of their egocentric habits.

Shift your thoughts
Now here is a little push to help you get out and start shining upon the world instead of grabbing greedily from its riches.

1. Treat others with respect (i.e. the way you want to be treated)
Making people around you happy will help you feel happy. The thankfulness in people will increase your self-esteem and what is more, those that you treat well will likely repay you with the same kindness.

2. Develop empathy
Imagine how other people and living beings feel, what affects them, what hurts them or what makes them happy. Learn to listen to your heart.

3. Put the needs of other people before your own
Pay attention to the people in your life to find out what their needs are. Anticipate their feelings. Catering to their needs will not make you less important or miserable. On the contrary it will fill you up with a sense of accomplishment and joy. It takes time to learn to be considerate and sensitive but once you start trying you will only get better.

4. Reciprocate kindness
Be sensitive to the kind treatment you receive by others and try to reciprocate it. If someone treats you bad, rise above the occasion and respond with love and positivity.

5. Do more for others, but still take care of yourself 
Acting in a selfless manner and being attentive to others should not stop you from caring for yourself. You are just as important as anyone else is.

6. Don't be judgmental
It is easy to judge other people but try to live their life and you will find yourself making even more mistakes than you think they made. Try to be understanding and forgiving, and learn from other people's mistakes instead of labeling and judging them.

7. Give 
Giving is a lot more difficult than taking, especially to ungrateful people. But giving should not be about gratefulness either. Sometimes, it is just about the feeling you get for yourself. Giving adds up to your self-worth even if nobody else new about it.

With these 7 steps I offer you to shift your thoughts from "What can I get?" to "What can I offer?" If your attention is off yourself and about giving, the whole world around you will respond by giving back to you. And you will receive the love you long for! And that is why I think that loving others more than you yourself is the only way you can feel continually loved.

Now tell me, how do you feel when you try to make other people loved?

This post is part of month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

07 February 2013

Once you begin the journey to a a lot of questions start arising. Like, how will I live without my stuff now that I'm downsizing? How will I prevent feeling bored when I deliberately choose simplicity? Don't worry because simplicity IS the cure for boredom, however unlikely that might sound to you right now.

What is boredom
In a life overpopulated by media of all kinds getting used to be entertained is the most common of vices. Being brought up by TV programs and growing up with a game console/mobile phone embedded in their hands, children have a hard time being simply by themselves or enjoying simple age-old games that don't need electricity.

I openly blame bad parenting for that. Letting your kids get carried away by the waves of apathy generated by television or video games is a sign of false love motivated by self-love.

Bored children grow up to become bored adults, unable to keep company to themselves, expecting the world around to provide for them - entertainment, fun, motivation, you name it. Unfortunately, such mindset makes people forever unhappy with what they have, forever dreaming of the next great thing they still don't have... forever envying the grass that's greener on the other side.

But boredom can also be a destructive force. A of 92 Scottish teenagers found that boredom was among the top reasons stated for taking drugs.

In learning, boredom is connected to intelligence. People tend to get bored when something is either too incomprehensive or too easy for them. Or when they cannot focus.

In everyday life, boredom can appear when the same activity is repeated again and again and you are not motivated.

Boredom and simplicity
If you are inexperienced at simple living you might be slightly taken aback by the notion of minimizing your possessions, decluttering the space around you, reducing the time you spend connected.

Such a life might seem too intense at first, too empty, and boring. But that is if you are relying on the outside to give you purpose.

But don't despair, there are steps you can take to awaken your interest in the world and never feel bored, and these steps are part of the simplicity you are striving for.

How to cure boredom
Get out of your comfort zone
Challenge yourself to go about the same old routine with a new twist, add an activity that has been scary to you, do your chores in a different manner, which has been unthinkable before. Suddenly your mind will get focused on the exciting part, instead of the tedious one. Embrace new activities, hobbies and points of view. Think about them, discuss them, do them. Life is too short to be spent in boredom and apathy.

Last month I took a self-imposed which set my creativity on fire and refreshed my mind. I am still continuing with it!

Focus on what is really important to you, define your goals. Make a decision based on your priorities. You can learn to focus by , or in quiet contemplation. Or you can start a creative project - it will set your mind at a different frequency and will help you concentrate.

Whenever I work on my photographs to turn them into I seem to transfer to a parallel world where anything is possible. While I am concentrated on the act of creating my thoughts roam freely and I often have problems solved by themselves at the end or my working process.

Stop distraction
Living in a complex, hyper-stimulating world, we have grown used to being distracted. In fact, without distraction we feel like life becomes stagnant. But distraction, as well as are a plague to your mind that only steal your focus. Learn to do one thing at a time and to be fully present.

I was a proud until the day I realized that was nothing to be proud with. I've been trying to completely stop multi-tasking in order to keep my sanity and to ensure that I am doing my best in every situation.

to help streamline your thoughts and to increase your sense of purpose. You will be surprised by thoughts you will witness yourself write down.

I have been a writer ever since I learned to write and still have my teen  journals kept by my mother. Nowadays blogging has become my journaling and I appreciate the way it has helped my conscience grow.

Be quiet
Learn to sit quietly in a room with just yourself as company. Instead of feeling frustrated or bored, enjoy the silence, listen to your heart and your thoughts.

Sitting quietly is a favorite of mine. Or . I remember many of my walks in the forest, through all seasons when I wished I didn't make a noise so I don't ruin the perfect moment of bird songs, gentle wind and the sound of the waves; or the drops falling from the melting snow.

Dorothy Parker says that "the cure for boredom is curiosity". I say that the cure for boredom is simplicity.

By simplifying your priorities you get a clear vision to the path you are walking. Simple methods, simple actions leave no space for boredom, on the contrary, they fill your everyday with mindful activities that motivate you and make you feel satisfied with your choices.

After embracing a simpler and more mindful lifestyle you will look back at your previous self and wonder how have you managed to live before and you will not remember what filled your days, I promise.

How do you deal with boredom?

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05 February 2013

In which I ask some awkward questions and try to outline the way to listen to your heart.

In a room full of people and noises, where collide to create a web of invisible discomfort I try to listen to my heart. I put my headphones in a desperate attempt to isolate the outer world but the TV is too loud.

Blaise Pascal believed that "All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone." but today I am faced with the challenge to sit in a noisy room surrounded by people while trying to have a conversation with my heart.

My attempts remind me how hard it is to differentiate between all the voices in my head and actually know when my heart is speaking. 
We grow up according to society's standards and are formed by the collective intelligence of the human race. As much as we benefit from that we also suffer because with each birthday we get farther away from our true nature.

Have you noticed how sensitive young children are and how simple the world is to them? Have you considered why your world is so complex compared to your 5-year-old self?

The reason is that you have stopped listening to your heart.

You have become so accustomed to do what is expected and to think what is suitable that you no longer hear the voice of your heart.

Except if you experience something mind-shattering and you find a reason to change your life, to live close to nature, to slow down.

Do you need a tragic event in your life to acknowledge the voice of your heart?

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Our lives have become increasingly busy over a short period in the history of humankind.

Work, technology, fun, , competition, extraordinary pressure of information all around us... It is easy to get lost if you disregard the gentle voice of your heart.

But there area few easy steps you can take in order to learn listen to your heart and live a simpler life.

1. Ignore the ego. It is the false you. Once you turn its volume down you will open the door to the voice of your heart.

2. Spend more time alone. and enjoy being by yourself. Make sure you spend at least 30 minutes a day alone in a quiet place without any electronic devices, preferably outside. will turn the volume of your heart's voice up and it will be easier for you to hear it.

3. Create. By involving yourself into your mind gets in a higher state, which takes you a step closer to your heart. Take the time to do whatever you like - paint, knit, sew - any creative activity will provoke your heart to manifest itself.

4. Give up. In Western culture we are taught that we should be proactive in life and so we act accordingly. But once you take a step back and give up you allow  yourself to go with flow. You get rid of the burden to direct life. You stop forcing things to happen around you and they can bloom and direct you along your road.

5. Follow your heart. Your heart's voice may contradict all else but try to follow it. It is the only way to reclaim your true self and to start liking your decisions, which will help you like yourself!

Simple as these steps are they might take some time to get used to. But if you trust yourself you will start trusting your heart too.
“The only way to get what you really want, is to know what you really want. And the only way to know what you really want, is to know yourself. And the only way to know yourself, is to be yourself. And the only way to be yourself is to listen to your heart.” Mike Dooley
What is the major obstacle that keeps you from listening to your heart?

01 February 2013

According to modern Western culture, February is the month of love. And although there are conflicting opinions about St. Valentine's Day I love celebrating it because of its positive vibe. Love, acceptance, togetherness, hearts... Don't you think that if you could listen to your heart a bit more often, you could turn your whole life into a big, fat and absolutely unforgettable Valentine's Day?

So, this month we'll talk about how to listen to your heart and how to follow it. Often, if you chose to actually hear your heart you will be forced to step out of and discover , which is even better.

While there isn't a special secret thing you should do to learn to listen to your heart, there are a number of ways in which you can train yourself to notice its signs and follow them. It might feel strange at first but the more you converse with your heart, the more natural it will feel.

If you feel uncomfortable, scared and confused it means that you have stepped out of your comfort zone and are ready for exploration. The mere fact that you are reading this post means that you are ready for a change.

A life with your heart as the closest companion is certainly worth living. I officially invite you to a month full of stories, explorations and inspiration.

Listen to your hearts!

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