The Dying Meaning of Compassion

homeless man asking for penny or a smileImage by Joey Lawrence

In today’s world, everything is “fat free”. For some reason we still marry “until death do us part” though divorce rates say otherwise, and on the internet we see articles like ‘10 “Amazing” Dog Houses’ or ‘5 “Amazing” Facts About Chocolate’. Are dog houses really all that “amazing”? These words have one thing in common: they have all lost their meaning. Like “liberalist” and even “love”, their overuse and lack of appreciation takes away their specialty. So what about “compassion”?

Media and politicians love to shove this word down the public’s throat, typically after some national disaster.

“Show compassion, buy this shirt and some of your money will go through our agency and (maybe) go towards helping these people in need!” 

Of course this is not what they say, but this is essentially what it is.

“America, we need to have compassion for those affected by this disaster. Send money to this fund!”

When broken down to its Latin roots, “compassion” stands for “co-suffering”, but by today it simply means “to have a personal connection, empathy, and sympathy with those who suffer”. What many fail to realize is, although the government and charitable agencies help the needy, money alone does not reach the poverty of the soul. I believe we need to restore our original meaning of compassion and take a more personal approach to banishing issues like poverty.

While buying a ticket at my local theatre, the cashier asked if wanted to donate a dollar to a children’s fund. I always give to these requests when possible, but being charitable in this way sparks no true compassion – no personal connection. My donation is out of sight and out of mind once I hand it over. I don’t even get to witness the fruits of my generosity. So I forget all about it, and my good deed is given nothing more than it’s own line on my receipt. Is that compassion?

Of course, money is essential in fixing society’s issues, but giving this way seems to have one of two effects on most people. You can give your dollar and go on your way feeling like you’ve done your part, or you give your dollar and never think of it again because you see and feel no benefit – no bliss in helping others. Unfortunately, in dealing with donors on a daily basis, I know all too well how “compassion fatigued” people get when realizing their money has seemingly been thrown into a void.

Monetary donations are good for immediate and temporary fixes, but it’s going to take the crucial role of compassionate individuals to banish these problems for good. Money is not personal, and when we individuals make no personal connection to those suffering with issues like poverty, the real solutions to these tribulations lay stagnant.

So let’s revive the meaning of “compassion”, let’s deal intimately with poverty. If we all realize that those who are impoverished are just as human with just as deep of feelings; if we learn what we all have in common, we can start teaching the world how to react to the visible poor: not by turning a blind eye, but by reaching into the soul of poverty.

I suggest reading this excellent article on cultivating compassion at ZenHabits. Personally my favorite practice is the “commonalities practice” (#3 in the article). In this, Leo Babauta states:

“At the root of it all, we are all human beings. We need food, and shelter, and love. We crave attention, and recognition, and affection, and above all, happiness. Reflect on these commonalities you have with every other human being, and ignore the differences.”

What do you think, readers?


Update…

Sorry folks for the slight delay of today’s post. I went to a cookout the actual day this post was to be done, and must have gotten food posioning because my stomach was acting in revenge for quite some time. I ended up doing a lot of reading on this particular topic of “compassion”, and wound up ordering a book titled, The Tragedy of American Compassion by Marvin Olasky, which seems to touch upon (in depth, of course) the dying meaning of this word. So I may have more to say on this issue once I get this book in my hands, but for now, have a great day and thanks for reading.

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Quotes that have stuck with me

I am guilty of loving and saving inspiring quotes, but never living by them – there are so many out there! But what about those lines that find a way to latch on to you the minute you hear it? The ones that stick with you for years and years?

These sort of lines that stick with us always make life just a little bit easier to handle. Here are the words that have stuck with me, that I apply to many aspects of my life, and those things that I absolutely want to pass to my children when the time comes.

“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

(Dr. Seuss)

Sure this is a Dr. Seuss quote, but what made it special to me was that a cashier at a store told me this little nugget of truth when I was young. I was with my dad at the register, and I wanted to buy a teddy bear for my boyfriend, but dad was teasing me about it saying it was unnecessary. Then, after checking us out, the cashier said this to me and winked. It really stuck with me ever since.

———–

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

(Maya Angelou)

I’m not sure how I came about this quote, but it’s been written in my diary several times. It helped me to realize that, with a simple change of perspective, you can change your mindset. The mind is a powerful thing. We make our own happiness!

———–

“Reject common sense to make the impossible possible!”

(Gurren Lagann)

Gurren Lagann is an animated show filled with virility. Although it’s centered around battling and mechas, the characters live to “shoot for the stars”. It’s an idealistic and aggressive show filled with daring chutzpah to be the absolute best you can be.

———–

“It goes on.”

(Robert Frost)

Robert Frost says, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life…” I found this in my book of Robert Frost’s poetry and I have it highlighted, circled and bookmarked. And it’s true, out of all that I’ve been through, one thing has stayed true: my life has gone on.

———–

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdFglEm_QuU]

“This too shall pass.”

(Old proverb)

I first heard this line in a beautiful Regina Spektor song called “I Want to Sing”. Regina’s gotten me through a fairly large hurdle in my life, and I recommend her bubbly, jazzy music to anyone who wants a pick-me-up.

———–

“Indulge your imagination in every possible flight.”

(Jane Austen)

While browsing for literary jewelry (yes, I’m a huge nerd), I found a necklace charm with this Jane Austen quote. I love the image of “indulging your imagination” as if it has a body and soul of its own, which sometimes I believe it does! Creativity, adventurousness, and so much more seep from imagination. It is the faculty through which we encounter everything, and what a wonderful thing it is.

———–

“Fake it ’til you make it.”

(Tyra Banks and many others)

Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. It’s laced with tiny delicacies of confidence, beauty, and living your dream. In one episode, Tyra was speaking to a broken-hearted girl, on the edge of giving up her dreams because her lack of confidence. Exhausting all other options of motivating this girl, Tyra tells her to buck up and says, “Oh yeah? Well if you don’t have confidence, just pretend you do. You can fake it ’til you make it!”

———–

“Gain momentum in constant self-improvement.”

This was said by yours truly! It’s my own motto, and I live it day to day. We were all given the ability to improve ourselves, and there are limitless small and large ways to do so. So why not do it constantly? I understand the idea of simply being satisfied with who you are, but self-improvement doesn’t always have to mean changing yourself. There is always more for you to learn, more for you to experience and see, and all of this improves who you are. And once you start improving yourself, keep doing it until you gain momentum like a huge, growing, self-improving snowball!

———–

More personal ones…

  1. “Making something of yourself like I know you do?” – said to me by an old close friend
  2. “Always be an independent woman, and put your school first. No boys, no marriage, until school.” – my mom’s advice
  3. “Trust me – you don’t need rest to be beautiful.” – from my then boyfriend
  4. “I like your goals. They seem reasonable and I think you can do them all.” – another from the boyfriend
  5. “You walk like a model!” – one of my favorite compliments from a stranger

All of these lines are very special to me, and I hope that sharing them would stick to some of you as well. I tried not to flood it with too many quotes… just the ones that mean the most to me!

Side note…

Many of my readers have been asking for more content, so I’m going to post smaller, easier ones like today’s while I plan out my more meatier, heavier posts. I hope these can keep you occupied and make you think while I draft up the big ones I have planned.

I’ve got an opinionated post on compassion coming up tomorrow, another “Different Perspective” post, and one later that will look into the psychology of imagination.

So keep in touch, readers! And be sure to let me know what lines and meaningful words have stuck with you throughout your life!

Photo credit: ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 )
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The Sum of My Experiences: My Best Decisions

Image from we♥it

I haven’t had many experiences, but I’ve still been faced with decisions that changed my life. As the image says above, decisions – right or wrong – stem from and create experience. Be it getting married, going to college, or leaving a bad relationship, decisions can be tough. The change that accompanies them might be difficult to adapt to, but once you’ve made those changes,  you can look back and be proud at what you’ve accomplished.

I’ve been interested in the process of decision making lately, and decided I wanted to make a tribute to the good decisions I’ve made in my life because these are what’s made me who I am today!

So without further ado… I present to you:

My Best Life Decisions (So Far!)

Image from optimism_iskeyxx

 

Changing my hairstyle up

This may be a  trivial one, but I was never given fashion advice growing up, but one day I visited my mom and she insisted that I get a new hairstyle. So I got bangs and a dramatic cut in length! I adored how they shaped my face and the refreshing new look gave me something I had never felt before: self confidence in my appearance! Ever since then, I’ve been all about styling my hair and being more fashionable.

Taking the television out of my room

Another trivial decision, but a good one. (Especially now that there’s so much junk on television.) Now when I spend time in my room, I do more productive things like writing, reading or painting. It’s more peaceful. I do not want to know what’s going on in the life of Snooki.

Keeping a morning routine

Something about routines gets me stir crazy. However, living a life of complete spontaneity was making me forgetful and unorganized. So I settled for an early morning routine brimming with structure and efficiency.
I get up two hours earlier , eat breakfast, take my vitamins (the most important part of my morning), take the dog out, clean around the house, and read. I’ve gained so much from my morning routine: energy, peace of mind, and preparedness for the day.

Image from Static and Newspaper Print

Putting money in savings every paycheck and keeping it there

I suggest this to any poor college kid. I never have to worry about emergencies because I’ve amassed enough money to acquire a calm disposition in dealing with a potential financial disaster. Laptop fizzing out? Car troubles? A buddy in need? “It’s okay, I’ve got some savings!”

Writing in a journal when I’m depressed

Image from xchancella

This is a big one for me. It wasn’t until my first big breakup that I stopped writing fanciful little nothings and started writing down deep-hearted conversations with myself. My mind spilled everything out on paper desperate for stability.

It was cathartic, and I really found myself through my writing. I learned to forgive, I learned humility, I learned selflessness, and much more thanks to my silly little doodle-ridden composition notebooks and fancy silk journals.

Leaving my stressful job and working at the University

I left my job as a hostess for good when a server cussed me out for seating her while she took an unannounced smoke break. Quitting was a long time coming decision because all the servers were similarly rude to the hosts, and the manger did nothing about it, but this struck my last chord.

I now work at my school as an office assistant and receptionist, and have gained many skills and opportunities. I learned valuable etiquette, presentation, and customer service skills. I’ve been invited to formal dinners, I meet important higher ups and those with the whole-hearted generosity to donate thousands to the school. Networking is a big benefit as well.

Nothing but good things have come from this decision.

Getting the guts to start conversation with strangers

It was orientation day, my first day of college, and I went by myself. I prepared for this day. I came in thinking, “Okay, I am going to start a conversation with at least one person.” I scoured my table for someone to talk to, but everyone was with their parents.

We were given a tour of the school and later ushered back to the reception room and served some bitter lasagna and lemonade highly offensive to my papillae. I saw a guy sitting next to me with the same dish. “I’m going to do it this time,” I thought to myself. I turned to him and asked,

“Does this lemonade taste like toilet water to you?”

We’ve been dating ever since!

Image from sadiemaeglutz

Drinking less caffeine and more water

Water and juice never crossed my mind back then. For me, it was Coca Cola and any other caffeinated products I could get my hands on. When I was 14, I went through a two-week long period of migraines that drove my inner hypochondriac to a panic. I frantically searched a medical book I had lying around and came to the conclusion that I had a brain tumor.

Terrified, I begged my dad to take me to the hospital, and asked for a CT scan. They did it reluctantly, probably rolling their eyes. They found nothing in the scan, and I was relieved to hear that I was just very dehydrated. I was given water through an IV and a long lecture about too much caffeine! Now sipping a coke is an indulgence every once in a blue moon.

Starting Deliciae

The blogging world is full of interesting and smart people, generous enough to share their life and their ideas, and I wanted part of it. I’ve always been a fanciful and flighty human, with tons of ideals and no where to direct them to. So I decided to start a blog. I got into it for a while, then the real tough college courses hit. Now that I’m back, the thing that I truly enjoy most is the readership and getting to know new people. It’s a beautiful way to connect with others.

Going to college (and staying in-state with my family)

It’s the light at the end of the dramatic highschool tunnel: college. It symbolizes freedom, independence, self growth, knowledge, opportunities abound. I got to know my best friend better since college, I cast away my shell and became more outgoing, I’ve been in many organizations, met a slew of different and inspiring people, got a wonderful job there, and realized my passions. What’s not to love?

Image from knows-flower

And many more to come…

Writing this list had me smiling all over. It’s a very nice reminder in how much control I have over the direction in my life. I hope it inspired you to think of all the good decisions you feel you’ve made. Whatever they may be, I’m sure they’re quite the accomplishments, so give yourself some applause!

What are some of  the best decisions you’ve ever made?  Were they also your hardest?

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Prod Your Productivity Into Shape – 3 Tools for Effective Writing

Today, we have so many things to distract us from writing, and technology is one of them. Fifty years ago, writers didn’t have the strong allure of the internet to go flocking to when they wanted to push back their writing time. But the internet has now grown to the point where it may even be beneficial to our writing! (But only thanks to lovely, genius software engineers.)

Ever read Fahrenheit 451? Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit’s author, was a pretty disciplined man. Why? Because he wrote this famed novel with haste, in 30 minute spurts on a typewriter he paid 10 cents to rent out for just a half hour. He moved in to the basement of UCLA, where he had found this typing station, with a bag of dimes – thrusting them in as the clock ticked madly – and, with this limited time, he furiously churned out the draft of this popular, classic novel. Time and money – what an amazing motivator!

I was introduced to this story and another interesting tidbit via Sarah Wilson’s blog. As it turns out, Bradbury’s writing process was the early “prototype” of a technique created in the 80’s called the Pomodoro Technique. Here is their official website.

This technique, named after those nifty little tomato shaped kitchen timers (“pomodoro” meaning “tomato” in Italian) is a time-management method and a method in self discipline.

What you do is simple:

 

  1. Set a timer to 25-30 minutes – If you don’t have a spiffy little tomato timer, you can use one of these online timers listed on the official Pomodoro website. (I like the simple focusbooster app where you can turn on the incessant ticking if that prods you into working!)

  2. Move those fingers and write, write, write – You’re Ray Bradbury and your time is money! Your typewriter is ticking away and you have to fit as much of your future bestselling novel, article, or manifesto into this 30 minutes as you can. Don’t check your messages, don’t get on WordPress, Facebook, anything. This is your appointed time to write. My advice? Do not edit.

  3. Break time! – Your 25-30 minutes are up. Give yourself a nice 5 minute break. (focusbooster times this for you too, which is lovely) Get some sun, limber up, grab a quick snack, surf the web, check your email. It’s your free time to do whatever and you’ve earned it.

  4. Get back in the groove, go another round – You were in queue to use the typewriter and it’s finally your turn to give it another go! Shove that dime in (turn your timer back on) and go another 25-30 minutes. Get the bulk of that article done now while you have the chance. Go, go, go!

Do this process just one more time. If you still have words seeping from your fingers and want to keep typing, you now have yourself an hour break! Catch some lunch, you writing speed demon, you’ve earned it.

If you’re done writing, that’s great! Save your draft and revel in the word-countage you cooked up in such a short amount of time.

(And you don’t have to use this just for writing. Try it out for any chore or task you need to accomplish!)

If this process is enough to get you into gear, give yourself a pat, but if you still find yourself having trouble, might I suggest a bit more… wicked writing tool as an addition?

I’m talking about Dr. Wicked’s Writing Lab. Have no self-discipline? This evil invention invites (or is it “threatens”?) you to write… or die! Well, it’s not that evil, but it does claim to “put the ‘prod’ in productivity”. It is an online application based on operant conditioning, in which you choose your “punishment” for not typing after a certain amount of time. Set your word goal, choose your consequence, your grace period (forgiving, strict, or evil), and hit “Write!”

Your consequences?

  • Gentle mode gives you a pleasant little reminder that you’ve stopped typing, and tells you to continue. (It’s for your own good!)
  • Normal mode works best when your speakers are on full volume. If you stop, after some time, it plays a terrible song. Sometimes I get “Peanut Butter Jelly Time”! It quite literally scares you into writing more, and prevents you from stopping so you’ll save yourself from the ear-wrenching wickedness. (Now I’m not sure what else it plays because I get scared into working very easily by normal mode, but if you’re really disobedient and think you need a better punishment, try…)
  • Kamikaze mode. It is exactly what it sounds like. If you stop writing, your words will literally delete themselves. Terrible! Don’t let it happen. And don’t go back to edit, folks. It’ll hurt you in the long run.

This is my absolute favorite online writing tool. It’s even more thrilling to try and write in a quiet library. There’s a desktop version you can purchse for $10 if you really like it.

I love to use the Pomodoro technique and pair the focusbooster app with Dr. Wicked’s writing lab! These are three excellent tools to place on the first shelf of your writer’s toolbox.


Some thoughts…

The first time I tried this medley of productivity, I did some stream writing, and ended up with about 5500 words. It poked and prodded to me keep going, and I wrote about topics from Kidz Bop, to my boyfriend, to dance music, to the topic of judgment, and more. I even came up with some new painting ideas and a few future plans for my blog.

The draft of this post is written with these three tools, and I have to say, this is quite literally the fastest I’ve ever written a post. Drafting without editing is key. After your thoughts are all down, the rest of the process just zooms by.

I’m hoping those who get bitten by the procrastination bug or those who just need a new way to go about writing can find some use from these three tools.

As for me, I will never write the normal way ever again! I can only cower in fear imagining Dr. Wicked’s maniacal laugh as he implements his upcoming “electric shock” mode on all those with stiff and unmoving fingers.

Hopefully he’s just kidding about that one!

photo credit: (1234)

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Are We Too Occupied to Recognize the Little Things?

I feel I should explain the meaning of my blog’s title, Deliciae. (This was back before I migrated my site.)

It is a Latin noun for what we would call a “delight” or “pleasure”, sometimes even “darling” or “sweetheart”. Some may even recognize its similarity to “delicious” or “delicate”.

All of these words encompass what I’ve wanted this blog to project: life’s little, delicate, and beautiful things.

While listening to an old favorite band, Atreyu, I remembered a quote I came across long ago. It’s from the vocalist, Alexander Varkatzas. It reads:

“I was driving to a friend’s house, kind of daydreaming and the sky was this gorgeous shade of pink.

I just couldn’t take my eyes off it, it felt like I really forgot to breathe, and forgot about life in all its obsessive materialism for just a few seconds.

When I snapped out of it, I almost rammed into the car in front of me.It just made me think of how many perfect sunsets we miss at work or school or how many beautiful starry nights are spent on the Internet or in front of a TV.

We do all these materialistic things and we seem to neglect that each sunset is totally different than the last or the next and that the wind will never blow exactly the same way. It’s always 9-5, better do this, do that, deadlines, excess, bullshit that just isn’t that important.

Now, I am as guilty as the rest, but for a few blissful seconds it was remarkably clear.”

(Alexander Varkatzas)

He mentions beautiful starry nights missed while sitting on the Internet. It struck a sad chord within me. Have you gazed up there lately? On a quiet, dark night, it gives you a feeling like no other.

Unfortunately, I never really hear my cohorts speak of delicate, and beautiful night skies; constellations have lost their meaning and origin, and a lot of us are too occupied to look up and feel the intensity of colors in a morning sky – something little, yes, but so powerful.

In the ebb and flow of the work week and the strong influence of technology, I too forget at times.

I’ve spent, or I should say, wasted an unbelievable amount of time on the internet, social media websites and the vapid, mind numbing games and applications that come with them (read: Facebook). But that was before I decided to overhaul the way I use my “life” time. Before this overhaul, I naively surrounded myself with quotes I never truly followed such as Jane Austen’s:

“Teach us, that we may feel the importance of every day, of every hour, as it passes.”

And I would have tear-outs of old articles such as this one from a Newsweek edition in 2008 entitled, “What Old Age Taught Me” in which 91-year-old actor and film producer, Kirk Douglas, says he truly believes “the best is yet to be.” However, I never gave it a glance or any more thought like I once had.

Now I try to take these once cherished items back to heart. I realized that, after wasting two days of my vacation browsing Facebook, watching “Lost” on Netflix,  and checking my email ten times a day, I had to do something different with my precious time.

I didn’t want to get sucked into the “what’s his status now? …and now? And now?” addiction, so I stopped visiting Facebook for a whole two weeks.


It was difficult at first, but now I don’t feel the need to look at pictures of an acquaintance’s dad’s birthday party or check the status of 300 friends. (And, let me tell you, it is nice!)

I care to read some of these things, but my mind can only store so much information before becoming too cluttered. Whatever Timmy, Janice, and Emily ate for breakfast is not really something I’d care to store in my already crowded memory.

Unless I want to contact and keep up with a few close friends or get in touch with new ones, I try to avoid Facebook altogether. It’s a little scary to think that I was once yearning for this useless information. I was addicted, as many people still are.

My brain is no longer the attention-deficit mess that it used to be. Cutting off Facebook time and other mindless internet browsing has done wonders. I have time (that I never knew I had) to pursue more productive endeavors, and take a breather outside and watch the sun go down. I am so grateful for it.

Of course, I do believe technology has helped us tremendously in being ever-so-convenient. It even helps us spread the appreciation for beautiful sunsets and the little things. There is such a thing as too much, however.

The planet has never been more interconnected, and yet, could technology be taking away from our relationships and our lives?

What do you think, readers?

photo credit: MayrNeil Ritchie | livepine | laurenseagull

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Kickstarting Your Day: For the Unmotivated Dreamers

It’s a bright day, the natural light reveals all the outside world, and the birds are chirping. The world is alive. But you don’t know it, and you don’t care. You slouch on your couch hunched over with the blinds shut so not even a fraction of light shines through to warm your numb, expressionless face.

You have no energy to do anything today, and the meaning of “productive” has long been filed away in the deepest, forgotten crypts of your mind. So you sink into your couch, and hide behind your pillows – a false comfort – rationalizing, “Well, I deserve at least one more lazy day,” but we both know you said this yesterday.

And you know how dogs feed off their master’s energy? Max is sprawled on the recliner as if his muscles turned to jelly, looking around the room with slow, slow puppy dog eyes sighing and wondering, “When is something going to happen around here?”

You haven’t written a single word for your novel in weeks maybe months, and you stopped your small bout of exercising just short of it being consistent. Sometimes, you don’t even feel like going into work. And sometimes you just don’t.

What are you thinking? What are you feeling? You certainly aren’t thinking, “Man, what an amazing day. I feel so alive!” or “I have energy and momentum today! I want to get things done.”

But isn’t that what we should all be thinking?

What I described is a seemingly down, unmotivated, and numb human being. Someone merely existing, and not living. This was me two weeks ago.

I never thought or felt anything truly positive during those times, and I probably didn’t genuinely feel anything at all. There were so many things that I wanted to do, but I lacked motivation. I had no energy, no will, and no inner foundation of thoughts that set the base and mood for my day. But two weeks ago, I started my vacation from work with a purpose. I thought, “Okay, here’s 336 absolutely free hours of my life, what am I going to do?”

Sitting around playing video games and marathoning “Lost” was my first thought, but then the idea of using the 336 hours to do something extremely unproductive, in the biggest sense of the word, was appalling to me. I was ashamed that I had even given that notion a thought.

So what I decided is that I would use these two weeks as a sort of jolting, “Revival Retreat”. I wanted to shake my life up, I wanted to be progressive, energetic, and motivated. (Did any of those words come to mind when you pictured someone slouched on the couch in the dark?)

Of course, I know not many of you have this much free time, I am very lucky to have such a generous and flexible schedule, but I want to share the few little exercises that gave me the perfect kickstart to each day:

Now it’s your turn.

Close your blinds, make it very dark in the room, and get on your couch, your computer chair, or bed (wherever you lounge around). Now slouch over and wipe the emotion off your face, maybe even frown. Your eyes are only half open as you stare numbingly at your computer screen or television. You browse Facebook for the fifth time today, and check your email for the sixth, and yet you’ve only been up for three hours.

Now a big, heavy, long sigh. Your energy is draining, and you may even yawn. What are you thinking? Can you honestly think, “It is the most gorgeous and magnificent day out today!” without feeling… weird?

While writing this, I did this exercise and the first thought that came to mind was, “Can I really finish this post in time?” It was negative right off the bat! I had to reassure myself that it was only an exercise.

Now, all of a sudden…

…you rocket yourself off the couch or chair, and make a beeline to the windows. Pull open the blinds all the way, and let the ALL the light shine in. Notice how you immediately feel better?

Your surroundings have an instant effect on your mood. (Especially light!) So now the light is shining on your face, and already you feel more energized.

Now lift up your head and straighten your back in the most perfect posture, your natural posture. Just think: You are an ancient god or goddess, and now you’re showing confidence to your people, assuring them that, yes, you can take care of things.

Channel your inner Nefertiti or your inner Julius Caesar!

Pretend that, in any moment, someone will make a bust of you to capture your confidence, brashness and boldness for years and years to come. Feeling any better? Good posture harbors more confidence. (And it doesn’t hurt to pretend you’re ancient royalty!) More about confidence and posture here.

Last, but not least, give a big, toothy, genuine smile. If it’s difficult to do, think of your favorite delicious dessert or your loved one unwrapping and freaking out over a thoughtful gift from you. Not only are you a confident ancient ruler, but now you are also charismatic, and people eat that up. Don’t worry about giving an inaugural wave or anything, because your smile alone is an instant pick-me-up. Biopsychology theorists call this “facial feedback“.

Practice switching between these two dramatically different scenes, and try focusing on the outlook of your inner thoughts as you do so. Are they pessimistic? Optimistic? Did you feel a difference?

Any time that I find myself having an uninspired, stagnant day, I try to give myself and my surroundings a little jolt. Even if you don’t feel happy, confident, and charismatic, taking in the light, smiling, and straightening up will at least give physical cues to your mind telling it to “Get up and get going!”

photo credit (1) (2) (3,4) (5) (6)

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A Different Perspective: You Are Everyone and Everyone Is You

Thanks to StumbleUpon I came across an interesting piece of writing by a man named Andy Weir. It’s a second-person narrative and concept dialogue that gives a different perspective on why we are here on this Earth and what happens to us after we die. And although I personally do not believe in any specific god, in reincarnation or any other concept stated in the story, I found it entertaining and a nice idea to ponder.

It’s titled “The Egg”. We follow a conversation between “God” and a middle-aged man in his afterlife. God reveals the man has died, and will soon be reincarnated to a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD. Confused, the man asks why and how can he be reincarnated into someone who has already lived in the past (and even someone of a different gender). God states that time is just a man made concept, and that, to God, things are different.

The man then asks what many of us on Earth would ask if ever in this situation:

“So what’s the point of it all?”

Below is the conversation that takes place afterwards:

“The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

To read the rest of the story, go to Andy Weir’s website here: “The Egg” by Andy Weir.

So what if we, our individual selves, were everyone? What if everyone was simply a different aspect of yourself? I found it really interesting and began to wonder what my life would mean if I were everyone and if everyone were simply different reincarnations of me in different periods of time: past, present, and future.

Maybe we’re all just one universal being, and we live to learn and slowly mature at different times and paces. Everything that I know will not simply disappear after I die, because it lives on within everyone else. And as the universe matures, we will slowly grow from an infantile egg to something much grander.

Confusing, eh? Although this is an old and far-out concept, I actually find some peace in wondering if – somehow – every single person on this Earth is at least a reflection or symbol of some part of myself.

There are those people I fear, because they are similar to my own traits in which I fear. There are people I admire, because they reflect the traits in which I like, the traits in which I own or the traits that I want.

It gave me a strange, yet calming peace to think that maybe I have nothing to fear besides those darker parts of my own self. But ah… maybe this also means I hold the power to change me and, in doing so, I have the power to change the world. In keeping my mind open to this, I can face my fears one by one.

So, maybe we are all of the same universal being. Or maybe we aren’t! I felt “The Egg” was a refreshing, thought provoking look at the very meaning of life, and though it may or may not be true, I can genuinely say my mind is open to this exciting possibility.

What do you think, readers?

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Who, What, When, Where, and Why?: The Benefits of Asking Questions

What is the one thing that drives you to live a better life? One thing that helps you to progress in thought and knowledge? Albert Einstein did it, so did Oscar Wilde, Dr. King, Nietzsche…

Asking questions is the answer. Questioning everything has many benefits and zero disadvantages. While watching home videos, I saw myself as a child asking my dad every single little thing that came to mind. Of course, I had that never-ending, unsatisfiable toddler curiosity, but who says that has to go away?

“What is the hull on a ship?…What is a radiator?… What is this bug called?…  What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?… Why do I have to go to school?”
The answers to my questions stuck to me, and at a very young age, I already had a small bank of knowledge I was able to take into my later years.

Though it’s been proven that it is easier to learn at a younger age, it doesn’t mean that you should give up as you get older.

Surely there has to be something you come across every single day that you are confused about or are interested in.

On the first day of class, my Statistics professor told us flatly,

“I will not guide you through these problems unless you show the drive to want to know. Ask me questions… even when the slightest tinge of confusion pops into your head.”

It makes sense, what he said. If you have the resources and need to know something, why not just ask?

Asking questions:

  • fosters your creativity
  • foster critical thinking skills
  • can help you advance in your field
  • increases your knowledge and aids your memory
  • can help you discover new ideas and information
  • can help you make better decisions
  • and can help you to identify the unknown

Be Careful!

Besides the benefit of learning whatever you want whenever you want, asking questions is a tool we all have in our arsenal to protect ourselves from false claims.

Don’t believe everything that’s fed to you without first questioning it. Any one – and I mean anyone – has the ability to alter stories to however they see fit.

I’m not saying everyone does this, but you should be open to the possibility that it can happen, and does happen, and it can severely alter the way a large number of people think, act, and even live, which leads to greater problems.

It doesn’t just happen in the news. Commercials give false claims, businesses give false claims, magazines, product labels, and even advertising on anything should be questioned.

We can’t always tell what’s true, but here’s what we can do:

  • Always be skeptical about new products, stories, and statistics that haven’t had much time to be researched and analyzed.
  • Know that anyone can be biased or can give out false information.
  • Look for a quoted source for all claims and statistics.
  • Do your own research. My doctor never told me that my medication causes me to sleep eat. Only after doing some searching online, I found out that this is a fairly common symptom!
  • Search for reviews of the product in question or essays and articles of the topic in question. People post reviews of everything on line, from books on Amazon to laptops on Cnet.
  • There are also official statistic websites on many products and services, which display actual results and if products claim to do what they say they do.
  • You don’t have to question literally everything, but you should lay some standards on what or who you feel you can trust and what you feel you should question.
  • Standard administrations like the FDA filter claims, but even they are bypassed. Companies recall products from the shelves every month.
  • It may take a while, but doing research will help you to identify a trusted source in the field of the topic you are researching.

And to close, here’s a small, but handy resource I use daily for those random questions that pop in my head from time to time!

ChaCha answers any questions you send to them (#242242) via text message (or a phone call). It’s a free service, and you can ask for literally anything. You may have seen a similar service,  KGB, on commercials, but this service does cost you.

You can ask for the nearest and cheapest  gas station or you can ask them to send you a joke. ChaCha helps you to name your pets, and even look something up online for you when you don’t have internet!

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

-Albert Einstein

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Hello!

Readers, readers, readers! It’s been a while, but I finally feel I can dedicate more time to Deliciae. My laptop completely fried so unfortunately I’ve lost some content planned for the past month. Also in the past few months, I have taken a vacation to Cleveland (where I saw the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!), visited my family in Kentucky, became a counsel member of a Philanthropy club at my college, and worked hard at my new job.

Now I have a small, but steady income, and I feel comfortable enough to continue growing my blog and maybe getting it hosted on my own server at some point.

In order to do this, however, I’ve gotta continue with my articles, right? That’s why I’m back, and I’ll be delivering to you the same quality articles I’ve been dishing out long ago.

I’m back with a new, refreshed motivation and a huge yearning to write and help so please tune in and look for more and more content coming soon!

While I start this bad boy up again, I’ll leave you with a quote I love from Austrian psychologist Viktor E. Frankl:

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom

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Hiatus Update

Due to some small unforseen events, Deliciae will be on hiatus for a few more days. I apologize for the long wait, but I assure you that I’ll be back and posting regularly as soon as possible.

There have been a few small incidences (that seemingly all came up at once!) and once things have settled down, I’ll be back.

Sorry again, readers! Keep tuning in. Keep smiling.

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