Why Taking Risks is Crucial to Staying Alive

Lorra Fae Wildfire of Passion School will inspire you to go after your dreams and desires by encouraging you to take risks in life.

Tofino, 2003. Where I moved spontaneously for a year and still dream about.

It makes sense why hardly anyone goes after their dreams.

We wake up and work for other people for hours on end, going home exhausted, too tired to do what we really want to do. And on days off, we spend doing chores or errands, staying distracted, wasting time,  “keeping busy” instead of doing what is important to us.

The real shit. The important stuff is not the laundry or the dishes, it’s not playing video games, it’s not staring at a phone looking for cartoon creatures, it’s not clearing clutter off the desk or dusting the shelves. Those things can wait until after the important work – the stuff that feeds our souls.

Did you know that JK Rowling says the reason she managed to write while in poverty and get so much done, is because she lived in squalor for years?

She knew where the priorities were: Her daughter, and her dreams. The rest could wait – it’s not going anywhere.

We have it backwards. Either we need to get up REALLY early and go after what we want before we sell our souls to others to get our basic needs met, or not have “jobs” at all, and focus on our real work. Ourselves.

Your real job is yourself.

Your real money is TIME. The real focus should be FREEDOM, not things that tie us down.

We need to minimize, focus, and take little steps towards what we most desire. You know, the things your heart sings to you every night, what you daydream about while you’re stuck in the drudgery of your JOB, or what you imagine life being if you could only escape.

That is what really needs to be done, and the only way to get there is to get everything down to SIMPLE, and to take the first small step….

Eventually, we must take a GIANT one.

It has to be scary, or it’s not worthwhile.

It doesn’t need to all be worked out – in fact thinking about the outcome TOO much may hinder it from happening at all. We think about all that could go wrong, instead of all that could go right.

The thing is, we can’t imagine everything that will come our way. We simply can’t fathom certain things in life.

For example, there is no way in hell I would have ever imagined working for someone I looked up to for so long – even becoming her friend, but to have her offer me work, work that I enjoy, and that I can do nomadically and at my leisure (as long as it gets done) – never in my wildest imagination did I even consider this would be a possibility. People beg her for mentorship and to work for her, and it just fell in my lap. I didn’t even have to try. The only “step” I took was writing about how I felt about a situation happening to her, which she happened to read, and then we spoke and over time became friends. I was struggling to find a job, I couldn’t find anything in this new city I moved to – and eventually I got sick of that process and tried the opposite – ANYTHING and everything I could do to make money on my own.

Not long after, she offered me work because she wanted to help me – and she needed help, too. We helped each other.

I fully believe that this happened because my mindset changed and I started looking at life in a different way – one where I did not need a typical job to get by. I could hustle up my own way, and this allowed me so much freedom and so much more opportunity. It got rid of the humiliating processes of job-searching, the daunting, menial, boring tasks of writing cover letters and resumes – it allowed me to use my BRAIN, to problem solve, and to FIND SOLUTIONS.

No one else was offering me a solution when I wrote out my plan. No one else came to my rescue. I took responsibility, instead of feeling like a victim, and I also focused on the goodness of not being able to find a job – the freedom it allowed me. I wrote out my Plan Z and it sounded like an adventure, not destitution. But when I was finally in this mindset, a perfect opportunity came to me, that I still do in conjunction with everything else I have thought out.

Everything I do now allows me a lot of freedom. Freedom is my number one value. I can work from wherever I am, at what I enjoy. I get to say yes or no to any sort of work I take on. I set my schedule. I set my own pace. I am in charge of me, no one else.

My point in all this is to say: Jobs are something human beings should do as LITTLE as possible, so our most precious resource (TIME) can be utilized to LIVE, and to do the work we are MEANT to do – OUR OWN. Even if we do have to slave for others, in order to have enough to get by, raise children, and more, the bits of time we can allot for ourselves make every shred of difference to what will come to us in the future if we focus on simplifying our lives and focusing NOW on what we want.

The things we have always imagined. The things we have desired since childhood – the fantasies we always have. THOSE things. They are not meant to be ignored. You can do anything at all. It doesn’t matter. People surf with one arm, people snowboard who have no legs, people write books who can’t move their bodies, people escape prisons, escape war-torn countries, people survive being lost at sea – WE can overcome our stupid problems. None of these people were taught how to do these things – they managed to do them because the alternative was soul-death, a wasted life, complete and utter despair. A suicide. A half-life. They did anything and everything they could to get what they wanted, and it’s all because they were determined and knew precisely what they wanted to accomplish.

Instead of lamenting our lots in life, we must start to look for all the threads that lead away from them. They’re there, we just have to look for them – every place has ways out. Every dream has ways to begin. We just don’t want to consider them. We start off saying “I can’t.”

We need to start off saying, “I can – but how?”

And then we plan, we plot, we draw maps, we set sights on what we want, on those realities just waiting to come to life – because they can. They CAN. Despite ANY reason we can think up, they are possible.

We decide whether to prosper, survive, succeed, overcome – or we decide to turn over, be pummeled, and be steamrolled into a flat version of who we really are.

We don’t believe the visions we have of what we could be.

But we can all be them. The belief needs to be there. When we get away from the bullshit of life (the people who tell us no, the ones who tell us we’re expendable or stupid, the ones who break our hearts, the jobs that kill our souls, the towns that are so backwards we feel like aliens) and start honing in on what could allow us to move forward, we start to see the possibilities, and we start to gain confidence that JUST MAYBE we could do this thing – whatever it may be.

That fear needs to be conquered. It means we need to change ourselves.

It means we can’t identify as victims anymore.

This is the key – to choose another label. To choose one of the following: Survivor. Hero. Heroine. Boss. Warrior. Champion. Goddess. Star. Luminary. Explorer. Adventurer. Protector. Winner. Defender. Advocate. Queen. The Greatest. Fighter. Saviour.

Ditch the idea of being a victim. We are all victims of something – how we choose to overcome our setbacks is what makes the difference.

When we choose other labels, we must change ourselves – our behaviours, our beliefs, our lifestyles, in order to match our chosen identity. Then everything else will change. Friends and family may not like it, there may be backlash, struggles with money may occur – none of it MATTERS. What matters is that we become who we are meant to be – because when we are who we are supposed to be, WE LIFT EVERYONE ELSE UP WITH US.
We become inspirations, we become MENTORS. We become beacons of HOPE. We show everyone else that yes, we are humans beings, like you, who did nothing more than take a RISK, and that risk is the only thing standing between EVERY single person and what they have always wanted.

Risk doesn’t have to be so big that you potentially crash and ruin everything and everyone around you, but it has to be big enough that you change internally and your life shifts dramatically for the better.

“Take the leap” is not a cliche – it’s a bona fide CALL for everyone to step off that cliff – the landing may be hard, but we will survive – and if not? What’s the alternative? A half-life? Give me PASSION and authenticity ANY day over basic existence. We will survive, our children will survive, and they will learn from us that risk and passion is worth any adversity that might challenge us along the way.

We are imbued with life for only one reason – TO LIVE.

~~~

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If you enjoyed this post (or any of my posts!), please consider a small (or large!) donation to fund my way to a martial arts seminar. There are rewards for certain amounts given, so please help out with a “tip” or a gift! You’ll be helping me to improve so I can teach other women to kick ass in the future!

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No Cheat Days Allowed

lorra fae wildfire tells you why cheat days are not good for you try to avoid a cheat day to better your life so you can create success and health and become your best self

I don’t have cheat days.

The whole idea of creating a lifestyle change and then damaging it with cheat days is bizarre to me.

When it comes to health and prosperity, why cheat? The changes made are for the betterment of the self, not to deprive oneself of anything.

Cheating on new habits is cheating yourself, and nothing more.

I find an all-or-nothing approach works the best. Give it 100%.

Without a cheat day, there will be BETTER results than expected. If there is competition involved, there will be a advantage. If there is health involved, vibrancy will expand even higher. If there is exercise involved, strength will be taken even further.

Results can only be bigger. Success can only be more imminent. Strength can only be greater. Life can only be better.

Cheating is a lie to oneself. It’s saying, “You’re not good enough to stick with this completely.” It’s saying, “You don’t really want to be doing this. What you really want to be doing is that…and you’re depriving yourself of it.” Deprivation breeds rebellion, and not many people can resist that for long. It’s also a tempting, naughty reward – something to look to the future for, instead of focusing on NOW.

We’re addicts and easy-pleasure seekers – it’s ingrained in us. Our ancient brains tell us to take the easy way, the comfortable way – and with all the choices around us and all the lies we’re fed from every direction, it’s so simple to get overwhelmed and say Fuck It and go for the easy route.

Dreams are not easy. They require complete dedication, not cheating.

Cheating is for people who don’t want the best results. It’s for people who don’t want to be the best possible version of themselves. It’s the opposite of dedication, or obsession.

Obsession is a good thing when it elevates who we want to become. We can’t cheat life, and we can’t fool our bodies, or our minds – so let’s throw the cheat days in the incinerator where they belong, along with all the bullshit that keeps us from being the most galactic versions of ourselves.

We need to remove the locks from the cages that hold those versions in, and we will never get there by cheating – we need to focus on the exact methods to set ourselves free.

~~~

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If you enjoyed this post (or any of my posts!), please consider a small (or large!) donation to fund my way to a martial arts seminar. There are rewards for certain amounts given, so please help out with a “tip” or a gift! You’ll be helping me to improve so I can teach other women to kick ass in the future!

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Choosing to Be a Hero, or a Disgrace (a Post About Rape)

I warn you now, this post is rife with bad language, because I’m angry, and confused.

Social media is flooded with articles on the recent rape at Stanford.

The whole thing is repulsive, unbelievable, and clearly raising the hackles of everyone who has a compassionate bone in their body.

Being a rapist, a murderer, a criminal – these are all choices. Why the fuck would someone choose that?

Why would this piece of shit “human being” choose this? Alcohol doesn’t make you a rapist – alcohol tends to make you more of what you already are, like money does. This pathetic person, like all rapists, already has it in them. They are weak, pathetic, useless trolls who need power to feel important or valued.

How come all the drunken people I’ve been around haven’t tried to rape me? Is it because I wasn’t shitfaced? What about when I was? It’s been a rare event in my life, I’ve probably been really drunk only a few times, over a decade ago – and the worst time I was camping with a bunch of guy friends, also drunk. And none of them tried to rape me.

Why? BECAUSE THEY AREN’T RAPISTS.

So, why the hell do rapists choose to rape? They’re clearly taught that it’s fine, by their fathers, or their brothers, or their friends. Or they feel weak and intimidated by women.

But so what? Many men are, and they don’t rape girls. So why the fuck does anyone choose to be a rapist?

Like, why? Do people actually WANT to be rapists? I really am baffled by this. Why wouldn’t someone want to be as fucking awesome as possible, and be a hero?

Seriously! Why would ANYONE choose being a RAPIST over being an amazing, heroic human being? THAT is the way to get respect! THAT is the way to win people over, have love, feel confident, powerful – not the cowardly act of raping someone.  WHY? How does that better your life? By ruining another person’s? Do you really want to RUIN someone’s life? WHY? What does that say about you? Does it improve your fucking life? Does it make you better?

Deep down inside they can’t believe this is true. Deep down they know they are shit. Deep down they know they are worthless.

But who told them they were worthless? Why do they think that? And why do they think rape and murder and assault and whatever other fucking atrocity they commit will make them WORTHY?

What makes a person WORTHY OF RESPECT, POWER, and LOVE is to GIVE respect, power, and love.

You don’t get it by assaulting and raping. You don’t get it by damaging other people in any way.

And to deny it, to flip it around, to blame the women – fuck you. Seriously, fuck anyone who does that. You’re pathetic wastes-of-air.

I have a lot of compassion, but not for people like this. These are CHOICES. You are not mentally ill, you’re a fucking disgrace. You chose to be a rapist. You chose this life.

There are endless other choices – infinite. And you chose rape.

So rot in hell you fucker, I hope that you get what you deserve while you’re put away for a few paltry months, and I hope that this media onslaught of horror really changes the system, because if it doesn’t, how the hell can we call anything justice?

Why Life Seems Difficult

Photo of me by Aiko Yoshida.

The lament of most adults I know is that life is hard, annoying, and exhausting. I get it. I have been in that space, so I know. Even now I sometimes wish for the 90s when I was a teenager and had little to worry about other than how to get a certain guy, afford a CD I wanted, or how to get people to stop harassing me in school.

But adulting – that’s annoying. Or is it?

Definitely some of it is, but then why are there many happy adults? Why are some people happy and others not? Why are the vast majority just blah and numbing out to reality TV and large pizzas?

It’s because they are not doing what they are passionate about. Either they have forgotten, or they are afraid.

When you are aligned with the work you are meant to do, with the dreams you’ve cultivated deep inside, things magically start shifting.

But you must be taking steps, no matter how minuscule, to go in the direction you’ve always imagined. You must start somewhere. Don’t make me use a cliche!

And for god’s sake take care of your health. Without proper nutrition you are going to have little energy to spare. Do you really want all your energy to be given to A JOB? (a 4-letter work, remember?) What about YOUR work? The work that makes YOU happy and that makes the world better – more beautiful, more interesting, more fun, more fantastic – for you and all the people you could help aim higher?

Life is not meant to be a drudgery. It’s meant to be special – you are no accident. Your desires and dreams are not random. They pester you and haunt you for a reason, and they will continue to until you take action on them. Movement creates momentum, so take that first step, however tiny it may be, and then take another step the next day (or the next hour)! Even if it takes you years of daily steps, you will eventually reach your destination. It will be impossible not to, because you are moving in that direction.

The larger your steps, the quicker you’ll get there, but obstacles will show up. This is normal, in physical journeys, mental ones, artistic ones, financial ones – but inch by inch, penny by penny, stroke by stroke, word by word, you will attain something resembling your desires, but doing absolutely NOTHING gets you NOWHERE except the same place you are today. And are you happy there? Or are you lamenting how being an adult sucks?

When you’re small, you dream of being a grown up, to be able to do whatever you wish – and you CAN. Remember, you have been educated to think otherwise. You’ve been misled, lied to, and led astray by all the things you think you are SUPPOSED to do. You aren’t taught alternatives. You have to discover them yourself. You have to risk, you have to listen to your misery and see what it is teaching you – it is SHOWING you that you are not in tune with your inner voice, the one that has been speaking to you for your whole life, the one you continually ignore, and so other voices overshadow it – the ones that say you’re lame, that you’re no good, that you’re afraid, that you can’t, that you’re lazy and weak.

But what if you fed that other voice? What if you pandered to it? What if you let it scream so it drowns out all the others and sends them scurrying into the black?

That voice will then lead you, but you must LISTEN. That voice is the true you, and it is ageless. Being an adult isn’t hard, life isn’t difficult – what’s difficult is not being who you truly are.

No Plan B

I used to have a plan B.

Now, I have different aspects of a Plan A, and I have a Plan Z – only. This gives me no room to give up – even if I was destitute, I still would be on my proper path – I’d just be doing it differently – however, my goals and freedoms would be the same.

How’s your Plan B going for you? I can almost guarantee you are living Plan B. Or even C, or D! Otherwise why would you be here? Why would you be reading this? You wouldn’t – because you’d be working on YOU.

You’d be executing, not excusing. You’d be building, creating, doing, not simply existing, not flitting away your life. You’d  be figuring out, and taking action on doing what you’d truly love to be doing – what you fantasize about – what you envy others for – not your 2nd- or 8th-rate job. You’d be with someone you adore, not someone you put up with, and you’d be healthy and zingy, not tired and lackluster.

You’d be “YAY ME, YAY ME!” not “Poor me, poor me.”

You’d be the hero, not the victim. You’d feel your power, not your weakness. You have it, you just haven’t honed it – and to hone your power, you must use it. You must practice. You need to move in that direction, where your internal compass is pointing (the compass you consistently ignore) – even just a smidge – movement creates momentum.

“An object in motion tends to stay in motion.”

The first day you decide execute a Plan A is the most important day you will ever have, in any successful thing you do. People think it’s amazing, for instance, that I’ve been a raw foodist for over 8 years – but this isn’t my triumph – my triumph was doing it the first day. Day one.

Day one is what you need to focus on, and then build on top of that, hour by hour, day by day.

Really scrutinize how you are spending each moment. Is what you’re doing adding meaning and value to your life? Is it taking away your stress? Is it making you healthier, happier, more free of heart? Often people who work constantly are not truly free, but they’re doing their work for the wrong reasons (money).  Money is a byproduct of doing what we truly want to be doing. It’s a byproduct of being our true, authentic selves.

Our most important values should be freedom, and love.

Being authentic is rarely sitting on the couch, tired as hell from work, dreading the next day, and stuffing yourself with pizza and beer. Maybe for someone it is, but I highly doubt that is what that person saw for themselves as a child, when they dreamed about how their life as a grown-up would be.

“What we get from work [jobs] is enough money to pay rent, food, clothes, and beer – enough to keep us coming back to work. When we’re not at work, we spend time traveling to or from work, preparing for work, resting up because we’re exhausted from work, or getting drunk to forget about work.”WORK COMMUNITY POLITICS WAR [Prole.info]

If you really don’t know what you want to do, or who you truly are, this is the MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU WILL EVER DO. You NEED to figure this out, or die trying, because we need people doing what they adore, we need examples of perseverance. We need genuine, legitimate muses and mentors, to show us, YES, you can do what you’ve always wanted. YES, you can have a fun, thrilling life, without the burden of debt and worry.

There is always a way. There are always options. Write them all out. See ALL of your options for self-sufficiency. Write out your Plan Z, and see how okay it might actually be – how exciting it might actually be – how freeing.

But first, write out your PLAN A.

Don’t let other people take away your freedoms and power – claim it back. Feel your fear and do it anyway.

Your life is worth it, and it’s worth it to everyone else, too, because you will find your tribe, you will be a magnet; things come to you when you are ready.

It’s all so cliche, but true.

Don’t wait until  you’re forced, or until something almost kills you, because that time might not be until many years from now – when you will be even more tired, more sick, more crushed by the weight of the world.

Let it crush you NOW, so that you can squeeze out everything that isn’t true to you, and become full again with what is.

The world is a reflection of your beliefs, and your beliefs are often what other people have told you your whole life. Most of them are lies, or half-truths, unless you’ve been fortunate enough to grow up with that attitude, but if you were, you probably wouldn’t be reading this.

What you focus on manifests. Once you feel this power for yourself, things will show up that you couldn’t even have imagined. You just have to be ready, and open. The old has to be removed for the new to come in. There needs to be ROOM.

Make room now. No more Plan B – make your first choices your first priority, every single day.

What’s the Alternative?

I’m back after a long hiatus – I didn’t leave purposely, I just got swept along in the riptide of typical life.

Like most people, I’ve spent the majority of my life giving some power to others, allowing them to instruct my days, in order to get a generally pathetic cash reward every two weeks.

I recently quit my job. I’d planned to for quite some time, yet fear kept me going back. But…it felt like my time was being hijacked – I felt a very strong terror saying, “What if this was your last day on earth? Would you want it to be THIS?” I ask myself this a lot. The answer is always: No.  Not that the job was BAD, it just wasn’t what I truly wanted to be doing. It didn’t align with how I want daily life to be. Instead of feeling scared, I felt excited. That’s when you know you’ve made the right decision. My terror shifted – the fear of NOT doing what I love was MUCH stronger than the fear of having less security. Allow yourself to feel that anticipation: the promise of a more tantalizing existence.

Your moods are a map – if you dread going to work, if you are ignoring the things you’d love to be doing, wasting your time with FILLERS, then you are COMPLETELY and utterly ignoring your path in life. You are doing yourself and others a disservice. We need you, and we need your passion to ignite us.

Some people may be completely happy doing a regular job, and that is totally fine! I am not talking about them. I am talking about ME, and YOU – the ones who pine for more. We are aching. Bursting.

I BURN with a fervor, and I have repressed this many times – in relationships, in my everyday life, in work. Not purposely. It sucks. It’s not a way to live.

So, when you change your life, what about the fear? What about the scary prospect of failure?

Here’s a better question: What’s the alternative?

A life of mediocrity? Ennui? A life of apathy? Being upon death and saying, “Man, I wish I did that.”? No thank you. I get this one life as me- one life FOR SURE. Even if there are more lives, I get this one, ONCE, and I am not squandering it.

I’ve spent too much time already, flitting about from job to job (“A JOB” is a 4-letter word), spent too much time on things I don’t truly care about, too much time reading social media, and other stuff that does NOT improve my life.

Why read blathering from people about all sorts of topics I really don’t care about? Way better to actually learn something of value. To read words of substance. To go out and DO things. My time is valuable. PRECIOUS. So is yours! What is the alternative? MONOTONY.

Does this ring true for you? “I want a monotonous life.” Yeah, I doubted it.

Every adult I know, especially once they get to their 30s, says “WOW, time goes so fast!” – Yeah, it does, especially when you waste it, when you do things to “kill time.”

EXCLAMATION: you can’t KILL time. Time is killing you.

I have no other alternative. I don’t have a plan B anymore. I have a Plan Z, but no plan B.  Plan Z is destitute – and really still not terrible. It’s still more free than having a job working for someone else, making them more money (unless of course you want to help them and their cause – then awesome! Still…DO YOU, first).

You need an explosion within. If you don’t have that zest, and you’re damp and wretched every day with gloom, then you need to change some things – rapidly. Make it your first priority because your life will be completely bland and beige otherwise. Don’t you want a rainbow life? Isn’t that why people love psychedelics? Everything is more dazzling, unrestrained, more potent.

You can have that feeling naturally, daily, if you follow the map your life has for you. It’s built into you. It’s called “Your Emotions.” Your map has still led you down this runaway path, too – it’s leading you that way so you can see where it goes – then you can TURN AROUND. You realize, like with a malfunctioning GPS, that you are completely lost, and that you are going off-target. You don’t have to keep going – you know it’s the wrong way! TURN AROUND. What’s the alternative? You’ll probably end up somewhere you really didn’t plan, a ghost town, where dreams go to die.

If you feel afraid, reluctant, or anxious, ask yourself “What’s the alternative?” Write it all out. Let THAT petrify you. If you feel freaked out, then you are off-course. Center yourself, breathe, and continue where you know you need to go. Point your needle north.

It still takes work and discipline, but it is SO much better persisting on a path that you know is your own, and you know is the one you were meant to go down all along. You’re listening to your own GPS instead of one someone else gave you. One you thought you had to follow. One you thought was correct, or one you accidentally came across. Don’t use that. Internal compasses are much better – you just have to stop ignoring it.

Learn to read your compass.

 

New Home, New Life

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but that’s because I had other focuses – like getting my shit together.

Winter is always rough for me, but the beginning of this year really strangled me. There was a sudden need to leave my boyfriend’s place (because of my dog and the fact she wasn’t supposed to be there – I had to drive her to my parents’ place 4 hours away, for now), a sudden pay cut right after finding the place I wanted to live, and just general fuckery within Mercury Retrograde, whether you believe in it or not – a lot of miscommunication, misunderstandings, and turmoil in my brain. So, I just got myself together and did what I had to do.

I found a new job – very part time, at a raw food cafe – just enough work to pay for rent on my new place, or most of it. Still, I am having to be a lot more frugal than before, but that’s okay. I cherish my freedom more than a big paycheck. I am lucky and grateful to have so many weird little jobs that allow me to work when I want (mostly) and live a life of leisure and to just do what I please (unfortunately a lot of what I want to do takes money, like it does for most people – so I am still working on more ways to make some of that cash!) Mostly I want the free time and the solitude to write, explore, and create.

The most bright thing in my life came to me because I asked the universe for it. Merely wishing for something doesn’t really work when it comes to the Law of Attraction – you have to put it out there, somehow. For instance, I have always said I want to live in the woods near the city. In a cabin or something. But I wasn’t looking for that. Ever. It was only a thought, a wish. I kept scrolling the ads on Craigslist, looking at the meager choices of places I could afford that allow dogs – either they were too expensive or I would have to share with a lot of very young people, and either choice was not what I wanted. One day, on a whim, I put an ad in the “Housing Wanted” section, and right in the subject I said “Woman and quiet dog seek tiny home/cabin.” My ad was short and within a few days I had a response. A tiny house. CHEAP. In the woods. Near the city. I went to see it, and fell in love. I had trepidations that it would be too small, but when I actually went inside it, it was perfect.

A month later, I moved in. My dog will be here in a couple of weeks. There are chickens, and a big foster dog, and the owners are lovely people. It’s quiet, and for the first time in years I don’t need earplugs. When it rains at night, I am lulled to sleep in a little rain cocoon.

Here’s a little video I made of my home. More videos of my life to come.

Like I say in the video, this has felt more like my home than anywhere I’ve lived, other than where I grew up as a kid. And I felt this way after a day or two! I want to live in the woods forever – crazy weather, cougars, bears, ticks, whatever. There are deer and trees and fog and rain and owls and that air that just clears your lungs as if the rain just got into your pores. I am always exclaiming “I love my house” out loud, and I don’t think I’ve ever said those words in my life.

Why Freedom is my Highest Value


Image by Sarah Lee

In 2000, I was taking an youth entrepreneurship course. I took it because I was on EI before that and the classes were subsidized, so I actually got paid a bit of money to attend – it was pretty cool, actually. At the end of this course we had this motivational type person come in, and he got us to break boards with our hands.

This was pretty daunting to me, who had zero self confidence at the time.

Before all this, though, we had to come up with a WORD to write on the board, something that represented the thing most important to us, what we most wanted from life – and we had to keep asking why we wanted those things.

I want money! Why? So I can have comfort and nice stuff! Why? So…I can live the good life! Why? Uh…stability! Why do you want stability?

That sort of thing.

My word ended up being freedom. Why do I want freedom? Well duh, to be free. I couldn’t go further than that, and I wrote it on my board. And, with  a lot of trepidation, I did break it. I had a feeling of power after that, like I could do anything. I was astounded that I was able to break a piece of wood with my palm! I kept those boards in my possession for probably a decade.

Freedom to me means living a FULL LIFE. Being able to do the things I LOVE, and not to have huge restrictions. If it feels restrictive to me, I know it has to change. This is why I left my last relationship. This is why I dropped my dogma about my diet (it may seem restrictive to others how I do eat, but it doesn’t to me, and that’s what matters). It’s why I won’t stay in a job I loathe. It’s why I abhor debt and will do anything to stay out of it. It’s why I decided not to go back to school and just learn from other sources and teach myself things that are VERY important to me.

I want the ability to explore, have experiences, and not live conventionally – not because I think it’s wrong, but because it doesn’t feel right in my heart. If I am free, I am never bored. If I’m bored, I know that something is repressing me way, way too much and I must get out, or I will EXPLODE, in some way or another. Life is too short for that. I constantly look for ways around typical lifestyles and there are so, so many if you really dig deep!! This may not be the case all around the world, and that sucks, but if you are living in a 1st world country, you have options and lots of them, you just gotta delve as far you can into your creative mind. Come up with your Plan Z – sometimes when you do this, you realize that a more minimalist life can be the most freeing.

Is freedom important to you? It should be. You should not let anyone repress you. It’s your life. Repression is for control freaks. It’s okay to have boundaries and some leeway, but if you are feeling depressed, sad for “no reason,” or that you are trapped…do whatever you can to get OUT.

Is your BODY holding you back (are you unhealthy, sedentary, immobile, etc)? Is your partner holding you back (are they truly your “partner”)? Your job? Your home? Your country? Your city?

Usually it is just your MIND.

Your own mind is the biggest thing holding you back. Your own beliefs. Question them. When you think you’ve done everything…look harder. There are millions of ways to get through anything – I cannot stress this enough! The mind is the thing holding you back more than ANYTHING. If you think you are incapable of something, because of physical or financial circumstances…you are not being creative enough.

Creativity is the key to life, the key to freedom, just as health is. Health + creativity will take you everywhere, along with a positive attitude. If you have those three things, you are on your way to living the life you’re meant to live!

Being a Minimalist

I’ve basically been a minimalist for a while now. I become more and more of one as time goes on.

I have always had a bit of a weird dichotomy – I love luxurious places, and dream of gorgeous glass houses with large spaces, but when I think of them, I either think of very minimal decor, or very bohemian homes, but not with tons of STUFF. It’s always spacious.

I also love the total opposite – the idea of living in a van or an RV, or a cave, a yurt. The former because of mobility and adventure, the latter because of one big room – spacious. I like space. The whole world could be my space in a mobile home. Wherever I live needs to have large space, or at least a big yard. As much as I like the idea of a tiny home, I don’t like limited room to move and create.

I hate “stuff.” I don’t mind a little decor, but having crap everywhere is tedious and annoying. How much does one person, or even a few people, need? I am pet-sitting right now – there is 12 animals here and one lady. The amount of crap is ridiculous. The amount of animals is ridiculous, honestly. I realized, even though I love them all, that I wouldn’t really want more than two! I used to want a whole gaggle of dogs, now I am not really into the idea. It’s just so limiting in what you can do. I like freedom. I want to be able to move, breathe, and share space, not fill it with tons of junk or living creatures.

Do you use everything you have? I use almost everything I do have. I have most of my things in storage under the stairs of my boyfriend’s house right now and can’t even remember what’s there, other than my journals. Lots of books, I know – at least those are worth having to some extent, and I got rid of about 3/4 of what I used to have!

When I moved to the Island (a year now!) initially and just before, I put all my things in a storage locker except for summer clothing and a few books, my blender, food processor, and my computer. I didn’t miss anything in my storage locker, at all. I felt super free. Everything I had with me fit in my car. Everything I had with me, I used, or would read. I could have pared down even more.

I will never understand hoarders or people who go shopping just for fun, unless it’s for something you actually need. I mean, I like going vintage shopping but I do need clothes – I only do this every year or two! I actually hate regular shopping and avoid it as much as I can. If I need new socks I basically wait until all of them have holes, or try to sew them. My shoes are falling apart, but mostly I can’t find ones I like that are not leather, even used leather is fine but nothing appeals so I just wear the one I have to death. Mostly I just hate shopping. Shopping and stuff is not interesting to me. It doesn’t make my life more exciting. ADVENTURE makes my life more exciting. Going after and dedicating my life to my DREAMS is exciting. PASSION is exciting – for my sweetheart, nature, my friends – so much better than going out to have a 5 minute thrill of a random thing you find cool.

I also like to use my money for things that are IMPORTANT to me. Healthy food, martial arts, books I want to OWN (I use the library more than buying books anymore). Gas to get places. Clothing I ADORE and will wear all the time. Debt payments from my months of unemployment. Now I work for myself and make more than I ever have. Go figure. But I also am frugal for the most part, except for with food, and am even trying to lessen the cost of that.

So what can you do to be more frugal and minimalist? And why?

1. Go through everything you own. If you haven’t used it in a year, or it does not have intense sentimental value (like my journals, for instance, and some letters), toss it or sell it. I go through my journals every few years and they are precious to me. Almost everything else I have, I could take or leave. If something you get rid of initially is something you want or need in the future, get another one!

2. Being minimalist saves you money so you can do the things that you love. Accrue experiences and not THINGS.

3. Write out a plan and figure out just how frugal you can be. It’s actually sort of fun. I once saved $7000 in 4 months by doing this. I worked, lived in a staff house (and still paid some rent), babysat, sold things, and suddenly I was able to travel for 5 months overseas. I didn’t really buy anything except food. I rode my bike everywhere. I hitch-hiked (I lived in a town where this was common and acceptable and safe). I made things for Christmas presents. I spent my days going after my goals instead of being bored and looking for entertainment. My life was my entertainment, and I like to keep it that way.

4. Eliminate the non-essential. This Bruce Lee quote has had a profound impact on me, and I try to implement it in all areas of my life now. Sometimes it’s hard, as I enjoy things like eating a whole bag of mulberries, but otherwise it is seriously the best advice to follow in every aspect of life.

5. When you clear out your life of stuff, you have more room to breathe and relax. You have space to fill with ideas and experiences.

6. When you die, you will be able to look back and remember everything you accomplished, instead of everything you accumulated.

7. If you’re unsure what to do with all your stuff, separate it, donate it, sell it, trash it, give it away, put it in a free box on the sidewalk, put it on Craigslist, put it on freecycle – just get it out of your space. You won’t miss it, I promise you.

8. Read about other minimalists. Minimalists tend to be happier people. There is less cleaning, more savings, and more imagination and creativity. Minimalist people are usually interesting and admirable folks. They generally do a lot with their lives.

9. Do you want to deal with paying for all your  crap when you get old? Do you still want to be working to pay off debt from your junk? Do you need a fancy car to get to where you want to go? Or are you just trying to look awesome? Looking awesome is great but not at the expense of the rest of your life. Spend your money on healthy food and adventure instead. Your passion and adventurous lifestyle will make you look more awesome. Sell your expensive vehicle and get on a plane to somewhere amazing. Spend your money on your passions. Learn something you’ve always wanted to learn.

10. Instead of collecting things, collect memories. Write the so-called bucket list. Not the “I want to buy” list.

11. Believe in yourself. Stop caring what other people think. Embrace simplicity. None of this matters when you’re dying – what does? The things you wish you’d done, not the things you wish you acquired!

12. If your life seems empty without “stuff” – ask yourself what you’re really missing – a great group of friends? Adventure? Freedom?

13. Pay your debt off as SOON AS POSSIBLE. If you have a lot of it, do everything it takes to get rid of it. Everything, because it will just keep building and building and building and you will never get out, and you will be a slave to it – get the fuck out. Declare bankruptcy if you need to. You may have shit credit but that could be a good thing – it will force you to be mindful of what you spend.

14. Don’t see being frugal as being poor, or vice versa. You will have more time and space, you will have more freedom, you will see more opportunities. Being frugal will give you MORE riches – in terms of experience, and actual money. You will have more LIFE, because you won’t be working your time away to pay for junk you don’t need.

15. Stop seeing cheap things as okay to buy – your apps, magazines, cups of coffee, take-out…drop them!! They all add up.

Would love to hear your minimalist/frugality tips in the comments 🙂

 

Recommended Reading:

The Joy of Less

I’m only recommending one to be minimal. Heh.

Don’t Go to College


Image by Donkey Hotey

 

Seriously.

Well, wait. If you can AFFORD to, without loans, then go ahead. If you want to be something that ONE HUNDRED PERCENT NEEDS you to go to college or university, then go, but also be 100% sure, without a fraction of a doubt, that it is something you want to do for the rest of your life. If you do want to go, but aren’t sure what for – WAIT! Almost no one knows what they want to be when they finish high school, and if they do, they’re very lucky, and even then, a lot of those things do not need school. There are lots of ways to learn.

Necessary schooling + passion = fine, go.

Unnecessary schooling + passion + money = fine, go.

Unsure + unnecessary + loans = STOPPPPPPPPPP.

Unnecessary + loans = nooooooooooo.

Necessary + money – passion = no no no no no.

Unnecessary – money  + unsure = RUN FUCKING FAST

The majority of people going to school fall into the LAST equation. How do I know? I know lots of people! Including me! I was lucky enough that I chose short courses and that my parents helped pay my loans, which were diddly compared to what some people end up with. Basically everyone I know has massive debt, and basic jobs that don’t require their specific degree. For me, I have been to college twice and don’t do either of the things I went for.

The most valuable things I’ve learned have been from self study. Sure it might not get you a job easily, but it will allow you to LEARN FOR FREE. And it will make you use your imagination. It won’t force you to spend all your time on assignments and classes you don’t even want or need to take. You can learn at your OWN pace, and work at the same time! So many people get degrees and end up with ludicrous jobs anyway, because there is a million other grads just like them, scrounging for wages.

Spend your time doing what you love THE VERY MOST. The things you know you are meant to do.

I almost went back to school this year. I even registered, paid money, and all of it. I did this because I couldn’t find a job and figured having a degree would help me. Plus I hated regular work and wanted to just learn all day. However, with time and more thought, I knew it was a stupid idea. Especially since creative writing does not need to be learned in a school, nor does it guarantee a job. So instead of being $40,000+ in debt in 4  years, I lost like $150. Big whoop.

Part of what put me off is that even though I’d be a mature student, I would have to take a base year and a bunch of shit that had nothing to do with writing. Why the fuck do I have to take MATH to do a writing course? Or science?

There are a lot of jobs that require school, I know it, but unless you are completely dedicated, and know from the day you apply that it is what you want FOR SURE, and you will be able to get work or create work FOR SURE, that you LOVE…don’t. You will just end up a slave. To debt, to endless mediocre jobs, to a life you think you should be living.

Believe me, I would love to go back to school. I adore learning. I’d love to take creative writing. But at the expense of my life and freedom? No way. Debt is a death sentence. I want freedom. Freedom is my number one priority in life. Anything I choose to commit to, I CHOOSE 100%! Nothing is forcing me.

I can learn to write on my own, and if I really want help, I can hire a coach for way cheaper than going to school. I can read books.

When I did go to college, I ended up  not wanting to do what I took. I took a multimedia course (and should have stuck with graphic design, like I was drawn to) and after I finished the course I realized I didn’t want a job sitting at a computer all day.

I also took a vet assistant course, and while it was valuable to me in some ways, I could have learned it all by volunteering at a clinic.

I have considered library sciences, but there is no guarantee of work after completion, either, and that is like 6-8 years of school. I don’t even want to know how much that would be in terms of debt, especially going to a place like UBC. Insane.

Commit yourself to freedom, unless your lifelong dream has been to be a lawyer or a doctor or a scientist. If you’re going to school to “get an education” – just go to the library instead.

Only put your money towards your health and your most BURNING PASSIONS. That’s what it’s for.

If you have debt (of any amount!), get rid of it above ALL ELSE as soon as possible. Eliminate EVERYTHING non-essential. Everything. Debt will weigh you down and asphyxiate the life right out of you, and you only get ONE.

Recommended Reading:

Walden on Wheels (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – this post was inspired by reading this book)

The Teenage Liberation Handbook (I read this 15 years too late)

How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World

If You Want to Be Rich and Happy, Don’t Go to School?