“Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World” (2018) by Brooke McAlary
One societal beauty standard measure that could trigger eating disorder thoughts or feelings; brief mentions of diet and healthy food.
Self-improvement, mindfulness, noticing, thought/emotion/behavior, decluttering, simpler living, slow living, psychology, easy to read, life-changing potential, you vs the Joneses, carving your own life and your own Why as to put what matters to you the most as the forefront of your life, shout-outs to other people’s content, reading, books, prompts, questions, post-partum depression, mental health, recovery, wellness, self-help, wonder, awe, lifestyle changes, photography, social media/influences effects, finding a life worth living, no to the comparison games, change of action, progress not perfection, imperfection over perfection, imperfect action vs perfection, stopping procrastination, small steps, baby steps are still progress, moving forwards, family life.
Something right off the bat that I enjoyed about this book, and is stylized throughout it, is the real rustic and authentic look the opening statement the author makes about slow living and why she no longer wants to be in competition with others. It was just such a creative spin for me and really welcomed me in, from the get-go. Plus the washed wooden background with the off kilter black box was so neat and, as I mentioned, is pretty often utilized in other chapter presentations so it was something nice and on-brand to what was yet to come.
Early on in the book, in the introduction, I enjoyed the way the author danced with their literary language. There was something so comforting and nostalgic about the way she worded things and danced with description. It was really enlightening and kept me hooked. She really portrayed personality and style within her writing and I really enjoyed that throughout the book.
The chapter I probably got the MOST out of was definitely the mindfulness chapter. Sooo many good ideas and I’ve been feeling for months, if not a couple of years, that I’ve lost touch with my mindfulness practices and entered a continued state of mindlessness. It was super amazing and great to find some old and new tips regarding being more mindful and really letting me see that while I am often mindless, I am also mindful and both exist in the same space! And I could even practice more moments of mindfulness as I read the chapter days in between so that was super great and really lovely! It also inspired me to want to do more outdoorsy things this year so I’m beyond grateful and excited about that! Things kinda like camping, hiking, kayaking haha.
I go through more of what I fell in love with within each section of the rest of this review. Overall, I really, really loved and enjoyed this book to pieces!! It was SUCH a ride for me and I loved it. I actually did this review differently than I’ve done most others because I realized having 30 flags in before 50 pages that it was going to be TOO large to do only at the very end, so instead, I broke down the review in parts and began it and wrote for it while I was STILL reading the book (instead of waiting until I was completely finished).
Alsooooo, I talked a lot about this book on my Youtube channel via live streams and a few various videos. This is also the first official book I am converting into a filmed video review as well, so stay tuned for that pingback in the future!! If I go over 25 mins then I will have two parts to the review process, if it’s less than that, I’ll have the review as just one video. This review, BES, blog post is going to be the bare bones towards my video review so read through if you’re interested to see a sneak peek into what I’ll be discussing there. Alsoooooo, if you see any asteriks next to quotes here or statements by me, it’s stuff I really wanna highlight in the video review. Additionally, this BES will be posted before I film or edit or publish the video reviews and while this will go live before the end of April 2022, the video processing probs won’t take place until Sun-Mon in May. Once that’s more down pat, I’ll be returning the book to the library as well. God, it’s been SO LONG.
But yessss, stay tuned and hear everything else I have to say about this book all down below! 😁😊💙💚
PS the bigger breaks in paragraphs means I was working on that section at a different date than the one previous. Just to highlight how many times that happens. I have all the probably unnecessary information of how I tracked myself reading this book along with how I tracked myself writing this post soooo if that’s interesting to anyone, yay?!
MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:
OUTSTANDING QUOTES AND IDEAS:
“Slow living is a curious mix of being prepared and being prepared to let go. Caring more and caring less. Saying yes and saying no. Being present and walking away. Doing the important things and forgetting those that aren’t. Grounded and free. Heavy and light. Organized and flexible. Complex and simple” — McAlary, 2018, p. XV
*I honestly just loved, loved, loved this use of a dialectic and the wondrous way it also describes life and that duality that so totally exists within it. I am a fan thus far of simple living!!
“Please don’t waste your energy comparing your path to that of a friend, a sister, or the author of slow living books. Comparison is a losing game, and I’d much prefer to see you run your own race” — McAlary, 2018, p. XVIII
I really appreciate this reminder. I think especially following more artsy accounts on Instagram, I’ve been chewing away at my own creativity and how I’m no where near a professional artist–but at the same time, I could still work on challenging that and say, Why NOT for my own art!! Creating art is such a process, especially water coloring or painting, because I never realized how much layering makes for some amazing, amazing productions. It’s not my particular forte and I still have to recognize that what I create, while not realistic to the true presence of light and shadow, it’s still worthy and it’s still important and it still matters!! Creating art is so subjective and while I can always improve and grow more, I need to recognize more of my strengths and realize that the path to getting there is windy and also remember why I CREATE in the first place: a soothing place of comfort, of creativity, of inspiration (in even the smallest of ways) and because it’s an art therapy/mindfulness perspective. If I create at that core again and again, not judging how it comes out or if I do, keeping that at bay and less overly self-critical, then I win, EVERY time!! Art can be complex and it can be minimal and simple. And it still matters either way. That’s what I have to remind myself of. And this quote really helps with that. Stop comparing and start appreciating more!! (Every artist starts somewhere. Rarely they’re profesh right at the start and the more I practice and hone my craft, the better I’ll get at it! Keep trying!!)
“My story certainly isn’t the neat, linear version. It is a messy, frustrating story of someone who takes her time learning lessons and is willing to take imperfect action anyway” — McAlary, 2018, p. 4
I love this honest and clear-cut reframe! I especially resonate more now with ‘imperfect action’. Perfection does not exist and any action taken is such an achievement (as will be outlined later in this book) and so worthy of being celebrated and congratulated!! I loved this and it’s still important to me today as it was when I first read and flagged it. There is such beauty in imperfections, if you twist the image just the right way (yet imperfectly!).
*”I needed to flip my thinking on decluttering and remove some of the urgency I’d attached to it. I was operating on a tight deadline, but I was the only one who knew about it, because I was the one who’d created it” — McAlary, 2018, p. 36
The accuracy here is just PHENOMENAL. Hah! Haven’t related to a group of words so much as this in a long time….
I add soooo many stipulations to everything these days and strive for that level of perfection I can barely ever reach, or even begin to and get to because I get so paralyzed in it that I just never fly to begin with. It’s made my life a MESS. For sure. Honestly.
*”There is always something you can do to move forward, a tiny action that will improve your current position. Pick up one piece of paper, and put it in the recycling bin. Find one pen that no longer works, and throw it away. Remove one book or magazine from the bookshelf, and acknowledge that a tiny step forward is still a step forward” — McAlary, 2018, p. 46
I love, love, love, love, LOVE thissssss. It’s so important. It’s SO true. As the book progresses, the theme is further brought up and explored and it’s EVERYTHING. I love how much it builds upon the last nonfic reading I think I at least published which was the Teen’s Guide on Overcoming Procrastination. The callback by someone else entirely but still within the same realm is fantastic and so very nurturing and true! Enjoyed this!! 💯🎉🙌🏻💚💚 (Also, high five to myself: I got to page 40 of this review work the third day I worked on this post soooo yay!!! Now I’m gonna go a little bit further to really make it special!)
“These obstacles of decluttering (money already spent, previous memories attached to things, time passing, needing them again someday, not wanting to throw it into a landfill) present us with an opportunity to move forward and let go, if only we allow it” — McAlary, 2018, p. 49
Just thought this was so amazing and powerful. That choice is inherently up to us. So pick apart a section of the room to declutter and work on not recluttering once that space is there!! I know, A LOT easier said than done. Still though, it’s wicked advice!! That choice, it’s up to us!!
“Give yourself a break. Making these changes is hard work and it’s totally normal to feel the effects of that. If that’s the case, see if there’s a tiny task you can do–pick up one thing out of place and return it, file one piece of paper–then go and do something completely unrelated to simplifying. Take a walk, have a cup of tea in the sunshine, read a book, listen to music, play with your kids, do something creative. This is the golden stuff of life. Sometimes you need to fill yourself up again before getting back to work” — McAlary, 2018, p. 54
I absolutely love and adore this wisdom, and I hope that you do, too!!! Amazing. Such an important highlight. Working on thy self is hard work so keep rewarding yourself, starting small and continuing onwards!! You’ve got this! (And now it’s time for a break for a bit for me, too!! Here I come Thor outline review!!)
All right, back to this review, even if it’s been a few days… We’re coming back with some hard hitting questions regarding keeping everything in sight because it reminds you of someone, something, some place or some time and how in the world you can declutter with all of that on your noggin:
*”What emotion does this item represent? Study it. What is it? Why do you feel it? Would you still feel that emotion without the physical item?.. Do you have multiple items that rouse the same emotion? What if you kept one or two things that are truly meaningful and representative of that emotion instead of blindly keeping everything that’s related to the person, time or place?” — McAlary, 2018, p. 57
I honestly just thought this was straight up spitting facts. It was badass to me at the time. They are nice, great questions with a lot of power behind them. A great way of sensing when to let go and when to hold on. Can’t get better than that!! 💚😊
The most relevant questions regarding decluttering on page 67, (McAlary, 2018) for me were ones 5, 6, 9 and 10: “How many of this thing do I really need? Do I have another item that can do the same job? Can I do without it? Do I want to do without it?”
Mindfulness is all about paying attention to the details. Being in the moment, noticing, mulling over, thinking and being present. It is truly a gift that continues to give and expand your world and perspective. Love that. 💚🌸🌻
*”Every day, I would find time to notice things, to practice tiny moments of mindfulness–spending time outside, breathing in the scent of flowers, studying the bees, and feeling the sun on my skin” — McAlary, 2018, p. 120
This was such a great reminder from this chapter and in this book!!! Mindfulness does NOT have to be this super fancy, elongated, time consuming thing. It’s all about noticing and being aware and having a conscious moment of thought and looking out at the world like a child: curiously and intrigued. So good and such a lovely reminder! What mindfulness have you practiced today that incorporates these small things?
Hi again, it’s been a while but here’s to completing another portion of this book review!!! (I have since finished reading the book as of 4/20/22 😁🤩🥰)
*”No one can live mindfully for you. And while there are absolutely techniques and strategies that experts can teach, those techniques and strategies are useless unless they’re implemented. Mindfulness is something you need to practice–yourself” (McAlary, 2018, p. 123-124)
This is such a simple and complex sentiment: that in order to really benefit from mindfulness or any other way or thing of life, you are the one and only one who has to actually practice it in your life to reap the benefits of it. No one can practice mindfulness for you and have it have positive effects on your life. It has to come from you. To begin and to end, with you.
An example of the smallest acts being mindfulness:
*”Standing in the kitchen, making a coffee? Pay attention to what you can hear, smell, taste. As you make your coffee, pay attention to your breath as it passes in and out of your nose. Feel the sensation of your feet on the floor and the sound of the hot water as it fills your cup” (McAlary, 2018, p. 124)
Mindfulness does not have to be a lengthy 30 min or hour long meditation, it can be in the smallest moments just noticing, the way you carry breath into your lungs, noticing the sights and sounds around you, watching flowers grow, the way the bees flap their wings, humming lightly and so much more. Even just noticing how you’re sitting in your chair or what you’re listening to. Being present in the moment and when you wander elsewhere, bringing that attention right back gently and calmly. That is mindfulness. Fun fact: When I read this part I was on a live stream so I got pretty mindful in the moment too, so that was fun!!
“Doing nothing: Fight the urge to connect with your phone and simply be. Be still and listen to your thoughts, feel your feelings, and recognize the urge to break the nothingness with action. Learn to let that urge pass, and you’re learning to acknowledge a desire without acting on it” — McAlary, 2018, p. 128
I really liked this quote and this message!! My ex had an uncomfortable way of experiencing silence and would need to constantly be engaged and alert and on the ball, they really struggled with allowing silence and moments of calm in the time we’d be hanging out. So I liked this reminder, too, because it’s okay to just do nothing some days. It’s definitely still hard for me, even having days where I just only sleep, yet sometimes that’s what my body needs and rest can be so beneficial for the mind and body and help to re-calibrate, recharge and get through the next mission up ahead!! 💟😀😙
“What is happening around you that you’ve never noticed before?…The way the light hits your coffee table or the pattern on the carpet in your doctor’s waiting room. The swirl of your fingerprints or the creases in a tree trunk. By switching to noticing mode, we immediately bring ourselves to the present” — McAlary, 2018, p. 134
What I really enjoyed and liked from this quote is that I do notice moments where I notice things (sunsets, the way the light hits through the window, the colors of a morning sun against the trees, the moon across water, etc.) usually for making art in the future or what could be photos. It also reminded me how I used to be with the trains when I was first going to uni, just having a moment of awareness where I hoped, as a young adult getting off at South Station, watching the way light hit the tracks and all the other trains and busyness of the atmosphere, I hoped that I wouldn’t take it for granted in the future and would be able to preserve some ounce of magic and wonder in the world instead of becoming jaded and cynical and unsatisfied with some of the little moments in life. Looking at the world like a child as an adult is so underappreciated and so, so worthy of interest and awe. I think during the pandemic when I did go up to Boston once, I retained some of that wonder and inspiration (particularly with knowing how things once were vs how they now appeared, it was pretty wild) and I hope that I can continue to maintain that going forwards. This book definitely gave me the payment of having more mindful moments and really let me see and notice things that I hadn’t for a while in my pursuit and following of mindlessness. So, little moments of mindfulness watching gnats outside on the porch, reading outside, feeling the sun on my back and cooking up like a little chicken has been SO lovely. 🥰🤩🤗✨
*”But ‘bad’ feelings are important, because in order to feel the highs of joy and happiness, we also need to understand the lows of grief, envy, or disappointment. Mindfulness allows us to acknowledge and accept such feelings, feel them in all their depth, and understand that they are valid and important. It also helps us to understand that they are not everything–even on days that feel like sadness has swallowed up the world” — McAlary, 2018, p. 141-142
*Being afraid of feeling too many things is such a human experience. And it’s the counter intuitive thought that in order for the feelings to pass, you have to allow them space to exist, acknowledgment in having existed and then let go and not take any action (good or bad) in experiencing them. At the end of the day, all thoughts and emotions just yearn to be felt. And for whichever duration of time they can be felt and noticed, they will fade and they will pass (so, don’t flood yourself for a whole day, rather feel that sadness or that anger for a short five mins and increase the duration of time until it can be processed from beginning, middle to end, and take no action regarding it to either suppress it or avoid it or flood yourself with it, instead feel it and allow it space and it will naturally pass. It will be seen that opening space for an emotion or a thought allows it to more quickly pass and show you that you can survive the storm and you can remain safe despite what the thoughts or feelings may tell you otherwise). And maybe those thoughts or emotions will come back, yet they always fade. Personally, after doing lots of DBT work, for me it goes from an experience of what would be instability for days on end, that it’s just a really painful twenty mins or so. In the last year, I’ve faded from truly experiencing my emotions for a painful twenty mins, but, as always, it’s a process and a fluid spectrum. So, don’t beat yourself up too much! You’ve got this. You can overcome it. And where there is a high, there is a low. Because duality exists in life just as it exists in recovery. Be careful out there, friends, and know that no matter how far you fall, you can always rise again, higher and higher than ever before, and the pain of that fall will not last forever. Stay safe. xx
Don’t engage with drama, no matter how intense the urge. Looking at that car crash is something you have to ask yourself is it worth spending your time on? If not, cut it out and use self check-ins to right your path ahead. If yes, then, well, have a merry time. There is certainly no shortage of it within online and entertainment environments.
Some great questions to ask yourself when you’re connecting and connecting online (instead of with people in real life): “Is this making life better? In a real way? Am I learning something? Is it worthwhile? Am I avoiding something? What is it? If this is causing comparisons, negativity or anger, why am I still here? If It’s bringing positive feelings of validation, popularity or connection, can I find that elsewhere? Should I be sleeping? Should I be working?” — McAlary, 2018, p. 162
These, I found, to be really great and immersive questions!! They really each have a great punching line and it’s so important to consider these when going off on various random Youtube rabbit holes or entering far and vast communities online when you should be doing more productive work hahaha. Awareness is definitely the first step. It’s something I have to work on, too. Remember, imperfect action is always better than perfection (because perfection does not exist and will never come around to happen, so it’s either now or never!!).
*”There is nothing more distracting than a constantly buzzing device, and research now shows it can take up to 23 minutes to return to our original task once we’ve been distracted by a beeping phone” — McAlary, 2018, p. 168
Thought this was super interesting and also just a great plug for utilizing that ‘Focus’ section of your iPhone when you’re like me and doing something fancy like working on a BES in the library or reading a book for a while or being at work, etc. 🖤🖤
**”I don’t do any of [the following skills] perfectly or even well necessarily, but I don’t let that stop me anymore. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that small, imperfect action every day is going to get me further than one big occasional change” — McAlary, 2018, p. 190
I love, love, love, love, LOVE this. As I mention in another section, this fully ties in together that whole imperfect action/imperfection is worth so much more than a perfect action/perfection because perfection doesn’t tend to happen all that often!!! It’s a big component I’m doing on a group for Althea to release tomorrow (and here is where I’m stopping the review at the library, a VERY successful endeavor where I got to my projected ending line of p. 190 (from about 157), I did little bits of imperfect action and really rounded out this review to be so close or closer to finishing it!!! YAY!) This book has been SUCH a treat and I’m so glad that no matter how many days went by, I still stuck by it and read it and finished it. It feels so good to do and say that!! I might go shopping after this or I might not, we’ll see. But yeah, I loved this quote and it’s so relatable and true. I really think I’m in a lot better standing to overcome my perfectionism more so going forwards than I was before I picked up this book! Huzzah!!
**”Every moment of every day, I can find something to be disappointed by. I can look around me at any given second and find something that is lacking. Something not quite right. Something to complain about, or feel annoyed by, or saddened by. Instead, I try to flip it. If there is always something to grumble about, surely there’s also something to be grateful for in this same situation? My breath, my heartbeat, the sunshine, the clothes I wear, the people around me, the glimmer of hope. There is always something, no matter how dark the day” — McAlary, 2018, p. 196
I thought this was pretty awesome and spectacular. It’s pretty much the core of a two parter group at Althea that I’m going to do involving (first part) self-advocacy and (second part) Choices and Crossroads. Also this quote by McAlary is essentially the depth and goal of #RecoveryHome’s peer support and art project I created oh so many moons ago (year ~2015). So that’s fun!! But yeah, just that choice between I can look at something and only ever see the faults or I can spin it around and find all the beauty or the glimmer of something more. I just love that, so much. Tis a quote I’ll try to remember to put somewhere into Choices and Crossroads (which is essentially about how you always have a choice in life, even if it’s only for your outlook on a situation, you have a choice and recovery is a choice and choosing to live is a choice and all of that mumbo jumbo. I have the example page complete and I think I’ll be doing text for the main portion of the first half. Soooo yay! More groups to cook up soon. I added the imperfect action quote somewhere in this review into my group ‘Handling an Imperfect Life’ and it went really swell. So, yay, progress!! All right, I’m done blabbing for right here.)
There’s a really important part of the end of this book where the author is discussing the difference between constricted, intense, perfected balance versus a wobbly balance. She says:
“By balancing perfectly (or with that aim in mind) we exhaust ourselves. We’re never fully in a moment, because we’re worried about all the other areas of life that aren’t getting our attention in that moment. We’ve turned balance into a constant struggle rather than a long game” — McAlary, 2018, p. 216
This long game is this exercise, physically, that she does at her home where she ties a slackline a foot off the ground between two trees and tries to balance as she makes her way down it. To speak of balance in a metaphorical sense she revisits the physical aspect of it and sets up parameters for which the reader can uncover their own wobbly balance. I could TOTALLY relate to this because I do that so often–I’m trying to balance all the different avenues of my creativity and in doing so I just wind up overworked, avoidant, procrastinating, not in the moment and swallowed up by all the perfectionism I’m trying to coat everything with a thick lick of paint. It’s exhausting and McAlary is trying to show us why and how that’s not a slow or simple or helpful/healthy way of approaching balance.
For instance, I can think of four things I try to juggle all the time that I’ll think of while I’m supposed to be doing other things in the moment: blogging, Insta posts, videos (particularly in the timeline of reality, which do I edit first for the other mentioning of it to make sense? it’s exhausting), fan fiction, groups etc. etc. [[At this point in the review of working on it all, on 4/25/22, I have approx. 10 photo images left and 14 page flags to go through, huzzah!!! It’ll mean nothing to you but it’s nice for me hahaha]]
A relating quote to mark off the previous:
*”Balance is finding the correct weight for every area of life and understanding that the correctness of that weight will change over time. Balance is fluid and flexible. Balance is alive and aware. Balance is intention” — McAlary, 2018, p. 219
*I think sometimes, people like myself, get so caught up in the rigidity of plans and structure and outcomes that it makes for a pretty miserable experience overall when small little efforts or sets in motion could completely change the outcome or at least the process of that outcome. For instance, coming to the library to work on a book review is so great and refreshing and keeps the books–allllll the books–in the forefront of my sight and mind and vision and then that drives me further to plow through what I’m working on and listening to library noise or ambient noise from my Calm app is also super helpful too. Having a Dunkin treat falls along those lines as well. Even negotiating to myself which library to go to, instead of just opting to sleep and not go out at all. Balance, and slow living in particular, is all about intention. And just that awareness of having intention. And yeah, not having to juggle all these things all the time and rather set out with small steps and find that those incremental and maybe ‘easy’ things still are steps and still provide you with the peace of mind, relief and success than “one big occasional change”. 😉🤩 (It’s all about ‘correctness’ not ‘equalness’)
*”I choose imperfect, small actions over perfect every day. It moves us forward and means that more gets done” — McAlary, 2018, p. 234
Just as much as these quotes on imperfection (p. 190 one for instance) sum up my new path in life moving forwards and continuing to choose that imperfect action over that unattainable and high standard “perfect” that never comes for me, I feel lighter and more at ease. I don’t love my current set up to finish this review (in my bedroom, a few days later since I last worked on this) but it’s something and until the pain in my wrists really gets to me, I guess it will suffice. (It’s too late to go to the library now gwah). But yes, this situation is imperfect and it’s really grating my nerves but I’m gonna stick with it for as long as I can. And also, this little summation is wonderful, I think, too. It’s just a nice, small reminder with big waves of echoing information from all the other quotes that came before it and highlighting that fact that perfection does not exist and the big reason I wanted to work with these book’s quotes in my group on imperfection vs perfection. So, that’s awesome!! 💛😁😊
*”What does a realistically ideal day look for you? Not a holiday, but a work-school-cooking-meetings-laundry day. What time do you get up? What’s the first thing you do in the morning? What’s something you do that’s just for you? What do you eat for breakfast? How long does it take you to get ready for the day? What time do you leave? What’s the first thing you do at the office? What’s your attitude? What do you eat for lunch? When do you exercise? Which people do you spend time with? Do you listen to music? Will you have time to read a book? What’s the state of your desk at the end of the day?” — McAlary, 2018, p. 237
*What I liked about this depiction is that I just found it to be so fascinating and awesome. Really combing over all these questions to what an ideally realistic day would look like, taste like, sound like, etc is just so refreshing and worthy of mentioning in this review!! Hopefully I can remember to feature it in my video review as well hehehe
A final, great summation of the processing within this book:
“Life is complicated, and we don’t exist in a vacuum. A big practical part of slow living is building an awareness and learning how to combat the feeling of being overwhelmed before it takes over. Awareness and action. Noticing and evolving. Paying attention and making it count for something” — McAlary, 2018, p. 247
*It’s a practice. And thus, such a practice will take practice. It will take a repeated seating of becoming more aware and then producing alternative, novel noticing and action in regard to that noticing. It will take time. Give it time.
This part will be broken up into visual segments….
Segment A: Beautiful photographs of inspiration and creativity
Segment B: Prompt Photos
My Personal Barometer of Caring (featured in my planner):
TOP DOWN: 10 Mission Statement/eulogy worthy
- Human connection
- casting light onto the shadows
- being worthy to hold this life
- being a light to others
- having a voice/story to tell
- being an example
- being productive
- Be inspiring
- emotional honesty
- publishing my own books/art
- being supportive/supported
- my dreams: art and recovery and peer support networks
5 I COULD CARE MORE:
- world openness
- life outside my bubble
- chores/environmental self care
- observing people/societies
- learning about others experiences different than mine: race, LGBTQIA+, world issues, immigration, finances
- Learning more about copyrights
- spatial awareness
(*all this is stuff I took into account later as things I think I could improve upon.)
1 I COULD CARE LESS:
- Reality TV
- stock market
- in fashion things
- most sports
- celebrity magazines
Basic prompt for this image:
Focus on what’s most important to you: what will make a life worth lived and what values are at the center of it? What do you want people to say about you or describe your life to others when you’re gone? Understand your why. Your why guides you like a compass. It’s up to you to live and act by it as much as possible. A slower, more content life to lead.
I completed this image in Jan. 2022
Final prompted image to come in the future as a pingback (either in video solely or as a post here and video coverage as well. 😊)
Section C: Final Images to Consider
THOUGHTS AND IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:
- I would like to one day do some collaborative work with my partner Vaness(( on my channel. Maybe we can work on writing cards or doing Recovery Reinforcer for others out there. I think that would be very appealing to me and something fun and creative!! ((=Vaness was my partner before but since Mar. 2022 we’ve broken up so they are now my ex. Bleh
- Speaking of postapocalyptic fiction, there’s a book I took out once from a library called “The Undead” and I never read it but I’d really like to!! I think it’s about zombies and such so that would be something great to find again and actually read this time! Let me see if I can find the author…. “Handling The Undead” by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Dat’s it!!–PS As of Mar. 2022, I found out I own this book actually lmao That’s freakin’ hilarious to me, as I forgot that I once upon a time bought it for myself! Oops? I also found a few other books I didn’t remember owning or buying but they’re giving me liiiiiifeeeee)
- *I really enjoyed this idea on p. 9 of the author saying though she didn’t imagine herself making the largest impact on the world, she was hopeful to “make an impact nonetheless and be someone who didn’t wait for others to start making a change” (McAlary, 2018). I don’t know, it just lingered in my mind and felt too important to not mention in this review. There’s something so simple and yet so profound in it, I think. This intro talks about finding your why for a slower, simpler life and considering what the author wishes for her own legacy leaves the reader time and ability to contemplate their own and come into their shoes about where they want to go and be in life. It’s … refreshing.
- *Books and stories are such an important facet to living and breathing and being. Like, the stories and the characters that can be told is just so limitless and so utterly beautiful. Sharing things a person has learned to help others or to share a common goal or to lead with purpose, it can all be found in books (and movies and other entertainment). It’s just so vital to life, honestly. It’s amazing. Even nonfic too, like, stories of others overcoming adversity or learning about subjects you haven’t yet experienced whether it’s being in the Universe itself and learning about black holes or grief and how to live with it, honestly, it’s just amazing.
- *On par with legacy or eulogy statements, I’d love to do a group at Althea all about mission statements. That would be neat and a little less morbid and still very impactful!!! I wanted to do this before at Amaryllis but never did, so maybe the time to is now, buahahaha (McAlary, 2018, p. 14)
- I’d love to do/improve on nail art and do some nail painting during a live stream some time!! Ideas for streams? Let me know in the comments!! I’ve done thus far: room care, books (chats, reading), filming in the library (half an hour is best because the quality after that went reallllly bad), hauls, art, listening to music, life updates, mental health chats etc.
- “(I want to) encourage you to take imperfect action (of decluttering) anyway. No, you probably won’t nail it straight out of the gate, and that’s fine. That’s great, actually. Start anyway” — (McAlary, 2018, p. 65) What this quote reminds me of is a scene from Grey’s Anatomy where Cristina is telling Owen something and she is saying “Do it, Do it (even though you’re scared of it), anyway.” A nice little nugget, is all. 💜
- I really liked the idea of turning around clothes hangers when it comes to discovering which items of clothing you’re actually wearing the most often versus ones you are not and then getting rid of the ones you aren’t. She recommends doing this at the start of a new season until the end of it and gathering what’s left and can be tossed then. Alsooooo I’d love to do more mini little vision boards. 🤩 (p. 70)
- *Within the mindfulness chapter, I could really relate to the part where McAlary is talking about the giddiness of being in the moment playing hide and seek with her kids. It reminded me of some mindful and kid play I did after work at the start of March where I wound up going sledding on my back over and over again in the backyard hahaha I filmed it, of course, so I have tons of content for it to put together in the future. It was SO fun!!!! 💙❄❄☃⛄
- *I used to create art through a basis of mindfulness and art therapy that I’ve since strayed away from over the years… Reading about mindfulness and focusing on the process or the sheer joy I get out of doing something I enjoy, especially just for me, or for the escapism, really makes me want to look into how to re-engage with that core of mindfulness while making art again. I think it’ll be a process, no doubt. I made a water color piece in April that was fun! I listened to Reddit stories while I did it and it was pretty refreshing!! I might continue it but I haven’t fully decided yet hehehe (~p. 125)
- I love that art can be mindfulness!! Yey!! 💜💜💜
- There’s a lot of nice little cardiophile moments scattered across this book which is nice and lovely.
- *I got a few different group ideas for Althea from this book!! First three include: sleep hygiene, use of social media/the Internet with an open discussion on the subject, blue light and socials–though I think instead this can fall under sleep hygiene and like the discussion, I’d like to come up with a fictional social media account and what it would contain or show if it could be anything in the world. I think that’d be fun!! The other idea later in this book’s end I got was focusing on imperfect action over perfection in Handling an Imperfect Life–it’s a group I’m currently working on and coming up with! (4.22.22) It will have a coloring component of a broken vase and touch on about six perfectionism quotes and maybe a small discussion and then my guide the group script with an example page filled out. 😁 I’ll be finishing it tonight so I can do it tomorrow!!
- *Regular breaks from social media is super great!! I find when I work at Althea for my shifts, I only check my phone two or three times in a whole 8.5 hours so it’s the perfect cleanse of the Internet times there!!! I even make sure if I did get new comments online that I wait until AFTER I’ve finished work than read them in the moment, potentially get triggered, and struggle with the rest of my shift thereafter. Also, scheduling a post to go up before a work shift is kinda fancy too because then I’m not staring at the page for a solid hour, refreshing it frequently to see how many views it got or if it’s getting any feedback. Hahaha
- Pomodores was something I utilized once and a few times on my iPod via an app, I think I’d like to get back into doing those again. I think it’d be fun and productive!! 😊😋😎
- *The chapter on a cabin in the woods was one of my favorites. It really reminded me of #RecoveryHome and I loved that. I should really dust off the idea soon and return to making it into something!!!
- *Within the section regarding vacations, the author mentions how she likes to visit more local communities, independent bookshops, local libraries, markets, etc. I could REALLY relate to doing this when my family and I went to Germany in summer 2019 to visit my brother hahaha. I went to a local book shop from where we were staying in one place and bought up to 4 books from there. Not in German, they’re English written books, but I can still recall 3 of them from memory of their covers and loosely what they’re about. I was also telling this second story the other day at work, but um, we went to this little town in Germany and combed up and down the hills and up the ladders and around the scenery and we, before dinner, were in a local bookshop. My brother got bored (he’s not into books much) so he and my dad went away to the place we were going to eat at. Well, I found this super fancy German written coloring book with little interactive exercises you could do within it (maybe like word searches, dot by dots etc) and it was so cool and fascinating but my Mom was saying how we should go get dinner, come back for it later, or even that I had plenty of coloring books at home (true). Anyways, we go back to meet up with the other two and I’m antsy waiting for food, having connected with this book in my head and my Mom offered, noticing me, that I could go back to the shop and buy it. I was excited and pranced about to do so! Until, LEGAD, it turns out the shop had closed early. I was really sad and disappointed and to this day I don’t know what book it was and we left from that town that same day so I never got the fancy German coloring book. Alas….
- The shades of color fading into ombre that exist on p. 191 (white to oatmeal to pink) was just so satisfying and beautiful.
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM POINTS:
Hi there, or again, whichever comes first. I think I’d like to add a section to this BES where I mention some of the things that I personally disagreed or had a different reaction to than what was written out. I think a lot of this review is singing high praises to the book, which is valid and true, I also have reservations that some things didn’t apply as much to my experiences or my directions in life and so I wanted a section all about talking about those things as they don’t fit well enough in other sections.
*So a big theme that came up for me even originating on page 14 is that this idea that a person buys things and items for the status or social/societal status of it. For me, I don’t relate to things in that way. I don’t buy fancy things for what Joe down the street will think of it (and by extension, me) but rather because I like it, I want it or I can already picture a formidable use for it within my mind (often happening just in the store itself). I mean, I’m no stranger to having lots of things (the clutter is bordering on hoarding, let’s be real, and also I have such a hard time letting go of things, even the most “useless” looking things (old device cases, tags of wallflower scents, unusable gel pens, many little containers of hand sanitizers (but what if this scent doesn’t come back? There’s just a teensy bit left, I have to save it.), potential art pieces like cardboards for vision boards and other little things like some bags of items because I could use them as backdrops in photographs (which, I’ve been saving for YEARS and still have NEVER done that with its use)). So yeah. I have some leftover OCD for sure. Don’t get me started on the amount of journals and books I own…. Or paint. Watercolor and acrylic. 😋😛
*My point though, is that in the store I find and finagle an attachment to things. I am always buying (which, honestly might be a problem of its own) things because I WANT to or I’d LIKE to or I think it’s COOL and will SERVE A PURPOSE. Sure, I can definitely go overboard (the years worth of stationery to-do lists I barely ever use, the mountain of paper I own, the multiple boxes upon boxes (already in use and housing things I either don’t know where to put or belongs to that box’s home) and so on) but I never buy anything based on what I think other people will think of me because I have it. I’m pretty open about my room care that I pretty much chronicle on my Youtube channel (though out of date because I’m so behind in my editing of videos) because I think that type of stuff is neat and interesting and it’s been updated and upgraded so much of the time and even though that’s opening a grand door for judgment or possible judgment, I still enjoy it and find it fun and easy videos to do. So, I share it! And them. And myself. Because that’s fun. And fun is definitely worth hoarding and keeping around.
I just never buy stuff for other people’s judgments and thoughts. I do buy stuff for other people–when my ex Vaness and I were together, I bought lots of stuff (usually matchy-matchy) for them and for me and for the two of us. I still miss that I’ve now had to rearrange the small pile I was brewing of stuff. But that’s a story for another day (in a future bridge post for the monthly word prompt, that I’ll have to figure out how to manage).
So, this was something I couldn’t really relate to at the end of the day for myself.
*Another thing I couldn’t relate to was the stance towards shunning or at least profoundly limiting social media usage. True, especially on Insta there’s lots of ads for cool things, I agree and admit to that, however, I do crave a sense of human connection and socialization (don’t we all?) that comes from the Internet and places such as social media. I don’t think that’s inherently a “bad” thing either. There can be amazing human connections you find online. Many other artists, creatives, enjoyable things and friends. True, some people are… creepy, blast through your boundaries like no tomorrow (I’ve been encountering some of these lately, but a good block does wonders, I can say), hide both plainly in view and in the corner of the dark basement, have horrible intentions and want to abuse, manipulate, gaslight and run other people down into the ground and yeah, you can’t always super tell which person is which from behind a screen–AND the Internet can still be magical and lovely and wonderful. It’s both. Alas. It’s both. So, where there is the soft and shiny surface of the Internet, I like that. I like that a lot. It’s unfortunate we have to accept the other parts of it because they do exist and I find myself more and more concerned being a female online but alas, it is what it is. So, I crave healthy, positive attention. And I search for it online. I probably always have. Good or bad. I think that relates to some of my even old deviantART days.
Basically, a big part of My Why (which hopefully I’ve attacked in other sections so you’ll know what I’m talking about) is at the heart of human connection. I do value social media. And I crave a community again. *I had it once, I’d like to revisit it again now. I’m not sure how to do that and I think I’m a pretty fair person so it’s just a matter of not settling for less and working harder to find those people out there who need maybe a little extra guidance, some creative exploration or just sharing the spoken/written word. Some of those people out there who need a light in the darkness. Some of those people out there who will respect and affirm my boundaries and let us be a loud roar in an otherwise small and dark little hole of one whispered voice. Mmm.
*Another point I’d like to mention, related to this idea of trolling online, constructive criticism, criticism, and growth and overcoming is that I am probably the most adept and ready for these potential waves in the crowd than I’ve ever been in life. A couple times this year I’ve had to block a couple of people, because I realized some warning signs, because they blatantly disrespected my boundaries, because I didn’t need to fester in old wounds and they, at the time, were displaying unhealthy standards and interactions with me that could border on pure toxicity (“No Time for Toxic People” by Imagine Dragons is a godsend.) There were times where I questioned the severity of it, times where I laughed at the abundant hypocrisy and ridiculousness and times where I got counseled by a good friend that no, my calculations were accurate, on point, and even a little slow at times to responding. Either way, I operate my life on the function of, well, avoidance. If someone is talking crap about me on another website, the answer is simple: I don’t want to know. I can’t get upset about something I don’t know. And the Internet is a pool for that type of thing to happen. It’s pretty much inevitable. I’ll just try and make it a good impression or something most people can say nice things about. I know that I’m not for everyone and not everyone will like me or agree with me, and overall, that’s okay. There’s so many people on this planet so, no worries. If someone wants to make entire websites about me, well, that’s a little odd but you do you, I guess. I think for constructive criticism or even true criticism: I know that I don’t do everything right (for instance, I’m super aware that I’m a very chill Youtube channel and my live streams are definitely more than a little boring) and that I can learn a lot more about things and grow my channel, my self, my skills and my creative maneuvers far more than I currently am today and I really do welcome any improvable parts. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m such a tiny little channel that I don’t hear a lot of that feedback, however, I am open to it and I want to get better. I guess, my point is, I think I’m ready and with the right amount of supports in my life to move forwards and get better in all aspects of my crafts. Video editing is still so new to me but I’d like to learn! Hmm.. maybe I can find some related Insta posts/profiles on this!! I’ve been learning soooo much about water coloring the past few months hahaha
All in all: I know my story and my voice matters. I just have to work on honing it and perfecting it and also accepting that it’ll be imperfect. Plus creating is always fun!!
I don’t think I buy things to “fill a gap in my life”, I think I buy things to fill a purpose in my life. xx — McAlary, 2018, p. 73
*So, McAlary (2018) on p. 85 continued to make me think and see a difference in the way she’s used celebrity magazines specifically (but also home interior/exterior design stuff too) to contribute to the feelings and comparisons of people who ‘have it better than you’ and constantly make you feel like you have to one-up and get the next best thing–I don’t really do that kind of thing. I don’t personally read celeb magazines as they’ve never really interested me. I’ve seen a couple here and there, maybe even some interest in a few, or when I was at the hospital but overall it’s never been something I got into. I can definitely get distracted online with articles and things, especially when I open up Google on my phone. Overall, I DO enjoy home interior/exterior design things and a lot of the mags I DO own (that I’ve predominantly stolen from therapist offices, psychiatrist offices and hospitals) I use for inspiration and motivation and fanciness for scrapbooking/collage making haha. I really do enjoy browsing through like mini recipes or makeup ads or hair stylist posts or tips and tricks or home stuff or gardening things. Again, I don’t really plan or buy things for what OTHER people will think of me rather what I enjoy and like for myself. Or it even inspires ME. Just a continued observation I had while reading this book! ❤❤
I’m biased!! I really love and enjoy seeing other people’s workspaces and stationery hahaha. I was JUST thinking if I could move my old laptop some place else and keep my desk more organized, I could actually work on working there instead of on my bed. Hahaha. I really do love to see other people’s stuff like in their bedrooms, where they work, their desks etc. I just think it’s fascinating!! Definitely can pull you into buying extra stuff though, so I do understand that POV! 🤩😝 (McAlary, 2018, p. 86).
*On the topic of constructive criticism, McAlary discusses on p. 157 that the nature of some humans is to take “any opinion different from ours, any criticism, any worldview, as the work of a troll or a hater. We end up with our own echo chamber full of people who think like us, people who won’t challenge our opinions, people who tell us we’re right because they’re right” — (2018). Personally, this is something I really, really strive not to do online. I hope that that can ring true even when tough conversations go sour. It’s so important to understand the difference between hate and criticism or constructive criticism. Saying “you’re an asshole” is different than “I think you’re struggling with intense feelings right now and I feel upset by your blow-out, maybe we can both take a break for a while?” Not everything online is hate, pure hate in its rawest form, it certainly CAN be at times yet it shouldn’t overpower a discussion to be had or minimize the depth of the conversation. It’s okay to disagree and it’s only expected to remain civil, which some people struggle with. It’s all about weeding out when someone is purposefully (from what we can discern and maybe what the majority thinks) being hurtful and toxic versus someone offering another viewpoint to something we’re conversing about. That is all. 😊
“If you’re popping down to the store, it’s okay to leave your phone behind. Going out for a coffee, or out to dinner, heading off on a run or to visit a friend, it’s okay to not always be on call” — McAlary, 2018, p. 173
The main issue I have with this notion is what if something happens, something dangerous, and you don’t have your phone on you to phone for help or a friend or contact someone? I would rather have my phone on me just in case and just have it off notifications than not to bring it with me at all. Like, if I’m outside my house on my property or on the back porch, maybe I won’t have it but even if I’m walking my doggo, just in case, as a young woman, I’d want to have it in case anything came up. Again, just notifications off is fine. I mean, what if I went for coffee and left my phone at home but my car broke down a mile into the destination? Then I’d be kinda screwed. That’s just my take though!!
*I don’t know, McAlary p. 178, I feel like we can argue that time spent online can be time spent creating art and doing good things too. Creating is very fun and doing that instead of consuming others’ stuff is worthwhile. And it’s also good to consume a bit of others stuff to get ideas for your own creations! I feel like online time, when wielded right, can be pretty fantastic. But offline time is good, too!! 😜
“I don’t need a photo or a video to remember [the way my son smiles as he looks up at me]. And I don’t need an audience to validate it. Paying real attention and drinking in those moments imprints more on our brains and our hearts than taking a photo ever would” — McAlary, 2018, p. 180
*Personally, I disagree with this. Maybe it’s threefold because I’m a photographer and also as an artist and also also as a content creator. I think more and more video stuff is becoming like a mini extension of holding the things I’ve bought for instance or the things I enjoyed and drank in or events that I want to remember and such. Because if I did leave it fully up to my brain, I wouldn’t remember it. So, I disagree. I think the wobbly balance is more likely and photography is an amazing skill and art form that has more of a story behind it than just a quick snap here and there, though I also just did some snaps on my phone just now hahaha There’s just so much that can be communicated through it. And validation from others, yeah, it can be a factor, and also just a way of connecting with someone else and getting input or ideas from them or yeah, a nice little ass pat. It’s OKAY. And it still matters–at least to me!!
“So have a conversation and connect. Online posts are not documentaries. They’re a highlight reel. No one shows tantrums and arguments and dirty laundry and hangovers and bloated tummies and bad hair days unless it serves them to do so” — McAlary, 2018, p. 180
*Gahhhhhhh!!! I DISAGREE once again. Personally, I find quite a few people who try to show all the bare bones and all the other pieces of the puzzle behind that ‘highlight reel’. I can get behind that some people’s lives are made out to only be all the good, that’s true. AND I think especially within the mental health awareness campaigns, that more people are out there showing and sharing their recovery journeys (like myself) and all the nitty gritty regarding it. And it doesn’t always have to be because they’re being served to do so, I think sometimes it could be in some cases, and a lot more of the time with mental health, people are looking for a community (myself included) and a space to celebrate life and overcome hard things. It doesn’t necessarily have to be more than that. Yes, it’s attention seeking and hopefully it’s positive or healthier attention than other methods. People being honest about their lives and moments of darkness don’t always have to come from a core of ‘it serves me to do so’. But those are just my thoughts…
A question I hath raised on p. 182 when there was a discussion about scanning through the phone was procrastination, I asked, But when is it procrastination and when is it taking breaks? Maybe a break could be some quick online time. It can fall into a few hours for sure so you gotta be careful but still. When is it a break and when is it procrastination/avoidance?
Also if you have a business based online or being an artist, does your use of the online game shift or change? If you’re a partner of Youtube and you make paid content, is that different? Or is it still as equally applicable to the layman just watching and making videos?
MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING & THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME:
This book made me look closer into my habits, the lifestyle I live, the nuances of the day, the thoughtfulness and vision to see more and see far ahead and enjoy the little things and think about ways to let go of some things I’ve held onto for too long and also redecorate my room and provide me with insights I would never have found, not in the same way at the same time in this universe, if I had never read this book (which has been overdue for a year, soooo, yeah).
Something else that helped me indirectly directly from reading this book was wanting to let go (declutter, so to speak) some of my old years and years ago worth of beads. I wound up buying a brand new container and although I underestimated being able to clean out an old container and toss that out or reuse it for my Mom or something, I still got some progress through it and changed it in some ways so that helped me a lot psychologically as it was like closing an old chapter and moving forwards with new beads, new ideas and lots more fun. I’d still like to fully get rid of the old container or maybe just create with paint on it or decorative tape, because it’s been only one way for years but maybe one day I’ll set up that as a project all on its own.
Another thing I was able to do while I was reading this book was to finish watching “Thor”!! Took me literally almost an entire year but I DID IT. It was great. I’m gonna try and outline the review for it next as I’m working on this current review on the third night of writing it. But yeah, that was awesome to finish! I have been already craving and trying to look into when I can finally start watching “Captain America: The First Avenger”! 😁😁😁
Something that genuinely made me laugh and deserves an honorable mention because I told my friend Madeline about it far after I had read this part: (about keeping things ‘just in case’)
“I’ll keep these five surplus spatulas just in case. Just in case I’m cooking five batches of pancakes at once? Just in case I lose my spatula and all the stores no longer sell them?” — McAlary, 2018, p. 59
It’s such a small thing, an easy laugh yet it is SO soooo true hahaha. That’s really how it feels!!! 😅
Another thing that came out of this book for me was wanting to redecorate my bedroom again. I am still a classic hoarder so I have to have SOME memory of doing it somewhere in some place (so I’ll be filming it as a video time lapse and then eventually place it upon my Youtube channel, check out my links in the About Me section if you want to see that or check it out through my Insta page!) but still, hitting that moment of ready to let go of some accomplishments or some things from people I’m no longer friends with (and legit throw those things away, at least one for sure) is just so refreshing, so light-making and so wonderful!! I’ve been wanting to for a long time and I still have yet to do it (as writing this paragraph at the start of April) though I know when it comes, it’ll come and it will be so freeing and enjoyable. Something NEW to my eyes, my life and my space! Huzzah! (Inspiration from p. 60 on about 2/23/22)
Related quote on the opposite page about the above paragraph: “Let go of the guilt of removing the item from your home. Let go of the weight of the thing you are keeping. Be proud that you are surrounding yourself with things that are truly meaningful” — (McAlary, 2018, p. 61)
Although I’m not sure how well I can execute the idea, on p. 71, McAlary suggests having a “one in, one out” boundary regarding if you want to bring a new item in, you have to get rid of one you already own (2018). Additionally, she also recommends nominating an area of space for whatever things you collect and NOT exceed that space (having those items in on-growing piles) which is also going to be really hard for me but yeah. It’s a great little suggestion though!! I would LOVE to go through my writing box and make room/rework it into a newer box I got years ago at an antique place. Also, that whole corner of my room needs to be redone and worked on. Soooo yessss. Ideas for days!!
Speaking of what happened in the above paragraph, I identified and learned this for myself:
I would love to revamp my bedroom: get my new writing box together, add some shelves, create a hygge nook in my closet (which means going through all the stuff in there again with my Mom’s help (some of it is hers too)), a basic closet clean-up as such and it would totes be awesome and wicked and this section of the book really inspired me and got my gears turning to what I want to be different in my life moving forwards. YAY!
I could probably put the fancy coffee maker I got for Secret Santa at Althea last year in my closet for a while as I’m not using it and won’t for the foreseeable future (though it’ll be a great addition to my own home someday!!). 😊😙
“Take a closer look at who you follow on social media and how their posts make you feel. If you’re following them for travel inspiration or health tips and feel like you’re learning or being inspired, that’s great. But if you find yourself comparing homes, bodies, or wardrobes and walk away feeling inadequate, it’s time to reconsider the impact their input is having on your life” — (McAlary, 2018, p. 87)
*This. This. THIS. For the last few months, since Sep. 2021 I have been finding Instagram to be a space of lots of creativity, artistry inspiration, great motivational and cute designs regarding wellness and health, recovery and so on. YES there are lots of ads which sucks but also sometimes I do get things from it when certain sales go up or I follow people who do art for their living and I can help contribute and get something cool out of it too!! Twitter, in contrary, especially in 2022, has just been a pool of depressing content. Like, genuine depression and also just sad, woe is me, look how awful my life is, comparisons, too much darker sides of mental health stuff and so on. Plus, I have a past there I’m not super proud of. And I also resent it because it took me light years away from this blog and I’m just so done with that. I barely go on anymore and when I do it’s never for genuine notifications or it’s only for DMs with one person. From reading this book, I think I’m very, very, very likely to delete my account some time in April 2022 (been putting this off, so some time more likely at the start of summer). It’s just either too depressing or too full of spoilers for MCU stuff. And I’m already soooo behind in MCU stuff so it’s just NOT worth it anymore. I think when I delete it, I’ll be able to focus my efforts more on Insta and promoting my stuff there online as well as here on this blog more. The fact that I want and am WILLING to delete it entirely is major forms of progress. I AM going to make a thumb for it for Insta and on Twitter to announce it officially (especially once I pick a date; April 2017 is when I made the account, funnily enough) so if anyone from there wants to follow me elsewhere, they can and they’ll have some notice. But yeah. It feels good to leave and also a bit bittersweet, but I know I’ll be okay and yeah. It’ll be nice to let go and grow elsewhere without constraints and bad reminders. So, that’s my plan! There will be some things I miss but overall it’ll be like a clean slate and I’m here for it. I’ve already changed it on YT and my blog to not mention Twitter anymore. I just have to adjust my FFN profile and I’ll be doing new business cards with updated info too. Yay!
*And this is not to say completely that I get NO comparison games from Insta either. I definitely do, especially with artwork. However, I’ve apparently learned a thing or two about water coloring and that’s been super fun and uplifting so far!! Hopefully with more time and effort I’ll feel loads and loads better about it. Art, it turns out, is a lot about layering hahaha
No context point of view: I love libraries. They are so amazing. And less money so yay. But I also enjoy book stores and book places. Book nooks!!! GAH! 😍🤩🤗
Something I’ve never fully tried before but was suggested in this book (mainly taking out library books, actually reading them and then buying your own copy for your collection; McAlary, 2018, p. 96) is to reread books multiple times. I’ve always WANTED to and I know of a few handful I could name at the top of my head that I’d choose but I’ve never fully, really, truly DONE it. It would be interesting and very cool though, I think! First I should work on actually completing the books I do borrow and own hahaha. But I can relate to extremely lengthy and detailed book ‘reviews’ and thousands of page flags and comments all upon them and somewhat towards highlighting and writing in them too (when they’re my own).
Since I mentioned it in the Summary section, I’d like to mention it further here: I LOVED the mindfulness dedication chapter. It was soooo, so relatable to read about someone else’s journey from mindlessness to more mindfulness. And not the mindfull but rather mindful. It was just SO beneficial for me and something that really made me connect fully with this book and be so, so, so glad I got the chance to read it and let it help transform my life!!! I could sooo relate to the mindless functioning of watching screens while eating, rushing through one task to the next, etc. I’m still not perfect of course though I’m trying to be more aware of when I want to be mindless and take in more mindfulness, present moment type of stuff. It’s a process for sure. And hey, every small step is STILL a step forwards!! 💚💚🤍🤍🤍
McAlary, 2018, describes her new and improved morning routine on p. 166 as “not waking to her phone in the morning having cut down on her technology use massively. She now gets up, practices yoga, meditates, showers, gets dressed and makes a cup of tea before she’s looked at any of her screens at all.”
*I found this to be super neat and inspiring. I think I’d like to film a video in the future where I go over my general morning routine and then do a dream morning routine and make a goal out of it and see what can happen over a course of time!! I definitely wake up to screens so yeah, maybe tinkering with this could be fun!! Alsooooo I am planning to do a whole video/couple videos out of this book review too on my Youtube channel in case you’d be interested in seeing and hearing that!! XX I want to do it before Apr. 30th–or at least film it all–because that’s when I plan to return this book by so I can get the charges wiped clean. Yay!! (More likely will be moved towards the first or second of May 2022 now.)
*Another thing that stuck with me from this book is the work I’ll be continuing to implement moving forwards to overcome my perfectionism. My perfectionism has seriously corroded all areas of my life, including, especially, online content and creating, so I think continuing to work on challenging it and moving forwards with imperfect action is going to be really key for me and really helpful overall. I made an Insta post about it before, though I didn’t cover all the areas of my life impacted by it but still. It was a start. And I’d LOVE to get back into gaming!!! And crocheting….It’s a process. 😙🤗 One that I think I am up to, now!! Also, another great thing about this book is that I read it after I did the book on procrastination for teens so building upon those little movements of progress as movements was so helpful and beneficial to find, read and savor again!! (Every little bit is still movement!!)
*”As I’ve learned to [shut down my inner mean girl and her vitriol], I’ve started hearing a different voice–my own. And it’s confident and assured. Not cocky, but convinced I have value. I couldn’t write this book without that voice. I couldn’t share without that voice” — McAlary, 2018, p. 195
What I really loved about this quote and why I’m sticking it in this section is because I can relate so much to it. With all my advocacy over the years, I had to have known that my story mattered, my voice was important and there was something more I could do with my life and telling that story over and over again, in all sorts of ways. Advocacy is such a big part of my journey and so much of what I’ve wanted from years ago (careers, job aspects, hair coloring) is all being paved way into today and manifesting and being created in ways I only ever dreamed. It feels so, so, so good to work on being this beacon, I hope not just for me, but for other people too. While advocacy has slightly distorted the way I see public vs private information regarding my own self, it really gave me back so much. I’ve been inherently believing that I’m important and I’m worthwhile, that inner Me voice (Recovery Raquel, as I like to refer to her by), even in times or despite the times where I’ve wandered astray, overall it’s been and become a genuine core belief. I’m not sure exactly to whom it may matter but I’m here to stay, for sure. I want to continue raising my voice and shouting from the rooftops with different amounts of imagination, information, scope and…another “i” starting word I just forgot hahah. Oh! Passions. Yes, passions.
*So yeah, I could really relate to this quote in an advocacy based way. I also spoke about it and this idea a little on my last live stream when I was reading in progress. And I’ll be mentioning it later in the video reviews as well, hopefully. If I can find this section again and reread it and put it all in together hahaha
“Is The Hunger Games the best book series ever? Not necessarily. But it came alive for me, and I remembered what it was like to be lost in the world of my own vision. The words weren’t mine, but the images in my mind’s eye were. I was captive. I was mindful. I was both completely present and totally absent” — McAlary, 2018, p. 200
*I had to keep this line into this review. Like, is this not what the entire quest of reading anything truly is?? That momentary escape and that beautiful juxtaposition between you’re there in that chair or on that bed or on that blanket and yet you’re also light years away in some other person’s mind and memory and existence and span of time? I have a bookmark that I made for my fic novel reading, like super simply scrawled on a scrap of paper, with the quote that reads: “Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.” That’s what this quote reminds me of from this current book. Nonfic is a lot easier for me to read nowadays, heh, sort of, and fiction is a lot harder because I have to wait until I’ve had enough momentum to get lost within the plot itself but I loved this quote and it’s so true. Just finding the written word in another person’s or creature’s or whomever’s mind is so unique and beautiful. And I can totally relate to the present and absent thing because when I do get lost in a book that’s what happens or when I do get lost in a really captivating fanfic or the journey my own writing brings to me writing my own fanfics or sometimes with blog posts or reviews. It’s truly other wordly. And it’s amazing. And wonderful. And the most freeing and containing thing ever. I love books. I’m currently surrounded by them right now, at the library, and it’s so refreshing. I think, with time and effort and patience and practice, I’ll be able to restore the way I read books going forwards.
*It wasn’t as bad as it’s gotten in the last couple of years, so maybe there’s a way for me to unlock that soon. Become unchained. **I am also considering reading back over some of the old books from over the years I’ve read and reviewed on here (not to mention all the handwritten based notes I have in various journals and notebooks for book reviews that never got typed, edited or published on here.) I’m thinking my first few will be “The Pied Piper” and “Ash”. I don’t think I shared “Ash” with you guys in a published fashion but I always think of that book. God, I loved it. We’ll see for sure!!!
*Let me know if you’d be interested in that!! Plus I’m going to be bringing more books content to my Youtube channel and my Insta so check out those when they launch!!! I’ll make a pingback to this post once it’s up with the video for it and vice versa. The video if longer than 25 mins will be two parts, otherwise if it’s less than that, I’ll keep it as one cohesive thing. Yay!
There’s a real great conversation in the Wobbly Balance chapter about how stupidly effective SMART goals are and how they are soooo necessary. McAlary, even on the previous page, was talking about just becoming more aware of when you’re saying yes to certain tasks (usually mindless ones) and no to other tasks. Take stock of it for a few days and see where it all takes you and then start to be more proactive in changing that routine–instead of scrolling social media, go make your own art. Instead of watching Netflix, read a book etc. She also mentions how a good way to procrastinate less is to break it down, down, down. Focus, if you have to write 500 words, with just opening a new Word document. Focus on just a simple draft in 5 mins. The more you break it down and create imperfect action (rather than waiting for perfection) the more you’re a lot more likely to get done (I’ve tried it myself and it’s amazingly productive and receptive!!!) — McAlary, 2018, p. 224-225
Another super helpful tip: “Keeping up on tasks (cleaning for example) means they actually take less time overall. The kitchen only takes twenty minutes to clean each week as opposed to the deep clean it would require if only done occasionally” — McAlary, 2018, p. 227
I mean, can it get any better than this?? I like to play music or text to speech Reddit stories or scary stories to the tracks of my life when I have to reorganize things (often filming them in my room, because it’s my room care stuff haha) or make different piles of things and all of that. Makes an otherwise energy draining task into something more enjoyable.
“Drop your standards (to a point). If your standards are hovering somewhere around perfection, it’s very easy to never be satisfied by your performance. When you get sick or have to work late or spend longer chatting to your neighbor, it’s easy to beat yourself up over the skipped yoga class or leftovers for dinner. *But by embracing the ish, dropping your standards just a little, letting go of the all or nothing mentality, you can accept that sometimes life just happens that way, and there’s no need to feel like a failure….Opt for done rather than perfect” — McAlary, 2018, p. 229
*I am absolutely enthralled and in love with this concept. This book, overall, came at SUCH an important time in my life and I think I genuinely took a LOT out of it and I’m so glad my stubbornness was there for me and even though I’ve had it out for at least 6 months and have gotten billed for “losing it” I still love it and I still got SO MUCH out of it. It’s remarkable and so lovely. I love this so much, the ish rather than perfect. The being kind to yourself when things don’t go according to plan. And of course, opting for done rather than perfect. I’ve been able to do SO MUCH recently that I’ve been putting off and off and off because I want it to be “perfect”. But done is SO MUCH BETTER than perfect.
*I finally emailed my work employer about groups stuff. I finished reading this book. I’ll finish this review and publish it. I’ll make videos about the book. I grew more and learned more than I have in a long time. I’ll have a good relationship with this book. I worked on some fan fiction. I edited tons of videos. I blogged here and there too and yeah it’s just so amazing. I’m so, so, so grateful. Today even I went to the library, even if it wasn’t the one I wanted to go to, it was the one I DID and I was kinda beating myself up over being tired but said, hey, self, even if I just go down the street to the library that’s SOME library time versus none. And that, that is just so huge. This book is amazing and I just got so much more out of it in all areas of my life than if I would have gone by not knowing or not reading or not completing it. And for that, genuinely, I scream: THANK YOU. (And thank YOU so much for reading all my musings!!!)
Something I really liked and resonated with came from this: (McAlary, 2018, p. 242)
“I tell you [you’ll backslide sometimes with old, familiar patterns of thought, emotion or behavior] because there is a delicious liberation in acknowledging that our efforts will be imperfect, embracing it, and moving forward anyway, in understanding that there will be missteps along the way and to start walking in spite of them”
What I enjoyed about this quote is that highlight that things will not be perfect in embracing, finding, learning and understanding a slower, simpler life. And with that, the author STILL encourages us to plow forwards, that the ultimate goal is worth the slip ups that will naturally happen and try to flounder us–if you continue on despite it, you’ll reach the goal and the process will be rewarding in and of itself, too. It was something I wanted to mention within this review, as well. 💜💛💙🌸
Alllllsoooo, you’re almost done!!! Stick with me another moment…
ALL THE THINGS I’D LIKE TO CHECK OUT:
- Leo Babauta’s blog called Zen Habits
- The Slow Home Podcast by Brooke McAlary
- Erin Loechner author and slow-living advocate ; along with following on socials #slowliving
- Book: 642 Tiny Things to Write About
- The author’s personal philosophy’s pooled from the words of Courtney Carver, Rhonda Hetzel, Henry David Thoreau and Carl Honore
- Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Judd Apatow’s books on creativity and identity
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
- Bronnie Ware’s Regrets of the Dying blog post
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Watch a video of a chameleon catching bubbles
- Destination Simple by Brooke McAlary
“Shut Your Eyes Tight” by John Verdon (fic)
“Getting Away” by Jon Staff (nonfic)
Annnnnnnd that is OFFICIALLY this completed Book Exploration Station post!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING, EXISTING AND GETTING THROUGH ALL OF THIS. I know it was QUITE the project but it was so important to me and so worthy of my time and energy. I hope I gave enough commentary here to be able to utilize as much of the quotes and content for this review! I can’t wait to do my video reviews too. I really want to get it done by the start of May, so that Sun and Mon and finally returned but yes, I think I have PLENTY of material to work with until then and I can at least be satisfied that THIS review is up and edited and written and completed by the end of April 2022 and not more after then. YAY!
Thank you all so, so, so, so, so much. Let me know which quote stuck out to you the MOST. Which image did you fall in love with? Which concept (mindfulness, imperfection) clung to your soul the most? Which discussion section called out to your mind? What book are you looking forward to me reading next–one on my list or an old one or a new one? What more or LESS would you like of in the future for these types of posts? And which group or video idea/art idea I mentioned here stuck out to you the most?
Thank you again, endlessly. Until next time….
xxx Raquel 💚💛💜💙🤍
TRACKING DATES AND TIMES OF DAY I READ THIS BOOK:
1/9/2022 (late afternoon, evening), 1/10 (late afternoon), 1/11 (noon), 1/12 (afternoon), 1/23 (evening), 1/27 (afternoon), 2/10/22 (late afternoon), 2/18 (afternoon), 2/19 (late morning), 2/23 (late morning, afternoon, mid-evening), 2/25 (mid-afternoon), 2/28 (evening), 3/5 (evening), 3/7 (evening, late evening), 3/11 (afternoon), 3/24 (late morning), 3/25 (evening, late evening), 3/29 (afternoon), 3/30 (live stream: evening), 3/31 (midnight), 4/4 (afternoon), 4/19 (live stream: evening), 4/20 (afternoon, early evening; book complete.)
TRACKING DATES AND TIMES OF DAY I WROTE THIS REVIEW*:
*I did this review a little differently!! I actually decided since I was all about procrastinating on reviewing my procrastination book (the last BES) that because THIS book already had 30 page flags before getting further than 30 pages into it, THAT I would actually work on the review as I went along rather than leaving it all at the very end after I had finished the book. SO that’s what I tried out and I’m just starting out today, 2/10/22, to see how it goes with the skeleton of the post outlined and before I start filling in the information and stuff. Alsoooo there’s a LOT of things I’d like to check out because that’s making up MOST of the flags so that will be helpful to get compiled at the get-go rather than all at the end. I’m sure I’ll have thoughts about the whole process later on too so I’ll maybe fill that in somewhere or add it as a segment later. 💛😁😁 Thanks so much for reading and coming along for the ride!!! XXX
2/10/22 (noon), 3/3/22 (early evening, evening), 3/25 (later evening), 4/2 (early evening), 4/3 (late afternoon, evening), 4/20 (evening, late evening), 4/22 (afternoon, early evening), 4/25 (evening), 4/27 (evening), 4/28 (late afternoon, early evening, evening, late evening–to completion).