art, experience, immigration, inspiration, learning, motivation, self help, Uncategorized

The Art of Living

IMG_20160913_204848[1]My journey started when I moved to a new country with a totally different culture. It’s like being born again, you have to learn about yourself and the world around you. It’s fascinating and risky sometimes but it’s fun.

The key to success is keeping your mind open. This is what seems scary first but later when you realize there is nothing to lose… Great changes take place, expect more to come. Be ready for miracles and failures!

Keep doing your thing whatever your passion is, experiment. Some will disapprove, others will envy but it’s okay, life is like that. Believe and pray, everything will come to you in its time. Some artists start early and go away before they even turn thirty. But why should it bother you when your goals are different and so is the timing.

When I think about all I want to master and create I realize that Ars longa, vita brevis. Learning is a life-long process, nobody was born able… Or maybe some of us were? Anyway, you will probably have to put your blood, sweat and tears in your labor of love.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, exercise persistence and faith.

 

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culture, depression, experience, friends, learning, self help, Uncategorized

Tell me who

Tell me who your friend is and I will tell you who you are. ( Proverb )

How many people would you call friends? Some days it seems I have too many, when the weekend is so busy that my nose starts bleeding by the end of Sunday. Other times I want to ask, Where are you guys? And sure enough people have their own lives full of duties and commitments. And that’s fine.

Real friends are like unicorns. You have to believe in them. They will tell you the truth instead of flattering empty words. They will help you out by giving a new perspective. They will act when action is needed. I am so grateful I have them in my life. I hope you do too. And if not be that friend for someone. It’s hard to tell who is who sometimes. Here is a story I really like.

A poor bird fell frozen at the animal farm. He almost died but the cow pooed on him which warmed up a small body. Later a fox found something alive in the cow pie and ate it. It was a brave soul who didn’t make it home. The moral is: not everyone who poos on you is your enemy, not everyone who takes you out is your friend.

 

 

black, cats, pets, Uncategorized

Black cats matter

This summer is unusual since I am taking care of two black cats, well a cat and a kitten. They get along quite well despite being completely different. The cat is smart and bold while the kitten is shy and kind of forgetful, he will easily miss his dinner time keeping himself preoccupied with other things. Oh well, you can guess who gets fatter meanwhile…

These furry friends do make my summer cool, they live in a basement apartment which is always dark and fresh as you can imagine. With cats you have got to learn a lot, for example, you have to be simultaneously strict and gracious to them. You need to entertain them while they are entertaining you. They will test your boundaries to make you feel so important and unimportant at the same time. This is when you start thinking about the dogs comparing pros and cons.

Pet owners live longer and feel more optimistic about life. Cats bring happiness to those who are looking for it. At the end of the day, we all need someone to keep us more in tune with the nature.

 

inspiration, learning, motivation, self help, Uncategorized

Design your life

What makes up your day? Mine consists of so many little things that I can hardly keep all of them in mind. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which one is a game changer. Think about

  • Food and exercise
  • People you deal with
  • Music, books and movies
  • Social networks
  • Living conditions

To make your life better you need to grab the bull by the horns and be responsible for your own happiness. Give up your fears and start living the dream!

  1. Buy / make decent food, plan a week in advance
  2. Walk / run 30-40 minutes a day, do other fitness activities if you like
  3. Minimize time with irritating people, maximize positive exposure
  4. Be selective with the books / movies you enjoy, pick the inspirational ones
  5. Hide / unfollow negative posts / people online. Time yourself while in cyberspace
  6. Make your home comfy: clean, fix and declutter as much as you can
  7. Love what you get, get what you love

The process of designing your life can take longer than you think. I started 2-3 years ago, some changes are obvious and some are still in progress, I wish it could be done overnight but it’s a process.

cooking, inspiration, motivation, self help, Uncategorized

Easy cooking

Not long ago I got a book from a thrift store called The best ever 20 minute cookbook. I truly recommend paper books as they inspire you to cook by just sitting there on the counter in your kitchen. And then you think, I bought it so I’d better be using it. The photos are motivating and promising, and you don’t have to go online and waste all day just looking.

I discovered couscous due to this one dollar investment. How could I live so long without this awesome grain? If you want to try something new and not afraid of gluten go for it. Couscous is perfect for dinner as it’s light and quick to make, just pour some broth in it, wait for ten minutes and it’s ready.

Also you can find tons of salad and pasta recipes in the book or online. It doesn’t take long to make but can impress anyone. The other day I had my vegan friends over, they were delighted to have something other than tofu. I was glad to come across as a good hostess. Cooking can make your social life and financial side of things much better. The better they are, the happier you will be. Live long and prosper!

culture, experience, immigration, learning, motivation, self help, survival, Uncategorized

How to survive in a new culture

Working with American teens made me think about useful tips I can share with new teachers.

The culture I found myself in is a mix of Latino and African-American youth with a minority of whites and Asians. Just for your information I came from Ukraine where the population is very homogeneous.

The school environment is not usually conducive to making friends with students but I keep trying anyway.

  1. Listen to their music. God only knows how much I hate rap but this is what they love. I make myself listen to the lyrics, it’s quite weird for strangers like me.
  2. Eat their food. Teens love junk food, it never looks or tastes great. But you should be brave enough to try it. I also go to cafeteria once in a while to experience the agony they have to endure every day.
  3. Don’t ignore the things that matter. Two of them are mentioned above but figuring out the rest can be tough. One thing that I noticed is you have to pronounce their name right.
  4. Ask questions showing genuine interest. When doing this you should be ready to deal with their answers which are not always easy. Reflect on them.
  5. Be a good student. Take notes to remember new words and concepts, learning new language / dialect is always fun. You will be tried and tested a lot.
  6. Mind your body language more than anything else. Respect yourself and the people around you.
  7. Stay positive and keep learning despite making mistakes.

This list is not all encompassing but gives you a general idea. Good luck!

inspiration, meditation, morning, motivation, self help, Uncategorized

Good morning!

How to make your day better? Start with a winner morning. I am pretty sure you have heard this before. Well, summer is here which is honestly a perfect timing for kicking off a new habit. Here is a few things I plan to do myself cause you never know… It might actually work 🙂

  1. Mind your head before minding your feet. It’s Buddhist advice which makes you look in the mirror, comb your hair, smile at yourself and put your thoughts together before you run somewhere doing something.
  2. Meditate / pray or just sit quietly practicing Zazen for 20-30 minutes. Stay away from watching TV or checking your social media accounts at this point.
  3. Drink water before you have coffee or anything else. Play some music if you like.
  4. Have breakfast outside or inside. If you are not hungry in the morning, try to eat half of your meal the previous night saving the other half for the next day. Light dinner will help you sleep better and be hungry  the next morning.
  5. Keep your diary. Look back on what went well on a previous day, what could be done better next time, note lessons learned, plan and prioritize.

If you can do at least three of those every morning you will feel like a champion. Add sports/yoga activities if you like. Be good to yourself, life is too short to skip the best part of your day. Good morning!