Today is my 26th birthday! In lieu of my usual 17 ways I make magic happen posts, I’ve decided to share with you 26 lessons I’ve learned in my short time as this Sara-ego.
1.Clean up after yourself! I’ve written about how my whole life I’ve a messy unorganized git & the ways I’ve learned to infuse my cleaning routine with magic. Keeping things in a non chaotic state has really been a revelation. The act of cleaning makes me feel productive & zen minded. I’ve read that creative people are inherently messy, so we need negative spaces to make those messes in. There’s a plethora of mental benefits to having a clear environment as well (you know-clear, uncluttered spaces = clear uncluttered minds.) I’ve learned how much simpler & more in the flow I get when I can ACTUALLY find things, or when I don’t accidentally step on things I love.
2.Appreciate negative space. Those aforementioned clean rooms, blank notebook pages, empty blog posts all speak of an important truth of life– the value of negative space. Appreciate the moments in life when you feel as if you have a lack of people in your life, if you’re single & don’t want to be, or when you’ve just lost your job. Negative space is beautiful & uncomplicated. You can’t fill what’s already full, so empty the well every now in then & spend some time basking in the void.
3. Keep a notebook! I’ve kept a journal since I was in the 4th grade. They’ve evolved from more traditional diary entries, to places where I take notes from my life, write down quotes from books, draw, brainstorm, write posts, poems, stories, make art. I love being able to experiment, play & free think without fear of scrutiny. I think my notebooks are my most integral life tool.
4. Vinegar can replace most expensive, chemical cleaners. It’s true! I use vinegar for basically every kind of household chore there is! See how useful vinegar is?!
5.It’s ok to have too many interests. I think the idea that you should just settle into one job, one hobby, one passion-that you need to focus on just ONE thing is total bullshit! It was always such a struggle for me to pick between art, writing, science, fashion, sports, etc. There was a time in my life when I wanted to be a nun, a rockstar, a cheese maker, & a saucer all at the same time. I’ve learned that you REALLY don’t have to choose. Innovation often happens when comparing & connecting foreign ideas. In the past having a lot of different interests was considered a virtue. The renaissance men with multiple talents like da Vinci, & it wasn’t uncommon for people in the 19th century to explore anything from archaeology to naturalism, poetry, astronomy, a whole whirlwind of subjects. Liking a lot of things (or heck, everything!) really strengthens your creative muscles & also has the added benefit of allowing you to connect socially with so many different types of people. Lifehacker agrees!
6. Get a website! Creating Cosmicoutlaw.com has been one of the very best things I’ve ever done. It’s rewarding in absolutely every way. I love sharing my ideas & the things I do, its teaching me to edit & refine my work, I’ve made a ton of friends, it gives me a real sense of purpose & there’s so much opportunity that I can create for myself online. My website has catalyzed my evolution in absolutely every part of my life.
7. Learn to never stop evolving new systems.
8. You have to create magic yourself. Magic is a way of looking at life as a rich, soulful, jaw tingling, Tantric experience. Seek adventure, beauty, art, poetry, wonder. You can choose to see the universe as alive & pregnant with meaning. You can choose to believe in omens & signs; in astrology & tarot; create talismans to wear for extra oomph; make an altar, create spells for abundance, bless coffee or tea to turn it into a delicious magic writing potion. If you knew you could make your experience in life absolutely filled with magic, why wouldn’t you?
“The word was a transitive verb, an exclamation, a command, of which an exact English translation is impossible. The closest equivalent probably would be the phrase: Lighten up!”- Tom Robbins
10. Embrace your Jungian shadow self. There are positives & negatives in play absolutely everywhere, thus is the dualistic nature of maya, this of course, includes ourselves. It’s naive & insulting to our own souls to glorify the good & ignore our slightly more demonic selves (in facts, it’s self-abuse!). Sweeping our faults under the proverbial rug will only amplify them, like a belligerent, neglected child. My shadow self is stubborn, cold, pretentious, narcissistic, moody, melodramatic, lazy, boring, she-hulk. She likes to show up when I’m pmsing or during dark moons (sometimes when I’m too hungry…). She’s a lot of chaos that only devolves further if left unaccepted, misunderstood & locked away. Our shadows can be our greatest teachers, they hold a lot of power-both beneficial & malicious in our lives. Study Jungian dream analysis & archetypes & really get to know that less lovely part of yourself. Once I began paying attention to my shadow side, I felt like my life began to evolve exponentially & added depth to my existence. & hey if you can accept your shittier traits, than nothing anyone can say about you will hold any power.
11. The world we experience is a collective illusion. Matter isn’t solid, but mostly empty space, empty space doesn’t really contain nothing; particles are both particles & waves & can affect other particles without being at all near them. Every time we think we’ve figured it all out, things get deeper & stranger. Reality is a mystery. There could be multiple universes, or the universe could be one big super organism; we could be living in an extremely complicated software program or all be a physical manifestation of mathematical formulas! Everything that exists could be made of tiny vibrating strings, consciousness could permeate the cosmos, we might be some hibernating god’s lucid dream, or we might be nothing at all. The point is, we don’t know & that mystery, wonder & awe add to the beauty & inherent complexity of life. Thinking about all this makes mundane tasks like doing taxes or those moments where I’m overcome with anxiety, a lot less demanding of my time & emotions. What appears to be a mundane, anxious world becomes transformed into something really fucking beautiful.
Colorful Modern Art by Andy Gilmore
12. Getting all dressed up is a really easy way to boost confidence, elevate moods, & alleviate boredom.
13. Practice OUTLAWISM
14. It’s ok to not write things down right away. This is contrary to everything I’ve ever been told, & I still believe in writing everything down, but it’s more about having faith in yourself & your ideas. I’ve found that if I’ve had a brilliant idea that I’m truly meant to have, my subconscious brain won’t let me forget it & it will recur in my life. I’ve rediscovered ancient lists written years ago with thoughts & projects very on beat with the ones I’m having now. I try to get things recorded asap, but I’ve learned it’s ok to let go & the thoughts that are meant to be, will come back.
15. There are many widely loved things that are just not meant to be in my life & that’s ok. Beer, musicals (minus Grease, shhh…), board games, whip cream. I can be open minded & still accept who I am without forcing such unpleasantries in my life. We like what we like.
The Holy Mountain is a really strange film.
16.These thinkers are vitally important to read: Alan Watts, OSHO, Tom Robbins, Sera Beak, Michio Kaku, David Eagleman, Terrence McKenna, Marshall McLuhan. Bonus points for Salinger, Vonnegut, Phillip K. Dick, SARK, Thoreau & Emerson. Watch Jordorowsky weirdo films (THE HOLY MOUNTAIN) & look at art by Cy Twombly, Mark Rothko & Carlos Cruz Diez.
17. Everything is progress!
18. Learning to cook is the best thing ever! It’s of course, cheaper than eating out, you can have total control of your health, you’ll always cook exactly the kinds of foods you want to eat (no more mushrooms!), it’s a great form of active meditation & as Steve Martin’s Shopgirl taught me, “the self prepared dinner is a great time killer for lonely people & as much time should be spent on it as possible.” For foodie inspiration, I watch a lot of food porn (Top Chef, The Taste…) & spend a lot of time browsing Pinterest food boards.
19. Music is better than tv-especially when you’re sad or bored. In fact, sometimes I believe too much telly is what’s causing my sad & bored states. I think tv is a pretty cool thing, but music is in the realm of the soul.
20. It’s a lot easier to do things before they’re due. Website posts, school work, whatever– I’m a grade A, professional procrastinator. I like to think I’m a genius at the last-minute paper & I’ve even convinced myself I work better in this mad cap frenzy, but really I’m just romanticizing it. In reality, I spend the 2 weeks prior to the deadline constantly thinking about what I should be doing, sick with worry, sleepless & stressed. I know a lot of my procrastination is really fear & resistance, so instead of making myself feel guilty for being a lazy prick, if I just deal with the core issues, & just get to work-my life is so much more flowy-er. I can take my time, if printing or publishing issues come up, I have time to resolve them, instead of just freaking out. I can actually enjoy socializing or watching tv or whatever without that constant anxious voice in my head distracting me. This goes just as much for simple things-hanging clothes up after laundry so they don’t wrinkle, washing the dishes after you eat takes a lot less time than a whole sink full of crusty cups. Not doing isn’t easy-not doing is plagued with doubt & frustration, not doing is chaos, doing is easy.
21. The best thinking is done stoned on porch swings in beautiful weather, taking a hot bath, on walks with no purpose. It’s called the shower principle & it has a lot to do with alpha brain waves. Those eureka moments are more likely to come to us when completely relaxed. When stuck it’s really better to just quit & have some tea than it is to keep powering through, & regular lazy brainstorming (or braincalming more like!) should be made a priority!
22. The internet can teach anything! I’ve learned how to knit, taken spanish classes, learned to make crafts & recipes, taken open course marketing & quantum physics classes! There’s so many ways to learn too! Ebooks & blogs, youtube & TED lectures, ITunes U, online magazines-the biggest problem is with the ability to learn anything anytime with little to no cost, where do you start?
23. Adaptability is key. Failure to evolve is what kills off species. Failure to evolve mindsets is the mark of a dying breed. Those who learn to adapt-thrive.
24. Diva cup > anything else.
25. Document & track EVERYTHING. Tracking progress is the first thing anyone will tell you in developing will power. I do monthly & yearly checkins with a set of basic questions, I log what I do each day in my moleskine planner, I keep checklists, charts, etc. Since I’ve started regularly reviewing my life-I’ve found that each month I get better & better. The fact I’m observing myself subconsciously pumps me up to do more things, I notice patterns of behavior I otherwise wouldn’t have, & it helps me avoid the trap of feeling that life isn’t going anywhere– seeing how my life has unfolded shows me I really am growing. It’s a great way to build motivation & I think it’s why archives are so important (at least for the content creator to see how they’ve evolved.) This is also the reason my panties didn’t get all in a twist when Facebook switched to timeline. At first it made me uncomfortable so much of my life was available for view-but then I realized that it’s only proof at how much better my life’s gotten in the last 7 years.
26. Don’t fear growing up! Like I just said, my life has only gotten better. I’ve spent much of my youth in the throes of a Peter Pan complex, & I think fearing death or aging really takes away a lot of the fun of being young. You get old, you die, that’s how it goes (thanks the second law of thermodynamics!). Growing older means evolution– I look the best I ever have, I’m doing things I love, & I know I can only continue to get more awesome! If you don’t believe me, or just need some aging inspiration, Jane Fonda is the best.
I’m off to go celebrate my birthday now! I’d love to hear what you guys think of these & everything you’ve learned in life as well! <3