Delimit My Life

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" ~ Hellen Keller

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Day 16 Know Yourself

Yesterday, I passed the half way mark on my thirty day cold shower challenge. The showers pretty much feel amazing now and I enjoy the new level of energy in the morning. However, I am even more ecstatic that I have kept up with my blogging promise, tackling my fear head on! The writing has been challenging and often frustrating but I have no regrets. It has given me the opportunity every day to think about something important and take the time to articulate my thoughts. Making me realize how thoughtful reflection gives me a clearer perspective on my life.

Consequently, I have recognized that I have become pretty comfortable with my cold showers. I do not fear them anymore so my comfort zone has expanded. This feels great because after finding a limit in my life I have been taking the steps to break past it. However, I want to delimit my life which means I need to figure out more limitations. I have been thinking about this since I started this blog and I haven’t found that many yet. I think it is because most people, me included, hide their limitation from themselves, denial being their biggest friend. So when trying to think about my fears, I freeze up and go blank. No one actually wants to admit they have fears at least to themselves. When I read about the cold shower challenge, I came face-to-face with a limitation, forcing me to confess my fear. Of course, I could have told myself a bunch of lies but I did not. I realized that I could never see myself taking cold showers for thirty days straight because at the time it seemed impossible. Now half way there, I know it’s possible and I feel crazy for ever thinking it wasn’t.

This is bad! Okay so you may be wondering why. It’s complacency, simply being a human means falling into this trap. Once you reach a solution that adequately solves a problem no further improvements will be made. So as I become comfortable with my cold showers, I will eventually fall back into a habit of not challenging myself. There is a similar problem with artificial evolution. An organism can only become as complex as the environment it lives in will allow. Thus, if I am going to continuing growing I need to add more complexity. Not in the sense of having a complicated life, simplicity is great, but in finding new challenges that will push my boundaries! In order to do this I need to understand what I fear and what I think is impossible!

This will of course take some time so my challenge is to find one limitation for the next ten posts. They will then be placed in my delimit list along with a challenge to get past them.

  1. Acrophobia, I have an irrational fear of heights. I get anxiety/panic, dizzy, and my hands get clammy.

The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself and watch his own reactions like an observer. ~ Adam Smith


Day 15 Lacking Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is not something easily described or explained to someone. It would seem one either has it or does not. Still someone can be confidence in writing but not public speaking. So when I was asked by someone close to me for advice on how to be confident, I did not really know how to reply. My answer was you have to find it within yourself. But that was not good enough, the answer needed to say exactly how, and all I gave was a vague solution. It was practically something out of a fortune cookie. I got a little frustrate because how do you tell someone how to find self-confidence. Their insecurity already tells me that they don’t believe in themselves. You cannot teach someone, you can only guide them to the answer rings inside my head. I know how challenging freshman year can be, first time away from home, no friends, and a new city, so I wanted to find a better answer.

The definition is trusting in the abilities, qualities, and judgment of oneself. However, I am trying to find something concrete and that definition is pretty compact. If you take away all the filler then the real essence of the definition is trust. You have to trust yourself! This meaning that you need to trust yourself to perform reliably in different situations. But do you actually trust yourself? Realize, that you have defined, molded, and created the person you are today and no one knows you better than you do. So how much do you actually know? In order to establish some trust, you have to be confident with who you are as a person. Then by figuring that out, you discover your individuality and what makes you amazing. Self-confidence is just the bonus of knowing your strengths and weaknesses.

However, trust is often earned slowly, over time, and lost quickly.  Children make new friend on a whim, no thinking, but as they get older they lose this ability. Too many previous failures or rejections but somehow their trust and faith in themselves is lost. The trust must be rebuilt where it was lost by having the courage get past the failures and move forward. Repeated practice to bring new successful experiences! It’s similar to me practicing my oral presentations over and over so that I trust myself to perform under-pressure. I may feel horrible before I speak, sickened with nervousness, but I do it! I even find myself having fun after I start. Understand that self-confidence does not mean you become fearless, it means you have trust and faith in who you are.

Sorry, there is no simple answer, only a journey of self-discover in which you must take the first step.

The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you. ~ William Jennings Bryan

Day 14 Just Write!

It’s been a long day and I’m quite tired, physically and mentally. My mind is telling me to go to sleep but my challenge is telling me to write. I keeping trying to think of a topic but my mind is blank. I mean I have some topics floating around up there but they would require more time and crafting. Not something I can just write in a few hours and more importantly with an exhausted mind. So what happens is that I get stuck in this cycle of thinking, what to write, but never actually writing. It just makes the whole challenge more difficult and it really starts to eat away at my sleep time. I really like sleep. To fix this I have a simple rule, just write! It’s a pretty common rule for most things in life, like just start. The idea is that once you start it becomes much easier to keep moving forward.  You know an object at rest stays at rest… unless acted upon by an unbalanced force, it’s a law of nature! So create an unbalanced force and get some words on that horrible blank page rather than have it just stares back whispering sweet nothings in your ear. The writing will probably not be beautiful, or elegant, but at least it’s a start. No one said anything about perfection.

My cold showers has been challenging, but I can feel myself getting used to the colder water. Still, I really have to focus on each breathe otherwise I start to shake and shiver uncontrollably. It’s kind of awesome to realizing how much power lies in a single breath. I have experience a similar effect in mediation which focuses on calming the mind and maintaining concentration. It’s nice to have a chance to use it in another area of my life. Also, I have adjusted to taking five minutes showers almost perfect because the alarm goes off right after I am finished with my routine. We are creatures of habit, defining who we are.

Something unusual happen today. One of the problems with a hot shower is that all of the mirrors get fogged up but that’s not a problem with cold showers because there is no steam. However, I got out of the shower today to a mostly fogged up mirror. I can definitely tell you that the water was ice cold because I was freezing. If it was hot or steamy, I would have known, and it hasn’t happened before. I still double checked the knob in the shower. Don’t really know why since I knew it was same old cold water, irrational compulsion I guess. Still I haven’t figured it out, and I am not warm enough after a cold shower to be creating any steam. Just thought it was funny to have the same old problems still.

  There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Day 13 Loneliness

Loneliness is defined as the sadness one feels when having no friends. However accurate that may seem, the definition is not that simple because having friends doesn’t necessarily mean one won’t feel lonely. Loneliness is a feeling of isolation caused by the idea of being alone. But that definition is recursive, so it has to be false, right? I mean if there was no idea of being alone than no one would feel loneliness. That makes some sense but the feeling of loneliness could creates the idea of being alone. This is very philosophical, but I have come to my own conclusion, just as you may have.

There are two strong bases for the idea and feeling of loneliness. One is that as humans we crave to be in communities, sharing and building relationships, so when we aren’t we feel lonely. The second is that loneliness is a societal construct, taken root in many cultures, which says that having no friends means you must be sad, lonely, and feel horrible. Whichever it is that you believe, I have felt loneliness many times, and I have found that the idea of being alone is far worse than actually being alone.

The realization is that loneliness is just another fear in life, holding people back. For me, it is a fear instilled by my culture not by my instincts. However, I didn’t always think like that. When I was younger, I hated the feeling of loneliness and I could never figure out why I felt it. Of course, when I didn’t have friends I felt lonely but when I did I still felt lonely. It didn’t matter either way I always seemed to feel alone. Alone in my head! I just never felt like I connected to anyone because I always seemed so different. Of course, this led me to feel depressed, angry, and confused. I wanted so badly to be like everyone else. They all seemed to have more friends than I could count and they always seemed so freaking happy! The problem was that there was no solution because it was purely mental. I needed to better understand myself which then allowed me to better understand others.

The true realization was that everyone is lonely and people fight this feeling daily. Our consciousness is stuck inside a brain which creates a world where we are the center focus. Yet, we go through life desperately trying to connect to others. We all want to prove to ourselves that we are not alone. Nevertheless, we are! Hearing, perception, and feeling are just signals created in your head and each person is a black box. We can see the outside, the facade of another, but we don’t know what makes up the inside. So there is no way to prove the existence of another. This may seem sad or depressing but it doesn’t mean we don’t make real connections. Love I have found to be the strongest connection we humans can make but the fall out can be devastating. Because if the love is lost, you lose a part of your world, your mind, which causes a feeling of loneliness greater than anything. Loneliness is an entirely internal feeling but external factors can become internal to our world. Thus, contributing to the huge misconception on what people define as loneliness.

Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone. ~ Paul Tillich

Day 12 Hidden Rose

Cold, shivering, freezing, painful, and uncomfortable all describe how I feel when I am taking a cold shower at my new place. The past two showers have been horrible, and the entire time I’m just wish it would end. Just admitting that makes me feel weak but I have to. I remind myself again and again that it is only five minutes and that I made it through the other cold showers. However, nothing I say changes my mind, which seems to be begging me to get out. The cold shower challenge is difficult because it pushes your mentality every morning. Any weakness is exploited and causes the entire experience to feel much worse.

I decided to save money on gas, mini challenge, and bike to my classes, about two miles one way. Not super far but the path is hilly and I haven’t biked in a few years. I also go to the gym in between classes. So my stamina has been weakened lately. The problem is that freaking cold shower remains a powerful force of discomfort and it just plain sucks. It is far colder than any shower I have taken before and I can’t seem to calm my body down during it. I find myself complaining about it throughout the day. It’s like a completely different experience than the ones before. This is causing me to feel less enthusiastic about my morning challenge. I have to be strong everyday when taking a freezing cold shower because they are not pleasant, they are not forgiving, and they will break you down, if you let them.

This is great though! Actually, it is amazing, fantastic, and wonderful! I have found a cold shower worthy of my fear and therefore found a limit in my life. I have finally delimited a part of my life but I just did not realize it. I had pushed up against it and my mind recoiled in panic, clouding my thoughts. Reflection helped me realize that I had finally come to a barrier in my life where I was not comfortable. I had a choice, to see thorns or roses! I chose to rejoice at my new challenge, my rose, to be conquered and surpassed so that I may continue to delimit my life!

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. ~ Abraham Lincoln

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