January 9th, 2020

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Self-Awareness Question: To-Do List

Folks have mentioned an interest in questions and conversations that make them think. So I've decided to offer more of those. This is the current list on self-awareness.

12. What’s on your to-do list that never gets done?

Self-publishing: a thing I wish to do, but have neither the skills nor the potential to do for myself.  I still keep hoping to cobble it together somehow.  Also I have written more books accidentally than on purpose, but I did managed to get a few published.
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Intuitive Eating

This article takes a thoughtful look at intuitive eating

I'm not sure that eating whatever  you want is necessarily a good idea.  How accurate are your instincts to begin with, and how do they deal with foods designed to be addictive?  But much of the advice is excellent, like being gentle with yourself and the importance of paying attention to your body's signals, especially in terms of observing how you feel after eating different things.  If you want to be happier,  however, this approach is probably much more effective than most others -- and happier tends to correlate with healthier.

One interesting thing I've noticed is that sometimes I want to eat things that don't actually taste all that great.  It started with the dragonfruit, which is rarely as sweet a fruit as it's meant to be, although that one has grown on me over time.  The sheep milk yogurt was another -- that stuff was really sour, but I finished the carton anyway.  Took me a while to figure out that the urge there was probably driven by the potent life energy of 12 live cultures.  So that's an interesting shift in food instincts.  I never have liked a lot of modern things like artificial colors and sweeteners, most of which are inedibly bitter to me, so brightly colored manufactured foods are a turnoff while brightly colored fruit draws me in. 

There seems to be some flexibility of instincts to adapt to local foods, but with megacorps engineering food to be addictive, I'm not sure how much individual instincts can compensate for that.
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Life Drawing Improves Body Image

Something artists have known since the first finger-fluter scribbled the other people in the cave on its wall: life drawing teaches you to see the human form as beautiful.  All of it. 

So if you're working to improve your body image, take a life drawing class.  Or model for one, because the artists will make amazing art of you.  Anatomy for artists also helps, because the human body is pretty cool. 

Can't afford that?  Get a pencil, some paper, and a few friends.  Take turns modeling and drawing.   Try gesture sketching, where you try to capture the shape of the pose in a few minutes rather than its details.  Nude or clothed doesn't matter much, but you do need to see enough of the body shape to draw it accurately, so think swimsuits or snug exercise clothes if you're not into artistic nudes.  Draping is a bit more advanced because it's so easy to get distracted by the fabric.  It doesn't have to be great art, just have fun with it.

Not an artist and don't want to fool around with it anyway?  Go to a decent art museum and look at the paintings or sculptures.  You'll see a lot of body types because the fashions have changed over time, and they're all beautiful in their own way.  Artists are really good at showing you how to see things as they do.  Join a tour, if you like, and let an experienced guide point out nifty things.
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Moving Cities

I'm pleased to see someone else talking about the need to move cities.

You think moving a city is expensive?  Try replacing the whole damn thing after a Category 6 hurricane wipes it off the beach.

But actually, it's not that expensive if you simply encourage people to leave naturally.  Start soon enough and you can clear out the vast majority before disaster strikes.  They might move far away, but often, they'll just settle a bit farther away from whatever's bothering them.  The easiest way to move a city is just to stop developing on the danger side (mostly seaward in this case) and build up the safer side (inland in this case).  If your problem is that the area closest to the water keeps getting drowned by sunny day floods, all you have to do is scooch high enough to get above the new waterline.

Wait for a direct hit, though, and then you're really fucked.
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Home Care as Self-Care

I've been looking at articles on self-care and home decoration, and it occurred to me to put the two together. Design your living space so that it takes care of you. Then you don't have to "do" self-care as much, it just happens automatically.

First, realize that you need to understand yourself. If you don't know what makes you happy or relaxed, you won't make much progress. What you like may differ from what I like, so just use my examples as inspiration.

Second, trust your instincts. You don't need to be a home decorator to make a space you like, because you only have yourself to please -- although if you live with other people, decorating common areas to multiple tastes can be more challenging. You also don't have spend a ton of money on this project. Many improvements are cheap or even free.

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Birds of Prey

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Unsold Poems for the January 7, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl

The following poems from the January 7, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. Poems may be sponsored via PayPal -- there's a permanent donation button on my Dreamwidth profile page -- or you can write to me and discuss other methods. There are still verses left in the linkback poems "Mysterious and Impermanent," "Greater Than the Sum," "A Lively Feast," "Between the Normal and the Abnormal," "Always Carry Your Goodness," "Crossroads on the Hero's Journey," "Gökotta," "The Arc of the Mental Universe," "So Often Alone," "An Iron Fist."

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Relationship Maintenance

I came across a piece that said successful marriage was not about improvement, but avoiding decline.  I disagree.

First, all relationships change over time.  Falling in love is like tinder; staying in love is kindling and fuelwood.  The first never lasts long, but you can't light the others without it.  Unfortunately most people perceive that as a decline  and bail out, shifting from one shallow relationship to another.  Building something deep and meaningful takes not only time, but skill.  You have to know about those transitions and work with them.  Merely trying to hold onto exactly what you had in the beginning does not work.

Second, successful relationships require growth.  People get more interesting over time as they discover new things.  A couple (or moresome) should explore things together and find more common ground.  Cultivate different interests, too, because nobody can be everything  to someone else.

Third, don't keep re-having the same fight over and over again.  Strive to find some little thing you can change.  That way, decades down the line, you will still be finding new and exciting mistakes to make.

If you're not improving, not helping each other grow, then why are you even together?  Those shallow relationships don't last.
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20 Ways to Fall Asleep

There are many ways to fall asleep.  Try different things, and choose the ones you like best to become part of your nightly routine.  Also aim to collect a set of heavier tools for when you need extra help.  Remember that different things work for different people.  If you have trouble sleeping, try to pin down why so you can address it directly.  Each solution works for a certain issue(s) and nothing works for everything.
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Processed Foods Are Bad

... but here's a creepy new twist:

In animal studies, emulsifiers in processed foods have been shown to alter the microbiome (the community of microorganisms in the body), increase blood sugar, cause excessive hunger, increase weight and damage the liver, the study authors said.

Regrettably it did not specify which  emulsifiers.  Hopefully it's just processed ones like soy lecithin.  But does that include things like honey or maple syrup, which will nicely emulsify vinaigrette?  It doesn't say.  >_<
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Indoor Workouts for Winter

It sucks to drag yourself outside to exercise in the snow -- or here, rain.  0_o  It's raining in January.  Here are some indoor activities instead.  By the way, if you can't afford a trampoline, box jumping is cheaper and also excellent if what you want to improve is control, precision, and finesse rather than just raw power.  You can do these on a step, a curb, a bench, or any other low sturdy surface.