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Posts from the ‘challenge’ Category

Blogging: things that matter

Deciding on blog or website

I started my art blog in May, 2011 First post of art blog

Notice, there are no likes and no comments. Yes, it took a while until I had first followers and first comments. Back then, blogging was somewhat different from what it is now in 2020. By 2015, I had more than 3000 followers and lots of interaction on my art blog. I decided to move it to a self-hosted website. The move itself was nothing overwhelming, but there were numerous issues. I already had many articles with very many illustrations, it’s an art blog after all. After importing my blog, all the images were totally messed up, many were missing. The written part was ok, but the visual part required me to undo about 120 posts. That is a heck of work! It took me quite a while. Not months, but a few years, in fact. I didn’t have some images and I couldn’t find some others to place back, so, I had to undo even bigger part.

Stick to decision

I would say, you have to decide right from the get-go: if you want a website, start a website, and if you want less work and less trouble, go for blog. It’s much cheaper, too. Comments get imported onto the new site, but likes do not. Therefore, all posts until the move have hardly any likes, but they have many comments. I also lost many followers, I probably confused them big time during transition period while there was still blog and also a website, practically the same. Moving blog to website, unless, it’s a blog which has mostly writing, is a hassle and lots of work because of all adjustments.

WordPress account, not two sites

Since I wanted to keep my art separate from my lifestyle and health blog, I started another blog in June 15, 2015 First post of lifeschool blog

For a while, I had to mention on my art website that I had another blog, too. Well, I didn’t know that this other blog won’t be an independent blog (it still isn’t), but part of my WordPress account. Therefore, some people, who never read anything do not even know that I have an art website and art blog and one more lifestyle and health related blog. Some people follow only one of them, some follow both, but the reach hasn’t been that great as it was with just having one blog initially.

Blogging for yourself or blogging for success

I’m not obsessive blogger. At times, I don’t even care too much how many people follow my blogs and how many like what I write about. However, during all these years of blogging on WordPress, I have come to some conclusions and I’d like to share some suggestions if you want to achieve good following and widen the circle of your readers. It is different of you intend to achieve huge numbers of followers: that will take lots of time, lots of interaction with other blogs. The most important part is still content. It should be preferably original and only in the area you feel strong and passionate about. There are blogs which are devoted to personal struggles, journeys to health and so forth, but they still need to stand out.

Repeating and copying content is boring

Blogging can be very personal and also very general, just hitting the popular subjects and going with the stream. I do write content and share experience which is not available everywhere, but rather takes origin in my personal experience. I have noticed, there are numerous blogs which only practically republish what we all know already: motivation, happiness, what to eat, what not and so forth. I’d say this is boring. I also would like to mention that people, who have zero insight and knowledge in healthcare, treatments, medical conditions and similar medicine-related subjects, should not write about it. It makes a professional medical specialist cringe when somebody republishes nonsense which has no true base whatsoever.

Followers and getting a good number of them

If you want to show your appreciation about some blog or blogger, certainly, like, comment and interact. Never insist they follow you back or demand to go to your blog. That is horrible. People, who like your blog will follow and read it, if they think it’s worth it, but nobody is going to like something if you insist, they do. That’s unethical and offensive. We all have our free will. Recently, there are many bloggers, who click on 20 or even more likes under posts and never read even one of them or do not have any idea what the blog is about. I personally do not care that somebody liked 20 posts, but I love if they read at least one. There are also bloggers, who only click on “Follow” and there is absolutely no follow-up. Somebody instinctively might follow you back, but most experienced bloggers won’t follow just about anything. WordPress will also block you from following if you do it excessively or in abusive manner and are fishing for more followers WP can block you from following

Make your blog or website easy to navigate

Settings on the blog or website exist for a reason. One has to go through all of them and make adjustments which fit your personal website or blog. I sometimes would love to leave a comment or post a like, but it’s impossible or I cannot get even to their posts. Websites or blogs have either static front page or display blog posts on it. The problems often arise with a static front page. I see there is something, but there’s also no way to get to it. Obviously, if you want somebody to like your posts or leave comments, you have to make these posts accessible. Nobody is going to search for hours where your posts are. I also see frequently most viewed posts in the widget area, but no recent posts. That means, people will only react to these popular posts.

Important widgets

It’s a good idea to have Archives widget, too. Also, having the Previous and Next feature is a good idea. If you are not sure, you can test your website or blog from some other device or ask somebody else to do that and let you know what they see and how easy your website or blog is to navigate. If it’s tough to find anything, people will look at your “About me” or “Hello” page and move on. I would sometimes spend a few moments trying to find what’s where, but I will leave if I cannot find or understand anything. I am very sure; any visitor will do the same.

Non-English language blogs

That refers also to blogs in other languages, not in English. I can personally use 4 languages at a native level which are Latvian (my native language), German, Russian and English. Therefore, I can follow and read blogs in these languages, but the other ones will be questionable. If it’s a completely visual blog or consists of only art images or photos, I’d be able to know what it’s about. If the blog is written in a language, I have no idea about, I will not follow it. Google translate is ok, but it really distorts complex languages. I actually have done this: when I want to have a good laugh, I click on Translate into Latvian, and it’s really hilarious how my content comes out. There is no point reading poetry with Google translate.

Important aspects of blogging

Blogging ethics

Blogging is something overwhelmingly huge nowadays. While policies and rules change, blogging ethics stay in effect regardless of that. We have to also respect others, their preferences and their opinion. If you are writing about sensitive subjects, expect reaction which might be not always what you want. Don’t put pressure on other bloggers to follow you or like what you write. I’ve seen very poor blogs with many followers and vice versa. Some blogs are created for to stay, some will cease to exist if there is no genuine passion or good content. I don’t think one should start a blog if they don’t have what to say. While I do not chase numbers of followers or post every day, I still appreciate thoughtful and educated, as well as sincere and mindful comments. I do follow back blogs which deserve that, but never when somebody tells me to.

Self-isolation, make this time count

At least spring is coming

In the Northern hemisphere, we are close to the first day of spring. Although, spring can be cold and windy in some parts of Canada, for instance, Ontario, we are almost there. Temperatures are getting milder and gradually increasing. That means garden and outside work can start soon. Lucky people, who have a greenhouse! What better time to self-isolate and provide oneself with fresh produce as early as possible?

The issues we are facing right now also point out some attitudes and behaviors which we should have gotten rid anyway.

Switching to self-entertaining

Many industries, establishments and businesses were doing just that: entertaining. Based on recent literature and consumer response, we can see how much pressure is put on anybody whether they are a teacher, a social worker, an event organizer or simply a parent to be able to entertain. Some people assume it a normal way of life; to always expect that somebody has to entertain you.  Normal way of life is finding one’s personal entertaining hobbies, activities and passion in what we love doing. When we have an idea what makes us feeling good and whole, we do not need somebody entertaining us every minute of the day or night. Lots of people do not know how to spend time in self-isolation because they have always relayed on somebody else, who makes their life interesting. It’ s time now to switch to entertaining oneself.

How about self-discovery?

Maybe it won’t, unless one wants to spend their entire time in front of a screen. For those, who feel fine, but are required to completely self-isolate, this is good time to engage in self-discovery and to try completely new things which are important, but were neglected because of the busy life of meetings, parties, dinners, travel and shopping. Maybe this time, somebody will learn how to listen to nature. Maybe need will make one dig up their backyard this year and engage in gardening. Somebody might start exploring backyard animals and birds, their funny habits, watch and take photos of them or start journaling, sketching and painting.

Limited choice means a lot of choice still

I heard some people being upset and complaining they couldn’t dine out and attend concerts and theatres. Tough or what? It is actually the same as usual for our family: we never liked dining or eating out and always preferred to cook from scratch. Being a good cook is a talent I inherited from my parents and kept developing with innovation. I am very happy that I can cook anything of just a few products or you could say nothing. I suppose, creative people are creative in any area of life. There are 2 main distinctive approaches: one is consumer’s approach, the other is creator’s approach.

Consumer’s reality

What do we need to buy or get to be safe and happy? If you are a person, whose happiness depends on things and purchases, you will need to buy a lot and also, in conditions of decreased manufacturing and production output, many things will be not available. That will make consumer upset. Stores will be closed for a while, except basic groceries and pharmacies, and restaurants, cafes, clubs and for that matter any catering services except for takeouts and deliveries are already closed in Ontario. Anything ready-made is much more expensive, too. We ordered a few times delivered food and it was of such a poor quality compared to what I cook. I was simply recovering after a recent surgery and couldn’t do much for while. I cannot imagine how bad it would be to always order ready-made food. We also ordered groceries once and it wasn’t really how you buy them at the store. No 2 pieces of meat are the same and things like vegetables or simple potatoes come in very different sorts for different purposes.

Creator’s reality

My mind always works like that: how could I repurpose this particular thing? What can I make of these items? What can I use to fit this function? Something like that. I do cooking, gardening, sewing, crafting, decoration and obviously art. I have done this for about 50 years, and I can literary make anything I need, that would include simple furniture and all items necessary for winter, spring, summer or fall, including hats, purses, gloves, bags and similar items. I always regretted I cannot make shoes and boots. When you feel that you can create anything you need, you start feeling very calm and very relaxed. I don’t think every person will start sewing and cooking or gardening, but it makes one independent and saves huge amounts of money.

Self-isolation activities

Start with outdoors, seeding and planting

Not everybody has a backyard or lives on a farm, but most people have access to some kind of outdoor space where it is possible to place some pots or boxes with soil or planting substrate. I always s wanted to live in a detached house with a backyard. We have been moving a lot, but that didn’t stop me from creating a new garden wherever I went. You might say it is a lot of work. It is heavy work and it means physical work until we get things going. However, doing physical work outdoors in fresh air is the absolutely best thing for a human. It is way better than any gym. The heaviest part and most boring is soil preparation.

Container garden versus permanent garden

My current personal situation is such that I have no suitable area in our large backyard for plant beds. Since there are only rocks beneath the grass coverage, I went containers last spring. I learned a few things. It is better to put only that many seeds as many plants you expect to come up, plus maybe 1 or 2, in a container or pot. It is better not replant cucumbers, zucchinis, lettuce and similar plants, and you cannot successfully replant dill, radish and small arugula or spinach, for that matter any similar small-leaf vegetables which can be consumed right away from the first tiny leaves. In my experience, anything grows well in container, as long as we can provide with efficient depth of soil. Advantage of container gardening is that you can move pots, boxes, bags or other containers around to have more sun or shadow as required.

Start up creative activities

It is a very suitable time to start something new. If you never tried the above mentioned things and only used services, choose one area. You’d be amazed how much pleasure is using creative approach to any restrictive situation with limited choices. It will literary drive your creativity and teach something new about yourself, too.

I have no classes at the moment, I intend to describe these activities in more detail, as well as give practical advice for beginners. One thing I definitely have in abundance is experience. I don’t mind sharing it.

If you only click on “like” from Reader, you will probably never know what I am writing about. I usually do not return 10 likes when somebody hasn’t read any of my posts and doesn’t have an idea about what my 2 blogs are about.

There is no good way to move easy, and bye-bye Whitby!

The only good way is if you have enough courage, money and opportunity to trust the packing and moving somebody else. I am such a person who cannot trust sorting out my art and belongings to another somebody and especially to pack it.

We did that before: only one time the moving was acceptable, but all other times it was a disaster. I could find nothing for many months; the packing was done without any common sense and logical approach. It was simply bad, and it cost a lot.

I decided to pack everything mostly by myself, and so I did. It took me 3 weeks so far, and, unfortunately I am not completely done.

The limiting issue is pain, and when it gets too bad, I have to stop. I have to also stop every time when blood glucose gets low, and it takes a while to be back on track again.

I have been doing this quite slowly and meticulously, however, when I pack things, there is absolutely no problem finding and locating anything.

Well, the move is tomorrow, I am really tired of seeing boxes all over, as well as mess. That is mentally painful!

I will be very much relieved once we are finally out of here. We will have helpers tomorrow, and I am a bit worried about the weather, but it is what it is.

moving house

I have not disappeared from WordPress, I was just totally tied up with packing endless things, paintings are close 1500, all prepared canvasses, papers, drawings, sketches, templates and so on make another pile, not to mention all paints, extremely many brushes, pencils and pastels. I have abnormal amounts of clothes because I am also a fashion designer and I have been sewing since age of 12. Therefore, I have lots of fabrics, lots of books, lots of shoes, many purses, lots of smaller things and my husband has music room with numerous speakers, instruments and other musical and recording stuff.

It could not be easy, and it is not.

moving house

I was not happy in Whitby, Ontario. I arrived with huge hopes and great expectations, and nothing came true. It is a snobbish and ignorant place. Most people who walk or drive by every single day have never been here, not even once within 8 years. They most likely though what possibly could such a gallery offer? I had so many free events, but not much interest from the local community. Well, my immobility might be to blame, too, but that does not justify the cold and ignorance. I don’t really care now; I know that I will be better off in some more human and more engaging neighbourhood. I believe South Ajax will be fine. It is a great location, and I will have a garden.

 

I am taking off to Latvia next week, so, I most likely won’t be blogging much until I am back in Canada, in the middle of September.

moving studio

However, in the light of so much stress and work still ahead, I would love to wish everybody good time until the fall sets in and drop me a line!

Stop and smell the roses

Yes, stop and smell the roses and other flowers.

When was the last time you decided to do so?

Just yesterday? Today? Congratulations. It’s not true that you don’t have time for that. Believe or not, there is time enough for anything: even with long commute (which is most often our choice), even with small kids and no grandparents or nannies, even when studying or being a workaholic.

Having no time is a habit and lack of focus. Having no time for smelling flowers and recharging is a bad habit.

Are you saying: yah, right? I would like to repeat that it is a bad habit and it comes from chaotic and scattered attention management, or rather, attention non-management.

Being and feeling rushed with everything causes nervousness, unplanned actions and loss of time. We have to pretty much stick with our daily routine, and that means: if you can spend just 1 hour in front of TV, do not make it 4 hours at the expense of your sleep, or if it’s responding to an e-mail, we cannot make it scrolling through all Instagram or Facebook feeds and new posts. We have to stay on the path.

We don’t do that always, do we?

I am convinced that we are experiencing a chronic feeling of always lacking time. Realistically, we should have more time because there is so much help with housework, shopping and lots of other daily chores; there is automation and so many devices are replacing manual work.

Where does the time disappear?

It evaporates with unexpected, unplanned and also forgotten things. There are so many distractions with anything we just were about to start doing. Time over-consumption is also caused by unreliable and chaotic people who we have to be in touch with. Therefore, I am very convinced that it makes a lot of sense not to deal with people who never have time: either for you, for responding to you or for anything in their life; who cancel things because they never intended to do something in the first place, who are always late, who love talking too much or texting too much, or who do not even listen to what you are saying.

Having time for stopping and smelling roses eventually comes down to discipline. First of all: that is self-discipline. It’s not the case that we are always perfect and we never get lost in our good intentions. No human is 100% perfect, and life is never perfect. So, whether we have time for ourselves and whether we can make it for smelling flowers also requires some flexibility in executing our daily tasks, even small ones, and it requires so much more flexibility in tackling the big ones.

Late autumn, but everything in full bloom

Gentle, delicate, beautiful

When my daughter was just 8 months old, her father passed away. So, I was alone. I got German language teaching job at a countryside school because they provided with a free apartment. However, the free apartment had absolutely no conveniences. I needed wood for heating the stove on which I had to cook and also the heating oven in the other room. I had to take to a high second floor every bucket of water and afterwards I had to take it out. We didn’t have easy to use diapers or formulas these times yet, therefore, I had to manually wash everything since I did not have a laundry machine and I had to cook for daughter something she could consume, which was liquid porridge type of thing most often. There was no heating, so every time when I needed to warm up her food I had to get stove going.

My teaching job was full-time. That happened in the ancient soviet times, so, we didn’t have any nannies. There was no free spot in the kindergarten either if somebody would take such a small kid. I took my daughter to classroom which wasn’t far away, but just in another building. The school principal didn’t mind because they really needed a German language teacher. My daughter was either sitting or sleeping between students. She actually started to speak in full sentences extremely early and she also started to walk just at nine month.

My biggest problem was getting the wood: they showed me large logs which I was allowed to use, and before I could utilize them for heating, I had to split these large logs. I had seen my dad splitting wood, and it looked quite easy. I borrowed a huge axe and got to splitting. That was really tough, especially until I grasped how one tries to hit the right spot on the log. Next thing was to get that wood to the second floor storage. I decided to organize a help team from anybody who was around, and I was very lucky that some older teens and a few other teachers assisted in taking the wood to the second floor.

Salaries were miserably small, I mean, really small. I was doing sewing for people who wanted some outfit. After daily lessons I gave at school, I was sewing wedding dresses, suits, jackets, skirts, dresses, blouses, you name it. Some people offered produce and products instead of money. Well, I didn’t refuse.

I was in the fourth year at the University; I studied foreign languages at that time. Later at night I was preparing my test works, research works, etc. It was a lot of work for one person, however, I managed to read books, go to concerts or dancing to a local club whenever there was something on, too.

I have been thinking a lot: how did I manage to get this done? Practically on my own: full-time job, studying at University, small kid, home chores: wood, water, laundry, cleaning; sewing to make some additional money? People quite frequently don’t have to do even half of that and they are saying there is no time for anything.

The answer is extremely simple: I did not have a TV. Internet wasn’t invented yet. I didn’t have any phone. Nobody was dreaming about something we call smart phone now. I mean, there were practically zero distractions.

It’s impossible to avoid from all distractions with everything going on at once nowadays, however, there is a line which we can draw. We also learn how to say “No”. We sort out priorities and start with the most difficult mandatory tasks, then we move to easier things, and then we enjoy the time we have saved. It shouldn’t be at the expense of sleep, definitely not.

So, we are now free to go and smell and enjoy flowers.

I declare war to trends

Trends limit my choices

Trends are making me sick. Trends are everywhere and they want to manage each step of us.

After I moved my art blog to a self-hosted website, I got into a three months long night mare. I could not find a theme which more or less suits what I want. I worked hard and paid money for some themes which (how silly from me!) I believed are what the advertising page says.

It’s all beautiful until you start to edit the elements and try to adjust them to your taste.

I basically run into 2 major problems because of the stupid trends: you can get something like one-page-minimalist grey theme, extremely basic theme (I even paid for one!) which will never work for my art or you have a choice of expensive, totally supercharged, overloaded with hundreds of effects themes. That is because of trends. Every site mentions that: very trendy, very creative, very artistic. I didn’t see any of that.

2 themes practically crashed my art site. So, I worked as a slave and returned to the basic twenty seventeen which was there as a base anyway. Just widened the content area with additional css slightly. Does it suit my requirements, taste or standards? Absolutely not. I tried adding more css, and basically there was a moments when I lost all text in all my blog posts.

I didn’t mind paying for a theme, but I mind that they are never what it says, shows in the demo, and these themes were actually never what I PREFER. They are just TRENDY. TREND is a big things nowadays.

I go the store and look for pants. Just something comfortable to wear while teaching classes. I could sew them, I am a very good fashion designer and I can craft anything. Why didn’t I just do that? I was feeling not well for the last 3 years, and that is actually an understatement. I was off for 3 years. So, I’m going easy with everything at the moment. Guess what? I go to one store: there are only trends. Something which I don’t like, don’t want and am not willing to associate with “comfortable and decently looking”. There are only trends which somebody thought will suit all trillions of people on the Earth. There are lots and lots of stuff, but absolutely nothing for ME.

I am different. My art is different.

My background is different.

My taste is different.

My DNA is unique, and so I am.

So, why am I endlessly facing the pressure of TREND? It isn’t logical. Is it? The answer is very simple: the global market has to point out trends in order all sheep-like people would religiously follow the recommended whatever which is called TREND. It is way easier to make everything trendy color, trendy style, trendy content because if the offer would be individualized it would cover tiny market. That would big time decrease the profit. Profit goes closely hand in hand with trend. It seems that 95% of populations believe they have to follow trend.

Who sets the trend?

You are made believe it is some celebrity or somebody one person. Oh well, the global engineer, the global profit-taking, the master-entrepreneur and owner of everything decides that. The 1% who has it all. The owner of the entire available and unimaginable capital which constitutes 1% of population.

Why do we need trends? Trend isn’t style, and even less it is your personal style or taste.

I often hear: I hate this trend, but I still got the dress or outfit, or purse, or furniture, or whatever.

We need to announce trends in order you would throw out your previous year’s accessories and had to the store to get something new.  You need to have trendy color in order you’d start to hate your not-bad-at-all couch. Or car.

Trend is made so big because it enables fooling so many people. One feels so great when they have trendy everything. Or do they? Putting it simple: trend facilitates your spending.

What does the trend mean for me? It means that I cannot get what I want, plain and simple. The stuff I want might be not trending right now. It actually isn’t.

Why do they make it so difficult for me?

For an individual with a personal taste, style, preferences? I feel like I have to do everything on my own: I have to grow and cook my own food, I have to design and make my own outfits, I have to create my own environment, I have to even write my own WordPress theme for which I don’t have time or resources if I want it to be as I like.

TREND is neglecting me as individual or personality.

TREND is dictating me what to like, what to read, what to watch, what to think, what to believe, who to trust, and eventually we get to the point that it is managing things that are available to me.

TREND is actually putting me in a box while trying to make me think that I am oh-so-awesome trendy lady. The fact of the matter is: I never wanted to be trendy. TREND practically excludes a personal style because people who have a personal style do not stick with a trend or change everything when the trend changes. I always had my own head, my personal opinion and my personal attitude. TREND is directly opposite to an independent way of life.

These are the reasons why I have to declare war to trends.

If the global population was less like sheep, the trend would not have gotten so big. Media facilitates the trend. Profit taking is huge with trend. Financial gains for trend-setters are insane. I don’t want to support it. Instead, I want my choices back. I want access to things that are not trendy, or don’t seem to be, but I like them. It prefer them.

The only thing the TREND does not do is: it does not suit me. It does not fit me. I am somebody who has my own brain. I am somebody who has a strong personal style. I am somebody who thinks and lives independently.

Warm spring greetings to my blog friends

I am completely in migrating my art blog inesepogagallery.com  to a WordPress website. It hasn’t been a smooth ride so far. I am still waiting for quite a few responses from support team, but I have lost all followers (almost 2000) because of this move and there obviously no likes under my imported posts yet. The most terrible part is that I do not have even the simple one-click “Follow” button which appears to be a nightmare to generate. I haven’t gotten that done yet. The site is being added features and lost parts every day, but still, it takes a lot of time.

I would greatly appreciate the former followers stayed in touch by either following this blog or by renewing subscription to the newly created website.

All tutorials and instructions describe such a move as an easy breeze, but it was nothing like that. It seems one also needs quite a lot of money for such a move (which I wasn’t prepared for).

Well, my head is spinning already, and I haven’t even made up a normal menu yet, just trying to republish the lost posts.

Meanwhile, the weather is getting better and the planting season is approaching fast.

Therefore, my blog migration feels at a wrong time, but since it’s done, I will have to just move forward and hope for the best.

 

New Year: setting steps and path to better ourselves

Who am I in the school of life? A life-long student, an observer, an explorer, and a teacher. The main thing is: we should never say “I know it all”. We do not, and it is unlikely, we ever will.

Happy New Year

My personal experience is that too much talking is useless and leads to misunderstandings, disputes which solve nothing but cause reactions which would not happen otherwise. I also think that talking and discussions should be kept to minimum as opposed to simply getting things done. It is a point of view of and Eastern European. I was watching some movies back then in 70-s, and there were some serials which most often involved: Do you want to talk about this?” These series showed that these particular people could avoid so many misunderstandings if they only would not talk so much. If they simply had been acting as they had intended to. Well, many counselling and advisory services want us to do exactly that: talk about things. I realize that there are people who need to talk out their problems. I am somebody who has to act in order to solve something.

New Year Resolutions Belief

A typical person with western upbringing makes plans, drawings, sketches, explores all possible materials, any possible tools and any ways to get some particular item done, and this involves endless discussions either on the phone or in person. A typical person with eastern upbringing gets right away to make that particular thing they need. They have a necessity for that item and a plan in their head, they have some experience and they most often use whatever is available without special tools and without special exploration. If there is something I will desperately need to get by, I can get it any time. The result is usually equally good. It is just so that my direct approach saves time and misunderstandings. It saves discussions and arguments. I have also seen how people, who want to be prepared for everything, get done nothing. Therefore, I would say: just get to it whatever it is you have decided to accomplish. Life always makes its corrections. It always does, whether that is a house you are building or a relationship you are fixing. We certainly need a general plan which outlines steps we are about to make in order to get wherever we want. However, steps and path are what we have to be aware of at first. Pointing out steps and becoming knowledgeable about clear path which leads us to the result is actually more important than the distant and huge goal itself.

It is also so that the brain can easily identify such steps and alert us by giving certain signals if we are about to lose our path and to get lost.

New Year Miracles and Dreams

Here is an example: resolution I will be healthy and eat healthy realistically means nothing in the point of view of the brain. It will say: so what? Be. Resolution: I will discontinue any soft drink usage either at home or eating out indicates path how to get rid at least of some unwanted chemicals and sugars.

Resolution: I will lose weight means absolutely nothing for the brain. Resolution: I will take 30 minutes long walk every night between 7 and 7.30 pm gives your brain an idea what to stick at. Resolution: I will be nice to other people technically means nothing. Specify the situations and steps.

Resolution: I will control my blood sugar more frequently to avoid upsetting my family with my bad moods is a good resolution. I will most likely do just that.

My other New Year’s resolution due to the above explained also is: I will speak less and only when the situation requires, and think, make decisions and do more.

Specifying steps, pathways and issues in numbers helps, as well. The signal has to be direct and call to action. That leads to big goals much faster and with less frustration and disappointment for failures.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and may all your dreams come true!

Seasons change: why not to change something in our life, as well?

Autumn is here. I don’t really like that much thinking that it is a fall; therefore, I’m sticking to the more poetic British “autumn”.  Nature is thoughtful and prepares carefully for frosts, winds, rain and sleep. Well, we will be not sleeping for 6 months, but our energy levels due to lack of sunshine and the great mood vitamin D decrease can go down, too, therefore, we go for comfort foods, comfort settings, comfort treatments and we certainly consume more sweets than we should.

Autumn photography backyard

Seasonal turn is a good time for creating new habits. Why not right now engage in some herbal tea? Make it a habit? Some herbal tea is beneficial in many ways: it can calm or re-energize, wake up or help falling asleep, take care of brain alertness, improve mood, decrease pain or infection, so on and so on. The only thing one should do is to choose the right thing, I mean, the right tea. The most beneficial herbal aids are those which grow in your native land or land where your parents and grandparents are from. Our DNA has much longer memory than we do, so we should trust it and support it. Our body will respond with good health.

I hear and read quite often how people are told: you cannot do it on your own. I dare to say this message is very misleading and it carries exactly the opposite meaning of what our human nature is about. The only person we always can and should trust and rely on is WE. We know ourselves the best even though we sometimes do not want to admit that we are having all this huge knowledge. We want to put our weak side first and complain about lack of support and that there is nobody who we can cry on a shoulder. Well, there is always this one: we ourselves. Theoretically it is like this: if some other human has done it, I can do it, as well. We are made so that we can do everything we need during our lifetime. That includes much wider skills than we can think off, much more understanding than we would imagine, much more strength than we believe we have. Sometimes resources are hidden very deep, and getting to these resources can be tricky. However, humans are the most adaptive creatures on the earth, or would we still be alive if we weren’t? Just to mention the piles of chemicals we are breathing, drinking and eating in, we have quite adapted to harmful substances; to a degree that mild poisons don’t kill us, at least in a short term, they don’t. Therefore, whatever you problem is, you should know that you can deal with everything in the best possible way. Your own health is in your hands, your own success is in your hands and also the solution of your own problems is YOU. Many people really need to start thinking: I can do this on my own. What is usually stopping you from achieving your goals? Bad luck? Could be. Bad financials? Quite possible. Bad inherited disease? Well, many people go through all kinds of health problems.

Autumn colors of vines

You will make a difference in the moment when you take control of your life in your own hands. Support is great, but you don’t even need it BECAUSE YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING ON YOUR OWN. As soon as you realize how many opportunities are straight within you, how many solutions are just waiting to be discovered, you will start RELYING on yourself. TRUSTING yourself, because you have all the answers already. It is hilarious how some people want to convince you that they know what exactly your problem is! They are just guessing and here and there they hit the right spot. Asking for advice is completely another thing. We should appreciate any advice and yet, only we decide whether to take it or not, whether there is something valuable for us, in particular.

Autumn colors of garden

I am attaching some of my fall pictures. I couldn’t resist since there is always so much beauty straight in our backyard.

Autumn colors of raspberry leaves

Happy autumn!

Therapeutic horticulture for realistic optimists: one step closer to good life

I would like to suggest implementing a few positive activities in our daily routine.

We can certainly find happiness within ourselves, but since we are also very social creatures, our happiness, feeling of fulfillment, pride, love, satisfaction with life and desire to embrace life as is will quite often depend on relationships, appreciation of other people and interactions with them whether in a small family circle, in a larger social group or even global context. Therefore, we need a strong support. A strong something to hold on, or somebody who is always up to the challenge, who we can always rely on, who we can trust completely.

There is a person who we can always count on. This person is us. It can be extremely hard to make somebody else feel happy and satisfied with the current life settings if the situation is far from brilliant. However, it is practically always possible to make ourselves satisfied with life.

In order to avoid disappointments, I’d say we should

rely on ourselves whenever possible;

ask for support and advice people who we trust when we feel lost, and

always treat the situation realistically and appropriately.

horticulture find happiness in your backyard

Plenty of people suffer from pain, severe disorders, stress, nervousness, anxiety, sleeplessness, mental disorders, obesity, diabetes, liver or kidney diseases, cardiac and vascular illnesses, post-disease traumas and simply fear from life once they have experienced unpleasant treatment from somebody, bad situations and accidents or loss and detachment from people who they cared a lot about.

That is painful, devastating and overwhelming; and although, we tell ourselves to forget and live our life as if nothing ever happened, it takes time and huge effort to either start everything from new, or correct whatever we are able to correct, change and adjust.

horticulture flower therapy

After a very bad accident about 2 decades ago, I can hardly recall any single day when there was no pain. It can be extremely bad or just irritating, but pain is always with me; my nasty companion, never leaving me alone.

Multiple surgeries and long treatments were the reason I became type I diabetic. Quite honestly, it’s not a pleasure, even though nobody would notice any visible changes in me. It is tough because there is no such a thing anymore for me: do whatever you want since there will be sequences. I cannot skip any step of my strict schedule: not even one day, not even one hour.

However, I love life even with all its troubles, will all its restrictions and limitations. There are many.

I am writing in my other blog how art can be an extremely useful tool for maximizing our potential and doing something valuable which brings a lot of good things in our life. There are many people who attend my classes, I would not have met them without my love to art.

horticulture treatment for mental health

Many people do gardening, love flowers, plants and nature, and that is fantastic!

Gardening can mean many different things: gardening for profit, gardening to provide oneself or family with clean and nutrition-rich produce, gardening for fun and as a hobby and gardening as therapeutic horticulture. You probably have not heard that much about the latter before, but this means using your garden, balcony, backyard or any natural space for growing plants, vegetables, herbs, flowers, herbal teas and similar, and do this all for therapeutic purposes. “Hortus” means “garden” in Latin, and that’s why we call it horticulture (cultivation of a garden). Horticulture has extremely long history and it deals with multiple food growing, exploring and enriching, and non-food aspects, including psychology, design and even treatment.

One does not have to be a scientist to see how many beneficial effects gardening has on the person who loves it.

How could gardening for therapeutic purposes help somebody who is not a gardener and doesn’t want to be one, but would love to still enjoy being out in the nature?

horticulture grow your own nutritious vegetables

Beautiful and delicious

horticulture and health

We are spending enormous time indoors: in buildings and in vehicles nowadays. That is a huge part of our life. We have lost the connection with natural processes and we have forgotten that nature has and always had a cure for everything. The truth is, we simply walked away from it being sure that chemicals will replace anything we need and technology will make our life a dream. That did not quite happen, and the easy life came at a very high price: epidemic numbers of incurable and difficult curable diseases, damaged DNA and inherited conditions from which children suffer all life.

Most people have forgotten or have never known how that feels: to touch the soil.

Well, they should try that because the Earth has incredible powers, and it can do both: cleansing and re-energizing. Therefore, people who would benefit most from growing something or participating in outdoor gardening activities are first of all small children, kids, adolescents, elderly and sick people or those who suffer from mental conditions.

horticulture healthy herbs

Contact with soil, plants and flowers can be not only of huge aesthetic value, but it also contributes to everything we so badly want emotionally and physically: get rid of stress, sleep well without pills, become more confident, happy and satisfied with life by watching the growing and life cycle in the garden.

Here is what clinical research has found: therapeutic horticulture can help with

reduction of pain and stress, improvement of attention and focusing ability, decrease in agitation and anxiety, improvement of the quality of life;

gaining new skills and regaining the lost ones, improvement of memory, sense of responsibility and social interaction and many more depending on the person who needs some relief.

horticulture use it to be healthy

My beautiful garden: there is always only good news

horticulture flowers for mental health

How does the therapeutic horticulture work for me?

I do it mostly for pleasure and I simply must have a garden. I have always had one and have made numerous new gardens anywhere I lived, always from scratch. I take care about my flowers, plants and herbs every day and every moment when I can afford to be outdoors.

If I cannot walk or something else is wrong on that day, I can sit there and simply adore all shapes, colors and the natural perfection. The morning dew or afternoon heat, the mystic colors through foliage at sunset, the first berries or tomatoes: that is a source of endless calm, happiness and satisfaction. Being out in the garden re-energizes, takes away pain and cheers me up even in the worst days. I am drawing and painting my garden, flowers and vegetables, and garden becomes my art and inspiration. Well, it is an integral part of my life. It can replace so many things which I cannot do, attend or go to. I will return to this theme some time because it is essential for me to share with others how much such simple pleasure can give us.

horticulture beauty and health

Beauty and health plus energy

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