Monthly Archives: July 2013

Anti-Zen Desire Nothing the Universe takes it as a Challenge

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Alica Mckenna Johnson, zen, anti-zen, Edward Dalmulde

Photo by Edward Dalmulde

Desire is the source of all suffering, is a familiar quote. For normal people, I think it means that if you focus on what you don’t have, you don’t enjoy the bounty that surrounds you already.

For me it means don’t post, speak, or write your goals; the Universe takes them as the punch line and makes a joke.
If I say that I want to work out 3-5 days a week, within 2 weeks I will get sick or injure myself.

If I say I want to write 1000 words everyday my computer will break, I’ll get sick, or one of my work kids will lose it and I’ll be so exhausted from work that during my six hours off I’ll do nothing but sleep. (Oh, yes, this has so happened before.)

Now this isn’t to say I don’t have goals, hopes, and dreams. I do, we all do, but I just try to not let the Universe know what they are.

What about you? Can you share your desires, or does the Universe see it as a challenge to mess with you?

Don’t stop, keep talking. Is it hot in here??

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Alan Rickman, Tim Curry, and Benedict Cumberbatch—scoot those over on the sexy voice couch so Sean Pertwee can sit down. Now I’ve seen him in other things, but today hubby and I watched all of the BBC series Honest. We picked it up because of Amanda Redman, who is the beautiful/sexy/strong, non-Barbie looking leading lady we have all been seeking.

Anyway Sean Pertwee has this deep raspy sexy voice that started making my knees week. His movie and TV list on IMDB is huge, but go ahead and watch Honest. It is super funny, and his character’s sexiness grows.

Word of warning—only one season, AND there is nudity, but it is equal. We get women’s breasts and the guys’ naked bums 🙂 But if you love a sexy voice as much as I do, trust me and check out Sean Pertwee.

Here is a clip of him narrating *swoons*

So who is your favorite sexy voice?

Anti- Zen I’m living in the Now so stop asking me what we are doing next!

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Alica Mckenna Johnson, Zen, anti-Zen

Photo by h. koppdelaney


In my job (I am a house parent for kids removed from their homes by Child Protective Services), things can change in an instant. I can have three empty beds, then get a knock on the door and be full again. I can have calm kids who I would happily take anywhere,something sets one of them off, and I’m watching a two-hour fit. I can be hugged and cussed out by the same child in a matter of minutes.

So I have been forced to live in the NOW. Not the serene place of being in the moment and focusing on what is happening and what you feel without thinking of the future. No its more of a ‘I am trying to get through this moment in time, so I won’t tell you what is coming because everything could change’ moment.

Example:We are eating breakfast.

Kids: Alica, what are we doing today?

Me, grabbing the syrup from a toddler who screams in rage: I have no idea. I’m just trying to get through breakfast.

I never make promises, and I almost never tell the kids what is coming up. I might have visits scheduled on my calendar, but I don’t tell the kids until minutes before they happen because people get sick, cars break down, parents fail drug tests and everything changes.

I usually have a plan in my head, but planning out a day and setting up all my ducks in neat little rows, that was beaten out of me.

Alica Mckenna Johnson, ducks in a row, Zen, anti-Zen

Photo by Tim Green

I’m not sure I would call it flexibility, because I don’t really have anything solid to move around. I try to keep my days, plans, and expectations, minute by minute and free form as possible so I can be and do what is needed.
So what about you, do you live in the Now? Did you achieve it through deep spiritual focus and personal growth or did trying to plan in the middle of chaos finally wear you down enough to give up and let go?

Type A persona engaged—warp speed ahead!

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Alica Mckenna Johnson, pasta

Photo by Nebulux76

I was watching So You Think You Can Dance, which I love it is one of my favorite shows. So there I am watching these amazing beautiful power dancers, while eating a huge plate of spaghetti. Then they showed this interview with a young male dancer who’d been in a bad car accident, and his back had been broken.

I teared up listening to his parents talk about how scared they were. Listening to his story, watching him work out with the trainer to re-gain his strength and to be able to dance again I was inspired. That he could go through all of that and fight his way back to being able to dance, and dance beautifully, gave me chills.

As I sat there eating spaghetti, I thought about how hard he had he had worked and what he must have suffered through to be able to dance again, to re-claim his body again, and yet somehow I can’t lose ten pounds and keep it off?

I thought about this, about how if this is something I want, then I should fight for it. And that’s when I realized I wasn’t even sure what I was fighting for. I have been overweight for so long that I no longer remember what it is to feel good about how I look. I want to feel sexy, strong, healthy, and confident in my body. I have no idea what that is any more. And in truth the last time I felt that way, I was a teenager. The body I remember liking was two children, 20 plus years, and thousands of cartons of Ben and Jerry’s ago.

Will I even like my body after I lose weight?

I mean I’ll feel better, be healthier, stronger, and when the Doctor comes I’ll be able to run away from Daleks and such. All very important. But will I like it? Will I think I look pretty, sexy, or be happy at all?

I have no idea, and I think that sense of wondering, that not knowing, makes things harder. The dancer could remember what it felt like to spin, leap, and move across a stage. He had a very clear goal in mind. And I think that goal, that focus, helped him get through the hard times.

I don’t have that. When things get hard some I have some ambiguous idea, but no “I’ll be stronger, I’ll be healthier, I’ll fit into a smaller size,” just isn’t that inspiring. And in that moment, I usually give up—I eat something fatty, I sleep instead of working out, I stay up all night to read instead of getting the sleep I know I need.

How do you stay focused on a non-tangible goal? Do you find a goal you can’t quite picture or feel harder to stay committed to?

Hush, I’m on the phone

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telephone, teenagers, Alica Mckenna Johnson

Photo by Marc Lagneau

Every parent knows that if you want attention from your child all you have to do is get on the phone. My kids have ignored me for hours upon hours, and yet I pick up the phone to make a call—they don’t even hear it ring—and their evil psychic nature that lets them know when a parent is happy or content turns on, and suddenly children are everywhere. Kids I’ve never even seen before are climbing all over me ,asking me for things, arguing, and wanting me to watch them do a trick.

But today the tables were turned. I came back from the gym—yes honestly, I went to the gym—and my son was on the phone. I didn’t realize he was on the phone because he uses his fancy headphones, so I said “HI” and asked how he was doing. He turns and shushes me. “Mom I’m on the phone with Erin.”

Seriously?

After years of tormenting me every time I picked up the phone this boy is shushing me?

He turned and went back to cooking his breakfast (not making any for me BTW) and says. “Sorry about that. It was just my mom.”

grapes, Alica Mckenna Johnson

Photo by cellar_door_films


I spent the rest of his conversation throwing grapes at him, at random intervals so he couldn’t block them, and occasionally interjecting my awesome thoughts and opinions into the conversation I could hear.

Do you have kids who shush you while they are on the phone? Do you respect that or get even for the past?

Brainwashing, it’s not just for cults anymore

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docguy, weight loss , ice cream

Photo by docguy

I am always my own worst enemy. The thoughts that run rampant in my head can take a turn for the worst, and when this happens my life crashes. Of course, I have big batches of time where I am sane-ish, when I get things done, take care of myself, and feel good. But when things tip, when I lose my balance, these thought come rushing in, and suddenly not writing and sleeping all day sounds great. Instead of eating an apple, I eat ice cream, and getting enough sleep? yeah, that’s one big joke.

So how does one stop crazy thoughts?

I could read books. There are plenty of spiritual/ self-help books that focus on being in the here and now, that offer meditations to let those negative thoughts go. But really I don’t have the time, and I would only do it when I’m doing well.

So I have opted for an easier way, a more passive way, and I’m doing it right now. Subliminal messages. Oh, yes. I am employing the ancient art of brainwashing on myself. I am using a series of tapes, some that are subliminal, some guided imagery, some sleep programming.

If I can’t find will power within myself, then I shall brainwash myself into it!

Right now I am doing tapes that focus on health, healthy eating, and weight loss. But they also have ones on creativity, getting more done, overcoming fears, and tons of other topics.

I have had enough of my brain getting in the way of self-discipline, leaving me the moment things get tough. Maybe these won’t work. Maybe they will. The other day I was planning on eating nachos for lunch. I started to grab the stuff and suddenly did not want them anymore. I had fruit instead and an hour later when I was actually hungry, I made a sandwich.

apocalypse, mango, magoes,

Photo by Tatters:)

I figure as long as the messages aren’t turning me into part of some mad woman’s secret assassin army, it’s all good.

Do you have self-discipline? Are you able to keep the negative self-talk to a minimum, or do you also try to drown the voices in egg rolls and cheese cake?

Sushi Porn

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Hubby and I just watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and I now feel like everything I have ever eaten is the equivalent of McDonald’s compared to what Jiro serves at his sushi restaurant.

Watching this has made me realize that perfect is something to strive for, not something to reach. If Jiro can feel that his sushi, rice, a slice of fish, and some sauce can be improved upon, than certainly the things I do in my life can be improved upon. I can always strive to do better, to learn more, to hone my skills, my craft, my intention, and my focus.

I am a vegetarian, but there is something so vibrant and seemingly nurturing and nutritious about raw fish: the color, the transparent shine. I don’t know, maybe it’s just Jiro’s sushi which looks this way, but I now want to go out and have sushi. Maybe someday I’ll even go to Japan, making my reservation at least a month in advance, and eat a meal at Jiro’s. I mean they start at 30,000 yen and can be more, depending on what is fresh and good that day. BTW that is $294.

Are you like Jiro always striving to be better to learn more? Do you love what you do and give your all to you work your passion?

Are you a sushi fan? What should I try first?

What Would You Build?

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castle, apocalipse, Dave Stokes

Photo by Dave Stokes


Yes, it is once again time to ponder the apocalypse. And today’s question is What Would You Build? Pretending that you have the resources, what would you like to build before the end times come?

A castle surrounded by a moat? And not just any castle but one that could withstand a siege. One with a blacksmith, and livestock, and gardens. One with secret passages and hidden rooms. One where the moat is filled with piranhas or crocodiles or some mutant, bad-tempered sea bass.

Maybe you are more of a missile silo type person. Something where only one story is above ground, and three two-foot-thick locking steel doors separate the vulnerable top floor from the bottom ten floors. Inside you have fully furnished rooms, a greenhouse, not sure about livestock—that will depend on the ventilation—but maybe some chickens. Rooms dedicated to all sorts of activities. Really, the point is you could easily stay down in the silo for years if needed.

Maybe you don’t want to be trapped inside a building, so your plan is to build a massive booby-trapped fence around a large farm. There will be several homes for those few people you are willing to put up with, and acres of cultivated land with some set aside for grazing animals. Your tools are all old-fashioned; you will not need gasoline or electricity to get the job done. You have set up buildings to preserve foods, make raw wool into clothing and blankets, tan leather, and store vegetables. You are ready; you even have 100 pairs of overall stacked in the closet.

blimp, derdgable, apocalipse , Alica Mckenna Johnson

Photo by artic_whirlwind

Are you going to build a fleet of airships? You will dominate the air! You will be like a god, floating down into villages with food and goods from around the country. You will train my own staff. Costumes and uniforms are being designed, and certain people will be required to wear eye patches.

Are you going to create the techno city of the future? You have downloaded all that is on Amazon and Netflix. You will install solar, wind, and hydro power. You will have the waste system create methane. You will create the new Las Vegas! It will be a a hotbed of sin, debauchery, and self-indulgence. The finest moonshiners from the Appalachians will be brought in. And for those of more refined taste you will have a winery for your drinking pleasure. You shall rename yourself Bacchus, and life will be one big party.

So what kind of post apocalypse future will you be building?