Simplify Your Life

During my Google research of slow living info this morning  I found the website simplify.de (unfortunately only German) by Werner Kuestenmacher, a protestant theologian in Bavaria, who started in 1990 as a freelance writer, cartoonist and speaker.

The cartoon with the seven-stage simplify pyramid reminded me a little bit of my own mess, so I immediately subscribed to the newsletter … and also ordered the book Simplify Your Life by Werner Kuestenmacher and Lothar J. Seiwert.

In the next few weeks I’ll tell you about my self-experiment with the implementation of the tips.  I will keep myself largely to the seven-stage simplify pyramid, but also include other sources, for example, The 7 Secrets of the turtle by Aljosha Long and Ronald Schweppe (unfortunately this book is only available in German), Cut the Clutter by Cynthia Ewer and others.

And now a brief description of the Simplify pyramid:

  • Level 1: Things
    Simplify things on your desk, in your wardrobe, in your apartment, in the garage, in your car – in that order and without separation between private and business utensils.
     
  • Level 2: Finances
    A difficult issue that is more difficult to manage than the chaos at home and in the office. We are talking about cash, account balances, debt, loans, savings, expenses and about mental blocks in dealing with money.
     
  • Level 3: Time
    Organizing the daily 24 hours, in order to get more meaningful free time. Time for your partner, children, friends, bosses, relatives, but also for the daily routines, hobbies, and especially for yourself, time to reflect, recharge your batteries, do nothing.
     
  • Level 4: Health
    Avoid diseases in the long run, achieve a healthy interaction between body and mind, and thus a healthy relationship with your own sexuality, eg. by losing weight, healthy diet, relaxation exercises.
     
  • Level 5: Relationships
    Social relationships can be complicated and often lead to intrigues, disputes, jealousy, bullying. Therefore, it is important to become free for contacts that really enrich.
     
  • Level 6: Partnership
    A partnership does not necessarily exist between spouses or partners; this can also be special friends, relatives, or other important relationships or God for religiously oriented people.
     
  • Level 7: You yourself
    The top of the pyramid. The goal is the realization of your own idea of happiness and fulfillment, the meaning of life.
     

I am looking forward to the result and to your comments.

Literature:

Links der Woche – Natural Antibiotics and Natural Remedies

The day before yesterday I noticed the first signs. Chills and fever, headache, sore throat … Although the flu epidemic already faded away. I think I have to grasp some natural remedies.

  • Elderberry juice
  • hot lemonade with ginger and honey
  • chicken broth

A DAK (German health insurance company) study has determined that we take too much antibiotics – and especially children. That does not have to. Nature offers an alternative especially for urinary and respiratory tract infections. For thousands of years herbal antibiotics are used with success and without the known side effects of chemical antibiotics.

Hypericum perforatum - Common Saint John's wort
Hypericum perforatum – Common Saint John’s wort

This week’s favorite links für natural antibiotics and remedies.

  1. Natural Antibiotics
  2. Top 10 Natural Antibiotics Hiding In Your Kitchen
  3. 5 Powerful Antibiotics That Don’t Require A Prescription!
  4. Natural antibiotics to stockpile now: 10 herbs and foods that kill superbugs
  5. 24-Hour Flu Treatment
  6. The Cold Buster – Anti-Inflammatory Concentrate
  7. Modern Alternative Mama – Natural Remedies
  8. 22 Natural Sore Throat Remedies to Help Soothe the Pain
  9. Home Remedies & Natural Cures
  10. At Home Cold and Flu Remedies

 

And again … the home remedies helped. 🙂

I wish you a happy and healthy easter,

Gabi

 

Warning: Disclaimer and common hint on medical subjects.

 

Links of the Week

This time I have to disappoint you … I can only provide German “Slow Living” Links at the moment. But in a short time you may find also English homepages here. So please come back soon.

I wish you a great weekend

mandalas – balm for the soul

mandala

amongst others the painting of mandala images is great means for deceleration and relaxation.

the word mandala means circle. and mandala images consist of geometric shapes that form around a centre point. the colouring of mandalas has some positive effects. it is especially nice to relax and to reduce stress. the flow of thoughts calms down. creativity and concentration is encouraged.

so, depending on the mood, I select a mandala from the book energie und kraft durch mandalas[i] von marion und werner küstenmacher, of which I like the shape and look. I retreat to a place where I feel comfortable and undisturbed.

particularly suitable for colouring are crayons.

the colouring of mandalas is a lot more. it is a ritual, a dance around the centre, run by crayons, which leave their colourful traces.

who colours, hits the trail …

it is advisable to create the picture from the outside to the inside. for accompaniment to the calm suits relaxation music.

mandalas stand for order and structure. the geometric shapes are familiar to us since childhood and ensure a spatial and temporal orientation while being drawn. therefore mandalas for example are ideal for use in ergotherapy. with their established form they provide assistance for patients where free painting could trigger the emotion of mental overload.

the drawing of mandalas is also a preferred meditation exercise of Tibetan monks.

and it is not a matter that the mandala must be as perfect and beautiful. the result is secondary. above all it is a matter of time with yourself. just live and paint. a great moment to win. and those who try it, will understand the magic …

mandala
mandala

my mandala shows a colourful fantasy-flower.

I can also recommend the book by ruediger dahlke mandalas der welt[ii].

Sources:

[i] Marion and Werner Tiki Küstenmacher: Energie und Kraft durch Mandalas, Bassermann Verlag, Munich 2008, ISBN-10: 3809423688, ISBN-13: 978-3809423683

[ii] Ruediger Dahlke: Mandalas der Welt, Heinrich Hugendubel Verlag, Kreuzlingen/Munich 2006, ISBN-10: 3880342652, ISBN-13: 978-3880342651

Don’t toss it – repair it

Reparatur-Café

We live in a throwaway society. Unfortunately, one of our gadgets is broken and we consider whether it is worth to have it repaired. We quickly decide that a repair is more expensive than buying a new device.  And certainly the item ends up in the waste.  Often enough in household waste, although it is actually e-waste.  Admittedly for many repairs you need a certain expert knowledge and appropriate tools.

One solution for non-amateur crafters: why not ask your friends or neighbours.  And in return offer your expertise.  Sure you can find a bulletin board somewhere in your vicinity, e.g. in the supermarket.

Repair Café

Another positive trend are Repair-Cafés, originally from Holland – initiated by Martine Postma in 2007.  Usually they are organized by local economic agents, volunteers and repair experts; you can bring your defective items to fix them and – most of all – together with the experts.  You receive valuable tips and instructions for making it yourself.

The particular benefit of this project

  • waste prevention
  • environmental protection
  • sustainablility
  • learning
  • knowledge preservation
  • contacts
  • appreciation

The required tools and materials for the repair of furniture, appliances, clothing, toys and bicycles are largely available, e. g. carpentry tools, tools for electrical appliances, sewing accessories.  Having coffee, tea and cake you can now screw, solder, cut, sew.  You may also find interesting books about repair and home improvement on a reading table.  The chance of success is actually the greatest when you bring all the cables, accessory and operating instructions.

Locations

There are now Repair-Cafés in 15 countries worldwide, e. g. the Netherlands, Germany, France, USA, Australia.  Here you will find a list of cafés near you.  By the way, if you want to open your own Repair-Café, you receive a lot of support and information – and all at a very reasonable price.

What do you prefer? Repair it or toss it? Please tell me your experiences?

Anyone can be a hero

Rockmusik

“We live through passions, through rationality we only exist.”
Nicolas Chamfort (1741 – 1794)

… and the mornings I enjoy with my great passion, the rock music. “music was my first love …”.  music is a wonderful medium to convey emotions; an honest language that everyone can understand.

currently my absolute favourite is the swiss rock band “crystal ball”. it is always a great pleasure to listen to steven m.’s impressive voice to the melodic hard rock rhythms.

particularly awesome is the emotionally performed ballad “eternal flame”.

the sounds get deeply into my ears.  I hum and sing along, bobbing to the beat and start to dance. and that puts me in a highly emotional spirit for the new day. it brings a light into  everyday life.

I feel happy and secure.

music arises out of a sensation.  and what we hear are the emotions and thoughts of the musician. it often reflects the current mood of the musician. a feeling that is also embedded in the experiences and influences, a synthesis.

and so I float lighthearted and easy-going through this day. there is always a new beginning …  and “anyone can be a hero” …

Get rid of old and odd things

declutter 15 minutes

In a previous post I have already written about decluttering.  Our goal is to lead a “simpler” life with more time for ourselves and our loved ones.

Let us look around.  Do the files pile up on your desk? What is the appearance of your apartment?  The garden? You hope to get a better overview? Too many knick-knacks in the way.  The stunted plant on the windowsill is not motivating, too.  Piles of documents, all waiting to be read.  And then the kitchen, the wardrobe, the nursery, the garage, the attic …  Pretty much ballast …  And this ballast blocks us.

The first important discovery:  Clutter cannot be organised.

 

With what do we start?

Everything visible.

 

Where do we start?

Everyone needs to find out for oneself.  I start in the living room and work my way from there to the other rooms. The garden follows later.  It’s winter now … (At least in the Northern Hemisphere)

 

How do we start?

I set a timer to 15 minutes, take a garbage bag and a box or more bags and grab a duster and a damp cloth.  Anything can be done for 15 minutes.  For each part, I now have to make a tough decision:

  • waste or not repairable – into the garbage bag
  • seasonal items – in a labelled box
  • keep it – clean it

    I take pictures of valuable items and file them with purchase date and price (ideally with proof of purchase) in an inventory folder

  • items with emotional value that don’t match the furnishings – in a labelled box
  • items that you do not like, but are too good or too valuable for waste – give away or sell

    Books to the public library, dresses for second-hand shop, tableware and decoration to the flea market

You will see, in 15 minutes you can accomplish a lot.  And now have fun with decluttering.  Important: throw the filled garbage bag immediately in the bin!

And now we repeat this every day!

How do you declutter?  Do you have any other suggestions? Just write me.  The best ideas will be published here?

Healthy Diet – Part 3

Gesund durch Ernährung

We take a lot of medications and are still sick.  The Nutritional Docs Anne Fleck, Matthias Riedl and Jörn Klasen say diet can be a chance to become and stay healthy. Food = medicine.  The third part of an interesting TV documentary in German TV showed three more examples. So here’s a brief summary.

  • Extreme obesity
  • Migraine
  • Rheumatism

The NDR homepage http://www.ndr.de/fernsehen/sendungen/die-ernaehrungsdocs/index.html  provides plenty of easily understandable background information, videos, tips and recipes – unfortunately only in German.

Extreme obesity

Lack of exercise, poor diet, psychological problems, hormonal imbalances or genetic factors – the number of overweight people is more and more increasing in industrialized nations.  A Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 is considered to be overweight.  Exception:  People who have a lot of muscle mass. Obesity is a major risk factor for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, joint disease and even cancer. For people with extreme obesity often only remains sleeve gastrectomy.  But this should be the last resort.  There need to be other possibilities.  For example a formula diet described by the doctor. This diet is low in carbohydrates and high in protein to prevent muscle breakdown.

Therapy:

  • Proper diet: vegetables, legumes, low-carb, lean meats and fish
  • high protein diet
  • Exercise!

Additional Information:

 

Migraine

Raging, throbbing, stabbing headaches that occur in attacks often accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and noise – this is migraine.  Triggers for migraines are often stress, weather, hormonal disorders, and even certain foods, such as sugar, flavour enhancers, preservatives.  It is important to have a regular schedule of meals.

Therapy:

  • Diet
  • Lifestyle change
  • Endurance sports!
  • muscle relaxation
  • acupuncture

Additional Information:

 

Rheumatism

Joint pain, morning stiffness, muscle tearing are part of everyday life:  rheumatism is a widespread disease. About 400 different diseases are summarized under the term rheumatism: these include gout, lupus, and most commonly rheumatoid arthritis.  The causes are still not fully resolved; but it is ensured that it is an autoimmune disease.

Therapy:

  • Special anti-inflammatory diet
  • little meat
  • Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish
  • linseed oil
  • Green smoothies with green leafy vegetables
  • Exercise,  physiotherapy

Additional Information:

 

Warning: Disclaimer and common hint on medical subjects.

recharge your battery with painting

mixed by bea emma schueler

every single day we are exposed to the growing ordinary madness of everyday life. but we have limited power. to refuel my soul I have detected experimental painting. especially the work with colours has a therapeutic effect – to get my soul back into harmony.

a breathing exercise and an oasis for painting is part of the preparation for my painting evening. and, very important, cosy clothes. when painting I like listening to chill-out music or sometimes also melodic rock music. music helps to escape my daily routine, to feel comfortable and to give vent to my feelings.

in my paintings, I’m experimenting with all kinds of materials, such as modelling/texture  pastes, sand and tissue paper, plaster and photos. so often arise formal surface compositions. when choosing the colours I switch between acrylic and oil paints.

“painting is a piece of freedom in addition to the daily necessities”.

the subjects of my images often arise from everyday life. from emotions like happiness, joy, desire, but also sorrow or grief. it’s just an emotion of my personality in my present situation, an emotion that is embedded in the experience and influences of my environment. the result is a synthesis.

mixed by bea emma schueler
mixed by bea emma schueler

and today I choose the colours red, orange and yellow:

  • the colour “red” looks lively, playful and brings dynamism to the day. at the same time red helps to think positively, gives self confidence and power.
  • the colour “yellow” brightens up the mood. the good-mood-yellow conjures sun in the heart. yellow also helps with lovesickness, clinging and not-able-to-release.
  • the color “orange” also brings joy of life, warmth and friendliness.

and the result is this image “mixed”, a firework of positive emotions and more …

“painting is a language without words.”

an artwork touches upon me when it captivates my eyes and my mind, when it surprises and confuses. and I want to achieve this while looking at my pictures. and contribute a little for my own “deceleration” in a jumble of everyday life.

More on:

Slow Living and Art

Gallery and Landscape in Bissee

Is deceleration art? Is Slow Living culture?

Of course we are inclined to reply with “yes” to both questions immediately. Slow Living Blog will deliver the detailed answer, the “know how”, over time. And in this section of our blog we deal with this question of how art and culture can be practiced and enjoyed according to the ideas of Slow Living.

In addition to providing people with basic necessities such as food and shelter to a decent life includes music, art, culture and a healthy community life; things that have a value for their own sake without the view of yield and without a “must”.

It makes sense, to give this area of life enough space and time initially, that the individual less edifying “time wasters” are done as efficiently as possible.  That may be shopping for basic needs, the cleaning of the household, or washing the laundry, for some it might also be garden care, which will take up room elsewhere in our blog as a source of edification and relaxation.

Those who learn to get over and done efficiently and quickly with activities that prove to be the anything else but relaxing , to speed them up rather than slow down, those gain time for the experience or creation of art and culture.

Our articles and tips will be about the contrast between speed and slowness (up to a stillstand, which has been of particular fascination to artists), and about the concept of time in visual arts, music, film.

When art and culture are closely connected with communication (or build a form of communication) we want to take into consideration of how to slow down this form of communication in order to increase the pleasure they give us.  A definition of culture might incidentally be “civilization extended to moral components”.  Civilization would therefore be a refrigerator, culture its contents.  If the moral components may be brought into alignment with the objectives of Slow Living , then – you can guess it – Slow Living is culture itself.

But be warned, the word “culture” derives from the Latin “cultura” (care, cultivation), and it will not be possible without your efforts; enjoyment and quality of life need to be earned.