7 Books That Heavily Influenced My Life

I love reading. I also have a very, VERY short attention span. Books of ridiculous length need to be really interesting in order to keep me from putting them down and never picking them back up. I give them 1-2 chapters, then I’ll browse around other chapters and if I find myself getting bored, bye.

These books were the ones that kept my attention throughout. Well done, authors!

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Two years ago on my 34th birthday, my wish was to become mentally strong. Well, I received that wish right around my birthday this year. The Universe provided me many ways to get my shit together and develop the stoic mind. When you get into the stoic mindset, your mental strength game is strong and no one can touch you.

So, I thought I would share the books that helped me on my journey towards being mentally “unfuckwithable”… while I listen to my “I Mean It” playlist. Random name but… Zombie by The Cranberries is currently playing.

Anyways, I’ll share my very brief review/eval/assessment/analysis/whatever you want to call it, with a snippet (from my phone) of the two books that are translation books. I started with the book that had the most influence and worked my way down. Cheers and enjoy!

  1. The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

    This book is awesome! It’s short and to the point. Ryan explains how to take the many frustrating obstacles we encounter on the daily by flipping them over and taking advantage of them instead.
  2. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

    Another Ryan Holiday fav! There’s a historical stoic quote every day and Ryan translates it into modern day language. This book is actually quite popular and The Daily Stoic Journal was just released. I’m definitely buying it!
  3. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (Gregory Hays translation)

    Lots of great insights from one of the most influential/inspirational Roman emperors…too bad his son was an idiot though. This was actually Marcus’ journal on self reflection, in which he did not intend to share with anyone.
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  4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

    This book is quite popular. I don’t really need to explain. It’s a book on values with a clever title. Mark is pretty funny, too.
  5. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

    This is a book on learning all about that Machiavellian, iron fist in a velvet glove, type of personality. Many people feel this book is giving too many ideas on how to con others, but I think of it as a book on how to protect yourself from them. Great historical stories. It’s a thick book but dang, I had to keep reading the stories.
  6. The Art of Living by Epictetus (Sharon Lebell translation)

    It’s almost like The Daily Stoic and Meditations but there’s quite a few ideas that Epictetus had that Marcus didn’t. Marcus was a Roman Emperor, whereas, Epictetus was a slave. Two great philosophers from different sides of the hierarchy spectrum in the Roman Empire.
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  7. The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

    This is a cute book. I like Gabby’s explanation of how the Universe helps co-create our reality. This is more of a spiritual book then a practical stoic one but nonetheless, it explains how to get your shit together.
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I FINALLY Started A Blog This Year!

When I was drunk! Ha!

I’m not a big drinker. However, I love red wine. I enjoy having a glass or three every so often. Sometimes it’s twice a week, once every two weeks or once every two months. It varies.

So one night in the early part of November, I was scrolling through Spotify to find some new music to add to my gym playlist and decided to open up a bottle of red wine that I bought that day. I was going through a tough period of self transformation around that time and felt the need to get my vibration up by having some wine and searching for new songs. My type of music ranges from Taylor Swift to Tool. I’m very open minded when it comes to music. Right now, I’m digging Halsey and G-Eazy. Their energy is just amazing.

Anyways, two glasses in and I was feeling good, neurons were firing left and right, my creativity was flowing with the beats of the music and then… an idea popped up. Start a blog! I’ve wanted to do it for years and so finally I did, drunk. And here I am: shithappens.blog. 😀

One of the first 2 posts that I had typed up for my blog during that evening was about red wine and the subconscious mind. The other was my experience with the dark night of the soul that started in September of this year. Of course, I never published either of them because they were pretty deep and needed a lot of editing done.  I’ll have to get back to editing them then post at some point, maybe when I’m drunk again. We shall see.

I had so many creative ideas flowing that night. I wanted to get them all out of my head any way I could. I currently have 13 unpublished posts with most of them coming from nights when I had a glass or two of red wine. I don’t go overboard and get “white girl wasted” on the drinking. I have just enough to be conscious but relaxed enough to where the conscious critical faculty in my mind is down. I can easily tap into my subconscious mind at that point because it’s a form of self hypnosis for me. So when I read my posts the next day, I’m just blown away. I think to myself, “Dang, I wrote that last night? Genius!”

The blogs that I have typed up but haven’t been published yet are really simplified versions of things I’ve experienced throughout my life, mostly from this past year. I feel they are ideas or issues that have come across to many people, including myself, as very complex and confusing.

These interest me and so I find ways to simplify them. They include issues with manifesting, habits, the shadow self, influences of the cosmos, intuitive eating, efficient exercising and living authentically. I’ll post them eventually and hope they will help others understand in the most simplified way.

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For now, I’m still playing around with my blog page, as I feel it’s still brand new and needs some love and attention.

I’m looking forward to what 2018 has to offer me! I have many things planned but, of course, secrecy is key. 😉  I will eventually share some these in time so stay tuned.

Have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve! Oh, and it’s a full moon tonight! Cheers!

via Daily Prompt: Finally

Why You Shouldn’t Tell Anyone Your Goals

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It’s almost 2018 and people are writing out their New Year’s resolutions.

There’s so much to look forward to in the upcoming year. So many goals to accomplish! From weight loss to being a millionaire. But should they be revealed to anyone?

In my opinion, no. Especially the big goals. But why?

As we all know, actions speak louder than words. Words hold energy and our minds are transmitters for them. You tell someone about a big goal you want to achieve in 2018 and let’s say, they laugh at you. Instantly, you feel a sense of failure right away and you haven’t even started. That’s energy you don’t need.

It’s nice to receive a thumbs up from other people, but if you are trying to pursue goals, the only person that should validate your action towards them is yourself, no one else.

Weight loss has been the prime example of a major goal in New Year’s resolutions. I can’t tell you how packed the gym gets in January. Nothing wrong with that, it’s awesome to see people making the effort. Then come months later, the gym quiets down and people go right back to bad eating habits.

Then what? How do you explain to people that you didn’t follow through with your goal? And if you did follow through with it, was your achievement based on really taking action towards it, or to prove to people you can do it?

I feel that telling people your goals can be a double-edged sword. Meaning, you can tell them, but if you don’t follow through, you may feel like a failure and also feel bad because they may perceive you to be one. Then, if you do follow through, you may jump on that ego trip train to smug valley with the “See, I told you I would do it!” kind of mindset. And being arrogant isn’t very admirable.

When you keep goals to yourself, you have no one to prove but yourself. No one knows and there’s no pressure to show anyone “you can do it”. So when you do follow through with your goals, you won’t care who recognizes it because you’ll be so proud of yourself for what you accomplished. That’s self-love. And if other people notice, bonus! If you don’t end up following through, it’s ok. There’s no one to judge you and you can always get back up and try again without worrying about what others think of you. Sounds like a double win to me!

So, if I could suggest any goal to add to your New Year’s resolution, it would be to keep your goals a mystery and go full throttle towards making them happen!

Cheers and have a wonderful & mysterious goal setting New Year!

via Daily Prompt: Almost

If You Won The Lottery…

What would you do with the money? Let’s say $100 million.

This question has been asked so many times and I feel most people come up with many different extravagant ideas, which is mostly material possessions. Nothing wrong with that. I wouldn’t mind spending a good chunk of money getting my Jeep Wrangler rigged up to par with some good old off-roading fun!

But really…what would I do?

I would buy experiences and pretty much anything that didn’t lose it’s value over time. To me this is traveling and donating to charities of my choice. How could any of these possibly lose their value? Instead, they increase value because they are priceless. Plus, I’m all about balance in life. I didn’t earn the money so because I won it, it would be ethical to share/split it between me and people who actually need the money. Of course, I would keep half because winning the lottery is a gift and giving it all away is like giving away a Christmas gift someone gave to you. It’s rude and bad karma. Money is energy and I believe if you use it ethically, you’ll reap the rewards.

Traveling has always been something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. I was a military brat and I remember getting so excited about the possibility of traveling and meeting new people whenever my dad was stationed somewhere. But nope, I grew up in good old Twentynine Palms, California. Cool place though. The north entrance into the Joshua Tree National Park is located there. I highly recommend visiting this awesome place. There’s so many areas to hike, camp and star gaze! The sky is always clear out there in the evenings and it’s beautiful!

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So yeah, traveling has been something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid. I’ve done some, but not enough. It never gets old. There’s so many places to explore! It’s awesome and the experiences you gain from them are worth much more than spending money on extravagant material possessions like large fancy houses, luxury vehicles, and anything else that appears to be worth a lot of money. Those things fade in value after some time and of course leads to wanting something newer, bigger and of more value. It’s a never ending process, which leads to depression. I guess that’s why they say most people who win the lottery end up broke and depressed.

So what would you do if you won $100 million?

via Daily Prompt: Extravagant

Why I Quit Working In Skydiving

img_0055Skydiving is fun – really REALLY fun! Working in skydiving though? Not so much. Well, for me it wasn’t.

I started skydiving in 2012. I’ve been interested in it years prior but of course I had followed along with the main derogatory idea that skydiving is a huge “death threat”. Don’t get me wrong, it is a dangerous sport but it’s actually a lot safer than most people realize.

Before I started working in skydiving, I had worked in the bar/restaurant industry for about 5 years. I had just moved from San Diego to live with my sister for a bit as I graduated from one college and transferred to another, which was closer to her. I needed a job and searched around Craigslist for bars and restaurants that were hiring. Well, after some failed interviews, I decided to google map places and found a skydiving center with a bar. I thought, “Oh dang, bartending at a skydiving center?! Hell, yeah! This is perfect!” They weren’t even hiring but I went in, interviewed, and scored a job!

My job as a bartender at the drop zone was fun. Of course,  the rule was: No alcoholic beverages before jumping. After that though, game on. I got to listen to all kinds of cool skydiving stories from instructors and students. It inspired me to take action and start skydiving. So I did. I obtained my United States Parachuting Association (USPA) “A” skydiving license within 2 weeks.

After I obtained the 1st of 4 licenses you can receive in skydiving, I was offered to work in the gear store, which would give me so many benefits to jumping, like free gear rental, so I left the bartending job (on good terms). Then I got really interested in learning more on the gear itself. I was curious about how it’s all packed and wanted to know in depth about it so I obtained my senior parachute rigger certification, which is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). There are two certifications: Senior and Master. There are also different types: back, seat, chest and lap.

I learned so much about how the gear works from my experience as a parachute rigger. However, I also dealt with a lot of not so fun aspects of this job.

My main intention for getting my parachute rigging certification was to learn about the gear, not to make money with it. I even remember telling a few people that. But I didn’t listen. I remember hearing how much money you can make packing parachutes, including my boyfriend at the time, and they were right. You can make some pretty damn good money.

The two things that I struggled with during my time as a parachute rigger were values and ego. I spent years clashing between them and eventually decided to stop the nonsense once and for all.

There is a lot of responsibility involved in packing parachutes, obviously. The most important, of course is the reserve parachute. That’s the last chance of survival. Absolutely, no room for error in that. The main parachute however, has much more wiggle room and you can cut corners with that although not recommended. It takes on average 7-10 minutes to pack a main parachute if you are fast enough but the reserve parachute takes about 2-4 hours or longer based on whether it passes an inspection.

When it came to packing the reserve parachute, I don’t give a flying fuck, I will take my damn time. I value people’s safety and if I’m going to pack someone’s reserve parachute, I’m going to do it right, even when I’ve been asked to “hurry up”.

When it comes to packing the main parachute, the clash of ego and values begin to rise.   Because you can cut corners with these, I’ve been asked to pack fast so many times in order to get paid and get more work. It went from quality over quantity to quantity over quality and it seems to be the main theme in packing main parachutes nowadays. The faster you can pack, the “cooler” you are. Pfft. It has caused me great annoyance because you are damned if you do and damed if you don’t. No one likes a slow packer but if you packed fast and the opening was shitty, you get shit on anyways. These are considered “trash packs” cause that’s what they are, trash.

Some people can pull off the trash packs nicely though. They can pack fast and the openings of the parachutes are beautiful. These people get praised and get more work. Good for them. I just couldn’t do it because I don’t like causing anyone to have a malfunctioning parachute. But I see some people just don’t give a damn when they do cause a malfunction and that just disturbs me to the core.

Malfunctioning parachutes happen. They are considered rare but they do happen. Sometimes the parachutes open nicely and sometimes they don’t, but they open regardless. If they don’t, there are emergency procedures.

Parachutes want to open, despise that huge misconception that they won’t. They are designed to open, otherwise skydiving would be illegal, like BASE jumping, but that’s a whole different ball game. There’s a shit ton that play into the rigging of skydiving parachutes and that’s why they have a senior rating and a master rating.

Getting my master rating wasn’t an interest of mine because I realized there is so much to learn about different types of parachute rigs (gear) that I would really, REALLY need to have a shit ton of motivation and interest in to really know what the fuck I’m doing. I feel you need to be super hyped up on your rigging game to get that master level. Especially when someone brings you their ancient artifact of a parachute rig to pack. That’s like being an IT Technician and having to work with computer software dated back when computers first came out. Although, the outcome of the software doesn’t affect the person’s survival.

I’ve known master riggers who didn’t know shit. It seemed like they just got the rating for bragging rights. I knew senior riggers who knew more than master riggers. But regardless who knew more and who was right, master riggers always have the upper hand. I always took it personal because it deals with peoples lives. I developed bitterness and resentment towards people in this industry because even though I tried my hardest to keep things safe and be responsible, I always ended up on the short end of the stick. I just thought this is a joke.

I was tired of the bullshit. I cared too much. I dealt with a lot of criticism that I didn’t deserve and that I felt other people did but because I decided not to achieve that master rating, I had no say.

I developed a misconception of myself. I felt that I was never good enough. I realized that it’s not that I’m not good enough, it’s just that I consider myself to be a good fucking person and my moral standards are way to high to be increasing the malfunction rate just to be seen as some awesome rigger.

This job was solely focused on money and ego. I thought I was cool working as a parachute rigger but it clashed with my “I’m a good fucking person” mentality many times. I’ve made a lot of money but with all the bullshit that I dealt with, I was not happy and knew it was time to give it up. I was miserable and started hating people I worked with because all I saw was dollar signs light up in their eyes. I was done. Or at least I thought so.

Even though I wanted out, I kept falling back into the work solely because of money. My happiness was slowly turning into depression and I actually stopped skydiving once I started working because all I wanted to do was work. But then I never wanted to go to the drop zone on my days off to jump.

I finally decided to call it quits and say no to any work that was offered. It’s been really hard but I knew I had to let it go otherwise I would just keep going in circles. The work no longer made me happy, even though I tried multiple times.

I plan to eventually get back into skydiving as a hobby not as a job, but I just need to take some time away from anything skydiving. That includes most of the friends I’ve made over the last 5 years. It’s been a lonely time since I gave up working in the industry but I put a lot of hard working into it for 5 years, bloody hands and all.

Now it’s time to move onto something else. Something that I love and feel good about. We shall see what the Universe has in store for me. Cheers!

 

 

No Winter This Year In SoCal?

Winter officially began over a week ago, yet it still feels like summer.

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I live in Southern California and the weather has been gorgeous. The current weather in my area is 73°F/23°C. I look outside, I notice that most of the trees are still green and there isn’t a cloud in sight. Usually around this time of year most of the trees are bare, there’s some cloud coverage and it rains. I don’t think it’s rained here in months and we need it, especially with all the recent wildfires that broke out at the beginning of this month! Someone rain dance, please.

Rainy days are great because we don’t get much of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun, but I need some days to miss it. When I’m constantly exposed to the same thing all the time, I get bored quick and then I start to lose that full blown sense of gratitude towards it. I love change, it excites me, and so I need to be away from the same things for a bit. So when it rains, that deep feeling of gratitude towards the sun again gets fired up.

Since it doesn’t snow here, rainy days are great days to get cozy and relax. I love that winter vibe! I love the cold crisp air, the flannel blankets, and the hot cup of coffee to warm my hands. These days are great to enjoy being indoors to listen to the rain, watch movies or cozying in front of a fireplace reading a book. But nope, not this winter. I’ve been spending time outside in my summer apparel – shirt, shorts and flip flops because my apartment is just lit with the natural light during the day and who wants to stay indoors when it’s warm outside the sun is shining bright?

Hopefully soon, we’ll get some rainy days so the crazy wildfires can come to an end and I can enjoy staying indoors. I know most people would think I’m silly for wanting to be indoors when the sky is clear and the weather is warm because they live in an area that is just getting blasted with snow and freezing temperatures. But like I said, I love change.

 

via Daily Prompt: Cozy

My Values In 2017

They were shitty.

This year has made me face the true nature of value by digging deep into my core. Super deep and super hardcore. No material possession or amount of money could make things better. I now have a better understanding of what value really means and what fucks to give.

The year started out pretty nice. I was financially stable, work was going pretty smoothly and I did a bit of domestic traveling here in the states. My plan was to keep traveling but do some international traveling since I had the funds to do so.

My heart said, “Travel Jen! Meet new people and start writing!” But my brain said to ignore that and keep working my stressful job and so I did.

This decision was a game changer. I had originally planned to travel to Rome, Italy and start writing because I had been getting so pumped up from reading about stoic philosophy while I was in Sedona, Arizona. I quickly swept that under the rug so that I could work to make more money, even though I already had enough to take a trip to Italy for awhile.

At the time, I was living with my sister and her husband but wanted my own place again. She thought it would be a good idea that I stay with them for bit longer so that I could save more money and do some international traveling as it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. But instead I wanted to have my own place. I ended up getting my own place and I kept working, especially after all the shit I bought for my apartment.

I worked in the skydiving industry as an independent contractor so my schedule was flexible but work is really slow during the summer because of the insane heat. Skydiving is minus fun when it’s hot outside. Slow work during the summer was the deciding factor in my choice to work and get my own place. Even though I’ve been wanting to get out of working in skydiving for awhile, for many reasons, I kept doing it. I’ll have to blog about what my job was and why I left.

As I did work, I met someone who is now a very important person in my life. We had a very intense connection in a short period of time and have mirrored each other many times throughout our life. I’ll have to blog about that as well at some point because it’s very interesting.

Even after meeting him and all of the things that appeared to be going great, this sense of emptiness overcame me. I didn’t really understand why I felt so unsettled in life. I just met a wonderful guy I deeply connected with, I was making good money, I had my own place, and my finances were on par. So why the sadness?

It took me 9 slooooow months to figure it all out. I guess it was a period of the “dark night of the soul.” I had no idea what that was but I sure as hell learned about it and for 9 months, I felt it, especially these last 3 months. Complete emptiness and despair. Everything became meaningless. The guy I met, the work I was doing, the money I had, the apartment I live in and all the crap I bought for it, all drew a blank. I knew I had so many things to be grateful for, yet I just couldn’t. I was confused. I thought I was going crazy, yet I felt a sense of sanity. It was harsh but I kept trying to push through even though I felt like I was going nowhere, fast. Then in September, everything all came crashing down, one thing after another.

I had a falling out with the guy I met in very unsettled ways. The work I was doing in skydiving ended abruptly and in interesting ways. And because I wasn’t working, my money was draining and I was getting random bills. I no longer gave a shit about my material possessions and having my own place anymore.

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This all lead to my hermit status from September until present. I felt like a prisoner in my apartment even though I was free to do what I wanted. I was pretty much alone for 3 months and hated my apartment. No work, no traveling, no socializing, no fun being had. I only spent my time going to the gym and trying to figure out what the fuck my problem was. I spent so many days confused, trying to find the meaning of my crappy attitude and lack of gratitude. Crying and hopeless.

Finally, one Buddha day, the Universe says to me, “Don’t trip, chocolate chip”.

I came to the realization of why I was going through this agonizing time: I turned my back on my heart and I was paying the price for it.

The Universe always has a great way to teach us lessons when you just don’t get the hint after awhile. I valued money and material possessions over experiences and following my heart. My values were corrupted and I gave way too many fucks about things that don’t matter. I lost a lot of potential joy and valuable time this year because I was being selfish to my authentic self. I valued my ego over my authenticity and paid the price. But even though it all had to blow up in my face for several months, I know not to turn my back on my heart again.

So, anytime the opportunities to embrace my hearts desire comes back around, I’m hoping on that train! Cheers!