A lot is moving, momentum is building, and yet I suspect the potential for stagnation is always there lurking, like a bad habit you can’t kick.
This new momentum is from the following areas of activity:
- I have started a new “part-time” job (8-3 at a strawberry farm). It is physically taxing, but I am getting valuable hands-on experience in farming. It is doubly taxing (energy and time) as I have two bike rides and a train ride to commute to and from work. Working with plants primarily, as opposed to people, has proven to be a positive move for me. Financially, it will take some time, energy, effort, and studying before I am at the financial and professional level where I was with teaching English, as I am essentially starting over career-wise. However, now that I am in a field that is more suited to my interests and motivations, I feel that I will pass that level rather quickly, and reach much higher levels eventually building this new berry farm/eatery/park business than I ever could have in education. If you are not familiar with my venture, think Knott’s Berry Farm toned down, humanized, improvement-minded, and socially beneficial.
- Concurrently with my agriculture experience, I am planning to pursue a distance learning course in berry farming, through an Australian University. It is reasonably priced, and likely will compound and solidify what I am learning every day at work. I will continue my more focused, independent study of blueberries and strawberries through books. I have been limited to Japanese books that I could find at the library up till now (first pay day!). Being forced to read books of intense interest, has made my Japanese reading much more palatable, and I find that I am progressing at a rate never before realized. Thanks to the kanji (Chinese characters that often have a pictorial reference), I can understand much of the content despite at times not knowing the correct reading. Comparatively in English, it is like understanding the Greek or Latin roots of words to help understand unknown vocabulary. My Japanese reading and vocabulary have improved due to the limited resources available. Perhaps I should continue to develop this reading skill of Japanese books through the berry farming education domain.
- I am beginning to share my writing (The Journey of Troy). This will be released chapter by chapter as it is finalized. It may take a long time, due to time restraints, but it will be written and shared. I have decided to release the audio (on Jamendo – a free audio sharing site) simultaneously, as many people (like me) prefer to listen rather than read. Eventually I will add a YouTube channel for this. The feedback (from likes and new followers) thus far on this blog has been very motivating. Thank you for all who take the time to read, listen, and give feedback or share with others. I did not know what the reaction would be from sharing my creations, but I am grateful for any and all feedback. Eventually, I will record and share my music creations as well here on this blog. I have 6 songs that I have been crafting for the last 2-3 years that are finally starting to take shape.
- I have decided to decouple the pursuit of survival income from my creations (writing, music, and volunteer-oriented business). This has freed me from a lifetime quandary of how to square my love of creating and volunteering with the realities of the current monetary and profit-motivated incentive system of modern society. I will continue to pursue some kind of financial support for my creations and volunteer-based business (on the horizon). I have decided to use Patreon, and direct donations eventually, to support my creations, if the public deems them worthy of support. This will be how I move forward with my pure motivation of wanting to improve my surroundings, without the unwanted influence of money. I can continue to write, play music, clean playgrounds, etc. as my budget, family commitments, energy, time, and level of financial support permit. Even in an ideal scenario, I would not want to live off my creations. Somehow, that would lessen their value to me, and would inevitably lessen their quality in the long run, as I would tailor my content to what the consumer “wants”, rather than what I feel the need to create and do with my life.
- I have cemented my 4 am wake-up! I did not think I could do this one, but it has proven invaluable now that I leave for work at 6, and have a a solid hour to meditate every morning. Can’t relate how much this helps in words, but this habit alone compounds quality to my day at an immeasurable degree.
- Further cleaning up my diet. I have eliminated saltine crackers (one of my last craving-inducing foods), and now only eat flour (homemade pizza, tortillas) a couple times a week. Next step is to find a healthier replacement for white flour. Thanks to a YouTube video, I have learned about pranic foods, and am currently in the process of eliminating onions, garlic, chili peppers, and eggplant from my diet. I also have cut my morning coffee intake in half (2+ cups down to 1), and cut out all post-morning coffee/tea. Eventually, I hope to drink coffee sparingly, 1-2 times a month, but this habit will take a while to accomplish. Why all this effort to clean up my diet? I get asked this more than anything. The answer is simple- peace of mind. First to go was tobacco 5 years ago, then came meat and dairy (cheese was hardest!), eggs, alcohol, coke (all sugary sodas), sugar, and now negative pranic foods/drinks. Eliminating all of these add a level of internal peace I have never felt. The simple lack of cravings that accompany these things makes up for all the temporary pleasure that they provided. If you have every smoked a cigarette, then you understand the concept.
Why processed sugar is harmful and unethical
I had an epiphany regarding why sugar instigates so much craving. There was a study which compared sugar soda vs. diet soda with people who were tying to lose weight. The subjects who consumed diet soda gained more weight than their sugary drink counterparts. Why? The answer is revealing- the sweetness in both drinks preps the body for some incoming energy, by way of stimulating the tongue’s sweetness receptors (aspartame). When the body receives 0 calories (in the case of diet soda) after all that foreplay, the body revs up its appetite to go after that promised punch of calories that it was robbed. That in turn causes the subject to overeat, to satisfy the diet soda’s unmet promise of a pay-off. The diet soda was stripped of its energy, causing the body to search for more. Now take a step back, and look at sugar’s effect in candy, crackers, drinks, cereal, chips, bread, sauces, etc. It is in everything. When food is processed, a lot of the nutrition gets stripped away (much like the calories in diet soda), and sugar is added as a preservative, but also for flavor, likely to make up for the immense flavor that natural, fresh foods contain. Those who consume sugar daily are immune from the subtleties of such flavor due to sugar’s potent overbearing sweetness- sugar overstimulates the taste buds, just like drugs, porn, violent movies, and cartoons overstimulate the pleasure center of the brain. The good news is the taste buds can recover in a matter of weeks. So when the body tastes something sweet that has been stripped of nutrition, (as calories are stripped from diet soda), the body revs up in a similar way to the soda, causing craving to commence. If the food producers are aware of this, and likely they are, then they are consciously causing personal misery and discomfort in the same way that tobacco companies did when they engineered the plants and added all kinds of chemicals to make cigarettes more addictive. This is unethical, and downright wrong. We should expect more. Until we can create more humane, and respectful products for our fellow humans, I urge any and all of you to cease consuming sugar for this reason alone- it is the source of immense personal suffering. Any steps you can make to free yourself and those around you (kids!) from the intoxicating and craving-inducing effects of sugar, the more quickly we can correct our course.
With that I leave you, hopefully in peace, happiness, and more inspired than you were before reading this update of my consistent mission of improving our collective situation.
A group of paintings to consider: Thomas Cole’s The Consummation, part 4 of a 5-part series, The Course of Empire, of the stages on civilization. Check it out here.