Lent for the 1st time.

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Sometime after lent had commenced I decided that maybe I ought to try it, not that I was aware of when it started exactly, as the local church is somewhat neglected by the church authorities and don’t even have a service every Sunday; but that’s ok, the most important thing is that the church hasn’t been closed and is still standing strong, open at all times, after all these years. (It’s Norman and an absolute beauty).

Lent was interesting as it functions like a habit-breaker, I was not entirely successful but at least I gave it a go and tried my best. The biblical reason for this strange “celebration” is that Jesus was wandering around in the desert for a while and withstood temptation from the Devil 😮

I personally have not reached this section of the Bible as I’m still working my way through the Old Testament; I’ve largely been a protestant-in-name-only, (or secular protestant) my entire life, gradually turning to Christianity over the last few years. So lent was pretty new to me (just like attending Holy Communion), but a valuable lesson nonetheless.

The Church of England is struggling greatly; they don’t have enough funds to look after England’s numerous and beautiful places of worship, and most people who I’ve run into complain about dwindling numbers when it comes to attendance.

It is rather sad since England is an Anglican country and so far I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed whatever services I’ve come to; I also heard complaints about general low attendance over in Norway last time I was there. There also seem to be many women who take it upon themselves to keep the faith alive by becoming priests.

The Old Testament is proving a very interesting read as it illustrates how various tribes interact with one another; how everyone travels to Israel to shower the Jews with gifts and praise when they are strong and under tough leadership, while everyone tries to take advantage, looting and conquering the Jews once they are seen as weak! The work is repetitive, as I’ve also written in the very looooong review that I’m writing about it; it is hard to read due to the fact that it was not written to be a page turner. Names of entire Jewish families are listed over and over and over again, which certainly makes for tiresome reading. I therefore decided to check out “The Lion Encyclopaedia of Jesus.,” just to get a more “in-depth” introduction to Jesus; in comparison to what little I already knew.

If you feel like helping persecuted Christians then please read this: “Persecuted Christians around the World.” If you live in England then maybe this will be of interest: “The Vulnerability of the Poor & Our Shared Cultural Heritage.” Here are some interesting petitions to check out: Petitions To Sign & Share.

Here are more books on spirituality & self-help:

“An Angel Saved Me” by Theresa Cheung.

\m/ Spiritus Gladius \m/

The Map of Heaven – by Dr. Eben Alexander & Ptolemy Tompkins.

Spooky Cults, Online Shaming and Alcoholism.

“Don’ts for Weddings” from 1904.

Abortion.

Is Christianity & Islam Compatible?

Patron Saints of Europe.

Intellectual vs. Popular vs. Physical Satanism.

St.Patricks Day a Christian Holiday??????????

A History Magazine from Norway.

Ancient Greek Myths – The Universe, The Gods, And Mortals told by Jean-Pierre Vernant.

The Odyssey – for children.

Boosting Energy So You Can Play More!

The Occult Symbolism of Led Zeppelin

How To Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

Willing To Win.

Taking Back Your Time. (goodbye April, hello May)

Bli Best Med Mental Trening by Erik Bertrand Larssen.

The Chimp Paradox.

Live Better & Longer by Michel Cymes.

L’ Art De La Simplicité By Dominique Loreau.

The Clever Guts Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley.

Shitty wisdom from an App.

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This is why I’m skeptical of self-help whatever. It’s all about narcissism at the end of the day. Anyway, if anyone out there is feeling anxious for whatever reason, then check out Calm. An app that probably works for some.

 

Live Better & Longer by Michel Cymes.

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This book was really good actually. I came across this one in January, when all the self-help books were displayed right by the main entrance in the book store, to entice and lure all of those who feel like changing their lives for a couple of weeks when the new year kicks in 😛 … (the majority of people out there forget about their new year’s resolution before January is even over :O )

Of course all of this was right up my alley as I’ve been reading about mental-training etc, since 2010/2011, I meditate everyday and lead a very healthy life-style too. To my disappointment though it turned out that some of my purchases weren’t that good … but it is advisable to read lots of different authors and their take on the very same topic in order to get a good, balanced overview of things.

I enjoyed Cyme’s work because if was precise. What you get are proper lists with in-depth descriptions telling you what is good for you and what is not. It is being sold to you in a credible way that makes sense if you’ve read other “well-being” articles and mental training books, etc; Nothing of what is discussed is unreasonable and of course the work instantly bears more weight as the author is/was a doctor.  There was some information that was totally new to me so I certainly learned some new things.

The work is written in a very light manner but without being dumb. It is a genuine page turner, which is a rare find when it comes to these type of books!

If you are up for some no-non-sense truths written by a guy who knows how to convey his knowledge very well , then spend some bucks on this one. You will not regret it!

 

L’ Art De La Simplicité By Dominique Loreau.

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As I read through the English translation of this work I often found myself wondering if I was reading a collection of social media “wisdom” posts bundled into one giant literary fortune cookie.

I don’t mean to be rude in any kind of way, but I certainly understand why serious scientists become nauseated by the “self-help-industry.”

This book is at times self-contradictory, and without any kind of bibliography, which means that you just have to believe what the author is presenting you with.

It’s interesting how these type of works are perceived and marketed as “revolutionary” and eye-opening. When the value of a bible has been dethroned we crown new-age philosophers as our saviours. Pretty funny in a way. Just makes me think of all of these wonderful “International Holidays” we have. They seem to multiply by the hour. Today it’s International Theatre Day & Muslim Womens Day in case you weren’t aware of it. Who needs Saints when the UN can create an abundance of unifying global celebrations.

L’Art De La simplicité does offer some good advice. The main issue here is if you are a critical reader and you notice discrepancies and pseudo-science.

Throughout the book Loreau repeats how poverty is deprivation of what enriches the soul, whereas materialistic richness is true destitution. It’s better to not have anything in your house that could attract a burglar as this would only add stress to your life.

According to Loreau ” An open, alert mind is more important than the quality of our comprehension.”

She also argues that ” A person who depends on others to get what he or she wants is a beggar.”

” Tell yourself you are not a creative person, and you will never become one.” She also says, which is a false claim. Creativity is a state of being, regardless of circumstances, self-doubt or age. Imagination and the ability to express it manifests itself at an early age.

“‘Successful’ people … never doubt their own ability to obtain the things they aspire to.” This is probably why performance psychology is so popular in sports among top athletes……..as everyone knows CEOs are always confident, same thing with artists.

“Impoverished when we allow ourselves to be caught up in the relentless machinery of competitiveness.” Much if not all advancement has been the result of competition, even people picking up books like these might do it to beat their peers. Life is about competition. Getting the resources, getting the best spouse, getting the dream job, etc; Nature=Competition, competition for survival.

” It also means not making them feel jealous, bitter, or envious.” The work speaks about how we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions, so how can it then be my fault if someone “chooses” to be envious of me?

“In an ideal society, where no one seeks to accumulate wealth and riches, there are no thieves.” Such a society does not exist in the real world. Even if a society was impoverished you would see people getting killed over poultry and herbs. This sentence contradicts the very basis of human nature. It is not our inclination to share or be grateful, these attributes have to be taught to self-centred children. We have to be socially conditioned to share.

” No one can hurt us unless we allow them to. Hurt only occurs when we interpret the facts of what has occurred in our own minds.” Not true. Constantly obsessing over negative experiences will not make you happy and can easily lead to a depression. But if someone says or do something hurtful there will be an instant reaction, you’ll instantly be hurt there and then, especially if there is an association to similar situations in the past.

On page 149 it says: ” The real you is there inside, not in the image you offer to the world through your personality. Close your eyes, relax, take your time, then visualise your ideal image, life-sized. Make it exactly as you wish … This is your real you. The body you have today will gradually mould to the shape of the image you have visualised.”

On page 151: “Work on your affirmations” followed by a long list of mantras.

But on page 194 it says: ” We play the roles of people we would like to become, but these are false by definition. Don’t just recite empty life maxims and affirmations.” I’m all for the re-invention of the self but what I’ve pasted in above is self-contradictory. We project a “publishable” friendly public image of ourselves when we are up and about. This is not the entire truth but it is still you, even though it is just a part of you. Just because you want to enhance certain aspects of yourself doesn’t mean that you’ll abandon the memory or traces of how you used to be. Also, if you have an internal picture of who you really are or who you wanna be, then it can be argued that you are trying to “play a role.” Human beings usually have role-models that they try to emulate or rules that they try to live by, such as the suggestions presented in this book.

There are also some very glaring typos in this work. I’m just pointing it out since this is a book that has been published and according to the front cover is an international bestseller.

As I said above there are some good things in there, the curse is upon those who always question, refraining from blindly accepting claims from others….

Taking Back Your Time. (goodbye April, hello May)

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Something I find quite funny is how bloggers usually apologize their absence on their blog at one time or the other 😛 If you take your time to check out a whole bunch of random “hobby-bloggers” you will find entries with an introduction around the lines of “…sorry I haven’t been blogging that much lately” or “…wow..I had no idea I had been gone for so long”… it is actually quite a funny observation and makes me think of an article I read at the beginning of the year, addressing how most people slip out of their new years resolution before January is even over 😮

It is actually quite scary to think of that unless you make active choices to change certain habits  a change is not gonna happen. Writing down a plan on how to go about things, might seem quite obvious, but I’m sure there are a lot of people who just think to themselves that they should do a whole bunch of things without them ever getting done. There wouldn’t be such a market for “self-help” books if that wasn’t the case. A good example are some of the apps I got myself not that long ago. A great thing about apps is that they keep track of your activity; accomplishing streaks can be a motivating factor. The daily reminders have the opposite effect, in fact at a certain point during the first moths of the year; Duolingo ( the popular language app) stopped sending me notifications all together with the message: ” we will stop sending you daily reminders as it isn’t working anyway” which is one of the funniest notifications I’ve received from any app. Funny enough I remember it as it was humorous and different to the repetitive messages I had previously received. Maybe it can be compared to parents who tell you the same things over and over without it ever really taking hold in your brain, until there is some sort of threat attached to the message. I don’t necessarily think paternal nuisance or anger is what  makes a child pay attention, it might just be that the message has been altered. Now the message is slightly different so we actually pay attention and remember it….or for sometime at least until it is forgotten again.

You literally have to make a conscious, determined choice to make a serious mindful effort to alter whatever it is that you want to change in your life, the push is not going to come from a nagging app, the push can only come from within. The good news is that it only takes 13 days to turn something into a new habit! Something else that I read in an article not long ago also revealed how thinking about options/choices is way more helpful when it comes to changing negative habits. If there is something that you gravitate towards that isn’t particularly good for you, think to yourself that “I’ll do so and so instead of this”, presenting options to yourself will give you the freedom to say no more easily, than if you rely on will power alone, according to said article.

Last month I re-read the outlines in the three books about mental training that I wrote about here on my blog previously. I spent a great deal of time revising if I was making the right decisions and if I had taken care of certain issues I had noted down in my planner earlier in the year. I was adjusting and reminding myself of certain goals, something that human beings have a tendency of doing too rarely. Something I noticed in my previous diaries was how I would very often write about “getting back into form again” something that struck me as 1) surprisingly repetitive and 2) sad – as you should feel and tell yourself that you are in good form (you are only improving.)

Thinking that you are constantly standing staring up at a goal instead of staring straight ahead thinking to yourself ” ah, of course I’m in good form, I’m always that” seemed a bit counter productive to me. I have not been particularly good at keeping diaries either, as the pages at one point or the other became empty or full of random ideas scribbled in all sorts of illogical places.

Last month I also decided to create some sort of “table-layout” when it came to my practise routine and figured that I was at my happiest if my time had been equally divided between the various things I do musically, than if all my concentration was focused on my guitar only.

Good time management or simply good awareness gives you the power to take back your day rather than the day owning you ;):)

So next time you feel like writing or saying ” sorry I haven’t been active on my blog lately” or ” woooops how long hasn’t it been since I checked into app so and so” bear in mind that  only total awareness of your time will make you own that time.

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Pigeons. Pretending that they aren’t stalking my food….

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Spot the black swan!

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What you find in a London Park.

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I want to go there….

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Smallest exhibition ever.

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Salvation

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I was illuminati before it was mainstream 😛

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When you find out you got red tones in your hair 😀

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Moms getting married again

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Hmm..someone got older this month…

How To Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

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A great book written by Dale Carnegie, this book was given to be by my mother a couple of years ago.

Dale Carnegie was a world-famous writer, lecturer and developer of self-improvement courses.

You can read about him over here: Dale Carnegie Bio

Or sign up for courses over at the: Dale Carnegie Training HQ

Why I only read thru this book once beats me as the advice given is nothing but stellar and they need to be applied.

It even says that this book is more like a “handbook”-something that you should read thru now and then to remember crucial advice given. If you want to change certain things about yourself you should certainly let the tips sink in.

It is a must have for anyone who automatically worries about anything and everything.

This book is a guide.

A “how to” on how to defeat your “worrying”.

You should read it with a pencil handy, to outline any advice that you can use for your own benefit.

This book is useful, in fact very useful for anyone who wants to change certain negative attitudes or bad habits that they might have.

I would recommend this book to anyone, especially those who nurture their worries.

It is an unhealthy habit, that will eventually make you physically ill.

There are many ailments that are caused by worrying and/or “thinking wrong”.

You need to be solution oriented, look at facts, come to a conclusion and make a decision.

Read Dale Carnegie’s book for tons of valuable advice and remember to treat it like a handbook.

 

 

 

Willing To Win.

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I decided to re-read the books that I have regarding performance psychology etc. and the first book I finished up was Willi Railo’s Classic  “Willing To Win”.

By reading my selection of books simultaneously it gave me the opportunity to compare different points of view.

Willi Railo’s classic is tailor made and intended towards athletes, this doesn’t mean that it is unsuitable for musicians, as the mentality or problem of performance anxiety certainly concerns more people than just those involved in sports.

The book is full of helpful tips and great stories from various athletes, so that you can compare and read about how a change in attitude/inner dialogue helped sport’s men and women win.

The book shows you how you can actually fulfill your potential and use your mental resources in the best way.

If you are willing, that is- willing to win 🙂

There are plenty of advice regarding what type of action one should take to eradicate certain issues one might have.

This obviously takes time, as does physical training.

My mother bought this book for me, as she knew of Railo due to his extensive work with Grete Waitz. Railo also helped Manchester United when they had Eriksson as their coach.

It is a book of indispensable value to anyone interested or engaged in any sort of performance.

Why performance psychology isn’t more wide spread in the music industry beats me.

I suspect that it makes for a dull story. Much more profitable with an industry littered with scandals and tragedy.