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11 simple ideas for improving the quality of your life....

11 simple ideas for improving the quality of your life....

11 simple ideas for improving the quality of your life.... As magicians, we are already on the path of life improvement. However many folks forget or leave out the simple things which turn life into more of a luxury from time to time. As a friend of mine says "life is too short for mediocre sushi". There are many simple things we can do to improve both the quality of our life and our health at the same time. While I'm guessing many who read this already put many of these things in to practice, since we tend not to be the sort who get wooed by television advertising or mediocrity. However I thought I would write this anyways to give even more ideas. The first article in the series shows how you can improve the quality of your life for only $20 and an hour or 2 per week. I will in the future be adding further articles including various low cost and easy to prepare healthy eating recipes. I know this is a bit off topic from magic, but if you want your practice to grow, taking care of your foundations and your body is also important. So below I have listed my 11 ideas for improving one's life with only $20 per month and 2 hours per week. -Throw out that artificial scented soap! Go over to your healthfood store and spend an entire $2 on a bar instead of your usual $1. The best soaps for a decent price are usually found there unpackaged next to the very expensive handmade ones. If you prefer you can make your own soap, but this does take some time. Fortunately it doesn't take any expertise. Buy pre-packaged solid glycerin at your candle supply store or Michael's crafts. Melt, pour into molds, add essential oils. In that order. For cleanup, just use water, no extra soap needed ;). Natural deodorant is quite good as well, it actually works and doesn't block the pores. -Walk around in bare feet more often. At home I mean, outdoors is a bit more risky do to dog owners not always cleaning up after themselves. There are about 7800 nerves in your feet, don't suffocate the poor things. Also purchase 100% cotton socks, or at least as close as you can get to it. They tend to come in packages of 6 for $6-7. I also recommend good shoes of course, but that wouldn't fall in the $20 per month range, unless you take into account that they don't need to be replaced 1/5th as often as cheap crappy shoes. Discount stores which carry last year's fashions tend to have the best prices 50-80% off. Try Ross, or nordstroms rack, or Winners (not as good), or reioutlett.com -Relax. You may think you relax, but how often do you really relax? If you think you are relaxing, check to see if any muscles are tense, your teeth are clenched, or your breathing is shallow. We are taught to always be on edge and worry. Relaxing is not something we naturally do. I recommend conscious relaxing, instead of just watching tv or a movie. To relax you can meditate, practice TaiChi, go for a walk in a wooded area, and so forth. I also recommend book reading, but for this I am focusing more on conscious relaxing which is so rare. Spending time in your temple or magical working space with the candles going is an extremely good version of this. I recommend relaxing for at least 1/2 hour per day, more on weekends. -Less TV and internet, more fresh air and sunshine. While everyone has their favorite internet sites and tv shows, it can easily be overdone and turn into a major time wasting activity. If you are complaining there is nothing on tv, turn it off! If you are finding the internet boring, turn off the computer. To get yourself outside more I recommend some walking, cycling or outdoor sports activities. If some of your errands are within 10 blocks, just walk instead of drive. Or if within 20 blocks bicycle on over. You will feel much better for it. Also with walking and hiking in nature, you will find many opportunities to practice some outdoor magic. -If you eat meat, purchase it from your local butcher or farm. The same goes with bread, dairy products and vegetables. Many butchers will deliver, and so will some farms. The veggies can be found at small ethnic run grocery stores. I am not exaggerating when I say that these items taste 10 times better and are far fresher then you find in the grocery stores! Also the cost generally tends to be less. Fish markets are very good as well, but can be a bit costy. -Learn something new and try something new. Every once in awhile take a course at your local community center. The community centers tend to be subsidized and try to help the local community, so the cost tends to be half or 1/3rd the price of the same sort of course elsewhere. I have also found the instruction to be of equal if not better quality. If this is out of your budget for whatever reason, ask for their options for low income folks. They have more then you might realize. If you are thinking they are still expensive, think about how much you spend per month on fancy drinks at the coffee shop or bar. Looking at most people's budgets, fancy drinks tends to be one of the largest expenditures which can be cut down if you are trying to save money. If you are still a bit too broke for the courses after making your lattes at home to save money, find a friend who is passionate about their interesting hobby who will teach you for free ;). Youtube videos if you have to. However there is not substitute for quality in person teaching. -Eat more healthfully. Your energy will double! Instead of purchasing pre-made frozen food, just purchase the same meat or vegetables fresh along with a natural and good tasting seasoning. This way you end up with a better tasting meal which still has the nutrition left in, as well as tastes better and fresher. Also avoid pre-packaged food, and if you do go for pre-packaged food check the ingredient list. Healthy foods are trendy now, so they usually don't cost that much extra, if at all. While the pre-packaged foods may seem like they take less time (that is what the packaging and advertising would have us believe) they don't actually. It takes less then a minute to add spice to meat or vegetables and put them in the oven. Then you come back in half an hour and take them out. Same amount of time spent and a much more healthy and good tasting meal. You acn use the half an hour it is cooking to catch up on other things. Also fresh salads make a wonderful lunch or dinner. If you think salads are boring, you just need to get more creative. If you think they are not filling, you apparently just haven't added enough meat, fish, nuts, raisins, or cheese to them. I also recommend fresh juice. It does't take all that long to make and there is nothing like it. You can find juicers at yard sales or thrift stores for $5. Or if you prefer, get one new. -Exercise. This will increase your magical effectiveness, as well as your health. The trick to exercising is to find various forms of exercise which are not boring to you. Hiking, kayaking, rollerblading, hockey, martial arts, yoga, racquetball, mountain biking, Ifswimming. I'm sure you can find a variety of activities to keep up your interest. People tend to stick with exercise longer if it is actually fun and interesting. The gym is good as well, and can motivate you with all those other people there working out as well. Some people will even hire a personal trainer to help make sure they workout. If your health isn't that great, try walking, taichi, or bowling. -Do things you actually like. This may sound odd, but most people do not do the activities they enjoy! There are many excuses such as work, or worrying about work, or lack of money, or something they want to watch is on tv (which could have been taped), they are too old to do that anymore, it wouldn't be proper, no time (which is not tru if you are reading this blog), family responsibilities (take the family with you), and... well you get the idea. Stop making excuses and take some time out for yourself. The first step is to figure out what you enjoy. Most people don't know. We are all victims of habit and society. We are just used to doing the same things over and over, and doing what everyone else does. Even the so called alternative, nonconformists or radicals, tend to just stick to what their other alternative, uncomformist, or radical friends are doing. What is it you like to do? Sit down, meditate and give it some though. Usually thoughts of "oh I could never do that" come up. Well why not? Learn to live life to the fullest. Don't worry about what others would think, or if what you are doing is accepted or cool, just go do it and have a blast. Once you have all that figured out, schedule time for your fun activities. It is likely you may not get to them, or spend all day everyday doing them if you don't schedule them into your life. Figuring out what your biggest time wasting activities that you get nothing out of, will also help you to find more time for things you truly enjoy. -Spend more time practicing magic! Sometimes it is difficult to motivate yourself to get into the temple, or you don't have the time, or there are other people around. Explain to those other people that you need to meditate. If you have to tell them your doctor recommended it lest you become homicidal. If your family doesn't even let you have half an hour per day to yourself, it may be wise to re-educate them, go to counseling or find a new place to live. Even couples with 2 kids and 2 full time jobs can take half an hour per day each to relax. If your magical routine is getting boring, or it is difficult to make yourself do it every single day, vary it up a bit. Try something new, do something different, or just see it as an exercise of will power. It doesn't even matter what you do each day necessarily, just do something magical. -Shop at www.enochian.org . This way you are not subjecting yourself and the invisibles to camel or cow shit incense (really that is what they make stick incense from) with fake scented oils. You get the real thing. Alternatively, you can take one of the courses at www.flauros.com/scholomance which gives complete instructions for making your own magical tools. There you have it, 11 simple steps for living in luxury on a budget. There are many other ideas which can be added to this list, and I encourage you to post them :).

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