Questions to ask daily

I've learned and forgotten many lessons in my life.  I've hit bottoms, found healing, found answers, and pulled myself up only to get lazy or forget the lessons learned.  In an effort to ensure that I don't lose my way any longer I've developed a few systems.  One of those systems is to have a list of questions that I ask myself daily.

1.  What are my intentions today?  Look at this one from every side.  What do I hope to accomplish and do these goals align with my overall purpose?

2.  Am I being honest?  There are several aspects to this question as well.  Am I being honest with myself?  Am I being honest to others?  Am I proud of what I am doing?

3.  Am I taking care of myself?  Am I eating healthy?  Am I getting enough rest?  Am I spending enough time with myself through meditation or other quiet time?

4.  Am I living up to my potential?  Am I being creative?  Am I using my time wisely?  Have I analyzed my plan of action to see if it is effective?  Am I adding value?

5.  Am I being spiritual (in my own way)?  Am I in touch with who I really am?  Do I take the time to acknowledge what I am grateful for?  Do I know what I stand for?  Am I contributing to making the world ( or my world ) a better place?

Make your own list similar to this one.  Review it at least weekly, if not daily.  You will still have good days and bad days, but if you use your list of questions and stay honest with yourself then you will find that you don't stray too far off course.

Zen Presence - minimalism, simplicity, self improvement, simple living, Zen in modern life.

Tomorrow never comes

Have you ever awoke and said to yourself "It is tomorrow?"  Of course not, because it is always now.  Tomorrow never comes.  

To live your life fully invested in something that doesn't exist and never will, doesn't make sense. You are missing so much.  Be present.  Be mindful.  Notice your life and those around you right now.

The holiday season is an exceptional time to be present. Your life is now.

"Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be"
                                                                                                                    ~ Eckhart Tolle

Zen Presence - minimalism, simplicity, self improvement, simple living, Zen in modern life.

Modern Zen Stories XII - Thanksgiving links

Thanksgiving links.  I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to be grateful.

Why I'm not preparing for Christmas on Aberrant Living

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Recipes on Gluten-Free Goddess

Food and Sensuality on Food Philosophy

Thanksgiving Trends on The Bitten Word

6 alternative ways to spend Thanksgiving on The Elephant Journal

Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie on Youtube

Zen Presence - minimalism, simplicity, self improvement, simple living, Zen in modern life.

51 Great Ways to Relieve Stress

    1. Breathe deeply, feel your chest expand and contract.
    2. Shake some one's hand.
    3. Give someone close a massage.
    4. See the humor in life. Read a joke, watch a comedy.  Laugh out loud.
    5. Meditate for 15 minutes or more.  It generally takes at least 10 minutes for the mind to settle and tensions to start to fade.
    6. Make a journal or diary entry.  Empty your troubles onto the page.
    7. Cry if you feel like it.  Crying is your body's natural way to release stress and rid of toxins.
    8. Tell someone if you are angry.  Don't keep it bottled up.  Tactfully express your feelings.
    9. Tell someone you love them.  Don't assume that they know.  You'll feel better and so will they.
    10. Write down your worries.  List them, make a plan, and let them go.
    11. Spend time outdoors.  Being outdoors lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and helps to provide an overall feeling of well-being.
    12. Ask yourself "What if everything goes well?" Quit being pessimistic.
    13. Neaten up your surroundings.  Clutter increases anxiety.
    14. Live in the moment.  Now is all that exists. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
    15. Eat something healthy.  Eat mindfully appreciating each bite.
    16. Take out the trash or wash dishes.  Accomplishing menial tasks brings on a feeling of well being.
    17. Say no to someone.  Don't over-commit.
    18. Avoid doing any one thing to excess.  Even fun things bring on guilt and stress when over done.
    19. Dress up.  Look good - feel good.
    20. Recycle.  Do a good deed.
    21. Help someone.  Helping others reduces stress and gives a sense of purpose.
    22. Take a day off.  Give yourself a day for enjoyment. 
    23. Give to a charity. Feel good about yourself.
    24. Make a grateful list. List everything that brings joy to your life.
    25. Sing out loud. 
    26. Make a list of your greatest accomplishments. Give yourself credit for what you have achieved in life.
    27. Call an old friend and say hello.
    28. Try something new, something small at first. Expanding your world gives a sense of ability and accomplishment.
    29. Forgive yourself. Realize that you've done the best you knew how at the time.
    30. Do strenuous exercise. Exercise is good for stress relief and a sense of healthiness.
    31. Read a short story.
    32. Listen to music. Play your favorite song.
    33. Stretch. Reach for the sky. Twist your body in ways you've never done. Feel your aliveness.
    34. Do something you believe in. Make a stand and feel good about it.
    35. Find the answer to a problem.  Research something that troubles you and find a solution.
    36. Smile at a total stranger.
    37. Do your job well.  Feel good about how you do what you do.
    38. Write a letter.  Surprise someone with a hand-written note.
    39. Take a nice warm bath.  Use bubble bath, bath salts, or whatever makes you feel special.
    40. Drink a cup of warm decaffeinated tea.  Savor each swallow.
    41. Spend time with friends. Surround yourself with people that make you happy.
    42. Sit in the sun.  Face the sun and feel the warmth spread through you, relieving all of your tension.
    43. Refrain from gossip.  Gossip brings a short sense of thrill, but is often followed with guilt, regret, and stress.
    44. Make a list prioritizing your values.  A sense of self and purpose relieves stress.
    45. Treat yourself with a piece of chocolate.  Chocolate is healthy and provides a sense of well being.
    46. Stroke or play with a pet.
    47. Encourage someone that needs it.  Be positive with others and feel good about yourself.
    48. Roll in the grass. Roll around like a kid until you feel young again.
    49. Fantasize.  Imagine your greatest fantasy. Make it real.
    50. Play a game.  Be a child again and have fun.
    51. Have sex.  Sex is one of nature's greatest stress relievers.
Please add any suggestions in the comments below.

Zen Presence - minimalism, simplicity, self improvement, simple living, Zen in modern life.


Modern Zen Stories XI - Best stories on the net

Image credit: anoldent on

Welcome to Modern Zen Stories XI, a collection of the best independent content offered on the net this week.  If you've come across some interesting articles or stories then please share them in the comments.  If there is a topic that you would like to see more often then please let me know that as well.

Have a great weekend.


Sluts at the Halloween Ball on The Altucher Confidential

When to go with your gut on 99u

The antidote to perfectionism on Slow Your Home

How to Live Consciously in Every Day Life on Myrko Thum

The Four Great Bodhisattva Vows on The Endless Further

Lungs of the Planet on Earthism

Home Remedies for Congestion.. on Common Sense Homesteading

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude on A New England Girl

Music by The Hare and the Hounds - a small independent band.

Zen Presence - minimalism, simplicity, self improvement, simple living, Zen in modern life.

Weird is normal and vice versa

Every one of us is unique. No two of us are the same, so why do we try to fit in, to be normal?  I would argue that, in addition to a natural human trait to want to belong,  the creation of the norm has mostly been a product of marketing in the last fifty years or so.  Mass production is cheap. Create a norm using television and radio, encourage everyone to conform, and you've created a mass audience to sell mass produced products to.  It worked very well for a while.

Wanting to belong is okay, it is normal.  Having large corporations and media conglomerates define who we should be is not normal, it is oppressive.  Depression, stress, and a general dissatisfaction with life are all symptoms of what happens when we try to meet someone else's expectations.

 The world has changed in the last few years.  As the internet has opened our world of choice and expanded our ability to communicate with other people that have similar opinions and interests, we don't have to conform to connect.  There are others out there just as weird as we are.

You don't have to be someone else's version of normal. Be weird. Be yourself. That is normal.


To explore this topic further I recommend We Are All Weird by Seth Godin.

Zen Presence - minimalism, simplicity, self improvement, simple living, Zen in modern life.

10 Goals worth sharing

The following list is from Satya Columbo at .  Satya was reflecting on the differences between the United States and the jungles of Central America, where he'd just spent eight long months, when he discerned this list.  They mirror my own values so closely that I  had to share. 
Number 10 is set apart because it is my own. 
  1. A clear and present mind rooted in the truth of who we are;
  2. A life that’s dominated by love over the quest for property, prestige and wealth;
  3. A foundation of generosity over greed;
  4. The freedom to live our lives in alignment with the highest values we envision for ourselves and the world;
  5. A life that’s filled with recognition of the abundance of all that we have vs. obsessing over what we don’t have;
  6. The fundamental groundedness in nature — in the beauty and wisdom, the abundance and flow of the earth;
  7. A clean earth, clean environment, and clean water for all humans and all life;
  8. Simplified, minimized consumption — focused on sustainability;
  9. A Life driven by happiness, joy and celebration of the gifts that we have.
10.  To serve and help other people do the same.

If these ideas or goals resonate with you then please share.  Thanks for reading,


Make Your Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home. Click Here!
Zen Presence - minimalism, simplicity, self improvement, simple living, Zen in modern life.

Modern Zen Stories X

This is the 10th edition of Modern Zen Stories.  I spend hours each week reading hundreds of blog posts and articles.  I present you with the best of what I find in each episode of Modern Zen Stories.  Some weeks there are themes, others not.  I like to mix it up.  This weeks topics range from stories about Hurricane Sandy to the upcoming holidays.

Have a mindful week.

Dan Garner

I wish I had a poem to offer On the IDP blog.

The cry of the earth on The Endless Further

A community vineyard grows in Cleveland on

Buckeye on the Showmenaturephotography blog.

Breaking bread with mindfulness on Freedom from the known.

The Best Pumpkin Crème Brûlée You'll Ever Have on A Cup of Jo

Ulitimate clutter free gift guide on Slow Your Home

If you enjoy outdoor pics take a look at a few shots from last weeks camping trip here .

Zen Presence - minimalism, simplicity, self improvement, simple living, Zen in modern life.


Money is just paper.  It has no real value.  Our home does.
Zen Presence - minimalism, simplicity, self improvement, simple living, Zen in modern life.