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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Big Little Change digest - March, 2014

Big Change by Way of Small Change is a non-political, non-religious group, looking for open-minded people and ideas how we can change the world by collectively doing the right thing - even when the initial change is something very small and simple. You can always join us on Facebook and get all the news, articles, and suggestions as well as contribute some of your own.

Weekly small change challenges

Week 1 - use your turn signal.

Yes, I know - there are areas where using your turn signal is just begging to be treated like crap on the road. And that is precisely what we are trying to overturn here. Many accidents take place every year because someone failed to communicate which way they were going. Many more are just barely averted, because another driver has split-second reaction and really good anti-lock breaks.

I have no idea, how using your turn signal suddenly became uncool or weak, and why doing so means having a harder time making lane changes or being allowed into a parking spot. In the spirit of big change by way of small change, let us all start using our turn signals. The more of us do so, the more people will take notice and start doing the same.

Week 2 - pretend you are on vacation.

This is equally tough for those of us who work at the office and those who work from home. We get bogged down in a daily routine, where everything takes place the same way, day after day, week after week. We yearn for something different, but there is no time to break away - SERIOUSLY break away.

So fake it. Working from home and being the primary person responsible for most household duties, I rarely go anywhere, and believe me - it does get old, even living in a beautiful house in the middle of lovely woods. So, when I go to the post office, or to the grocery store, or to run some other errand, I pretend like I am on a mini-vacation. I purposely take a slightly longer route to get there, crank up my most upbeat music, and let my mind roam free. Sometimes it's only a 20-30 minute trip, but it's a great way to re-set and re-focus.

Week 3 - slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

I was first introduced to this concept when training in aikido. Many of us, martial arts students, were tempted to attack our techniques at full speed. However, the true skill and smoothness of movement came from slow, painstaking practice, until it finally became possible to go faster and still preserve good form and efficiency.

The same applies to our daily life, if you think about it. When are we at our clumsiest? When we are in a hurry. Suddenly, our furniture grows extra corners for us to bump into, every object we pick up becomes extra-heavy or extra-slippery - just waiting to be dropped, and our elbows and knees seem to add at least ten inches to their size because they seem to run into EVERYTHING.

Slow. Down. Take a breath. Even if you are running late - trying to do everything at a frantic pace will only make things worse. So, take a deep breath, and slow down. Go through your tasks at a more sedate pace. Before you know it, the furniture will shrink to its normal size, as will your elbows. The household objects and articles of clothing will stop trying to be juggling balls and fly out of your hands. By slowing down, you will be able to do what you need to do smoother, and the pace will pick up without your noticing. Even if you start behind schedule, going slower might actually help you get back on time. Pretty cool, no?

Member contributions

CoCoRaHS sister project - observing plants in addition to observing weather to contribute to better understanding of the global climate change.

Some common snacks with healthy alternatives. I like stuff like that a lot. When it doesn't just say, "Don't eat that!" but says, "Ok, this is not very good for you - but here is something else that tastes as good and is much better."

We don't have as big a selection in the drinks aisle as some bigger stores, but we do get Canada Dry. They offer their single-serve drinks, like tonic, club soda, and ginger ale, in small glass bottles. I am saving ours to use later for home-made syrups and infused oils. They would probably also work well if you wanted to buy a large container of juice and take a smaller portion to work with your lunch.

Because why wouldn't you want a bicycle sink? Seriously, I wouldn't do all of these, but great ideas.

Our words have power--and with the cabin fever season--people are breaking down at the library regularly, so the weight of words is drowning me. Here's an illustrative article proving it is better to keep quiet and be thought an idiot, than open your mouth and prove it. And, so much more: “My advice to them is, leave your offenders speechless”

Public service announcements

9 ways to detox your home.

Hilarious and brilliant - the happy secret for better work from Shawn Achor.

Something for Moms and Dads out there to discuss with their daughters.

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