All posts by Yaga

A literary writer with a background in journalism, PR, philology studies and psychology. I was also teaching for a short while, but to be honest, I prefer cats than kids. Illustrator, herbalist, brand founder and entrepreneur, misanthrope, creepy stuff enthusiast.

Master your focus

This is the thing that everyone want us to do, but nobody ever showed us how to do it. Nobody even explained what it is – this wonderful, almost unattainable physical state. Focus. Think about this – since early stages of our life, through school, college and work, we hear all the time that we need to focus. But how the hell, can we do it? It would be great if someone would kindly show us, right?

In simple word focus is ability to eliminate distractions. Like with many other things – it’s simple, but not easy. The question is – why we struggle so much achieving clear concentration? Is it a matter of some kind of flaw? Or maybe our brains refuse to obey? Let’s find out.

It turns out that most people can’t manage themselves in the right way. We are not aware of how our brain, mind and our attention work. One of my personal You Tube guru, Dandapani, says:

“(…) most people can’t concentrate today for two reasons; one is we’re never taught how to concentrate, and second is we don’t practice concentration. So how can you do something if you never taught how to do it? And how can you be good at something if you don’t practicing? (…) let’s say on average we are practicing a 13 hours of distractions a day, seven day a week, and then you’re wonder why you’re so good at it. That’s the law of practice (…) we become good whatever is we practice.”

Simple as it is – we become all these things to which we devote our attention. When we divide our attention to many things at once, we’re losing. Divided attention is not attention. It’s distraction. And as Dandapani saying, it’s not enough if you sit once a day for 10 minutes meditation practice, while for the rest 1440 minutes your mind is distracted! Do you see where we are going with this?

Unwavering focus is is something you need to practice.
Not for ten minutes a day, but all day. Wonder how? Let’s gets things under way.

  1. Myth of multitasking

First thing you need to remember: multitasking is bad! I mean really bad, ugly and shabby. From now on I want you to think about multitasking like you would think about your older’s brother stinky pair of socks, or pineapple on pizza, or polish disco charts. Or preferably all of them at once. I know what you want to say right now, I really hear your voice  ‘Why?Multitasking is great, it save your time!’ Keep that voice down please, cause this is not the case. Why? Here it is: multitasking forces your brain to switch your focus back and forth very quickly from one task to another. And what is wrong with that? Our brain cannot seamlessly transit from one task to another. Those switches costs you mental price. This is more harmful than you might think and have real negative impact on your productivity and creativity. What it means is that multitasking stops you from getting into a state of flow, which is the best condition for creating any work. Also, it impacts your short-term memory, even leads to increased anxiety. So do one one thing at the moment. Only one.

2. Turn notifications off

Get rid of that stimulating buzzz sound while you working on something important. Seriously, do you need to know who liked your instagram selfie, or what your bestie uploaded in her latest story? No,you don’t! All you need is do you task – that’s all matter. There will be time for all emails, texts, facebook, missed calls. But later, when you finish. Such bullshit really weakens concentration and motivation. You know yourself how much willpower requires you to concentrate, so don’t waste it because of  some stupid notification bells.

3. Try pomodoro technique

This method, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s., uses a timer to break down work into not long (originally 25 minutes, but you can decide for yourself), timed intervals spaced out by short breaks. Pomodoro is one of the simplest and most effective productivity tools – requires only a timer and simple rules. For this 25 minutes you must really work, without bullshit. After a while you will see that it works. And there’s more – with time it can even help improve your attention span and concentration. Definitely worth a try. You can also try focus music (you can just find it on you tube) while you working on something – it will keep you into what you doing.

4. Be mindful

Learn how to be totally aware of yourself. Try to pay unwavering attention to whatever you do at the moment. Practice it.  Not for ten munutes daily, but all the times. When you speak to someone, pay all attention to that person. While eating contemplate the taste of food, notice its smell and consistency. Be attentive even with trivial activities, such as washing dishes or vacuuming – treat them as a practice of your mindfulness. Practice concentrating on every little thing you do during the day. You’ll find out how good you will be after some time.

(...) If you practice something over and over again, you become really good at it. And that's why people are so good at distraction - because it's what they practice." - Dandapani

5. Meditate

You expected that, right? What can I say, meditation is a thing! It’s the best what you can do for yourself. It can help you grow on so many levels. More or less you know what this is about. Of course this topic deserves more attention and space, and I’ll back to it in future posts. For now, I want to highlight how significant may be bringing this practice to your life. And don’t say that you can’t or you don’t know how – meditation is a process you can learn. Like any other skill.

Once I had tat silly idea about meditation. I don’t know where it came from, but I was expecting something extraordinary from meditating. And by extraordinary I mean flashes, visions, enlightenment, or I don’t know what else, maybe a journey to another dimension. I expected some extreme changes of consciousness. Like after strong joint, or something. Well, forget about it. Meditation can change your consciousness, but not in this junkie-hippie-stoner way some might think of.

Meditation clear your mind and allows you to see things on a deeper lever. It allows to look inside you and to see the connections between all things in reality. And it’s better than being ‘on high’!

There are many apps out there that might help you enter the process and learn it. I can recommend Calm or Headspace, both you can try out for free.

Instead of ending:

This is the second version of this post, the first containing about 1000 words, I ‘accidentally’ deleted. It shows how inattentive you can be when writing about focus…Ironic. I got annoyed, you can imagine, but them I remembered that once ‘accidentally’ I deleted my bachelor’s thesis written in 90 percent. Two weeks before deadline…I realized this time it’s not so bad – I just need to focus more! So I took a shower, grabbed a beer and back to my desk . And here it is. Maybe not so polished, but I wrote what I wanted to write.

Stay calm. Stay focus. Stay mindful.

Small big things

What are all the self-development blogs, books, vlogs, talks, methods used for, and why their popularity is still increasing? Why we are so crazy about the constant improvement of ourselves and everything around us? What is this holy grail of self-development? Well, in short, we want to be happy. Yeah, whatever that means. But really, what does it mean?   

If you happened to experienced a sudden feeling of fullness, maybe while sitting in a cosy armchair reading a favourite magazine and sipping steaming tea, or while having super tasty lunch with your bestie, or maybe when you’ve forgotten about the whole world while playing with your pet, you might get the point of what real happiness is.

Happiness is not created of super epic stuff like conquering the world. It’s rather like seeing the wonder in every little thing. True happiness resides in the realm of small things.

I’m sure you’ve heard about blue zones determined so by Dan Buettner. In his research, he identified the longevity „hotspots” of the world. The zones are Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece and the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. People living in these places share not only longevity but also a great sense of happiness. You must be wondering what a great secret lies behind it. Well, the trick is to live simple. People from those places share common lifestyle characteristics. Simplifying we can bring them to a sense of community, balanced diet and awareness of spirituality. Buettner breaks it down to nine following points:  

Moderate, regular physical activity

 Having a life purpose 

Controlling the level of stress 

Moderate caloric intake

Plant-based diet 

Moderate alcohol intake

Engagement in spirituality or religion

Engagement in family life and social life 

I can almost hear you thinking Is this for real? How the hell this can have such a significant impact on an overall sense of happiness? Well, the answer to this is that happiness is a very simple thing. Simple, but not easy. Like lots of things in our life which are simple, but not easy. Let me break this down for you: if you wanna lose weight you know what to do – you need the right diet and a dose of regular exercise. We can agree that this is simple. But…is it easy? We all know the answer.

Small things lead to great happiness

It seems to me that everything starts in gratitude. Happiness begins when we realize that there are so many things that we should thank the Universe.  How do I know? Because this is how I started my path to a better life. And you know what? Gratitude works, bitches.

Think, that there is somebody out there who is happy with less than you have. And think about all things you are grateful for, all the good things that happened to you, all amazing people you’ve met on your way, all chances that were given to you. And also think about all those opportunities and beautiful moments which are yet to come. Do not focus on all the material things you have, they are relevant, but not the most important. Of course, you should be grateful for them too, but turn your attention to what really matters. I’ve been getting rid of excess stuff for some time and I have to say that I feel good about it. I feel lighter. Still have many books, however those I know I won’t read again I donate to libraries. And perfumes, for which I have no excuse. But I won’t buy more. Promise.

My point is I do not own a lot of stuff. But I own lots of love for my boyfriend, my family, my pets and those few friends that I have. I own lots of joy with having a walk in the forest or with a glass of bordeaux in the evening. I own lots of passion for my favourite books, music, movies, art, poems. I own lots of satisfaction with my writing and drawing. I own lots of beautiful memories of great moments and great people. I own lots of hope and faith, and I own an incredible amount of dreams and goals that I know will be fulfilled. It’s so little and so much at the same time. 

I think having a goal is the basic driving force of everything.

To be happy you need to have a reason to get out of bed every day. This is another thing that people from the blue zone have in common – they never stop working, in a sense that they have bigger and smaller things to do. Everyday. Think about all those people, not only retirees, who lead aimless living filled at most with the waiting for the next episode of the TV series. Do you think they are happy? Well, how can you be happy being dead inside? Your goal, your mission is something personal, only you decide what it is. There’s no importance hierarchy here. For one it can be changing the world, for others creating something small but satisfying. 

We are all here for various reasons and they all are important.

 

First steps to your personal victory

Have you ever felt that your dreams overwhelming you? That they won’t fit in your life, that they are greater than your capabilities and strength? This is absolutely natural, as doubt is a bitch that sometimes coming as uninvited guest, sitting next to you and pushes on the sofa, drinks from your beer glass without permission and takes the remote control. But there is one good thing you should know – you are in control of your mind and you can kick out that ugly bitch out of your head.

You are in charge of your mind.

Someone said that if you can control your mind you can control everything. This is so true, so simple, so awesome and powerful. You must realize that everything starts in your head. Everything. To apply anything into your life you need to start from the thought. But to really make this magic works you need to support your thoughts with action. What if taking action scares and paralyzing you? Don’t panic, it’s totally ok.

Start small but dream big

When reality or thoughts about what you want to achieve overwhelm you, decide to start small. Don’t try to take everything right away and do not rush. Approach tasks and challenges with a calm mind. But first be clear on what you want to achieve. Simply as it is – to achieve your goals you need to have them defined, preferably in details. You need to know what you want and you need to focus on it.

If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t get anywhere

Why you need to be specific? We all know new year resolutions, right? Imagine that your goal was to loose weight. After a year the weight shows 99 kg and you weighed 100 kg year ago. Well, you achieved your goal, you’ve lost weight! But is this really a success? You know the answer. This is why when you set your goal be definite as much as you can. Until end of December I will loose 30 kg. Now, this looks like a plan. This is appropriately designated goal. This applies to everything – when you saying that you want to be fit, be happy, be successful, be healthier it actual means shit. Specify what being successful means to you – is it financial freedom that determines success? Social recognition or fame? Or maybe raising great children or creating art? Know what success means to you. Don’t get trapped in the abstract ‘shell words’.

Concrete and measurable goals are the basis. Write them down, describe them and specify the time you will need to achieve them. Think about your goals, imagine how you implement them. Start with one thing that will lead you to success and add next steps when you are ready. If something appear too hard think about it from different perspective. Imagine your goal or problem is a huge elephant which you have to eat – how will you do it? Bite at a time. It’s impossible to eat the whole elephant at once, but you can do it piece by piece. If your goal is big or difficult divide it to smaller parts and work on each part at the time.

With the right mindset everything is possible. You need to focus on your dreams, you must desire them like nothing else, you need to be crazy about them! Stay focus – don’t get distracted by things that don’t matter.

We attract the things we focus on. So focus on what you want. Build an attitude based on confidence and self believe. If you know deep inside you that you’ll win, Universe has your back 😉

The right mindset, the key to your personal success, lies in desire, inner harmony, focus, involvement and unwavering faith in your abilities.

As Henry Ford once said:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”

What about renovate our lives?

Have you ever experienced a meltdown because you compared your life with someone other’s life? When I was 27 I watched American Psycho – if you never seen it I will just mention that main character is wealthy New York investment banker (and psychopathic murderer. Whatever.) And he’s 27. Just like me watching the movie. The difference between me and him was not only that I wasn’t successful (and I wasn’t psychopathic murderer!) At age of 27 I felt like my life is over and it wasn’t only about regretting my choices which lead me to where I was (for clarification: in deep shit). I had no idea what to do and I felt like it’s too late for everything. I felt so silly for envy a movie character its amazing career. I was like babe in the woods.

How is it possible that my dreams was not yet fulfilled?

For many one chosen path is one for life. We are learning that we have to decide about our life while we are very young. When I was 19 year old with head full of poetry and pot smog I really wanted to study philosophy. But I didn’t because I was told that I have to chose something closer to real life. To be clear me the closest thing to life was intoxicating myself with any possible thing while immersing in mysticism of the world. But mostly intoxicating. I had no idea what things are close to “real life”. Finally I end up as a literature student, then I done my master in journalism and PR. I don’t think that would be my choice now. Honestly, my interest in journalism faded after internship in local newspaper and when I moved to other country my language abilities did not even let me think about working in industry. So I ended up in some random jobs most of whom I was ashamed of. And I stayed there. For years.

Sometimes change is the hardest thing to do

Personally, I think that most of choices we make as a very young people do not harmonize with what we become during life.

Why not make new decisions and choices now?

Many times during life we change or renovate apartments, improving a garden landscape, we renew the wardrobe ect.

Why don’t renovate our lives?

The truth is that our inability to change is dictated by social norms. When we look at our parents generations we can clearly see this particular pattern of life: school-optional college-job-family-stabilization. But…it doesn’t have to be this way. If you feel that you are in the wrong place I tell you something: it is never too late to change it.

Think about this: studies shows that to master any skill (any, from playing an instrument to master a knowledge of some extend or graduate university) we need approximately 5 years. So even if you not belong to the youngest part of population you are still able to pick up totally new thing and master it! Or two things, or three…Don’t worry that they all require time. Time will pass anyway.

If you doubt in possibility that you can redirect your life path in direction of your choice just look around and see inspirations in those who made it. And there are plenty of them. We all know names like Vera Wang (she entered into fashion industry when she was 40), Samuel L.Jackson ( he was 46 when he got first serious role), J.K. Rowling (she was 36 when Harry Potter was published after being rejected twelve times by different publishers), Raymond Chandler (he was 44 when his first novel came out), or Grandma Moses who began her prolific painting career at age 78!

So how can you say you’re too old to sign up for a course you always wanted, enroll university, open pancake shop or learn new language? How can you say it’s too late to begin drawing, singing, playing piano, baking, dive, embroider, making dumplings, become yoga master?

You still have so many years ahead of you, fill them with something meaningful, that when you look back you’ll feel proud and content. And start now, nothing will happen by itself! Always wanted be an artist? So grab that fucking pencil and start sketching anything, you will be surprise how good you can become if you keep doing it for next weeks and months.

Think where you want to see yourself in few years. If it’s totally different place from the one you’re in now, decide to change. It can be done. Little steps are fine. Someday you’ll get there, just don’t stop. Meanwhile enjoy the beautiful trip which is life!

The best is yet to come!





Slow down!

When I started my journey to a better life I really throwed myself out there. I decided to leave my comfort zone and step by step reach for what is the best in life for me. I felt like I have to quickly make up for all those years I spent living below my potential. I had an urge to compensate all shity jobs, all unused ideas, wasted talents and wasted time. And I wanted to do it RIGHT NOW, with the feeling like the world is ending.


 As I always been creative person with a thousands ideas popping into my head every minute, I started doing a lot. I changed a job, I learned some new skills and opened my own small buisness, I started seriously work on my first book and I still felt like this is not enough. I started to practice drawing and learn portugeese, I begin to write two different blogs. I was doing gym three times a week and also I’ve tried to learn yoga. And there was more things to do on my long as devil’s tail TO DO LIST. One day after working whole two weeks day and night for my full time job and for the events related to my buisness, I back home, sat down and almost cried in relief that finally after so long time I’m going to have a day off. But in fact it wasn’t to be a real day off, in fact I had a long list of things I planned to do already prepared. What did I do?


I spend all day reading absorbing book and late afternoon I sacrifice myself to bottle of wine and Netflix. That was the best day ever.


Don’t get me wrong – having things done and ‘to do lists’ are great.Goals are great, and development is great. But sometimes when we are starting our experience with selfdevelopment, we sink into an immeasurable amount of things that come to our minds. Very often while we are trying to squize the best of our lifes, we are forgetting about the most fundamental thing. We all need rest. We all need relax. We all need to take it easy sometimes. We are here to enjoy ourselfs, life is not a copmetition for who will do more.



We all need that fucking bottle of wine and free evening from time to time!


While you might thinking that you cannot spare any of your precious time to be wasted, the truth is we can’t afford not to relax. Repeating after Russel the time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.


Let’s treat doing ‘nothing’ as a recharging our batteries, as a way to change our personal mode. Proper rest leads to so many benefits, that is hardly to believe, that so many people still underestimate the art of rest. And anyone can do it on it’s own way. Without feeling of guilt that we squander something.


When you rest-deprived you’re not able to reach your full potential. When your body and mind are overwhelmed your health suffering. Whole machanism of your human shell doesn’t work as it supposed to.

 So, if you want to be someone who easily achieves goals and fulfills his duties, has a fresh and creative mind and feels full, learn to rest. If you seriously think about selfdevelopment it is a MUST for you.


When you slow down you achieving totally new perspective.

Study shows taht rest sharpens your creative abilities, when you rested your brain cells communicate effectively and also your relationships become more harmonious.

There are spiritual benefits too – by deeply resting your mind you can discover your inner windsom. This is why we can distinguish physical rest, mental rest, and spiritual rest. 


So next time when you feel that you are totally wiped out don’t force yourself to finish all the tasks. Take a nap, some things can be done tomorrow. 

Rediscover Greatness

Until today I wouldn’t think that I’d start this blog. This was one of those quick, bright impulses in mind, that comes from who the hell knows where. I felt that I want to share something with you, and if witnessing my way to heal my life could help you anyhow, that will be the biggest award for my time spending on writing here. And rethinking and rewritig all these things will be therapeutic for me too.


You know what? There is Greatness in you. A real big deal. Perhaps, you had no chance to discover it yet, perhaps you were too busy with all bullshit that world throwed on you, so you couldn’t see it. Perhaps you believed in all those misleading ‘sooths’ about life, and that kept you away from seeing how amazing creature you are. Yes, you. Even if you think right now that you are one big human piece of dissapointment, regret and awkwardness and you are so fucked up, that there is nothing on this planet that could turn you into ‘decent’ individual.


You can unfuck whatever has been fucked up.


You were born pure and perfect. You were born to give and receive love. You were born to matter. There is not and never will be the same person as you. That’s already pretty awesome, don’t you think? Your thoughts, talents, skills, experience, dreams, perception of things making you someone really special. Even if you don’t see it in yourself now, there is something great deep inside you, something bigger than your flaws, insecurities and fears.

 It is greatness that allows you to understand and feel the world. Greatness that allows you create, dream, imagie and change.This blog is my diary of the patch that one needs to walk to discover this Greatness. It’s not a simple way. There is lots of shit around us and it is not always easy to see clearly through the prism of our painfull experiences. 


When we are born we don’t wonder if we are good enough, we don’t wonder if we deserve love, respect, appreciation. We don’t feel socialy awkward. We don’t think over and over again why we are such a loosers. We are born excellent, we are born ready to learn, to understand, to love, to delight and to struggle. Somewhere on our way we are forgetting all about that. Things happening and then we start to see everything through failure, rejection and fear. We start to feel unworthy and unimportant. We start to feel that our life doesn’t matter and we doesn’t matter either. We are loosing our willingness to do things. We are overwhealmed by responsibilities, debts, guilt and hopelessness. But let me tell you one thing:


It is up to you how your life will be 

There is this beautiful force, which everyone can posses. Ability to change. To fix. To unfuck.

No matter where you think you are on your life patch now – you can always do it. I’m not saying that this is easy, but it’s absolutely doable. If you change your thinking about yourself you will be able to see the Greatness in yourself.


Many years I worked in shitty jobs below my qualifications, just becaue I felt I’m not good enough to aply for something better. For years I drowned my fears and regrets in addictions. I had partners who didn’t respect me (for the simple reason that I didn’t respect myself) and friends who didn’t respect the way I wanted to be. I felt worse than almost anyone else I knew. I had constant feeling of being mismatched. I was judgmental and insecure. Very often I felt shame of being myself. On the other hand, somehow I knew that those negative feelings that was eating me alive, are not part of me, that real me is beyond that. But for long time I couldn’t separate myself from those pityful emotions. It took some time to understand that I am me, not my feelings, not my emotions or fears.


you are not what you feel

If you feel low it doesn’t mean that you are low person. If you feel unwothy it doesn’t mean that you are not worth the things you desire. If you feel anger it doesn’t mean you are bad person. If you feel scared it doesn’t mean that you’re coward. If you feel hopeless it doesn’t mean that there is no hope. 


Separate your feelings from the essence of yourself. Only this way you can start healing and discover your own greatness, your magnitude. Trust that there is place for you in this world, place where you can unlock all your potential, where you can be real.


 I know we all can find this place for ourselfs. Let’s start rediscovering our own Greatness.