Categories
happiness

feel free to use my content

Inspired by one of the most popular writers on the topic of simplicity, Leo Babauta I decided to keep it like him concerning copyright. Whatever I write, I write it because I want it to be read. All the words I am using are not my own anyway. I didn’t make them up, they are your words as well. Somewhere I’ve heart them before. I just put them into another compilation. So go ahead and use them.

I hereby release my copyright on my content.
You won’t need to contact me, if you want to use my words. Use it however you want! Email it, share it, reprint it with or without credit. Change it around if you like and publish it. That’s OK.
Credit and payment
While you are under no obligation to do so, I would appreciate it, if you give me credit for any work of mine that you use, and ideally, link back to the original. If you feel like spreading a copy of content you needed to pay for, I’d appreciate payment. I’d prefer to get paid for my work but if you want to share it with friends, you have every right to do so.
Why I’m releasing copyright
I’m not a big fan of copyright laws anyway, especially as they’re being applied these days by corporations, used to crack down on the little guys so they can continue their large profits.
Copyrights are often touted as protecting the artist, but in most cases the artist gets very little while the corporations make most of the money.
I think, in most cases, the protectionism that is touted by “anti-piracy” campaigns and lawsuits and lobbying actually hurts the artist. Limiting distribution to protect profits isn’t a good thing.
The lack of copyright never hurt Leonardo da Vinci when it comes to images such as the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, or the Vitruvian Man. It’s never hurt Shakespeare. It might have never really hurt any artist, although I don’t know for sure.
And while I’m no da Vinci or Shakespeare, I don’t know if that is going to work for me. If someone feels like sharing my content on their blog, or in any other form for that matter, that seems like a good thing for me. If someone wanted to share my work with 100 friends, I feel like that is a good thing to me.
And if someone wants to take my work and improve upon it, as artists have been doing for centuries, I think that’s a wonderful thing. If they can take my favorite posts and make something funny or inspiring or thought-provoking or even sad … I say more power to them.
The creative community only benefits from derivations and inspirations.
This isn’t a new concept though. Of course, and I’m freely ripping ideas off here. Well, that’s what this post is about, right?

And yes, I have heard the following argument before:
But … but … they’re stealing from you! **
And I can only tell you:
**You can’t steal what is given freely. I call this sharing, not piracy.

Inspirations: Zen Habits by Leo Babauta, Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig; and GNU by Richard Stallman

Categories
happiness

more than honey

Honey and bees are such a nice metaphor. Bees dedicate their whole life to the best for the community. Bees in the summer collect nectar for honey, so their successors in the wintertime won’t starve. Only if every part of the bee community fulfills its own mission the hive can survive and thrive.

As it is such a fragile system the bees live in and it is similar in the world where they find their food. In their direct surrounding they need to find flowers that produce nectar and pollen. If it is too cold, the bees can’t fly, if it is too rainy flowers might not open and the bees can’t fly. If it becomes to hot the flowers may wither. Even in an all natural world it seems as a wonder that bees survive throughout the years.

As it happened to be I started to keep bees on myself in 2003. It fascinated me from the first moment I opened a beehive. What I had to learn while keeping bees is that nowadays life became even harder for bees. When you have the possibility to look into such a fragile structure as a bee hive, you have a direct mirror for what is going on around you.

Farmers are growing only one crop so bees starve once this crop has no more flowers. Since every part of the countryside was turned into farmland. Crops are heavily treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. No other plant than the desired crops are growing anymore.

Furthermore the applied chemicals can be found in wax and honey. If you are truly concerned about collecting a clean and precious bee products you have to worry about nature as well. On top of these problems, scientists imported a bee mite from Asia in the last century. This mite is decimating bees around the globe and industrial beekeepers started to implement chemical pharma products until the mites became resistant 10 years ago.

This shows me that it might not be healthy to engineer and to try to improve nature. Concerning the bees it might be the best, to reduce stress for them as much as possible and give them time to adapt to the mites, which means less honey for us. Bees in Asia are coping with it as well. The more we give our bees the right to reproduce as they like the more we might give them the chance to survive. I try to leave as much honey as possible to my bees and let them on their own for most of the year. That reduces the amount of honey I can collect per year but I believe this adds up to its superior quality.

These principles might apply to nature in general as much as for dealing with people especially our kids as well.

  • Don’t optimize all the time.
  • Give them space.
  • Give them the right to be imperfect.
  • Give them the freedom to learn.

Control is just an illusion!

Categories
happiness

it is such a boring place… and that is the point

Next Sahara Experience starts on April 16th and there are only three places left. Here is some inspiration from the school of life:

Categories
happiness

right or wrong?

After my last post I received an email from one of my (now former) subscribers of the newsletter. He wrote, that he feels very sorry, but that I was fundamentally wrong with my approach of simplicity. What matters is „the one true essential“ in life. The question that I should ask is “what matters most in life? But I ask myself: Is there only „one way“ of living life the right way to be happy?

Just in case you are wondering because it might seem as if I am preaching the ‚one way to happiness‘… I am not. I am only suggesting potential ways. I tried many ways for myself and want to share what I experienced. I heard through others about their approach to happiness and found much truth in what they said. I saw that the struggles they had, applied to my life as well. So I tried different ideas from different people and I am creating my own mixture for happiness now. And you can witness it while happening.
At the moment I can say: I have never been as much in peace with myself as I am now.
And still I know it’s still a long way to go.
It is remarkable that I heard about these concepts long ago in my teens when I tried to find what life is all about. But I did not want to listen. I thought there is so much more in the world. I didn’t want to be in peace with just myself. I thought, whenever I reach the point that I can do everything in the world I could ever dream of, I am free and then I will be in peace with myself.
And while I grew up more and more (material things) showed up in my life. I wanted to have them all.
Today I understand that it is not enough to read about these ideas. They have to grow from the inside. From your own understanding. That is why my ideas are just offerings.

One day frustration hit me. To put it simple: More stuff didn’t mean more happiness to me.
So I tried to focus on the basics of life, but I couldn’t focus on what I really wanted. There were just too many options. My life was pure procrastination.

To find the basic meaning in my life does not stand in contrast to living ‚simplicity‘ and to declutter my stuff.
The more I gave up, the more:

  • positive emotion
  • passion
  • responsibility
  • curiosity
  • understanding
  • love

I discovered in my life.

We are human beings not machines. We are able to perform, create and manage but above all we have a soul and feelings. The more we focus on doing, producing and functioning the more we lose our inner nature, the interaction with others and we end up suffering.
For example, after I have given away a lot of my possessions and started traveling intensively I deeply understood how connected everything on earth is. It made me realize that I don’t want to live on more resources than can be reproduced during my lifetime. I understood that all I am consuming is just borrowed from the next generation and shared with present generations. I have the desire to focus on more spirit and less stuff.

To sum this up, it is not about the right way to live a happy life. It is about showing ways to declutter your life so much than you can discover the essential in your life.

Categories
happiness

what is simplicity about

I stumbled upon this concept about 1 1/2 years ago. I was questioning myself and life in general and thought about what I would really like to do. I came up with my adventure idea: Sahara by foot. Special about walking is that you have to carry all of your stuff yourself. Since there are certain limits, I had to focus on what was really necessary.

During that research I found out about other people living the concept of minimalism/simplicity. I liked it, because they were so much happier than ever before. It seemed so simple. Just get rid of all the stuff you don’t need and minimize your stress. Only later I had to find out that most of the things are connected to beliefs and it became really hard to let go of things I actually didn’t need.
After I came back from a three weeks trip in the desert I was overwhelmed with all the stuff I had a home. At that time I decided to take this approach seriously. Since I just moved to my girlfriend I decided to bring only the stuff I really needed. All the things I touched were questioned: When did I use them the last time? Did I miss them at any time?
In most cases the answer was quite simple: NO.

I had two or three eBay auctions running at all times and I gave away the rest for free.

One of the websites that I discovered at that time and which posts I am always reading are the minimalists and they describe their 21 days journey towards minimalism:
Here is a quote out of their journey. Have a look as well:

It is amazing to realize that we often don’t need the things we think we need. And it’s equally amazing to think about what the true cost of these things are. The dishwasher from yesterday is one example. But everything we buy has extra costs associated with them, not just the price on the price tag. They cost you money, which cost you time to earn. They cost you more time to take care of (e.g., wash your car, clean your furniture, etc.). They take up extra space in your house or apartment, which costs you more money because you need to procure extra square footage just to hold all of your shit.

The things we think we need…

That electronic gadget you wanted so bad six months ago? You know, the one you don’t ever use. What’s that? It’s in a junk drawer or a closet? Really?

Or how about that shirt you just “had to have” last season? How’s that working out for you? Couldn’t live without it, right?

That new car? Great, huh? How many more payments left? Oh, really? Just 42 more? At least it has leather seats that warm your ass on your long drive home from your eleven hour workday, the workday you’re forced to return to tomorrow so you can continue to make those car payments.

The bottom line? It’s all just stuff. And you don’t need it.

But because you have it doesn’t make you a bad person; it just means that your priorities are out of whack. Believe me, we know; our priorities have been out of whack for quite some time. But our journey into minimalism has helped us re-prioritize; it has helped us focus on what’s important. That pair of shoes you put on layaway just isn’t important.

Categories
happiness

other than expected

Sometimes I make plans and everything turns out to different.

I left Germany yesterday and expected to be in Sahara today. Well, what I did not expect was so much rain. All routes going south are closed. No busses are driving at the moment. I met some Germans that were lost. Helped them to find their Hotel. Over closed roads and broken bridges, went to a small surfers village north of Agadir, met somebody whom I will help with his website for his hostel and therefor can stay free of charge. I will proceed to the desert when the road are open again. My lesson once again: take it easy and it will turn out good.

Categories
happiness

how you put giraffe in fridge – 3 steps

I am on my way into the desert again. After the heaviest rainfall in southern Morocco that people can remember it seems as if the desert is not only green, but as if I will be able to go for swim. The situation will be something absolutely new and I am excited what I will learn out of this trip.

Traveling by foot in Sahara is an act of meditation and focus on the easiness of life. When waking up, you can neither go to the kitchen nor to the next bakery. If you want a coffee you have to make fire first.
When you walk, there is no distraction. Landscape changes only as fast as you walk. That will be about the fastest movement you will see during the whole trip, unless you try to catch a wild donkey, which I tried last time. I tell you. They are way faster than you expect.
All you do in the evenings is stare in the fire or to the stars. And you can tell or listen to stories. Last time we heard the following question one night: How do you put a giraffe into fridge in three steps? Do you have an idea? Write the answer in the comments.
As this trip is relying so much on simplicity I tried to to realize the most simple packing list I ever travelled with. I am carrying the following with me:

  • trekking backpack
  • runners backpack
  • thin mattress
  • sleeping bag
  • soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, towel, scissors, razor blades
  • sewing kit
  • Ducktape
  • one pair Chala-Sandals
  • one pair of socks
  • two undershorts
  • two T-shirts
  • one short pair of pants
  • one long pair of pants
  • one longsleeve
  • one hoodie
  • one hardshelljacked
  • one blue tuaregturban
  • two buffs
  • one short runners tights
  • stove
  • gasbottle
  • multitool
  • headlamp
  • onepan
  • one pot
  • one mug
  • salt
  • spoon
  • fork
  • water bottle
  • drinking bag 10l
  • paper tissue
  • MacBook Air
  • USB Internet Stick
  • cellphone
  • Gopro Hero
  • one writing blog
  • one pen

My plan is to fly directly to Tansania after the Saharatour and travel through east Africa for two week. After that I will stay on the Islands of Sansibar for Christmas, New Years and my birthday. I want to live simple, run a lot and find my time for writing. All of that under the African sky and in front of the Indian Ocean. It is a test I will write about…

Keep in mind: next edition will be April 16th to 23rd 2015

Categories
happiness

why EMMA?

Why oh why did we choose Emma? We had two good paying jobs in Berlin. A really nice apartment in Kreuzberg that was not only good situated but also calm, with a southside balcony, a view over Schlesischer Busch and Treptower Park. We were able to combine all good sides of city live. Everything in walking distance with an idyllic view. Organic and regional supermarkets with international restaurants. Friends with lots of activity possibilities. Why would somebody give that up?

Well, I can tell you at least why we gave that up almost a year ago. Both of us love traveling and we have already seen a bit of the world. We like Berlin and we enjoyed our life there. But we had one feeling in common. The more we saw of the world, the more we had the feeling that most of it remained unseen. It became obvious to us that we wanted more. Life is so extraordinary and has so many variations around the world that sticking to one place for rest of our lifes felt like a limitation.
Life is a journey. It’s about travelling, it’s about moving forward. Time doesn’t stand still. Time is always now, but a twink of an eye later it is past and the future lies ahead and everything is changing. The thought to preserve a status quo is an illusion. Time moves on. The moment that you truly don’t move on anymore as a person you are dead. We are not yet and want to decide about our life, not fitting into a system because others may think that it should be like that.
This massive wish for personal freedom made us want to break free and enjoy as much freedom as possible. Freedom means to be as less dependent on others as possible. Most people I know (including me) are dependent on certain financial situations. Made commitments in the past and have to deliver nowadays. Having ongoing contracts, be it with your landlord, your telephone company, your employer is also limiting your personal free choice.

Therefore we took four decisions:
1. Quit ongoing contracts (apartment, telephone, internet) and switched to an RV and prepaid contracts
2. Quit our jobs respectively changed to a halftime
3. bought a historic (analog) car without IT systems, so we could repair everything independently
4. We started travelling and worked on the road

It was incredible to experience how much time I had after leaving my comfort zone. So much of the stuff we do during a day was dominated by routines. Although I thought that I was even quite flexible before it but found it amazing how much you win when you have less stuff to care about.
With a lack of distraction it becomes obvious to me what I dislike. Much of that I left behind. With little left to disagree with my mind focused more and more on what I really love, really value.

  • Running
  • Nature
  • Writing
  • Teaching
  • Silence
  • Peace
  • Tranquility
  • Smoothness

Having this in mind I keep thinking about to achieve more of this for myself in the future.

The more I see, the more I know how little I know.

Life is a journey. I am traveling.

Categories
happiness

the little things in life

If you believe that the big things matter most go on a long journey with an old car. I believe that the little things define the quality of our life. When we bought our car to go live on the road and travel a lot, we thought a lot about what car to buy, but once on the road, other things became important to us.

Looking back I have to admit that I had absolutely no clue about cars when we bought Emma. I could test whether it is running or not. Once we were on the road much more mattered.

  • How fast does it go?.
  • How much gas does it use at which speed?
  • How loud is it inside at which speed?

It did not only matter anymore if everything was running when we started. Now it mattered:

  • How often do they have to be replaced?
  • How easy is it to buy spare parts?
  • How easy are they to change on the road?

We wanted to have water in our RV to be more independent, but on the road it was important:

  • How much water do we use per day?
  • How much water fits in the car?
  • How do we get new water when traveling?
  • How easy is it to fill up the water?

You see, that list can go on for ever. More important than these question concerning our car and our travel became the details. The big decisions in our life mark the direction we move, but as written before the details define the quality. I use these questions over and over in my coachings. Often it is not so important what you do but how you do it. What are the things you love doing. If you like conversation, does it mean in person, in meetings, in presentations, on the phone, written? Do you prefer that people come towards you or do you want to start the conversation? Do you prefer to listen more or talk?
Similar to these questions you can try to find out the details about every aspect in your life, private and professional. It might help you to examine why exactly you like some situations and others not.

When you try to remember a situation that you want to examine, try to rebuild it in your memory and then focus on the details. You rebuild it with remembering and paying attention all your 6 senses.

  • What do you see? Anything else? Black/white or color? Which color? Bright or soft? Anything else…?
  • What do you hear? Anything else? Loud or soft? Continuing or repeating? Anything else?
  • What do you smell? Anything else? Sweet? Fruity? Anything else?
  • What do you taste? Bitter? Sour? Anything else?
  • What do you feel? Where do you feel it? Warm or cold? Pulsating or steady? Anything else?

Now you, have everything at hand to change the details for future situation. Pay attention to it. It is not only important what job you have or what vacation you do. It is always about HOW you do it

Categories
happiness

five sentences policy

The Problem
E-mail takes too long to respond to, resulting in continuous inbox overflow for those who receive a lot of it.

The Solution

Treat all email responses like SMS text messages, using a set number of letters per response. Since it’s too hard to count letters, we count sentences instead.

FIVE SENTENCES is a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be five sentences or less. It’s that simple.

* See also: two.sentenc.es, three.sentenc.es, four.sentenc.es and five.sentenc.es.

** To begin using this system, optionally copy this text and paste it into your e-mail signature:

——————————————–
Q: Why is this email so short?
A: https://simplicity-of-happiness.com/five/