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Thirteen Thieves is for the Distinguished Gentleman. Manly, Rugged yet Sophisticated. A man must cultivate the feeling that he has everything needed for the extravagant journey that is his life


Thirteen Thieves is for the Distinguished Gentleman. Manly, Rugged yet Sophisticated.

Nothing That I Can Do Will Change the Structure of the Universe

Cristian Thirteen

Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes - goodwill among men and peace on earth.
— Albert Einstein

The voice is so powerful that we forget just how influential it can be. The voice can be a healing source, but it can also destroy a person and leave numerous scars on them and their psyche. The voice can relay our emotions, our thoughts, and our needs. It can motivate us, or punish us. We can melt when we hear I love you, and fall into a dark hole when we hear the same person say they hate us. The voice is so beautiful and has so many layers and depths it becomes exceptional.


The Caral Supe or Norte Chico (Little North) Traditions

Cristian Thirteen

It's so fascinating to read about these discoveries. The most recent discovery of Göbekli Tepe, which is estimated as being in existence between 11,300 and 11,500, definetlyB.C.E. These sites have definitely caused some head scratchin' being that we were taught that civilization began about 5,000 to 5,500 with ancient Sumeria.


The Caral Supe or Norte Chico (Little North) Traditions are two names archaeologists have given to the same complex society. That society arose in four valleys in northwestern Peru about 6,000 years ago. The Norte Chico / Caral Supe people built settlements and monumental architecture in the valleys arising from the arid Pacific coast, during the Preceramic VI period in Andean chronology, some 5,800-3,800 cal BP, or between 3000-1800 B.C.E.

There are at least 30 archaeological sites that are ascribed to this society, each with large-scale ceremonial structures, with open plazas. The ceremonial centers each span several hectares, and all are located within four river valleys, an area of only 1,800 square kilometers (or 700 square miles). There are numerous smaller sites within that area as well, who have complex ritual features on a smaller scale, that scholars have interpreted as representing places where elite leaders or kin groups could meet privately.


The Norte Chico / Caral Supe archaeological region has a ceremonial landscape that is so densely packed that people at the larger centers could see other larger centers. Architecture within the smaller sites also includes complex ceremonial landscapes, including numerous small scale ceremonial structures among the monumental platform mounds and sunken circular plazas.

Each site contains between one and six platform mounds ranging in volume from about 14,000–300,000 cubic meters (18,000–400,000 cubic yards). The platform mounds are rectangular terraced stone structures built with 2–3 m (6.5-10 ft) high retaining walls filled with a combination of soil, loose rocks, and woven bags called shicra which contained stones.

The platform mounds vary in size between and within sites. At the top of most of the mounds are walled enclosures arranged to form a U-shape around an open atrium. Stairs lead down from the atria to sunken circular plazas ranging from 15–45 m (50–159 ft) across and from 1–3 m (2.3–10 ft) deep.


The first intensive investigations began in the 1990's, and the Caral Supe / Norte Chico subsistence was in debate for some time. At first, the society was believed to have been built by hunter-gatherer-fishers, people who tended orchards but otherwise primarily relied on maritime resources. However, additional evidence in the form of phytoliths, pollen, starch grains on stone tools, and in dog and human coprolites has proven that a wide variety of crops including maize were grown and tended by the residents.

Some of the coastal residents did rely on fishing, people living in the interior communities away from the coast grew crops. Food crops grown by the Norte Chico / Caral Supe farmers included three trees: guayaba (Psidium guajava), avocado (Persea americana) and pacae (Inga feuillei). Root crops included achira (Canna edulis) and sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), and vegetables included maize (Zea mays), chili pepper (Capsicum annuum), beans (both Phaseolus lunatus and Phaseolus vulgaris), squash (Cucurbita moschata), and bottle gourd(Lagenaria siceraria).

Cotton (Gossypium barbadense) was cultivated for fishing nets.


Since the 1990s, two independent groups have been actively excavating in the region: the Proyecto Arqueológico Norte Chico (PANC), led by Peruvian archaeologist Ruth Shady Solis, and the Caral-Supe Project, led by American archaeologists Jonathon Haas and Winifred Creamer. The two groups have different understandings of the society, which at times has led to friction.

There have been several points of contention, most conspicuously leading to the two different names, but perhaps the most basic difference between the two interpretive structures is one that at the moment can only be hypothesized: what drove mobile hunter-gatherers to build monumental structures.

The group led by Shady suggests that Norte Chico necessitated a complex level of organization to engineer the ceremonial structures.

Creamer and Haas suggest instead that the Caral Supe constructions were the result of corporate efforts that brought together different communities to create a communal place for rituals and public ceremonies.

Does the construction of monumental architecture necessarily require the structural organization provided by a state level society? There are definitely monumental structures which have been built by Pre-Pottery Neolithicsocieties in Western Asia such as at Jericho and Gobekli Tepe. But nonetheless, identifying what level of complexity the Norte Chico / Caral Supe people had has yet to be determined.


One of the largest ceremonial centers is the Caral site. It includes extensive residential occupation and it is located some 23 km (14 mi) inland from the mouth of the Supe river as it flows into the Pacific. The site covers ~110 ha (270 ac) and contains six large platform mounds, three sunken circular plazas, and numerous smaller mounds. The largest mound is called Piramide Mayor, it measures 150x100 m (500x328 ft) at its base and is 18 m (60 ft) high. The smallest mound is 65x45 m (210x150 ft) and 10 m (33 ft) high. Radiocarbon dates from Caral range between 2630-1900 cal B.C.E.

All of the mounds were built within one or two building periods, which suggests a high level of planning. The public architecture has stairs, rooms, and courtyards; and the sunken plazas suggest society-wide religion.


Another important site is Aspero, a 15 ha (37 ac) site at the mouth of the Supe River, which includes at least six platform mounds, the largest of which has a volume of 3,200 cu m (4200 cu yd), stands 4 m (13 ft) high and covers an area of 40x40 m (130x130 ft). Built of cobble and basalt block masonry plastered with clay and shicra fill, the mounds have U-shaped atria and several clusters of decorated rooms that exhibit increasingly restricted access. The site has two huge platform mounds: Huaca de los Sacrificios and Huaca de los Idolos, and another 15 smaller mounds.

Other constructions include plazas, terraces and large refuse areas.

Ceremonial buildings at Aspero, such as the Huaca del los Sacrificios and Huaca de los Idolos, represent some of the oldest examples of public architecture in the Americas. The name, Huaca de los Idolos, comes from an offering of several human figurines (interpreted as idols) recovered from the top of the platform. Aspero's radiocarbon dates fall between 3650-2420 cal BCE.


Whatever drove the hunter/gatherer/agriculturalists to build monumental structures, the end of the Peruvian society is fairly clear—earthquakes and flooding and climate change associated with the El Nino Oscillation Current. Beginning about 3,600 cal BP, a series of environmental disasters struck the people living in the Supe and adjacent valleys, impacting both marine and terrestrial environments.

Written by K. Kris Hirst
Source: ThoughtCo.
Photo: Kyle Thayer


Platform Mounds at Caral

Platform Mounds at Caral

The Art of Peace

Cristian Thirteen

When we are training in the art of peace, we are not given any promises that, because of our noble intentions, everything will be okay. In fact, there are no promises of fruition at all. Instead, we are encouraged to simply look deeply at joy and sorrow, at laughing and crying, at hoping and fearing, at all that lives and dies. We learn that what truly heals is gratitude and tenderness.

It isn’t that we say, “It doesn’t matter about me all that much, but if I changed the world, it would be better for other people.” It’s less complicated than that. We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts. - Pema Chödron. 

Courtesy of @thismoment.thisbreath


All Soul's Day

Cristian Thirteen

We dedicate All Souls’ Day to our loved ones and our ancestors, a day to remember and pray for all those who have died. Offer a moment of silence & prayers for the many dearly departed family members, and friends

All Souls Day Thirteen Thieves

All Saint’s Day

Cristian Thirteen

The Christian holiday of All Saint’s Day honors and recognizes all of the saints of the christian church, many of which were martyrs. The church sets this day aside to celebrate over 10,000 recognized saints. Historically, All Saints Day was known as Hallomas.

Fun Fact. All Saints Day and All Souls Day was originally in May. They were moved to November 1st and 2and to downplay the Pagan holidays of Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve) and Dia De Loss Muertos. Religious leaders felt these holidays were too popular at the time to ban outright. But, if moved the christian holidays to this time periods, the pagan holidays would slowly die away

All Saints Day Thirteen Thieves

5 Ways Halloween can Lead to Spiritual Growth.

Cristian Thirteen

Some Deeper Reflections on Fall’s Spookiest Celebration.

It’s that time of year when ghosts are free to adorn our front door and carved pumpkins light up the night. Halloween is here, and we’re getting ready for spooky delights and trick-or-treat!

But there’s more to Halloween than bats, pumpkins, and skeletons. Deeper meanings, for those who care to look, lie hidden in the symbolism of this festive and playfully frightening holiday. If you’re into personal and spiritual growth, you can honor and explore these opportunities uniquely available during this seasonal celebration.

Overcome Your Fears.

Halloween is the perfect time of year to face what we fear. In fact, this celebration is a lot about embracing the scary things and even having fun with them.

Explore what it feels like to wear a costume of something that scares you, like a spider. Perhaps you can embrace your fears in more healthy ways, develop empathy for that being, and learn to have fun with what you fear.

What do we usually fear the most? The dark—because the dark is the symbol of the unknown. If we can’t see it, we can’t know it, and we believe it’s something to fear.

Going through a haunted house in the dark can be a way of looking fear in the eye and saying, “Hey, you don’t have power over me!” We can practice trusting in ourselves, believing that whatever unknown lies around the corner, we can handle it and maybe even laugh in its face.

We can also recognize that most of what we fear is in our imagination, not in reality. We create scary thoughts all the time that never come true—what would happen if my car got totaled by a big rig?! Chances are, that will never happen. In taking some pause, we can choose to laugh at our catastrophizing just like we would at the skeleton that pops out of a coffin.

Play a New Role.

This holiday is the ultimate costume party. Kids love the opportunity to pick out a costume and become an alter-ego for a day.

But we don’t have to let the kids have all the fun! Who would you like to be for Halloween? Practice taking on the role like an actor and see what it feels like. We can dress up as someone we admire and imagine embodying those qualities. We could be Godzilla and feel big and powerful, playfully releasing any pent-up anger with a terrifying roar.

Given that you are safe and respectful in the roles you explore, allow the spirit of Halloween to broaden your vistas of who you allow yourself to be.

Face your Shadow Self.

When we see the kids come out in monster costumes, we can reflect on our own inner monsters—the parts of ourselves we don’t like to look at. We fear that others will see our selfishness or neediness, our mean streak, or the mistakes we’ve made in the past, so we conceal these disliked qualities and behaviors from others—and even from our own awareness.

This aspect of self that we like to hide in the closet is called the Shadow in Jungian psychology. But Halloween is a great time of year to do some inner healing on our shadow self. To acknowledge these shamed parts of self, bring them into the light and recognize that although they exist, they don’t define who we are, and were probably reactions to events in our lives when we were afraid or felt powerless.

I can’t do shadow work justice in such a brief article, but if you have things about yourself that you haven’t forgiven, shame that weighs you down, or negative beliefs about who you are, this time of year when all the creepies are out of the closet is a powerful time to work with a counselor or mentor on self-forgiveness and healing. It’s possible for those monsters to be transformed into healed and whole aspects of yourself.

Honor your Ancestors.

Halloween is short for All Hallow’s Eve—the day before All Saints Day on November 1st, and All Souls Day on the 2nd. It’s the perfect time to honor our own family lineage or do an ancestry search. We can create a special altar for our ancestors with photos, mementos, and meaningful objects that represent aspects of their lives, occupations, and traditions.

In Mexico, Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is celebrated exuberantly, with elaborate ancestral altars, colorful dress, and spending time at the cemetery. Similarly, we can honor our passed-on family and friends at Halloween—as joyfully or solemnly as we wish.

Accept Death and Reflect on Your Life.

Another aspect of Dia de los Muertos is the acceptance of death as part of life. On this holiday, many Mexicans love to dress up as the dead, with elaborate makeup to mimic skulls and bones. In the United States, we lack a true embrace of death, keeping it more under wraps. But at Halloween, we can take a look at those skeletons and tombstones and reflect on how death brings meaning to life.

We may fear death or look at it as our demise—but is it? The truth is, we really don’t know. All we can say with certainty is that we are here right now. The fact that we will die someday gives meaning to this moment. Each moment we live is precious, and as Krishnamurti said, “[It] is far more important to find out what happens before dying than what happens after.”

The autumn season and Halloween can give us pause to reflect on life and look to death as our ultimate advisor, as Don Juan says in Carlos Castaneda’s books. We can ask, are things really so bad right now? Am I living the life I truly wish to be? Well, I take a look at my death and realize I’m not dead yet, so maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe the fact that someone cut me off on the freeway isn’t so important, after all.

At this time of year, let’s consider what would make our lives more joyful and fulfilling. Facing fear and death might seem scary, but we can choose to reframe our reaction to it and allow it to help us take things a little less seriously, and recognize what is truly meaningful to us.

Whether you want to explore Halloween in a more reflective way or revel in playfulness, a deeper meaning lies under the candy and costumes.

Let October 31st bring you new insights and a transformation in your life!


Author: Rev. Connie L. Habash
Source: Elephant Journal

Image: Wikimedia
Editor: Callie Rushton



Cristian Thirteen

We use the best essential oils available to us and the combinations we feel reflect our passion for being mindful while also providing some positive energy to you and your body. We offer five choices from our signature scents and 2 exclusive scents. Our core products are designed to fit any mood, any occasion, and are especially perfect for those guys who wear cologne, your beard will not be competing for dominance. For those guys that don't wear cologne, use a little extra on your neck, behind your ears, and dab a little on your wrists a couple inches from the palm of your hand.

Our Signature Scents are;

• Unscented No 00 You see "Unscented" because we do not add any additional fragrance or essential oils to this blend, we could also use fragrance-free if we were technical, our "Unscented" will give you a pleasant nutty and grassy aroma that dissipates quickly after application.

• Natural Orange 01 Loved by both men and women this scent is fresh, light, and tangy. We blend orange essential oil, juicy grapefruit, and crisp bergamot, when combined, awards your olfactory with a complexity you did not expect. 

• Plague Doctor No 27 is a delicious infusion of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary. The smell is inviting, spicy, and warm. 

•Classic Wooded Spice No 29; You will fall in love with our Classic Wooded Spice the minute you smell this masculine aromatic combination of Pine and Clove essential oils. We know you will love this robust and stimulating blend.

• Rich Forest No 34; We use essential oils to recreate a magnificent forest experience with pine, juniper, and cedarwood balanced with rosemary and mint to harmonize your spirit. 

• Vanilla Bourbon No 73; Our Vanilla Bourbon is a pleasure to the senses with a twist of creamy, warm vanilla and a welcoming bourbon essence. This oil is our best selling scent for a reason.

• Tobacco Bourbon No 77; Our newest and limited seasonal scent has a soft, woodsy scent like fine pipe tobacco or just cut tobacco leaves, with just a whiff of cherry wood. You will also notice a fresh, citrus top with juniper berries.

Whatever your preferences are, you will find something that you will love from

Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

What Not to Wear

Cristian Thirteen

I came across this video and thought I would share it. As you look at your personal style, do you incorporate some of these 21 elements? Do you agree with her list? I agree with most of the things she mentions and most fashion related blogs and videos will concur. I admittingly wear skinny jeans which were on her list, but I like how they fit. So that one may take me longer to lose if indeed it is faux pas.

Slow Down

Cristian Thirteen

"Often the best moments of our lives arise within the pauses between our endless hurrying. Slow down. Enjoy your coffee for-here. Eat sitting down. Don't text and walk or drive. Just text fully. Communicate fully. Eat fully. Be fully. Do fully. Live fully. Love fully. Feel fully. It's all just one pause away. Multitasking takes us away from the magic of this moment. Breathe. Cry. Smile. Connect. It's not too late to fall in love with your life."
~ Waylon Lewis

We all know that life is busy, we can all agree with that. What we need to do is slow down or pause life. I have been practicing this for a couple of weeks now and have begun noticing more people and life around me. I've watched a beautiful woman literally stop a conversation and walk, just to smell flowers and gaze at their beauty. The above quote, I don't know if any words are truer than this. Please, I encourage myself and hope to inspire you to live your life fully. Communicate, especially make sure it is done fully, things are always left assumed and unsaid that create horrible mishaps later. Eat, be, do, and LOVE fully "It's not too late to fall in love with your life," you just have to start.

Photo by Frank McKenna
Words by Waylon Lewis and Elephant Journal


Betty Friedan

Cristian Thirteen

Men weren’t really the enemy; they were fellow victims of an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no more bears to kill.
— Betty Friedan

Some words are still relevant today. This quote was taken from The Christian Science Monitor (1 April 1974). Masculinity has been something I have been contemplating for awhile now. I would like to explore what it means to be a man in the 21st century. Is masculinity inherently bad? As masculine energy continues to be suppressed by ourselves, our peers, societal norms, and the women we love. How does a man express who he is? How does he weave through the fabric of patriarchal norms and gender stereotypes? What does the future of masculinity look like?



Cristian Thirteen

Today I listened to one of my favorite Podcasts, Radiolab Podcast. If you have not heard, I would recommend the show. Today I learned something that I never knew before. I assumed just like anyone else that the President had some form of checks and balances in place before nuclear options are chosen. He may seek counsel, but doesn't necessarily have to accept their options. Another thing I thought was interesting, was that during the Cold War, had Russia launched Nuclear weapons, the President would have SIX MINUTES to react before reaching targeted destinations.

Another interesting fact, President Richard Nixon once boasted that at any moment he could pick up a telephone and - in 20 minutes - kill 60 million people. There are lots of gems in this episode and again something we should all be aware of.


Ways to Save Money

Cristian Thirteen

One of the things I have been working on that I think will benefit a lot of people is something that lights up our eyes whenever we think about it. On the other hand, we may hate the sound of the word, or it makes us feel completely alone because we don't have it. Money is the word of the day. The further down this path I travel, many of my viewpoints have changed for the better. For example, I do not see money as either “good” or “bad,” but rather it is neutral or just something that is a part of this life. For money to be either "good" or "bad," I have to place that perception on it, I am the one who places a value on it. Through some reading I have come to realize that money, truly is; an exchange of energy. It is the exchange of one service for another. Please don't misinterpret that to mean I am completely Zen on money, but I do try to keep things in perspective. A lot of times I fail, and other times I do ok, but I really try to maintain the idea that money is energy. Money is Energy, Money is Energy.

Therefore I thought I would share these tips that I found. These are about saving money for a trip out of the country, but I thought the tips were solid, can be challenging, but completely doable.

1. Stop Going Out- Instead of spending too much money at a club or movie theater, invite friends over to your place for a movie night. Get outside and go on a hike.
2. Cook More - Now is a good time to learn the art of cooking. It’s entirely possible to buy low-cost, healthy ingredients, and cook your own tasty meals at home.
3. Shop Around - Compare prices in your local markets. Amazon is not always the least expensive alternative.
I would call these things monthly luxuries. I would also include monthly subscriptions that are not used at all or used seldom. If you are one of those that still have a landline, do you still use it? If using your Cellphone exclusively can you cut expenses there? Cut the cord! Ditch cable or satellite service. I would encourage you to stop watching tv all together and make it a treat when you do watch something. Quit The Gym, utilize the free stuff all around you. Go running, hiking, or practice bodyweight exercise routines outside while enjoying nature! 
7. Slash Your Shopping - No, you don’t need the latest smartphone. No, you don’t need new clothes every month. No, you don’t need 5 different shades of lipstick.
8. Reduce Utilities - Turn down your air conditioning and use a fan or wear a sweater. Unplug electronics when not in use. Take shorter showers.

I am not saying this is the end all be all list, but it is a start. Smart choices will get you to where you want to be. Fall in love with your money and don't give it away so freely. Treat it as if it is your child, your lover, or wife... get crazy with the metaphors, just don't give it away for anything less than what feel deserves your energy.

Tips provided by Matthew Karsten
ource Expert Vagabond

Declutter Your Life

Cristian Thirteen

When someone gets the idea to simplify their life, none of us are aware of the vast amount of effort it takes actually to "Simplify" your life. I was much like the majority, a certifiable packrat, clinging to my possessions like a safety blanket, trophies that could be visited to remind me that I was great at those things. I very much clung to the past achievements.

My first attempt at decluttering my life occurred ten or so years ago. The belongings that I carried with me were tremendously smaller. A year later I made another decision to move out of state. I needed to purge again the clutter that was a part of the unseen. I paid a monthly rent for the luxury of having a storage unit, that housed those trophy's and memories. Two truckloads later, all of that stuff was gone, and I was free. It has been a struggle throughout the years not to start collecting things again. At some point, I may have been militant in my attitude not to collect things.

Becoming a "Minimalist" does have its positive aspects. Clutter can be a visual distraction and mental stress. Minimizing is more efficient, peaceful, and attractive (at least to me). It saves you time, money, and more importantly free's up space, you can move around. The negative aspects tend to be more social conditioning. I would feel embarrassed because I didn't have this or that. You know those show pieces that relay some subconscious thought of the person we are trying to project to the world.

For many years I was owned by the things I purchased, I had an identity tied to the things I held, but realistically they owned me. If you are looking for ideas on how to bring more abundance to your life, please read this article. Everyone has their ideal level of simplicity, but Lynn offers some practical advice and a great perspective on deciding what matters the most to you.

Photo by Jim DiGritz


Living on Less to Find Abundance: 4 Tips to Simplify Your Life.

My family and I were tired of feeling overwhelmed all the time, and we needed to make some financial changes.

We figured that the best solution to this was to learn how to live on less.

So we downsized our cars, slashed our bills, and are slowwwwwllllllly getting rid of extra belongings. At different moments, it’s been exhilarating, uncomfortable and fun. We’re rushing around less and spending more time together. We’re using less resources, spending less money, and enjoying each other more.

While the term “simplifying” may conjure images of people with questionable hygiene living off-grid in tiny houses, it can be much more subtle. For me, simplifying means trimming out extras. Whether it’s a radical lifestyle overhaul, the decision to declutter your belongings or your time, or to solely stop adding any commitments or belongings before getting rid of another, simplification can mean whatever you want it to mean.

The process is about deciding what matters the most to you, and whittling away as much of what doesn’t show up on that list as possible—so you can focus on whatever is most essential to you.

Here are four tips I’ve learned in my family’s process of simplifying.

Make a list.

What matters most to you? Your family? Your career? Your health? Getting out of debt?

Make a list of your top three to five goals. Now you have your focus. Everything else is negotiable—especially if it’s negatively impacting your goals. For me, I realized the most important things are my family, my work and my health. If I’m contemplating adding something to my life that doesn’t benefit any of those categories, I’m going to think twice about it.

Put everything else on the table.

If you’re ready for a big change, put everything on the table. The house that you love with a mortgage that’s got you in a chokehold? On the table. The car? On the table (not literally of course, unless you have a very large table). Exchanging Christmas gifts? On the table.

This doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of these things—but the exercise of contemplating making a drastic change can be profound. It can open you up to possibilities you haven’t considered. This can be scary—when I first considered downsizing my SUV, I was hit with a case of the what-ifs. What if I can’t haul six of my kids’ closest friends around someday? What if we go on a road trip and we’re not comfortable? When I really examined the what-ifs, they didn’t stack up.

I went ahead and traded in my car for a smaller hybrid, and the benefits of less environmental impact and less money spent on gas far outweigh the what-ifs.

Find your tribe.

Simplifying can sometimes be a lonely process. Maybe you’ve decided to save more money, which means eliminating your weekly dinner out with friends. Or you’re downsizing your house while your peers are upsizing, and you feel a little self-conscious. While it might seem like everyone around you is racing around spending money like crazy and rushing from one commitment to the next, there are plenty of people interested in a simpler, saner lifestyle. You just have to find them.

If you can’t find your tribe in “real life,” head to the Internet. When I connect with or read about other people trying to simplify their lives, I get inspired. Besides feeling less alone and being reminded of my reasons for simplifying (more time, less financial stress, a life pace that aligns with my personality), connecting with others walking a similar path is a great way of finding new hacks for simple living.

Make it fun.

When my family decided to cut back on our spending, one of the most obvious places was our restaurant addiction. To ease the initial withdrawal, we began cooking more, learning how to make new things. I learned to make homemade corn tortillas, which are surprisingly simple and approximately 239% better than the store bought ones.

Meanwhile my husband honed his skills at making amazing oven-baked French fries.

Another idea is to make simplifying a challenge. If you want to cut down on belongings, challenge yourself to see how many items you can purge from your home. Dare yourself to come up with a week’s worth of meals only using what’s already in your fridge and pantry. Declare certain days to be car-free days. Focus on making the process fun and you won’t feel deprived by the changes you’re making.

Shifting our family’s lifestyle and mindset has been a powerful exercise. In the process of cutting out what we don’t need, we’re finding out how much we already have.


Author: Lynn Shattuck
Editor: Renée Picard

Why Clothes Matter

Cristian Thirteen

I thought I would share something I found interesting about what we wear. Do you think what you wear communicates your personality, your position in life? Do people make a judgment based on what you wear? What do you see when you look in the mirror, who you are or who you want to be?


Cristian Thirteen

Björk's unreal vocal range mixed with the visuals and imagery will blow your mind. She is a genius and the directors Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones have created a masterpiece of visually intriguing and inspiring thoughts

As a follow-up for the VR experience she released last April, Björk has shared a new music video for ‘Notget’ off of her 2015 album, Vulnicura. The video, directed by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones, begins with the singer/producer in a sort of metamorphic cocoon state set in a noir-esque atmosphere. In this sequence, the track’s eerie and hypnotic synthesized instrumentation coupled with the impacting string overture and Björk’s phantasmal vocal range produces a precarious, almost apprehensive mood. The emotion with which she sings and the captivation of the lyrical narrative brings the tension to the boiling point, right up until things take a turn as our protagonist goes through what feels like a long-awaited state of evolution, emerging as a radiant, brightly-colored deity. From there, we will let the video speak for itself.

Author Unknown
Source: Timewheel

Ways for You to Get Closer to Each Other

Cristian Thirteen

As men, we are always seeking ways to become the best person we can or simply said, become Black Belts in our loved passions. Some men take this literal in the sense of martial arts. Some prefer sports knowledge while other pursue changing their physical form through diet or exercise. There are those that optimize their brain to work at its fullest ability, others may read for knowledge. Needless to say, we are for the most part trying to improve something about ourselves.

By nature, our monkey brains see all men as competition for local resources. Those resources can range from the most basic of comforts to attitude, strength, or determination. The highest level of competition typically culminates in attracting, sustaining, or maintaining the women around us and in our lives.

Today I wanted to introduce a different concept that we may not invest as much time into. Guys, I would like to encourage you to now focus your energy and attention on becoming a Black Belt in listening. I think this is one of those things that is frequently overlooked especially once the relationship has settled. Once we believe that we know this woman, she can make a switch immediately. Guys, when we have a willingness to show up for our partner, to honor her needs deepens the level of trust and respect that she will have for us, and we can reflect equally back to her.


Happy couples are skilled in the art of attentive listening. They allow themselves to be penetrated by each other’s words and feelings. They don’t simply receive information but are informed by it, and frequently change their behavior accordingly. When one partner expresses discomfort in response to the other’s request for more closeness, a simple remedy for bridging the distance between them is to institute periods of committed listening. It can make all the difference.

When a partner is able to patiently accept the other’s feelings, opinions, and desires, and is able to override his (or her) own impulse to be in the spotlight, the relationship will thrive. His willingness to show up to honor his partner’s needs deepens the level of trust and respect that they hold for each other. As trust grows, there is a willingness to reveal even the most tender emotions. Here are some practical tips for becoming a black belt listener:

  1. Remember that listening is love.
  2. Make up your mind that rather than trying to get your partner to listen to you, you are committed to listening more attentively to him or her.
  3. Agreeing on designated times to discuss important subjects is always a good idea.
  4. Don’t allow others (children, the dog, telephone, etc.) to interrupt the flow of the conversation.
  5. The quieter you become the more you can hear. Being fully present with no distractions reassures your partner that you care. When you stop everything you are doing, to be as quiet and still as you can to give him or her your full attention, the results start to roll in. You must be present to win.
  6. Turn off any tech devices (laptop, cell phone, tablet, TV) and keep them off throughout the conversation.
  7. Body language, such as fully facing each other and periodically leaning in towards your partner, shows your interest.
  8. Practice patience even when he or she may not be getting to the point as quickly as you may want.
  9. When you restrain yourself from interrupting, the speaker feels your respect.
  10. Being genuinely curious to know your partner more deeply is likely to draw him or her out to communicate more with you.
  11. Ask clarifying questions designed to prompt the speaker to go deeper into his or her experience: “Tell me more.”
  12. Resist the temptation to jump to conclusions.
  13. Completing your partner's sentence is invasive and intrusive, and not respectful.
  14. A few sincere and well-placed words—yes, uh-huh, really, I see, that makes sense, wow—show your involvement and interest.
  15. Periodically paraphrasing, in your own words, what you are hearing shows you are right with your partner and are understanding his or her communication. You also get a chance to have any misunderstandings corrected.
  16. You may feel tempted to offer advice, but it is much more powerful if you ask the kind of questions that will allow your partner to draw his or her own conclusions.
  17. If you notice that you are feeling bored, rather than stopping the conversation or changing the subject, see if your questions can take the conversation to a deeper, more-feeling level to have an interchange with heart and meaning.
  18. Showing love by what we do and say is only one way to do it. Sometimes we show love by what we don’t do and say. Being quiet to show our care with committed listening may be just the method to take the well-being of the relationship to a higher level.
  19. Sincerely thank your partner for his or her willingness to share these feelings, thoughts, and life with you.
  20. Congratulate yourself as you become a better listener and enjoy the trust that your attentive listening builds.

And remember to enjoy the process.

Author: Linda Bloom, L.C.S.W
Source: Psychology Today; 20 Ways for You to Get Closer to Each Other

Pause and Deepen your Attention

Cristian Thirteen

Today, I listened to a Tara Brach podcast ( titled Healing Addiction: De-Conditioning the Hungry Ghosts (2017-03-22). The talk was examining the suffering that arises when our needs are unmet. Typically when we hear of additions, our knee-jerk reaction is to think drugs and alcohol, Google will confirm this as their first page results show the same inclination to substances. However, this isn't necessarily the case for everyone.

Each one of us has some inclination (or suffering for the realists) from some form of addiction, moderation is rarely practiced in our society and can be seen on a daily basis. Which makes me wonder about the things we don't see, those dirty secrets that are hidden even from the self. Our hangups may be life-threatening or not, it doesn't matter how we dress it up, the human mind creates these built-in distortions or illusions, and we rarely see the world clearly.

Tara mentioned a New York Times article written on William C. Moyers, who is a recovery advocate, he spoke at an M.I.T. conference. In which he said "I have an illness with origins in the brain...but I also suffered with the other component of this illness, I was born with what I like to call a hole in my soul... A pain that came from the reality that I just wasn't good enough. That I wasn't deserving enough. That you weren't paying attention to me all the time. That maybe you didn't like me enough." The conference room was as quiet as it had been all day. Mr. Moyers continued, "For us addicts, recovery is more than just taking a pill or maybe getting a shot...recovery is also about the spirit, about dealing with that hole in the soul."

That statement (hole in the soul) resonated with me, as I thought about it for most of the day. For myself, that "hole" has led me down a myriad of different paths. As a child, I was always trying to be the pleaser (which has lingered most of my adult life as well). I obsess over everything especially those things that I am attracted to. For a very long time being perfect, at everything I set my mind to caused a lot of internal strife. I still find myself wanting some form of approval but at the same time fighting it off (the recognition) and with the thoughts of being too awkward in social situations. The world can be messy, our internal struggles can be a crime scene, but having some time I set aside for myself has approved my state of mind. I call it meditation, but it doesn't necessarily need to have the same meaning. I would recommend that you give yourself a few minutes in the morning to consciously connect to yourself.


Pause and deepen your attention

This is an excerpt from an article in the New York Times Magazine a few years ago: 

William C. Moyers, a recovery advocate (and the son of the journalist Bill Moyers) who for 12 years has been free of crack and alcohol, was invited to speak at the M.I.T. conference. In a room full of scientists and addiction researchers obsessed with the intricacies of the human brain, Moyers read a lecture that reminded them that treating addiction might be even more complicated than they thought.

"I have an illness with origins in the brain...but I also suffered with the other component of this illness," he told the gathered researchers and scientists, some of whom dutifully took notes. "I was born with what I like to call a hole in my soul...A pain that came from the reality that I just wasn't good enough. That I wasn't deserving enough. That you weren't paying attention to me all the time. That maybe you didn't like me enough."
The conference room was as quiet as it had been all day. "For us addicts," he continued, "recovery is more than just taking a pill or maybe getting a shot...recovery is also about the spirit, about dealing with that hole in the soul."

What is the hole in the soul? It is an unmet longing for connection with others, for communion, for oneness...a longing to realize who we are. It is a longing to know we are loved, to find ourselves lovable. It isn’t only addicts who experience the hole in the soul. 

So how do we deal with a hole in the soul? We have this deep longing for love, for freedom, for creativity, for happiness, but what happens is we fixate on substitutes that take us away from what we really long for, away from the very moment that could be the source of freedom. 

What is it we fixate on? What do we try to use as a substitute for the real longing? 

It could be approval. We might think,“If I just get this praise or recognition, then I’ll know I’m good enough. Or it might be money, or things that money can buy. If I have this house, or this kind of car, or a particular brand of clothing, then I will be acceptable. Food is a very common substitute. Have you ever found yourself feeling lonely or sad, and searching the refrigerator for the remedy? Other substitutions might be sex, or drugs, or alcohol. 

We sometimes describe this fixation as “if-only mind.” We believe that, “if only this would fall into place, then I would be happy.” Does that sound familiar? “If only I’d get my health back.” “If only I’d get that partner.” Or, “if only that partner and I could really have it work out right.” Or, “if only I’d lose the 20 pounds.” The list is endless. We fall into believing that these things can make us happy. 

But we cannot deal with the hole in the soul as long as we’re pursuing substitute gratifications. When we do that, we are taking ourselves away from the moment where it would be possible to find that which we truly long for. Only in the present moment can we experience aliveness, love, understanding, freedom.

How do we move from pursuing substitutes to coming home to presence? Start by identifying when you are trying to fill the hole in your soul. Where are you thinking, “if only...” If only I had this thing. If only I could be like this. When you notice your thoughts or behaviors moving you towards substitutes—pause. Just stop. Mindfully recognize what is happening, you might just label it “wanting, wanting,” and with gentleness and interest, become aware of the force of wanting.

Just this pause and deepening of attention will start to open you to more freedom. You might first bring awareness to layers of hurt or fear. You might, if you stay, finds some real healing, some compassion and a flow of aliveness. Or you might move into the behavior, but with more awareness than before. Either way, the pause puts you on the path of healing unmet needs and discovering the source of your deepest longings. 


Author: Tara Brach
Source: Tara Branch Blog