Tips for the modern bohemian

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Finding a balance between free-spiritedness and destitution

  1. Spend little. The true bohemian knows what they really need can’t be bought. When you do spend, buy paint brushes and copies of secondhand classics.
  2. Dream a lot. Dreams are free. Everything needs to be dreamt up before it becomes real. Don’t limit what you want or what you can be.
  3. Live to produce your art. Dreams are great, but make sure you work to make them real. Make what comes naturally to you – write poems, novels or songs, illustrate, or sew clothes and accessories.
  4. Create for the sake of creating. Even if you can’t sell it, if you made it, you have given something to the world. Give your creations to others.
  5. Work only as much you need to. Bohemians never have stable jobs, but cost of living now makes being a bum harder than ever. If you have to work, which you probably do, look up creative blogs when you do have to be at a computer – and also make sure you at least find a job that won’t make you work all the hours under the sun.
  6. Have no fixed place of residence. Again, this probably isn’t that viable. But if you do end up homeless or sofa hopping, embrace it as true, authentic bohemian living. Then go on spareroom.co.uk and make sure you have a safe place to keep your iPad during the day when you go off to your 9.00am – 8.30pm job in the city.
  7. Ignore established norms that inhibit your free spirit. Quit your job. Escape the rat race. Travel the world.
  8. Shun consumerism. Cut your own hair, make your own clothes, fix your own clothes and pick your own flowers. Be an active producer – not just a passive consumer. Give, don’t just take.
  9. Go secondhand. You can’t buy ‘boho’, you can only make it (or find it in a vintage shop if it first was sold well over 20 years ago and the owner has likely passed away since then).
  10. Think freely. Be openminded. Do different things. Don’t conform. Speak to someone on the tube. Scary.
  11. Appreciate great work. Read the classics, memorise poetry and recite it drunkenly at parties to avoid making new friends, go to art galleries, and sometimes just be still and enjoy nature.
  12. Love freely. Care for others. See past difference. See that we are all the same.
  13. Follow your heart. Put yourself out there. Let others know how much you care.
  14. Trust in fate. Try to avoid negative mind-sets that tell you you’ve done the wrong thing or you’re in the wrong place. Embrace change as the first step of something new.
  15. Look a little weird but also arty. Bohemians wear floaty clothes. Particularly whites, browns and blue. Throw some items with unusual patterns in there. A stain or two will also do.
  16. Make bohemian friends. Look for people with the same anti-materialist values. Try and make friends with someone who sleeps on a mattress on the floor. They’re obviously the freespirited bohemian individual you’re after whose lifestyle you can absorb by osmosis. Or a crack addict.
  17. Have adventures. See where the night takes you. Be open to opportunities. Speak to people you wouldn’t normally speak to. Go out with people you wouldn’t normally go out with. Take a few drugs here and there. That usually helps.
  18. Wear jewellery. Especially rings. Wear those little rings that sit on the ends of your fingers so they fall off every time you leave the house. Replace them frequently. Bohemia isn’t about practicality, it’s about freedom of expression.
  19. Travel. You need inspiration for your art. See the world.
  20. Don’t settle down early. Have multiple relationships. Have multiple relationships at once. When you get caught and possibly castrated, explain you needed inspiration for your art.

Being a bohemian is creating your own life, and goes hand in hand with creativity of all kinds. Get inspiration for making the most of your creativity, or explore further why being a hippy is the only logical life choice you can make.

Jess

By Jessica Marie

Jessica is an aspiring novelist living in London. She teaches yoga, is an excellent baker and is excited by new experiences. Visit Jess’s yoga blog.

10 tips for writing a good web article

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Ever thought of writing for the web but didn’t know where to begin? Have you written for the web anyway and the only hits you seem to get are from your mum and distant Uncle Fred, who your mum has managed, against all technologically-challenged odds, to email the link over to? Never thought of writing for the web, but have an interest in reading irrelevant ‘how-to’ articles? Then, read on, these tips are for you!

  1. Introduce your argument in the first paragraph, summarising what you’re planning to say and then go on to support it. Don’t leave people guessing – you’re a writer, not a magician, so you should communicate. This approach has the added bonus of ensuring that you actually have a point (the challenge after this is making sure you stick to it).
  1. Support your argument with a number of clearly though-out paragraphs. Use numbers in planning: para 1 – argues this point, para 2 – argues this point, etc. Eg. 1. Chocolate is great. 2. Too much chocolate can be less great. 3. Moderation is probably the best approach.
  1. Ensure you link your paragraphs together. Eg. The start of paragraph 2 could be, “Although chocolate is delicious, too much chocolate can…”
  1. Put your paragraphs in a logical order. Eg. If your premise is how great chocolate is, don’t list the drawbacks first. Think about what you are leading your reader to consider and the order in which they need to digest the information to get there.
  1. Last tip on paragraphs, I promise. When you write a paragraph, close with a line that relates it back to the opening sentence of that paragraph, ie. “Chocolate is my favourite thing to eat. I like milk chocolate with sea salt. I love salty and sweet together. This is why my favourite thing to eat is chocolate.” Easy.
  1. I lied. Make sure your paragraphs are a reasonable length. Lot of unbroken text will have a reader clicking off your page in a millisecond.
  1. Use subheaders. It might be my own personal preference but it definitely breaks the text up and makes it easier for people to read. Reading on screen is harder than reading the printed word, so make it as easy as possible for your reader to stay with you.
  1. Include tangible examples. This is true especially in relation to more abstract subject matter! Relate your writing to concrete things. If you are writing about concepts or theory, explain how it might work in reality.
  1. Consider throwing in some personal examples – as this article is about writing for the web, let a little of your personality in. Tell the reader how it relates to you or what experience you have – or plan to have! – with your subject matter. Write from the perspective of a living, breathing human being rather than a machine. It adds weight, and is how you make your reader connect with your writing
  1. Summarise your argument at the end. Wrap up what you’ve argued and what your original point was.

And there you have it. Hope you enjoyed the article. Mum, can you forward this on to Uncle Fred?

If you found that you really enjoyed this article, you could read Jess’s other article about how to overcome any blockages to your creativity. Alternatively, look at some more beautiful photographs like the one above on free digital image website Unsplash

Jess

By Jessica Marie

Jessica is an aspiring novelist living in London. She teaches yoga, is an excellent baker and is excited by new experiences. 

10 tips to increase happiness in your life

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We all want to be happy, right? And yet this state remains eternally elusive, ephemeral, and undefined, like grasping at smoke. That’s why I came up with these 10 practical tips for the modern curious individual living in 2015 seeking to cultivate more happiness in their life.

  1. Don’t seek happiness directly. Focus on exploring and extending what you enjoy, for at least ten minutes every day. Start now with this incredible website about science, creativity, philosophy and personal development.
  2. Some people need to practise the art of letting go. Other people need to care more. Decide which one you are. You can start keeping a journal to get to know yourself, or discuss your feelings with others.
  3. The sum total of the satisfaction of your life can be measured by the success of your relationships. Deepen a relationship today: notice something about a person and tell them, or ask them a question you wouldn’t normally ask.
  4. Creativity should be at the heart of a fulfilling life. Don’t let a day go by without drawing a picture, exploring a new place, or having an unusual conversation.
  5. Life is only precious while we recognise its transience, which ironically releases us from suffering. Focus on what is ephemeral and fragile about today: being this many years old, living in this specific city, or having a particular relationship – none of these things will last forever.
  6. Some people need to focus on recharging alone to fulfil their needs, whilst others need to get out and explore the world. Work out which one you are and don’t let your needs go unfulfilled. Do you like to sit alone in your room and listen to emotional music, or head out to the nearest new pop-up bar and mingle with the crowds?
  7. Meditation is the key to developing a greater awareness of the deeper beauty of life. You cannot even imagine what you’re missing until you start meditating regularly. Do a ten minute guided meditation on YouTube – now!
  8. You are what you eat, and no mind can function without its body being in balance – mind is body, and vice versa. Take an Ayurveda dosha test to find out your body type, and start eating well, today!
  9. All life is suffering, and the sooner we accept that fact the sooner we can stop railing against the inevitable pain of living – and get to the important stuff. Find something to appreciate about a bad situation, now. Perhaps it taught you a lesson, or had an unexpected benefit.
  10. Self-knowledge and understanding is the key to living an enlightened, noble and rewarding life. It’s painful but worth it. Start learning about cognitive processing and personal development systems like MBTI and Enneagram now, and don’t stop!

And if all this doesn’t work, you can also console yourself with learning to write a novel, laughing at other people’s dating mistakes or becoming a hippie

crop-catherineCatherine Julianne is a writer and digital communications professional obsessed with the field of personality systems theory. She also likes drawing, meditating and being in nature. 

Image: Unsplash

Being a hippie in 2015

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First of all, it’s worth pointing out that it’s always possible to buy something. We are the ultimate consumer society – now, we are even consuming socially, online.

I love modern culture as much as I loathe some aspects of it.

Soon, babies will be born with smartphones automatically attached to their pudgy pink hands, ready to document their first smile, first word, first day at school. Then it will be shared on social media with the gawping world.

We’re not given any easy alternative to this way of living, because that doesn’t serve society’s model of consumer capitalism, but some of us care enough to battle it out and try to find another way.

Dirty hippies

You can reject the prevailing way of living, but I’ve found this tends to get you labelled as a “hippie” – “The sixties are over!”.

This has never happened to me but I’ve seen it happen to people I know, and observed it in the news media, film and television.

I believe society subtly uses words to dismiss ideas or ways of life before it’s even been possible to engage with them.

Counter-culture hippieness doesn’t fit with the ethic of consumerism, which is now even more pervasive than ever, so it is dismissed as irrational and unproductive.

What is a hippie?

Before we make the case for an alternative culture, we should define what is meant by the word “hippie”.

Society suggests that being a hippie is a rejection of mainstream culture by favouring alternative or bohemian lifestyles, mainly revolving around “freeloading” or believing in “free love”, being a “leftie”.

Urban Dictionary defines it as:

A Hippie is a person who was raised under the ideological system that came out of the tumultuous 1960’s in North America and western Europe. They are either of the flower-child/baby boomer generation or that generations’ subsequent offspring. They possess a core belief set revolving around the values of peace and love as being essential in an increasingly globalized society, and they are oftentimes associated with non-violent anti-governmental groups.

I personally believe being a hippie is equated with conscious, ethical living – in all spheres of life. We choose how we relate to ourselves, to others, society and the environment.

But there are many problems associated with this way of living – most of them to do with the difficulty of going against the grain.

Being a hippie is logical

So, money doesn’t make us happy?

It’s a fact so blindingly obvious as to be laughable, but we forget it all the time because we’re wrapped up in the business of living.

It’s also painful to admit the truth, to submit to the agony of self-reflection, once we’ve been chasing money for a long time.

Money is mesmerising, just like lust and power. This is a fact. It makes us forget ourselves. You could argue that money even confers elements of both lust and power.

It is also a fact that we should love everyone rather than hate or fear them. Love begets more love, obviously, and is good for us.

Not taking more than we give to the world seems like simple logic. And promoting love rather than war? That too.

So is it being a hippie to love everyone, and believe that we all are “one”, in the metaphysical sense?

I think it’s probably just idiotic to believe otherwise.

You quite obviously can expand the mind, and we are connected with nature. Does believing in the concept of a self that survives the years, that can and should be developed and protected, make me a hippie?

To be honest, I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t be a hippie.

Is this just normal?

If you decide to reject money as an end goal and instead embrace being loving, then decisions about life can be made on the basis of their practicality, ethicalness, aesthetic appeal and with consideration for self-development.

I suppose this is called growing up. Now I’ve managed to get and keep a job, I’m less concerned with basic survival, and am now moving on to think about how to live and flourish.

I believe channeling my inner hippie is a big part of that.

Some people are dismissive when I speak of my attempts to eat ethically, desire to help save the environment, and support of small businesses – especially those of individual artists.

But I still talk about my goals because I believe that we should all try to live without the masks and reach out to each other. Buying more and more stuff is not the way.

Does that make me a hippie? If so, then fine. I am a hippie.

Problems with being a hippie

Choosing how to live is a difficult business, and sometimes it seems easier just to submit to the way society wants us to live – stay slumped on the sofa, gorging on prepackaged TV and food. When we’re not doing that, scamper up the career ladder like trained monkeys, and fall in love with the first person to give us the time of day. Get married, pop out some kids, retire and die.

Seems easy enough. Seems harmless enough.

However, an absence of an idea is still a decision, it is not nothing. If we aren’t choosing a positive idea then we are still promoting negative ideas. We must submit to self-reflection and choose what we really believe.

Is not wanting to submit to preconceived labels, or wanting to fashion your own mode of existence in the limited time we have, kind of hippie-ish? Similarly, if I believe endless consumption can’t satisfy me, and use alternative cultural practices to support a functional life, like yoga, meditation and enjoy burning (endless) sticks of incense? Perhaps.

But I think labels stop us thinking, and critiquing, enabling us to dismiss things as uninteresting or unworthy of appraisal because it has already been ‘named’. Let’s not do it if we can help it.

If you want to learn more about being a hippie you could check out my other post about how people are quick to judge “New Age” practices. Or, find out about how your attitude towards experiencing pain can make you a better person

crop-catherineCatherine Julianne is a writer and digital communications professional obsessed with the field of personality systems theory. She also likes drawing, meditating and being in nature. 

Image: Unsplash

Dating tips: tried and tested

unsplash-bonus Why can being single be so excruciating at times? If being single has any benefits, one is being able to pass on advice to other singletons on a few ways to avoid disaster. Read on!

  1. Do turn up – the quintessential ingredient of every date – that there are two people on it, not one. A friend of a friend was recently stood up on a Tinder date (yes, it happened to my “friend”, not me…) and I wonder – how hard is it to message someone to say that you’re not going to make it, instead of romantically scarring them for life (or at least a good few weeks where I – I mean they – get a bit teary over a £5 bottle of rosé)?
  2. Don’t turn up late – being late is also linked to number 1, although is, I suppose, marginally better, as you do in fact make an appearance – and with a little heartfelt grovelling, you can take it from there. This one did happen to me, and I was once hovering around Covent Garden like a friendless creep, wondering how long I could feasibly wait until carefully-affected graciousness turned in to outright desperation.
  3. Do ensure your  bankcard is working – having to foot the whole bill for the date in number 2 was not the highlight of the evening for me. (Neither was counting out three pound coins for him to top up his Oyster card at the end of the night to get home, either.)
  4. Don’t drink so much that you throw up on a date – at one time, I was inexperienced enough not to know how to bow out of a date gracefully, and decided it would be much better to drink my way out of it instead. Ending up in an almost catatonic state, I then proceeded to enthusiastically agree to the suggestion that we go back to his house and continue drinking with his housemates. After a quick trip to the off licence, I found myself greeting his housemates like dear old friends, pouring myself a bucket-sized vodka, and then at some point stumbling into another room – where I promptly threw up. In a timely fashion, one of the housemates appeared in the room behind me (was it his room?) and gave me a lifeline, asking “Did the cat do that?” Unfortunately, I was too inebriated to seize this opportunity for redemption, and simply slurred unashamedly, “Nope.”
  5. And lastly, do stay awake – fortunately, this has never happened to me (although perhaps I am not that fortunate, when you take the above into account) but a girl once told me of a guy, who, after their date, dozed off on their bus journey home together. She still endeavoured to invite him back to hers once he had woken up – an offer which he accepted – however, once home, he simply climbed into bed and peacefully went to sleep again.

So, there you have it! All my years of dating experience wrapped up in 5 succinct points. If you follow these rules, there should be nothing to stop the glorious ringing of those future wedding bells. [Catherine: I still want us to be spinster sisters living together until we die.] If you feel dating-ready now, why not peruse these tips on how to be a great flirt? Alternatively, stay holed up in your room like a hermit and find out how to become a novelist Jess By Jessica Marie Jessica is an aspiring novelist living in London. She’s excited by new experiences, ideas and music.  Image: Unsplash

Forget ‘The Game’: 8 flirting tips

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It’s been brought to my attention recently that many men, even at the age of 25 or older (my age!) still aren’t very confident about how they approach flirting. It’s also usually the nicest ones who seem to be very nervous and unsure about what they need to do, or should do.

I think this is for several reasons:

  • Not realising that people aren’t really judging you
  • Not realising that people only care about how you make them feel
  • Not feeling very comfortable with who you are
  • Thinking that other people know something you don’t
  • Believing it’s all about looks, or “sex appeal”
  • Believing we are defined by the opinions of others
  • Trying too hard.

I think these insecurities affect us because of lots of reasons that are too complex to go into right now. The point is, once we recognise these false beliefs, we can choose to put them aside – and start having fun!

So, with that in mind, I’ve come up with eight practical tips for how to have fun when you’re flirting, which will help your personality shine:

  1. Work on yourself by developing your skills and interests so you build self-esteem and are an interesting person to talk to.
  2. Make people feel good. Remind yourself that people just want to have fun and feel relaxed, so focus on how you can make them feel like this when they are around you.
  3. Have a bit of banter with people – but don’t cross the line and drive them away!
  4. Forget the gender differences. Remember, there is no distinction between men and women: we are the same underneath it all.
  5. Focus on having fun, not “succeeding”. When you do this, your natural positivity and energy will draw people to you.
  6. Know when to quit. Some people just won’t be interested, and that’s ok. Maybe they’re having a bad day or they already like someone else, so don’t assume it’s because you’re rubbish.
  7. Enjoy the experience of spending time with people. Don’t worry about where an interaction might lead or whether someone could make a good girlfriend (or boyfriend?!). You’ll be much more fun this way.
  8. Be excited about what you might find out. Part of the fun of interacting with others is discovering things you didn’t know before.

Remember, if you’re having fun, other people will be having fun, too. It’s as simple as that.

If you enjoyed these tips, maybe now you want to read about why pain is essential for personal growth, or read some webcomics that I’ve drawn

crop-catherineCatherine Julianne is a writer and digital communications professional obsessed with the field of personality systems theory. She also likes drawing, meditating and being in nature. 

Image: Unsplash

The Benefit of Pain

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Our minds are collections of ideas. Sometimes these ideas do not all fit together – they contradict one another and cannot all be true. When they lie together at once in the focus of consciousness, on the surface of thought, then we perceive their conflict clearly – we feel pain, and we feel sadness. The patterns in our minds are at war with each other, and we fear what will happen, and the possibility of losing parts of ourselves – parts of the idea web in which we emulate reality. The internal model we construct of the world around us needs to change, and it can seem scary and something to fear – but it isn’t.

The benefits of pain are overlooked. They go unseen because most people aren’t very introspective, and seldom probe deeply into their own lives. Most people behave as if their lives are something handed to them, almost immutable. They do not consider themselves actors, but observers – and so that’s what they are. The actors are the ones who accept that they can – and so do – use the power we have as beings: the power to shape and change reality. They are the ones engaging their instinctual urges to contribute to the creation of something greater than ourselves in the hierarchy and complexity of life. As cells are to us, we are to society, and societies will be to something else; we represent one shifting stage in the evolution of life: interactions growing more connected and more filled with delicate complexity. Those who do not accept life as given and absolute – they learn to question, to understand and to imagine. They learn to examine themselves and their own thoughts. They become more alive, and learn greater control over themselves and over their minds – the collection of thoughts – the intertwined web of ideas.


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Rain, Steam and Speed – Turner

The web of ideas needs maintenance. It is our life’s work to, thought by thought, puzzle out a picture of what is around us. We start off with a canvas full of conflicting colours and lines, that, stroke by stroke, grows slowly in clarity and depth until we feel the sharp sensation of our own existence, and experience the reality of the so-called ‘human condition’. It is difficult, but it is undeniably forward. To play well, you must understand the rules; to make choices about the world, you need to understand the world. The world is everything around us, and it includes ourselves. There lies the battle – the seemingly paradoxical feat – of making an image that includes itself. Overtime, more and more of us accept the burden, and once we make some headway with our own journeys we realise another awaits us, this one by nature not alone – the wagon train moving ever forward; the vanguard of humanity. To join, we must each find our way there – discover the parts that need playing, and the parts we want to play. This requires acceptance and clear vision of ourselves – Including acceptance, and clear vision of our pains.

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Hand with Reflecting Sphere – Escher

Pain helps us find our way. Pain, beyond scraped knees and broken bones, is the experience of conflict in our inner network – it is indication of a contradiction – and the chance for its examination, understanding, and potential resolution. Pain is a signal in our brain that something can and should be given attention: a knot must be undone; a bundle must be untangled; a problem must be solved. If we accept that it really is a signal, then it really can be used as such. We can calmly question and probe at the cause of the pain; we can carefully consider the ideas we hold close – and which closer – and we can weigh them against one another. We may come to question some ideas, and with the clarity induced by the sharp pain of holding those conflicting thoughts together for a time– we choose what we really want. The challenge is presented, and we have the opportunity to show courage and accept change.

Our feelings are guides to our minds. They cry out – they want to help us to understand the world better. Pain is just one aspect, one we struggle to integrate. When we harness its potential, we are able to live without fear – because every problem is a problem we work to solve. The map updates, the picture becomes clearer, the web becomes more complete, and our actions reflect this: we know better what is true, what is right, and what the way forward is for us all. Our separate webs become joined. Accept reality, join humanity, and know that there is infinitely more to experience.

If you’ve been inspired to enlarge your mental map, find out why an open relationship might be just the thing you were looking for, or delve into the wonderful world of personality typing systems

cropped-jamieBy Jamie Culkin

Jamie is currently working toward a master’s degree in experimental physics in Leiden, the Netherlands, and is contemplating both a creative and academic life. The things that drive him are: the world around us, real human connection and discussion, creation, and parkour.

Images: Unsplash | Wikimedia Commons