Mind mapping and Brainstorms

I’ve been creating Mind maps to let all of my thoughts on a subject out of my head. I’ve used it for my speech I gave for Toastmasters, for blog ideas, for ideas on redesigning my website, and other projects that I’m working on. For me a mind map looks like a spider web brainstorm on a topic. You put the main topic in the middle (like “Vacation to Hawaii”) and then draw lines going to different ideas on the subject (Places to stay, beaches to visit, hikes, ect) and then from those ideas you write more detailed about those subjects (Places to stay → Friends house in Waipio Valley, Brothers farm, Vacation home in Puna). I’ve enjoyed the freedom that it gives me to write non-linear. I can start a random tangent by drawing another line from the circle, or I can go back and elaborate on something I wrote on earlier. I can let my critical mind take the back seat as I flow and write whatever comes to mind. Associations come up, random thoughts come up, and by the end of writing I have much more information and content than if I had tried to write in a linear (A, B, C, D) kind of way. One limitation that I’ve experienced with this way of brainstorming is how it can be difficult to find enough space to write what you want. Once I’ve finished a mind map the page will be crowded and littered. I have to review it within a couple days so that I’ll be able to remember what I was writing. Organizing all of the information is difficult as well, because I don’t want to lose information that might be useful later. I’ve learned to pick and choose what is relevant, and file the rest into a reference folder or throw it away. Here is an example of how I do my mind maps. Each bubble off of the center is an idea for articles to write, and ways to create content for my blog. I’ll spend between 15-30 minutes on one mind map. After I’ve completed it I can see what areas have the most content and ideas. For these ideas where the words keep on flowing I will change gears after my brainstorm(within a few days), and start typing up ideas from the mind map on that one topic. I will write as much as I can about the topic, staying in the free associating right brain. After I have some content I bring in my critical mind, and observe what is truly useful. I edit, cut, replace, rewrite, and rethink my writing until I have a final product. This last section can take between 30 minutes to 3 hours or more depending on the length and depth of the content involved. Other than brainstorming blog ideas, what other ways can mind mapping be useful? It can be great for thinking of how you want to redesign your bathroom, the activities on your next vacation, writing down habits you would like to adopt, planning your week, and any situation where you have many ideas you would like to express on paper. I also believe brainstorming can be a great way to get clutter out of your mind. Sometimes I’ll find myself thinking about a certain topic and repeating myself throughout the day. Once I let myself write about it, and get all of my thoughts out there, I will have a quieter mind. If you have good techniques on brainstorming, found good mind mapping software, or have any thoughts on this article, feel free to leave a comment.
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“My Lesson to the World” IceBreaker Speech for Toastmasters

My Lesson to the World Speech [display_podcast] I gave my first Toastmasters speech today. After weeks of brainstorming, outlining, and half a dozen times recording myself practicing my speech, I’ve given my final presentation. There were about twice as many people as the first time I visited the group, and I was the first to give my speech. Overall I felt it was a great experience, much different than being a guest. I felt the community aspect and had great comments and feedback on my speaking abilities. The other speeches given were very inspiring, and I signed up to give another speech in two weeks. The Transcript I wrote for my speech is below: Everyone has a lesson to teach. This is your life’s purpose, why you are here, and what you will show others. A combination of genetics, family upbringing, life experiences, and the way you identify yourself creates this unique perspective from which you can teach from. Every speech that is given is a lesson, even humorous or entertaining speeches teach us to laugh more, and can have deeper meanings behind them. We’re all learning from each other, and teaching each other at every toastmasters meeting we attend. Today I will discuss what I believe my lesson to teach the world is, and what I hope to learn from Toastmasters and all of you. I have lived most of my life in nature, being surrounded by the tropical jungles of Hawaii while a child, the towering redwoods of the Santa Cruz mountains as a teenager, and now in the majestic mountains of Summit county. I believe these settings help me see the beauty and peace in nature that can seem to be void in urban cities and lifestyles. The presence of nature helps me to see how small our everyday problems are in comparison. This has helped me to pay less attention the trivial, stress inducing patterns that are so common in modern day society. This last year I’ve been training in massage, yoga, and Qi Gong, and have found these to be great ways to connect with your body, become more present, and enjoy the peace of nature. Through massage I’m able to connect with someone, bring them into a meditative state, and help them release unnecessary tension and holding in their body. All of these exercises are great for releasing stress, and allowing your body and mind to come back to a natural state of peace. I’ve always been a very introspective person. For example I’ve attended a 10 day silent meditation retreat, spent months practicing lucid dreaming techniques, and hours writing and journaling on visions of my future. I believe that everyone could benefit from looking within more. A lot of people skip this step and do whatever other people think they “should” be doing, whether that is going to college, getting a job they dislike, or living in a city they don’t enjoy. I want to teach people how to find the passion within themselves, to discover their individual meaning of life, and to fulfill their deepest desires. How will Toastmasters help me to teach these lessons? I want to learn how to connect with people within minutes, talking with passion, freedom, and inspiring others to act. I want to be able to share my personality fully on my blog, expressing myself through video, audio, and writing. I want to teach people Yoga postures, Qi Gong exercises, and self-massage techniques through how-to videos. Overall I want to believe in myself and learn how to proudly and truthfully express myself to the world. Now… Take a Breath. Look within yourself. Ask: What do I have to teach the world – and how does Toastmasters help?
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Challenging myself: Joining Toastmasters

This week I’ve joined toastmasters public speaking group. I’m scheduled to give an icebreaker speech on February 1st.

Challenging myself

Naturally I’m very introspective. Writing is much easier than speaking for me, and I’m more comfortable socializing in a group of 2 or 3 than a party of 30 or 40 people. Now I’m taking a stand for the new year. I’m doing something that is difficult for me, so that I will be better prepared and more able to express myself to the world.

What do I hope to learn from Toastmasters?

I hope to learn how to be more open and talk freely and confidently while describing myself, my habits, and my services. I wish to be able to creatively and concisely share lessons with the world, using my public speaking skills to help give yoga and qi gong classes. I want to learn how to clear my speech of the filler words that come up when my mind busily tries to find the correct word to express myself. I also wish to meet new people in the process, being able to teach and learn from each other.

How will I use these skills for this website?

I plan on making my website a lot more personal. I want you to be able to listen to the passion in my voice when I talk about things I love, to become motivated by watching me teaching yoga and qi gong, and to experience who I am on more than a textual basis. You will see a lot more videos that will accompany the blog posts. You will listen to interviews and Dharma lectures by Travis.

How will you challenge yourself this year?

If you’re already extroverted, try going to a group meditation. If you spend a lot of time at the computer, living a sedentary lifestyle, try going to a yoga class. If you eat out frequently, meet with a friend who cooks and learn to cook a new meal with them. If you’ve always wanted to write and share yourself with the world, start a blog.
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Gratitude and Growth of 2010

This time every year people tend to look back on the best of the previous year, and look forward to set intentions for the new year. I recommend you take credit for the hard work and accomplishments of the year, and realize how much you’ve learned and grown. The last year I feel I’ve gone through tremendous growth and change. I left a school that wasn’t inspiring me, saved money to pay for massage school. I became active in creating the change I wanted, knowing that I no longer wanted to go to San Jose State. During my free time I would journal about my desires and visions of career paths, websites to create, and habits I wanted to incorporate into my life. Winter I knew I didn’t want to go to San Jose State anymore, and set a date to leave: June of this year. I decided to do my best, earn money, and learn as much as I could in the time that I was there. I learned a lot about time management, creating weekly goals and time sheets to manage school, work, and personal development. I started to do yoga, the gym, and cardio. I discovered Lucid dreaming, meditation, and Mantak Chia’s the multi orgasmic man book. These served as a great introduction to the metaphysical arts. Spring I became inspired by Steve Pavlina’s writing on self-discipline and started waking up at 6am, successfully converting to a morning person. I started going to a weekly meditation group and as part of my transition from San Jose State to massage school I went to a 10 day Vipassana retreat, which changed my perspective on meditation. I also started this blog and shared my goals and desires with the world. Summer In July I went to Steve Pavlina’s Conscious Growth Workshop and met other inspiring people and reaffirmed my passion for growth and learning. In July and August I completed a 250-hour massage training intensive and expanded my social circle and became four times as sociable and open to new people. Fall I continued my massage education, becoming proficient and finding passion with Thai massage. I continued to take classes in Qi Gong, which I had started in the summer, and met Lee Holden. I’ve started to work with him on his videos, and have learned much about Qi Gong movements and becoming sensitive to the life energy in my body. For the Winter I will be primarily living in Breckenridge Colorado during the winter months. I plan on doing a lot of studying on Qi Gong, web design, and the national massage exam. I will work to redesign this website, creating a custom wordpress theme. I will also be launching a website that will be a community resource for massage therapists and body workers. I see this next year being even better than the last, with many lessons for me to learn, and more for me to teach as well.
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How to Overcome Disappointments

This week I discovered that the yoga teacher training program I planned on doing from January through April is cancelled. I had already bought a ticket to see their open house, but when I arrived no one was there and the door was locked. This was disappointing for me, as it’s less than 3 weeks before classes would’ve started and now I have to re-envision my winter months. What’s the best way to react to such undesired changes? *Allow yourself to be upset/sad/angry Feel the emotions and write out all the reasons you are unhappy about the change of events. Journal about why you’re angry and allow yourself to vent for a few hours. Acknowledge the feelings, and feel them for as long as it is still serving you. It’s probably not helpful to stay angry for more than a few days. *Observe the hidden meaning “When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell After learning that my yoga program was cancelled, I researched all of the yoga schools near Denver and Santa Cruz, where my two homes are. Any time I found a school that interested me, it was either too far from my home, or didn’t work with my schedule. I interpreted this difficulty in finding a yoga school to be the universe telling me I should be studying something else this winter. I’ve been practicing Qi Gong the last few months and I’ve found a few synchronicities around learning that. I found a book at the studio where I practice Qi Gong. I was able to borrow it and I found out that the author of that book lives near my home in Colorado. *Envision, Write, Imagine Create as many alternate situations as you can think of. After you’ve written all of the possible outcomes, read each one, and compare how you feel after reading it. Once you read a vision and you feel a bright, energizing or passionate sensation in your heart you can begin to follow that path. Take the first few steps, and see if you receive a positive response from the universe. Possible options for me include focusing on webdesign or photography at the community college, studying Qi Gong/Tai Chi, developing strength/flexibility in my body, and/or networking and meeting people in Colorado. This list will continue to change as the weeks go by, but I can start by researching teachers who teach Qi Gong in my area, and go to their classes. If I find someone I connect well with, and our schedules work out, then I know that the universe is sending me a “green light” on that path. If you find yourself continually being shot down with your requests, keep trying until something works out. At the most unlikely time you may meet a stranger who connects you with the perfect situation/job/school. *Share you experience If you had a bad experience with an employer/school/business, express it. You could write a review on yelp, email the business owner, and/or tell your friends who might be interested in working with them. Write factually about your experience, try not to criticize or call people names. Write about what happened to you, what you didn’t enjoy, and how it could’ve been better. *Let go and allow your new future to manifest Once you’ve allowed yourself to feel disappointed, shared your experience, and found an alternate path, let go of the past disapointment and look towards the new direction you’re heading in. It’s easy to complain about how things could’ve been different, and how “only if” that had worked out, but let it go and see what is possible and desire-able in your current situation.
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Why Go to Massage School?

I started the 250 hour massage certification program at Twin Lakes College in Santa Cruz, California the beginning of this month. So far it’s been an enlightening experience and better than I could have expected. In this blog post I am going to share why I believe everyone should go to massage school.

Receiving Massage Daily

You will be both receiving and giving massage daily, learning how to create a safe environment for your client, and how to facilitate their healing experience. When you receive so much massage you become more aware of your body and where you hold tension. Receiving and giving loving touch is a great way to become more in touch with your heart and feelings. The more you help others relax, the more you are able to empathize and feel the love multiply. This sense of touch is also a new way of communicating with people and friends. We get to know the person intimately, knowing where they hold tension, their unique body shape, and nurturing them in a safe environment. The receiver of massage puts a lot of trust in the giver, letting his/her touch encompass their reality. This vulnerability, trust and place of nurturing causes relationships to deepen.

An Uplifting Social Environment

The classmates I’ve had in Twin Lakes are motivated to help each other learn the most they can in these seven weeks. You will spend so much time together, trading massage outside of class, and the deeper the connections you make with your classmates, the more you will gain from massage experience. The sense of community is already tangible after just a couple weeks, with everyone being very friendly and open to each other. The teachers are great resources at Twin Lakes college, listening and answering our questions and problems with their knowledge and experience. They’re very approachable and some teachers have even stayed after class to allow us to practice more on each other. The possibility for continuing education is exciting as well, after this 250 hour Swedish program we can go on to learn more about other modalities such as Thai massage, Shiatsu, Reiki and Deep tissue.

Developing Presence and a quiet mind

In order to give a good relaxing massage you have to be centered and grounded while giving.  When you give your full attention to your present movements and sense of touch, the receiver feels taken care of, and feels the pull to become present in his body as well. Once you develop this ability your massage work will feel more like a calming meditation. Practicing things like Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Yoga, and meditation help you more easily stay in this state of presence.

Self-Care and your Health

The most important aspect for the massage professional is self-care. Exercising, relaxing, eating nutritious meals and getting enough sleep are all necessary to stay in that state of presence while giving a massage. If you’re going to be working while going to massage school I would recommend taking massage school part time. This way you will have more time to practice, read, and take care of yourself. Invite others students to do group yoga sessions, go hiking, and to go to the beach together. Then you can relax and exercise while deepening your connection with your classmates. The field of massage naturally attracts people who are athletic and you should have no problem finding class mates who are interested in exercising with you.

Everyone should go to massage school

The ability to be present, to give others the gift of relaxation and to receive it as well. The friendship and sense of purpose. Helping others heal themselves. The entourage of growth oriented students who are motivated to learn. Click here for more information on my massage services.
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Goals and Ambitions

Blog and Sharing Creativity I am writing a blog to express myself fully without fear of failure, and to help push me to succeed in my goals. I’ll be posting original music, short films, my philosophies on life, and sharing my interests and aspirations. I hope to encourage others to follow their goals, and connect with people who have similar interests. Waking up early I will wake up at 6am every morning in order to meditate, do yoga, play music, and visualize my day before I go to work or school. This gives me a productive start to each day and helps me with creating good habits. This also helps me to strengthen my discipline, because I will be waking up at 6am every morning, whether or not I have school or work. My habits before creating this goal were to wake up between 7:30am – 10:00am, depending on when I had to be somewhere, and I would just get ready and then surf the internet until I had to leave. The second part of this goal is to be asleep before 11pm. This is already a habit I have, I just used to sleep 10 or 11 hours, and now I’ll sleep 8 or 9. If I’m successful with waking up at 6am every morning for a month, I may try waking up at 5am. Exercise Stretching is essential for me in the morning. I have naturally tight muscles, and if I don’t stretch I get back pain. So now I will do Yoga and Stretching every morning. I will go to Group Yoga every Wednesday, and once on the weekend. I’ve also joined a couple hiking groups in Santa Cruz and San Jose. Later this month there will be an intense hike at Pinnacles state park which I am getting ready for. Play and Create Music I’m going to make a habit of practicing my bass guitar and drums every morning for at least half an hour. I will record both original and cover songs and upload them online bi-weekly. I’ll meet more people who play music and jam with them. Meditation I will meditate 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes before bed every day. I am signed up for a Vipassana 10 day meditation retreat in June. This will help to prepare me. I’ve also joined a meditation group in Downtown San Jose.
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