On Minimalism

travel

I’m cleaning out childhood memories. Old art school projects. Holy panties. Things I don’t need.

I’m leaving in less than a week to go back to the Philippines, then Thailand, but in the mean time, I want to get rid of crap at my parents house. I’ve been a pack rat for way too long… and my coach says clearing out the clutter is good for manifesting abundance… clearing space.

I don’t have storage units. I just have boxes in my parent’s garage, an overflowing closet in my childhood room, everything still in tact. I leave my stuff in places and home bases. I still have a suitcase full in Cebu, where I’ll be going to visit family again by the first week of September. I still have loads of books and clothes, an expired Philippines passport I don’t need since my US passport is better, rain boots with polka dots and my favorite, almost brand new hiking shoes, and random odds and ends in Manila. I’ll probably never get that back because I left that life behind and abruptly ended a relationship.

Other than the messes I leave, I think I could be a minimalist. I pack light. I know how to live off a suitcase. When I knew I was going to be traveling and moving to Asia over three years ago, I got rid of furniture, an XBox360 I won, my guitar, a djembe, one (of two) of my violins… My room was sparse and I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor. It’s probably the cleanest I’ve ever been. That whole year living with roommates, even when I wasn’t preparing to move, was the cleanest time of my life. If you want to stay clean (and by that I mean tidy), just get rid of crap and clutter and stop acquiring any. I left a house and mortgage and discovered my crap was very little compared to my ex. And separating out what was “mine” and “his” looked a little bit unfairly all “his”.

I’d love to live in a tiny house. Some “alternative” living space. Small spaces and modular designs. A treehouse. A hobbit house. I’d love it.

I hate the idea of acquiring furniture. I want my life to fit in as little as a suitcase, with a few boxes here and there for good measure. I like living 2-3 years at a time in one place, and then moving on. It had been 3 years in the Philippines, and it had been 3 years in my past life and relationship too. My concept of life is temporary and I don’t like the process of acquiring. Rather, I love the process of letting go. Life isn’t immortal anyway. Not this tangible life. But maybe our souls.

Maybe someday, I could have my own library, and all my books displayed, outside of their crummy boxes, but for now, I love the semi-nomadic life. And I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

30 day challenge

Could you live a minimalist lifestyle? Why or why not? OR What does minimalism mean to you in the context of your ideal lifestyle?

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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Twerking to Thailand

coopI used to think I’d want to live in a paradise from home. Why retreat to vacation when you can make vacation your every day reality? Now, I’m not so sure. There’s a magic in the retreat that gets lost when you’re living it every day. There’s a romanticism to living in the woods, in the Walden-esque cabin. And there’s a romanticism in living in a guerrilla-invested jungle with the element of danger (whether real or imagined) in a beautiful, self-sustainable nature cooperative. It was paradise and it was my next move.

But I’m a gypsy soul and I was born for leaving. My inner rhythm twirled me around and the next thing I know, I’m twerking my way to Thailand (ok, not really, but I had to poke fun at the latest pop culture that passes for “news” these days, and it makes me giggle a bit to think about “twerking to Thailand”, kind of catchy, no?).

I’ve lived in strange places.

I’ve lived in small towns. I’ve lived in monasteries. I’ve lived in paradise, and ultimately, it’s not for me. I’ve gotta keep moving…

monasticFor 4 months, I slept in hardwood beds with no padding. Woke up at 6am for 6:30am morning chants in robes and practiced a simulated monk life in a monastery. I was on a spiritual retreat (there’s that word again) and I realized that renouncing and living in sanctuary wasn’t the life for me. I’m too impure and I’m proud of it. When the International Youth Buddhist conference happened in Taiwan and they gave all the recipients $300, I used part of that money to buy a box of condoms (I’m pretty sure the packaging had a Geisha-esque design) because I knew I was ready for some sexytime after two years of innerwork, “self-love” and celibacy. It was time to get it on.

Sanctuaries and paradise are great retreats, but not someplace to live in permanently. I realized that my Buddhist middle way required movement and interaction with people from all walks of life, and not just people that “get it” or are “enlightened” or have some heightened sense of self-awareness. Intentional community is great, but not when you seclude yourself to the multifaceted world. That’s the real learning. That’s the real meditation. When you can ‘retreat’ in a bustling, urban metropolis, amongst the chaos of congested traffic and really ‘bring home the Dharma’ from wherever you are, not just some mountain monastery while on retreat, but in the everyday living.

I realized that I’m an escape artist, and I’m proud of it.

I move through life on my own terms.

I escaped a house and mortgage I no longer wanted and left my ex to deal with foreclosure. I escaped relationship after relationship when it had run its course and no longer felt it served me. I left at exactly the right times, enough to get what I wanted, learn my “lessons” and move on to the next thing.

Some people may see it as running away. Abandonment. Selfish. Irresponsible.

I see it as part of my being and who I am. A gypsy, a wanderlust, a bohemian soul. My own inner rhythm and taking control.

When I escape, I run towards my self and go deeper into the innerwork when the external starts to feel like “extra”.

Twerking my Way to Thailand

I run, shimmy and dance towards a new adventure, and explore the world with newness.

In true digital nomad and location independent fashion, I’m moving to Thailand.

“Moving” is loose terms for a wanderlust soul. It involves minimal packing and no set plans, but the intention to work and live for as long as I’d like to. It could be 2 months. It could be a year. Because my “year” in the Philippines stretched out for three.

I’ve been back in Portland-ish (suburbs) for nearly 3 months and felt the energy buzz of unconferencing World Domination Summit. I thought I’d stay in Portland but Portland will always be here and there’s a world I’ve got to explore.

Thailand is the mecca of location independent entrepreneurs, and Bangkok is host to the Dynamite Circle “DCBKK” conference. Really, I could care less about the actual conference, but I just like being around the people. From that afterglow, I’ll move to Chiang Mai where the cool kids go. I’ve got no set plans but a network of connections. That’s all you really need.

Still, I’m scared shitless.

This is a new chapter. This is a new situation where I constantly challenge myself to sink or swim.

Do I have enough income stream to “make it”? I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think I could pull it off. But I’ve invested in a transformation coach and the monthly payments add an element of challenge…

I’ve got this. I do.

I made 2013 my year for transformation, and I wasn’t messing around. Everything about this year has been 100% transformative and I’m transforming like a mofo, in all aspects of life.

Thailand will show me how to balance work and play and take my business to new levels. I’m running towards my dreams with greater fervor. I’m reaching the crescendo. I’m riding the rhythm with careful grace notes in the in-between. I’m filling up the gaps and flourishing with flair.

30 day challengeI’m scared shitless, yes. But the scary bits don’t feel so intimidating anymore when you’ve lived through the uncomfortable already, time and time again. Life happens at the end of your comfort zone. And that’s where I thrive. I live for the uncomfortable. I get off on it.

And I dance, and I explore, and I twerk my way to Thailand… If I could live anywhere in the world, I guess that’s where I’ll be… for now.

If you chose to live anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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Your Small Army

I’ve got this mailing list, and I “entice” people to sign up by offering a freebie: My Chakra Sales Funnel (do you have it yet?)! Having a small army of people that get you and love you is one way to cultivate your business, if not the best way. They always say, “the money is in the list”, and it’s true. If you have an offer, the more people in your list to see it, the more likely you will get people to buy it. It only makes sense, right?

My mailing list is a small army. And since army is a weird word, it’s a small ARMY of LOVE. So small that there’s only 143 people on my list…. 143… I love you, man!

Your small army of LOVE can extend into the people who support you not only as clients and customers, but as employees! Yes, being a solopreneur is great, but I have high hopes of branching out and building my team.

I’ve got “JFlo Studios” and it’s perfect for a virtual agency business model, wherein I hire and collaborate/contract with copywriters, and other designers to help keep the world going round.

I struggle with this one a lot though. Do I really want a team or do I want to keep it small? And how can I keep it small and still have a team to support me?

As much as people say it’s all about scaling your business so it can work for you without YOU being there, I actually do love client work. And I love doing the work I do. How can I compromise and ‘scale’ my business when I enjoy actually doing the work?

On some days, I want to get away from the time=money model. I really do. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s good to rely SOLEY on client work for my income, and I would love to diversify this. But for now, I’m enjoying the process and I enjoy working with clients!

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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Freedom and Adventure

jbstreetcarsfWhat’s your definition of freedom in business and adventure in life?

I love adventure. But adventure can mean different things to different people.

Sometimes, I don’t think I’m very adventurous because I’m not into extreme sports like white water rafting, snowboarding, marathon running or skydiving. I don’t even like swimming because I’m not a strong enough swimmer to feel confident around deep water. For as much as I’m an island girl, I’m not really a beach girl at all. I must prefer the mountains.

You can have adventures without being a mega-athlete. And I do enjoy things like rock climbing and trekking which might be considered “extreme”, except that I don’t have much experience with either (I also love kayaking and snowshoeing but have only done it less than a handful of times). I just know that I liked it when I tried and would like to do more of it. Like the time I went on a yoga/rock climbing retreat last month in California.

I’d love to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, trek the Appalachian trail, run a marathon or walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain. But these are such faraway concepts for me. To be able to have the “freedom in business and adventure in life” means that my business can fund adventures.

I love Stefan Sagmeister’s take on freedom and adventure. Every 7 years, he takes an ENTIRE year off from his design studio to take a sabbatical. His concept is to intersperse our ‘retirement’ years during our career when we have more health and agility to explore, create, and play for the sake of exploration, creation and play. His “breaks” give him creative material that he can apply back into his company, and it’s absolutely brilliant!

30 day challenge
Adventure doesn’t have to be of the extreme sports variety. It could be joining a monastery for my quarterlife crisis. Or writing my first book. Or simply starting a new chapter. I’m a simple homebody for the most part, who loves to curl up to a good book or take siestas. Sometimes I even feel like I’m boring.

Freedom in business and adventure in life means you’re living a work/play lifestyle that’s fun in work and play. While you’re putting effort in your business to make it run, it feels effortless because you love what you do so much. Business no longer feels hard, because you do it with ease.

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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Why I Blog

30 day challengeThe following is based on the Suitcase Entrepreneur 30 day blog challenge writing prompt here: http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/blogchallenge/blog-challenge-day1: Write a post on why you started your blog, who you wanted to reach, what you wanted it to be all about. Then state why you joined this blog challenge and what you want to get out of it.

I love blog challenges because it forces me to write and stop neglecting my blog. I’ve attempted the “Ultimate Blogging Challenge” so many times but something about that group doesn’t make me want to “get into it” as much. Maybe it’s just the wrong target for me, but with the Suitcase Entrepreneur, being a digital nomad and location independent is pretty much what I’m all about. Not in a loud way, like this blog were about these things (it’s not), but more in an inner, softer way. It’s what I do. And the lifestyle I choose before rent and contracts and mortgages any day!

My blog has never been “professional” and I’m not sure if it’ll ever be. I’m not sure I want to monetize Purple Panda, per say, but other endeavors. I’ve always been a recreational blogger more than someone who wants to make money off of the next big thing. In that way, I tend to lose business sense like “target audience” and what problem I’m solving and how I’m giving people value. But I wish this blog were more cohesive than it is and it actually did solve problems and give people value. I’ve just never been able to relax and accept my fate as a “recreational blogger” OR step up and take this shit seriously. I’m always in limbo, but that’s my own doing.

If I were to take this seriously I could be a millionaire by now. As if being blog famous solves all your problems…

I finally realized that it’s not about being blog famous at all, or even blogging. It’s about building your craft. And my craft is design and writing. So while I’ve neglected my blog I’ve been focusing on design and writing.

Purple Panda is about marching to your own beat.

Having the self-awareness, inner compass, intuition and courage to dance your own rhythm.

It’s about not letting others dim your shine. Being who you are. Self-love and self-care.

It’s about living consciously. But that’s a personal thing. How do I show you “and you can too!” when that looks so different for each person?

How do I write a whole blog around these topics? And what do I have to offer? All I have to offer is my self and my journey. My vulnerability.

That’s all we ever have to offer. Who are you? What’s your story?

Sometimes, I have wisdom and say pretty smart shit… It’s like shitting diamonds!

Polishing the stone…

If I approach my blog like beginner’s mind, if I were to “start over”, maybe this could go somewhere. This could be something. And maybe that’s why I’m joining the Suitcase Entrepreneur blog challenge and why it doesn’t seem as vacuous as the “Ultimate Blog Challenge”. Because it also doubles as a course in building an online business. Maybe I can learn a thing or two about how to make this my THING and maybe I can finally commit to something.

I’m not saying I’m going to monetize Purple Panda just yet (I’m more committed to design still, at this point, and I’m not sure how to merge the two), but what I am saying is I want to start focusing on quality content that actually goes somewhere and gets you places. I’m not about to “give up” on Purple Panda because I’ve “outgrown” it. And maybe I have. But you’ve got to commit to yourself before you can commit to another person or “thing”. And no matter what phase I’m going through, I’ll always be writing. I blog because I write. And because I like sharing and being vulnerable and I do leverage the internet to make money (even if it’s a poor attempt thus far).

You do you well. That’s all we can ever do.

And shine on.

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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