Samurai Yenta

Award-Winning Journalist, Author, Poet & Inspirational Writer

Francesca Biller

Francesca Biller
San Francisco, California, United States
February 02
Author, Award-Winning Journalist, Poet, Short Stories, Humor and Art Culture
Award Winning Investigative Journalist, Edward R. Murrow recipient, Author, Essayist, Humorist, Poet ____________________________________ Art & Culture, Politics, Multicultural Issues & Identity, Philosophy of Parenting, Humor & Happiness, Inspiration, Female Empowerment, Food & Family, Japanese, Hapa & Multiracial History, Poetry _____________________________________ Published: The Japanese American National Museum, The Huffington Post, My Jewish Learning, The Chicago Sun Times,, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Be'schol Lashon,, Empowering, Lakeview House International Journal- Poetry, The Jewish News Weekly ofSan Francisco, USA on, Discover, Senses Magazine,, The Syndicated News,, and others _____________________________________ Current & Latest: Speaker at "Mixed-Remixed Festival" for Discussion: "Global v. Universal: Otherness & Writing the Female Writer of Color" held at Japanese American National Museum __________________________________ "Samurai Yenta" a Blog about Japanese & Jewish Culture, food and humor for My Jewish ___________________________________ Books to be published book for Ithaca Press, a compilation of authobiographically-based inspirational-themed essays and stories, and a collection of Poetry _____________________________________ Essays published in a series of Textbooks about multiculturalism called "Multiculturalism in America: Opposing Viewpoints." I am writing a book of poetry, as well as a compilation of short stories and essays ______________________________________ Radio & T.V. includes appearances on syndicated national talk radio programs, including for CBS Radio and others wherein I have discussed politics, parenting, anti-aging/health as well as comedy appearances about pop culture. _____________________________________ Journalism Awards: The Edward R. Murrow Award, 2 Golden Mike awards, 4 Society of Professional Journalists First awards and The Los Angeles Press Club. Awards were granted for Excellence in Reporting for both print and broadcast reporting. ______________________________________ Blogs & Sites : Open I've Got Issues ---  The Elephant Journal The Huffington Post Samurai Yenta ____________________________________ Social Media Website: Twitter @francescabiller  Facebook @francesca biller Facebook Writer/Fan Page - @francescabiller-humorist-writer-author

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 23, 2012 4:11PM

How to Keep your Sanity in 10 Easy Steps

Rate: 9 Flag


Like a lot of people today, you often probably feel anxious, nervous, scattered, overtired, manic, and stressed . . .

And those are the good days.

Sure, there are moments when you may pause for a half-second with your vendi-trendy coffee and notice a bird in flight or the color of the sky, but most of us are too worried about "wasting time" to pay attention, as if rushing through life might bring more happiness.

This adrenaline that never seems to leave our veins is pumped with the unfiltered drip of the "hurrying up and wait" serum, without even knowing what we are waiting for, or where our awaited destiny even is.

This addictive rush to hyperlink to everything in record time has become the cause of much depression, disease, illness and even death, according to endless research and data I won't take your precious time and bore you with.

But studies show that this "manic-driven" state of modern life is not much more productive than a rat wired up on hallucinogens scurrying in a never-ending maze with no goal in sight.

But life doesn't have to be that way.

Feeling continually crazy about getting to the future faster because something better, larger or more important might be there can suck the virtual life and happiness out of you like a bipolar vampire on a meth binge.

So what can we do?

Well, for one, we must learn to stop multi-tasking, or what I call "multi-lacking", and Stop Right Now, with Ten Steps towards sanity to follow shortly.

First, turn off the television, your Crackberry, IPhone and computer and notice if your legs are nervously bouncing or if your pulse is quaking while you read this.

Listening to music is OK, but only without ads. Talk radio is out of the question with anonymous voices spewing vitriol about hateful propaganda interrupted by ads for Viagra, McDonalds or Antidepressants.

Now notice something, but only if you are able to sit still and use one of most genius of technologies ever known to man and woman called the ear, and just listen . . .

Without talking political heads rambling at you from the nightly cable news, the beeping of text messages, and Facebook interruptions about the status of "friends" you're likely never to even meet . . .

What do you hear? . . .

Do you hear the sound of your own breathing perhaps?

Or maybe you hear a car passing by, leaves rustling, a dog barking or the laugh of a child?

If you do, you're probably amazed by the unusual feeling of calm or the feeling of being in the present, a present we seldom allow ourselves today.

This feeling is one many of us today usually only experience during REM sleep.

You may feel quite uncomfortable with this "strange and peaceful feeling" and begin jonesing for that familiar adrenaline fix.

We have sadly become a nation of frenzied robots who have morphed into the images of advertisements thrown up in our face . . .

From faster cars, computers, food, and even sex without ever having to meet our "so-called lovers" on our larger-than-life monitor screens or tiny little screens on our glaring phones.

We have even developed ways to show our love to each other without effort or mess, such as cocktails posted in emails, with some of us not being kissed anywhere but in cyberspace for years.

Depressed? Frustrated? Mad?

Good, because often these are the greatest motivators towards real change.

Here are ten things you can start today to move from insanity and towards sanity:

1. Wake up a half hour earlier

Just drink your coffee, tea or nothing at all in total silence. Don't turn on the computer, check your phone or any sort of media device. Just sit, close your eyes and take breaths in between sipping . . . for a whole 30 minutes.

2. Walk slowly when you first wake up

Whether it's walking to the shower or wherever you think you "need" to be, move slow. Notice how the floor feels beneath your feet. Listen to the creaks in the floor, the soft carpet, and how good it feels to move slowly and quietly.

3. Remember and visualize that you are an extremely capable person

Even if you are not hooked up to anything or anyone.

4. Take at least 15 minutes a day to do absolutely nothing

This means no phone calls, texts or surfing the news blogs. Just do nothing. Your energy afterwards will amaze you.

5. Learn to say 'No' immediately

Just say "No" if you don't want to do something and spend more of your time practicing nothing at all instead.

6. Drink Water

When your phone rings, an email pops up, or a Facebook notice appears that someone likes something inane that you posted, drink three sips of water and wait five minutes before feeding the habit. Nothing terrible will happen if you don't respond immediately, and your response may actually be worth the read, if you choose to respond at all.

7. Take the time to look people in the eye

Say "Hello", "Goodbye", ask "How are you".  Listen to their answer and ask a question. In other words, remember how to communicate with people again on a human face-to-face and non-technological basis.

8. Once a month, do Nothing for a whole day

On a non-work day, take a day where you fast from everything electronic that you "think" you can't live without. Try out a new recipe, write a hand-written letter in cursive to an old friend or to yourself, read a book outside or wander your own neighborhood on foot.

9. Pay attention to tiny inventions we take for granted

For example, last week I wrote down the tools I used that day when fixing up my house: scissors to mend curtains, a Phillips screwdriver to secure a hook, glue to repair a chair, tape to prepare for painting, and a staple gun to fix a picture frame.

10. Remember that no one will die if you "slow down"

If anything, you're more likely to die if you speed while you drive and cut people off, inhale fast food while watching angry pundits on TV, dope yourself on booze and pills just to slow you down at night while not taking the time to notice that your kids are a foot taller since the last time you took a walk together without telling them to "Hurry Up" as well.

Just a quick anecdote that made me realize the frenetic pace of not being present and literally living outside of myself . . .

My little girl came to me after I had been on the computer for what probably seemed to her like a month and exclaimed,

"Mommy, I never want to grow up."

I asked why and she answered in a slowed whisper with her eyes not blinking a whit,

"Because when you grow up, absolutely nothing in the entire universe is ever fun again because grownups never want to play, and when they do, it's just with things, not people."

Out of the mouths of babes.

Afterwards, she reminded me how to play Candyland again, my favorite childhood game it seems a million light years ago.

I didn't win but I didn't care.

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The eleventh step is to remember to bathe. Perhaps the most important of all.
hurry up & wait is the very definition of Anxiety.
"pause for a half-second with your vendi-trendy coffee and notice a bird in flight or the color of the sky,"
is something i actually do, but i am rather vacant in the head then.
These steps are akin to my morning ritual.
except i take some of them to extremes,, like
"walk slowly" and do nothing.

but most of us are too worried about "wasting time" to pay attention, as if rushing through life might bring more happiness.

well yeah! the future is where it's at! where we finally
gonna be happy.

the now? terribly incovenient.
rather a spiritual post, in my definition of 'spiritual'!
hurry up & wait is the very definition of Anxiety.
"pause for a half-second with your vendi-trendy coffee and notice a bird in flight or the color of the sky,"
is something i actually do, but i am rather vacant in the head then.
These steps are akin to my morning ritual.
except i take some of them to extremes,, like
"walk slowly" and do nothing.

but most of us are too worried about "wasting time" to pay attention, as if rushing through life might bring more happiness.

well yeah! the future is where it's at! where we finally
gonna be happy.

the now? terribly incovenient.
rather a spiritual post, in my definition of 'spiritual'!
James, I had quite a feeling that you were already following this advice :)
It seems fortuitous that you wrote this piece as I would up a half hour earlier than normal today, in a trance like state, and slowly walked to my coffee maker, but alas I forgot to buy any coffee the day before because I decided that was my day to do nothing at all. I thought I heard a bird singing when I realized that that was the alarm sound I had chosen on my Iphone, which now has a robot that reminds me that I should be drinking lots of water. I told it 'NO', that I want my darn coffee, so I headed out to 7-11 and said 'Hello' to the nice Indian man behind the counter. He asked if I wanted the two for one donut special or a large cinnamon roll which I of course took him up on, but unfortunately I was driving to slow in the fast lane and the cops pulled me over for obstructing traffic. I looked him in the eye as he handed me the ticket and said a pleasant 'Goodbye'. Thanks for your blog. I'm am going to take a bath now but I will leave the scissors, tape, and staple gun in the other room for the time being.
Hugo First, You are a strange and perplexing man, although it seems that you are on your way to a good start.
I too speak to my 7-11 man in my neighborhood and look him in the eyes, although in a very intimate manner, more than you do I am guessing.
And yes, I believe that putting aside all sharp and sticky objects before getting into the bath is a good idea.
What a wonderful tip! I am so lucky to read this great piece. PLEASE permit me to translate it into my native African language in order to share it with my facebook friends.
Dear Francesca, May your ink never dry!
We walk every day, frequently in the parks and conservation areas around here. I always have at least a cellphone camera with me, if not one of my Nikons, because there is always something worthy of more than a fleeting memory -- deer, flowers, the sky, deadfalls, wild turkeys ... well, you get the picture, so to speak.

But I do need practice on the "no" thing.
Do nothing, for 15 minutes or a day. Isn't the former referred to as meditation at least if certain other conditions are met?
Great post, Francesca. Rated.

To me, sanity is about tuning out our IT dependence and busyness at least some.

Another aspects of maintaining sanity is talking pleasantly to those we meet and listening intently to what they have to say.

I have found that when I show genuine interest in someone, even a new -to -new person, the dividends often far exceed the investment.

I guess, I am just repeating what you said. I agree with you.

Lyle Elmgren
blackpharaoh, I would be honored for you to translate my post into any language that you want, and as it will be in your native African language, that is most intriguing. You are quite welcome as well, and in your words, "may my ink and your ink never dry".
Peace my friend
Boanerges1, there is nothing more relaxing and spiritual than surrounding yourself and enjoying what nature has to offer. As my mother is a native of Hawaii, I am never as peaceful as when I visit the islands, dive into the oceans and feel the balmy tradewinds of paradise.
Now as far as doing nothing . . . feeling one with nature is as close as it gets.
thefuddler, I was "referring" to meditation, but for some reason that word scares many people, so I thought that 15 minutes might be a good start at least. Peace
Lyle Elmgren, we are cut from the same cloth my friend.
One of my greatest spiritual and human joys is talking to strangers each day and getting involved in "real'" conversations with them.
I also love to speak with the people who work at my local businesses, be they cashiers, food servers, bank employees, you name it.
In a way, I often get more enjoyment from our interactions than I do with my closest friends as we don't ask anything or expect anything from one another, we just enjoy each other's company in the very present moment that we are in.
Peace my friend
Francesca, Thanks for your permission. I have translated your master piece into three native languages of Africa. It's quite amazing to read all the positive comments from my facebook friends. I give you all the credits! You will live forever!
Francesca, this list is one of the most significant in our hectic times. Thank you for sharing this so intelligent writing!!
I knew that you were NOT a Scheduling mom -- gut feelings are great are they not? Your little girl has wondrous, gritty instincts. Maybe that's it: we raise them only to have them raise us up? Appreciate your sense of being in the moment, free to be and proud to know what is important, of value. Francesca, this is truth serum for the soul ... now, let me see if I can actually pull this off .....
Thanks for bringing us into the light of day. R>>>>>>>>>>