Find Your Marbles! 12 Step Program
Unlike other 12 Step Programs, you don't have to do ours in order, or in its entirety. We believe that if you do just one or two steps, you'll find you will want to do three or four or more. Soon, your marbles will be back where they belong. So pick one - and easy one if you like.
As Thoreau put it. Step one is really an overarching step that will carry you through the next eleven. It is the foundation on which we find our marbles and gain inner peace.
Simplify your stock portfolio. Simplify your 401K distribution. You will sleep better at night and gain a few marbles at the same time.
Simplify your wardrobe. Do you really need 43 skirts, 52 blouses, 37 dresses, umpteen sweaters, god-knows-how-many belts and sashes, and that mountain of color-coordinated shoes on the floor of your closet? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to just shut the closet door? And don't even get me started on that sock drawer!
Pick just one room to start with. Go ahead, it's easy!
Limit your driving.
Drive your car as little as possible, as we at MarbleFree.com have done. I tried to take the bus to work in an attempt to have a relaxing, traffic free experience. But, dag nabbit, after 5 months I lost my marbles waiting at an unshaded bus stop over 45 minutes in 100-degree Sacramento heat for a Sacramento Regional Transit bus. Holy Mackerel, I need to go into another MarbleFree 12-step therapy session after that! And Regional Transit wants to expand the system?!? I say simplify, simplify. Fix the system you have now! Those poor souls who have to ride public transit...I pity them. Maybe the SACRT board can order up another $300,000 to study just how late they can afford to be.
And so, I don't recommend taking the bus in third-world countries or Sacramento. If you want to keep your marbles, I do recommend telecommuting or riding your bike to work if you can. That's what I've done. I ride my bike to work now 8.5 miles each way. I smile every morning as I look back with my Prius parked in the garage. And with gas likely to be going back up, I really enjoy my bike rides. You can do it, too!
Traffic is one of the main stressors in our everyday lives.
Turn off your cellphone
Are you addicted to your smart phone? "Turn off your cellphone, daddy!"
Why not just leave yours at home or in your glovebox during your commute, for a better life. Take it out only if needed for emergencies. (I promise, people will find you at work or at home within the hour!)
July 1, 2008 marked the first day in California that we needed to use a handsfree device while driving. (Spoiler alert: It ain't working) But, you don't really need a phone while driving. Just turn off the cell phone and check your messages when you get wherever you are going. Enjoy the quiet, or National Public Radio, or that latest Beatles download. Get off that phone!
And again, if you are nomophobic, or are serious about really wanting to be safe, regaining your marbles, and enjoying your drive more, just turn that cellphone off. Pretend you are back in the olden days ... like the 1990's ... and wait till you get home to check your messages.
Write or Read one poem a week.
The squeak, and then
squeaking of unoiled squeaks
Couldn't hide from the
world, I'd spend most the day
- A poem by Jerry Grinstead
As for reading poetry, if you have never read it before, I suggest beginning with a book of great poems to see the many varied styles, and read some of the best poems written. My favorite book of poetry is, The Desk Drawer Anthology, Poems for the American People. Compiled by Alice Roosevelt Longworth and Theodore Roosevelt, 1937. It is out of print, but you can pick up a nice used copy for $20 to $40 online (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or do a Google search). I've been reading that since I was 5 years old ... and I hope to finish it one day! You also can't go wrong with a book of poems by Ted Kooser or Mary Oliver or Robert Frost. Peaceful and easy.
Paint one painting a month (Or visit a local art gallery)
Water color, oils, acrylic...it does not matter. Painting can be a way to a more civil life.
We, at MarbleFree.com, really like that part about abolishing hurry. That is another key to simplifying your life and reducing your marbles deficit. I can see now why Thoreau and Emerson hung out together.
Talk with one stranger or acquaintance each week.
You'll find friends and acquaintances in their yards, on a bench downtown or in the park, seated next to you on a plane, or even in the grocery line. Practice your patience and civility and remember to smile. Civility is becoming a lost social grace. When I was waiting for the tour to begin at the August Schell Brewery in New Ulm Minnesota, I sat with and talked with several elderly ladies and gentlemen who were from that area. I enjoyed asking them about living in Minnesota all their lives and hearing about how much they loved it. I could not imagine living anywhere but California, and they could not imagine living anywhere but Minnesota. We really are all the same ... just different!
Friends and acquaintances
Join the Slow Food movement.
What is Slow Food?
Slow Food is the opposite of Fast Food. We all know what Fast Food is. The definition of Slow Food, from their website says it best, "Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment."
There are Slow Food chapters all over the country. Recently, an article in the Sacramento Bee gave a great account of the movement here in Sacramento, how it started, and how you can get the benefits of Slow Food. Read the article at the Sacramento Chapter's web site.
Be prepared, though, for an influx of Marbles when you abandon fast food for slow food.
Get a library card.
Wow! They are still free and the library is quiet and has these things
called books all over the dang place. And they will even let you borrow them! For Free!! for a
Read to a child.
Nothing fancy. Anything by Shel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends or The Giving Tree, for example). A Harry Potter book is fun to read to kids, and you may end up still reading after they fall asleep. And, The Night Before Christmas at the holiday or a Dr. Seuss book any time! The Pokey Little Puppy was one of our favorites when the boys were toddlers.
You not only are relieving stress now, you are laying the groundwork for a less stressful time during your kids' teen years. They will remember your having taken the time to read to them. And I'll bet they still won't let you give that copy of the The Pokey Little Puppy to Goodwill!
Take a walk.
This is a great way to get some exercise and begin practicing Step #6. A walk during your lunch hour can make the afternoon seem like a new day. Keep a pair of walking or running shoes at your desk and listen to National Public Radio while you enjoy the beautiful day. A volksmarch is a great way to socialize while walking.
Got a favorite route? Map it online or, for you nomophobes out there, on your smart phone to see how far you've walked, or create a new route! Here are some example walking sites. Google "walking" and your city name to find more.
Take a vacation...By Yourself!
Sure, we love our significant others, POSSLQs, partners or spouses, girlfriends or boyfriends. But a little time in a new place by yourself where you decide how to spend your time is refreshing. And you should really encourage your significant other to get away and do something they enjoy.
Smile, be patient and write a Thank-you note!
Email does NOT count! Get some nice writing paper, sit down, and thank that person for what they've done for you. You'll feel better about yourself, and so will they. Try writing one thank you letter a month. You may just find it habit-forming. Here's a nice article about a study from Kent State University
Thank you for your time!
For a $5 donation or more, you'll get a laminated MarbleFree Membership card with the 12 steps listed on the back. It is also your certification as a MarbleFree 12-step Therapist! As a Certified MarbleFree Twelve-Step Therapist (CMTST), all you have to do is point people to this web site and the 12-steps!
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