Posted tagged ‘mindfulness’

Sudden Beauty

August 9, 2022

PSX_20220808_081837Don’t you love it when you are going through the motions of a mundane day, uninspired and mindless, when suddenly something soul stirring appears right in front of you and (to borrow a saying from my youth) blows your sensory doors in?  It could be a herd of antelope in our meadow or the setting sun illuminating the mountains.   It is what some of my friends call God showing off … other say Nature in all its glory.   Here on Oldereyes – Bud’s Blog, it doesn’t matter which you choose, as long as you take time to notice.  And let it move you.  Some years ago, I became an avid photographer when I found out that keeping a camera close by keeps me noticing the world around me.   Yes, I know, every phone has a camera, but a real camera is better no matter what Apple tries to tell you.

This week as I turned onto Lake Avenue headed toward Mountain View Parkway, the sky was filled with clouds tinted gold by the late afternoon sun.   The sky was a crisp blue and seemed to go on forever.  I reached for my camera and … gloom …I’d left it at home.  But yes, I had my phone.   I pulled to the side of the road and began snapping (well, I know, phone cameras don’t really snap but that’s how 78 year olds talk).  And here’s what I got.

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Nature in all its glory.   God showing off.  Amen.

Mindful … or Not

February 25, 2022

meditationI have flirted with meditation for roughly 50 years.   It started with Transcendental Meditation (TM) and the Maharishi in the 70s.   I remember attending classes with a room full of perpetually smiling disciples explaining how easy it was compared to other forms of meditation, and how quickly I could feel the wonderful results if I was just willing to do it for 15-20 minutes twice a day.   I stuck with it religiously (if you’ll pardon the expression) for about a year.   It indeed made me less anxious and easier to get along with, although I never found the amazing changes talked about on the TM website.  After that, my meditation was more sporadic and I tried other techniques, such as guided meditation and meditation to music.  When I started work the 12 Steps, I sought through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God per the advice of Step 11.  Many people working the steps say prayer is how we talk to God and meditation is how God answers.  I have never heard from God during meditation, but it certainly makes me feel better and probably more receptive to things spiritual.   Still, consistently meditating has been a challenge for me because my too busy mind really hates to lose the thinking time, in spite of the benefits of meditation. (more…)

Tapestry

November 2, 2021

tapestryAs I get older (and older!), I find myself more philosophical, thinking about the nature of things and what, if anything, it all means.  Friends who seem to have found faith, or at least a view of life that works for them, say I am an over-thinker.  I plead guilty.  I am a very lucky man, happily married for over 50 years, living in a beautiful community in Utah, financially secure and ten minutes from my grandkids.  But at seventy-seven, it is impossible to ignore the fact that there are substantially fewer years ahead than behind.  Friends suffer senior maladies and sometimes leave this life.   My maladies are relatively minor but bothersome and its easy to imagine that my latest ache or pain will usher in my turn for something serious.   Friends tell me God’s in Charge.  I believe that … but why does God make life so difficult sometimes and require that we say good bye to those that we love?    Other friends say Nothing is Good or Bad.  It is what we think about it that makes it seem good or bad, a notion borrowed from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Sorry.  I can’t buy that losing a friend … or contracting a nasty illness … is neutral, nor is it Good Appearing Bad. (more…)

Mindfulness

July 4, 2021

meditationThe other day I was taking a shower and I reached for the soap.  To my surprise, I found I was standing on our patio trying to decide what plants would look good in place of the Russian Sage that our builder planted, which I don’t care for.  No, I wasn’t really standing naked on the patio but I might as well have been because that is where my mind was.  If you’ve ever roamed the self-help aisles at Barnes and Noble … or tried to learn meditation … or followed any of an assortment of online gurus, you’ve heard of Mindfuless.  If you Google it, you will find an endless assortment of definitions and promises of its benefits.  Psychology Today says Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. This state is described as observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or badMindfuless.com (who, one supposes, should know) says Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.  It is a combination of attention to the present moment and acceptance of whatever is happening in that moment.   And in today’s world of multi-tasking and sensory overload, I think it is a rarity … something that is a contributor to the state of our society these days. (more…)

Almost Daily

March 7, 2021

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words – Goethe

Most mornings, I remember to read a Daily page from David Kundtz’ lovely book, Quiet Mind: One Minute Mindfulness.  It is part of what I call my Morning Practice … I’d call it Daily Practice but that would be a lie.  I am easily distracted, especially in the morning and Almost Daily Practice sounds dumb.   What I like about Goethe’s list is that each item takes only a few moments , in keeping with the title of Kundtz’ book, where as my Morning Practice takes over an hour.   But I do listen to music as I write in the morning (hear a little song, check).  At the moment the song is Cast Your Fate to the Wind by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

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What If ?

March 16, 2020

I was thinking this morning over my first cup of coffee.  What If we viewed this COVID-19 crisis … which is at least 50% of our own making … as a opportunity?   What if we took it as an opportunity to spend some time with ourselves (yes, without our devices) and take stock of who we are, maybe assess if our lives as we are living them now reflect the standards we once set for ourselves?   What if we took the cessation of the ten million distractions that have been taken from us and listened to some beautiful music, read an inspiring book or leafed through some forgotten photo albums?    What if we took this time of social distancing to rediscover something we loved to do but just haven had time for?   Writing.  playing the piano.  Drawing.  Taking a drive to a beautiful place and just soaking in the beauty of nature?  Take some photos that aren’t selfies?   What if we took our extra time at home as an opportunity to reach out to friends by text or letter or phone and talked about good times together instead how awful everything is?  What if we stopped obsessively reading the news and following the stock market and practiced acceptance that this is what life has dealt us at the moment?  Took it as an opportunity to be the people we know we should be?   What if we all looked at the empty shelves in our markets and said, This is nuts, and instead of joining in took only what we needed?  What if whatever this crisis turns out to be, we realized that we will survive it better together than divided into left and right, black and white, rich and poor, boomers and millenials?   What if we learned to agree to disagree and work together in spite of our differences?  What if we actually practiced the Golden Rule?

What if the vast majority of Americans who will survive this crisis came out of it as better people?   Wouldn’t that be something?

Small Things

October 22, 2018

I’m sure I’ve said this here before.   I’m pretty sure I’ll say it again.  The reason I carry my camera when I walk in the park is that it takes my focus away from what’s going on inside my head and into the world around me.   Some days, there are red-shouldered hawks, trees in bloom and sunsets over the lake to grab my attention.  Other days, like today, Small Things catch my eye if (and only if) I am mindful … petals on the ground against fallen leaves …

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… seed pods hanging from a bright green tree … (more…)

What Would You Take?

September 28, 2017

heloAs I sit here trying to feed my poor starving blog, helicopters fly back and forth at low altitude over our house, rattling the windows, a reminder that the 2,000 acre Canyon Fire, to the east of us, is under control but not out.  Wildfires are a fact of life here in Socal and the heartbeat of anyone who has lived in proximity to the many wilderness areas here is sure to accelerate at the sight of a smoke plume nearby.   And they all look closer than they are.  The Canyon Fire started 5 miles to the East of us, almostcanyon fire exactly where the devastating Freeway Complex started in 2008.  That monster burned 20,000 acres and took 190 homes, several within a mile or so of us.  We were evacuated for that fire and the 2006 fire 2 years earlier because our house is one house-row away from a wilderness area.   As a wildfire veteran, when the smoke first appeared on Tuesday, the first thing I noticed was which way the smoke was blowing.   It was not blowing over our house, which is a good thing, at least for us, but it’s no promise of safety.  In the late summer, early autumn winds shift frequently from primarily eastward offshore to Santa 0926_nws_rpe-l-corefire-wp12.JPGAna winds, which howl westward down the Santa Ana Canyon where we live.   The Canyon Fire spread rapidly eastward toward Corona, prompting the evacuation of 1,500 homes, including our good friends who live in one of the neighborhoods most closely threatened.  It is never good when you see pictures of a friend’s neighborhood on the news. (more…)

Old Softies

June 16, 2017

bud and dadTwice a week, I find myself in rooms with many men who grew up with difficult, even abusive fathers, men who say things like, I know my father loved me, even if he couldn’t show it.   I am fortunate to have had a father who made it clear that he loved me, more often by his actions than his words.  Was he difficult?  Not by the standards of my friends in those rooms.  Still, he could be a strict disciplinarian with a quick hand (as was the nature of discipline back then) and he had a tendency to push me toward being better by pointing out the things I didn’t do well instead of my successes (also more common back then).  He was a man of few words.  My uncle once said to me, Your Dad doesn’t have much to say but when he does, he sure knows what he’s talking about.   Dad wasn’t given to emotional or philosophical discussions … that was the province of my Mom.  No one ever called my Dad a Softie and if they had, he’d likely have considered it insulting. (more…)

Maui at Seventy Three

May 21, 2017

Since my wife Muri and I moved to California in 1971, we have vacationed in Maui 7 times.  The first time we were here with our good friends, Don and Jackie, we spent half the time on Oahu and half the time at Napili Bay (perhaps the prettiest bay on Maui).   The second time, we brought our two children and spent time on both Maui and Kauai.   While Kauai is beautiful and less 

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